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Garbanzo beans

Spicy Spinach Hummus

Spicy Spinach Hummus

Hummus-making used to be a weekly occurrence in my kitchen. It’s just so fantastically easy and delicious. I’m not sure how I let the ritual run away from me.

I’m happy to say hummus and I have reunited with this green-laced recipe, which I hope will entice you to unite with garbanzos and your food processor as well.

Spicy Spinach Hummus

Hot peppers are a beautiful thing.

Here, they take hummus to the next notch, adding a nice subtle flavor and spice that will make your spread unique in an elegant way. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to make your eyes water. (That is, unless you take your contacts out after handling the peppers…still waiting for the day when I’ll remember not to do that.)

The spice here is moderately mild, and in fact, you may even want to keep the Sriracha on hand if you looking for a little extra fire. Again, it’s the hints of flavor that you’ll note from the peppers that make them special in this spread.

Spicy Spinach Hummus

With just a simple whiz in the food processor, this recipe comes together fast. No roasting, toasting, or fancy stuff is needed to make it complete. But of course, feel free to experiment. That is the beauty of cooking. Want to try roasting those hot peppers? Toasting the cumin seeds? Adding other greens?

Do it, and share with me how it turns out. Cheers.

Spicy Spinach Hummus

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Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

Real talk here – emojis are one of the best attributes to ever appear in the smartphone world. It’s not infrequent that I’m texting half in emoji-speak, and dying in my bed from my own emoji-induced laughter.

Emojis are great, and so are the other goofs who can appreciate them as much as I do. Hopefully that’s you, otherwise you’re probably praying for my sanity right now.

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

While I am forever anticipating the creation of a carrot emoji, I can say I frequently get down with the eggplant icon while I wait. Its purple radiance, with its bright green top, does wonders to add life to my muted text messages.

Eggplant emojis, for the win.

Japanese eggplant

You know what else is an eggplant win? When you add its roasted form to your hummus. You’ll find a recipe for that below, which is essentially a babaganoush meets hummus situation that can only be described as yum-o.

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

By adding roasted eggplant into the chickpea mix, you create a slightly creamier spread to smear across your toasted bread or pita. I wanted to throw a little texture back in, so I toasted up some cumin seeds and added them, too. Like poppy seeds on a cracker, their small pop works well here, and really takes the spice infusion to another level. The toasty aromatics and nuttiness you derive from the whole form of cumin seed is worth the extra step.

Spread on pita with thinly sliced cabbage, spinach, and maybe some feta, too, or serve simply as is with warm, toasted bread and a drizzle of EVOO.

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Swiss Chard Falafel

Swiss Chard

I should probably admit upfront, these err a tad more on the side of fritters than falafel. But I hate a dry, dense ball of falafel, so in my mind, the characteristics of these are what the word “falafel” should always mean.

Falafel should be as moist as the fresh chickpeas you put into it. It should mean a circular or ovular sphere flavorful enough to snack on as it is, even if a little bit of yogurt sauce or hummus elevates it to a whole other level. I.e., a truly good falafel should be the shining star in the pita you pack it in, radiating brighter than all else that lays beside it.

Swiss Chard Falafel

It’s simply impossible to deny how beautiful of a veggie swiss chard is. I’ve expressed before my love of pinks when it comes to produce, and the photographing of it. Beets and radishes, while not necessarily my favorite flavors of the veggie kingdom, stand among my all-time most beloved subjects to photograph. (Apologies in advance to my friend Laura. And my 90-year-old grandpa. And the random boys in my life. All of which are other favorite photo subjects in my life – but I’m telling you, beets and radishes make for some steadfast competition.)

Swiss Chard

The magenta lines that stream down a leaf of swiss chard, the veins not unlike our own that bring this veggie to life, make it a mesmerizing sight. Its yellow veins, too. Although if I had to choose, I’d of course go for the pink. There’s just something about those pinks when you get them in front of a camera. Born to be (still life) models, I tell you.

Swiss Chard Falafel

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately. Breakfast for dinner has been popping up more often than I’d like, as is thrown together bowls of beans, rice, herbs, and avocado. (Although – if that avocado is a magically flawless and ripe specimen, forget the hesitancy and tone of complaint emanating from that last sentence. Hand me a ripe avocado, and I’ll be a happy kid forever.)

I never thought I’d be one to say this, but busyness has led me to allow cooking to fall by the side of the road for a few. Plus, it’s summer, and I enjoy nothing more than eating outside. And if this means scoping out all the restaurants with outdoor seating, then so be it. Cooking can be put on pause for a few.

However, you know as well as I do, I do love cooking. And so I return, by the sight of a healthy looking bunch of swiss chard.

Swiss Chard Falafel

I picked this bunch of from the store and immediately had ideas start to come to me from left and right. There’s nothing like a little ingredient inspiration to draw you out of a slight cooking hiatus.

It’d been forever since I made falafel, so that’s the idea I went with. Don’t ask me how swiss chard led my brain to falafel – but it worked out well. I mean, why not add some green power to falafel? Tastes great, looks decent, and kills it on the “you should really make this meal more nutritious” level.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard’s back in style. Every farmers’ market table will be wearing it pretty soon. Get some while you can. Admire it’s beauty for a day. Or 15 minutes on your cutting board. Then chop it all and throw it into this falafel recipe.

These are definitely snackable on their own, but I love the pairing with the yogurt/herb sauce. You choose whether to pack them in a pita, or throw them with some brown rice. Either one you go with, drizzle a little tahini on top, and voila. A truly golden, slightly green meal.

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Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

After dodging glaciers all week and layering up till I could’ve been mistaken for the Pillsbury doughboy, today I’m hitting you with another soup recipe. There were one too many icy bike rides taken to work this past week. All called for soup immediately upon return home. Here it is.

Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

‘Tis the season for complaints about the weather, long movies, hibernation and honey. Maybe you should call me Pooh Bear rather than the Pillsbury Doughboy. I hear he likes raw honey in his Earl Grey tea, too.

‘Tis also, of course, the season for soup, and always the season for tahini. Naturally, the two form a partnership in this warming bowl, inspired by a glimpse at Smitten Kitchen. Cue the wedding bells and tears of joy, please.

Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

This is hands-down one of my favorite soups I’ve had yet this season. It’s creamy and sweet from the carrots, and hit with a contrasting tang from a little Greek yogurt and squeeze of lemon. Then it’s topped with a satisfying drizzle of tahini and roasted chickpeas to add in some texture. Seriously ? it has everything going for it.

By the end of his bowl, I caught my friend clanging around his soup spoon as if it were a percussion instrument. Picture a more obnoxious version of a triangle. This soup is that good. It brings music to the ears – good or bad. And is worth every last minute of poorly played instrumentation you might have to endure.

Enjoy!

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Roasted Butternut, Kale, Bean Soup

Butternut Kale Vegetable Soup

Gah! Can’t I just transplant my entire family and friends to the West Coast? Or to a spot where the temps never dip below the 60s, and I feel alive 365 days per year?

For some people, a splash of cold air in the mornings brings them to life. For me? I want two seconds of that. Which I can get with some cold water in the shower, if need be.

Whatever. I could say I’m going to run off to California all I want, but until the right opportunity strikes, it’ll likely remain a vaca. spot for now. And I will survive cold fall nights and winter days by surrounding myself with good food and good people. After all, those are two of the most important elements in life, right?

Roasted Butternut Kale Vegetable Soup

I like to think good food in the fall means soup and winter squash. Like tacos in the summertime, soups and stews become a weekly occurrence on my dinner table.

As the early Sunday evening sun begins to set, I like to have a large pot simmering away. Steam is fogging the cool glass windows. Music is playing. If I’m lucky, bread is waiting to be cut. This is how the best weekends come to a close. Make a mighty enough pot, and it can be how the best weeknight meals come to a start, too.

Following is a light and brothy soup, given heartiness with creamy roasted butternuts, kale and chickpeas. Don’t play hooky on the nutritional yeast. It’s a lovely compliment to the autumn feel of this soup, and really rounds out the whole bowl.

Butternut Kale Vegetable Soup

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