Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sesame Black Olive Hummus

I just made Black Olive Hummus with Sesame Oil last night, and it was so good that I had to share the recipe. Usually traditional Hummus calls for Tahini, which is a sesame paste almost like peanut butter. But since I don't usually use Tahini, I saw no need to buy it. Here is my recipe without it. I hope you like it. (I cannot take credit for the picture. I failed to take a picture of my hummus, so I pulled this off of the internet)

2 15 oz. cans of garbanzo beans drained
1 15 oz. can of black olives, reserve 3 Tb. of liquid
1 garlic clove minced
2 lemons juiced, remove seeds
1 Tb. of Sesame Oil

Directions: If you have a food processor, this will make your life TONS easier. I will assume you have one. Throw in 1 garlic clove and mince the crap out of it. Add in 1/2 can beans and blend really really well. This insures the garlic is minced really small. Add in the rest of the beans, the juice of both lemons, reserved olive brine, the tablespoon of sesame oil and grind grind grind until almost pureed. Add more olive brine if needed. Pour into a bowl. Then, add the olives, the whole can to the food processor and coarsely chop (don't worry about cleaning out your food processor). Chop until desired consistency and stir into hummus. Sprinkle with a few reserved olives if you'd like, and sprinkle with paprika if needed for presentation value.

Tips and Variations: Use Greek Olives, Green Olives or Roasted Red Peppers. Also, taste as you go. I ended up adding about a teaspoon of sea salt, but only because I like my hummus a bit salty. This is certainly NOT needed because the olives are fairly salty, but will be needed if you make the Roasted Red Pepper variety.

Serve with Club crackers, Ritz crackers, carrots, cut red pepper and other veggies for dipping. Of course you can serve it with pita bread, pita chips or my favorite, Gorgonzola Crackers from Trader Joe's (a fairly new item). I personally like cut veggies because you can't have too many veggies in your diet right? Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Double Dipping

A couple of weeks ago Shawn and I were watching Food Detectives on the Food Network. While the host of the show, Ted Allen, is a horrendous host, some of the stuff they cover is pretty interesting. Double dipping, is it really that big of a deal? In short, YES! As most of us have probably known for a while, double dipping causes bacteria to be spread from one person to the next. This essentially means that if people are double dipping, dipping a chip or cracker into something, taking a bite, and dipping it again, they are spreading their saliva throughout the bowl of dip or salsa. Uh, YUCK!!!!!

Here is an article from the New York Times to confirm what I'm talking about. Click Here!

Now time for a confession: I have long hated eating out of communal bowls at parties. I can obviously handle eating out of the same bowl as my husband, and certain married couples that I know and hang out with quite a bit. But I try to avoid eating out of the same bowl as anyone else, or sharing drinks for that matter. People are sometimes offended, yes, but as my close friends can probably tell you, I avoid doing this because I don't like other people's germs. It's a psychological thing really. Why can some of us choke down chocolate covered grasshoppers and others not? It's a psychological issue.

Heck, my friends and family can probably reveal to you, for that matter, that I sanitize my bathroom all the time even though it's just my husband and I living in our house, and I sanitize especially after someone else uses my bathroom. At motels/hotels I bring bleach and my own sanitizing wipes, as I revealed to my friend Jaymie a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully she understood where I was coming from, because she does the same thing. :) But here's the issue - I like my stuff clean! It's as simple as that. Yes my house is cluttered. Yes I can stand to vacuum up the dog hair on a more consistent basis. Yes I can stand to dust more. Even though my house may be all those things, the places that 'matter' are sterilized, not only for my protection but for the protection of my guests. Double dipping falls into this category, I want my food 'clean'. I don't mind, at all, people dipping a chip or cracker into a communal bowl, but for heaven's sake, PLEASE DON'T DOUBLE DIP!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chicken Stuffed with Dried Apricots and Gorgonzola

I just came up with a recipe. Chicken stuffed with chopped pieces of dried apricots and slices of gorgonzola cheese. It's still in the oven, but when it comes out I will let y'all know how it is. But in the meantime, here's the recipe:

2 chicken breasts
6 dried apricots chopped
gorgonzola cheese, about 3 ounces
10 buttery crackers (like Club, or Ritz)
1 Tb. flour
1 egg beaten

Cut a pocket into the chicken breasts and fill it with the apricots and gorgonzola cheese. Crumble the crackers, then add the flour, salt and pepper to taste and place onto a dish. Once the chicken is filled, dip the chicken breasts in the egg, then into the cracker mixture. If need be, stick a toothpick through the opening in the chicken. Throw it into the oven at 350-375 for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through. (I would give you a time frame on cooking the chicken, but I simply don't know. I always cook chicken until the tempertaure reads about 180 degrees.)

The verdict: The husband really liked it. I however, thought that a milder cheese would have worked a bit better so the sweetness of the apricots could have come through a little more. But, all in all it's a keeper. If the husband likes it, heck, it's a keeper. Nothin' more to say!

Update: You know what would go really good in the stuffing of this recipe? Some chopped pecans. Not too many, but enough to taste. Hmmm, I will have to try that next time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cheesecake Cookie Cups

Alright ladies and gentlemen, here's an awesome recipe I found on allrecipes.com It is cookie at the bottom and cheesecake at the top. As is my nature, I can't follow a recipe exactly, but I did change it to suit my needs. I bought Nestle Brownie Bites and put those at the bottom. Other users have said to use sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies and other stuff if you'd like. But, at least here's the original recipe so you can see it, and of course, change it as you see fit! :) Oh yeah, I also did not use the pie filling.

  • 12 pieces NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup NESTLE CARNATION Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
  1. PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F. Paper-line 12 muffin cups.
  2. PLACE one piece of cookie dough in each muffin cup.
  3. BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookie has spread to edge of cup.
  4. BEAT cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla extract in medium bowl until smooth. Pour about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture over each cookie in cup.
  5. BAKE for additional 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Top with pie filling. Refrigerate for 1 hour.