Monday, June 29, 2015

Hummus with Roasted Red Bell Pepper

Hummus is one of our favorite snacks. It's very healthy and also versatile as far as different flavor profiles you can achieve with various ingredients. I usually buy the canned garbanzo beans, but I recently picked up some dried ones at the Mediterranean market. These produced a far superior product compared to the canned beans. Also a 32 ounce bag produced almost 10 cups of finished hummus! One of the best parts is that the bag cost $1.69! Tahini sauce, sesame seed paste, is also an intricate part of hummus. In the supermarket they usually charge way to much for a mediocre sauce at best. I found a jar of great sauce that was twice the size and half the price at the same market. One thing to remember is that you have to soak the beans overnight in water. You can roast your own bell pepper, which is really easy, but you can also buy them already roasted. I prefer to do it myself simply because I don't know how long ago the store bought was roasted. 

2 cups dried garbanzo beans
6 tablespoons tahini sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking soda 
1 red bell pepper, roasted 
3 cloves garlic 
The juice of 1 lemon 
Dried or fresh herbs 
Olive oil 

Place the beans in a bowl big enough to hold them and enough water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Don't be surprised by how much the beans fluff up overnight, so cover them loosely. 

The next day drain the beans and place them in a large pot with the salt and baking soda. Cover with fresh water and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for one hour or until the beans are very mushy. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. 
In a food processor or blender place the garlic, lemon juice, roasted red pepper, tahini sauce and beans. Process together while slowly adding the water. Once the texture is smooth and firm it's ready to plate.  
Place the hummus in a serving dish and drizzle with olive oil and your favorite spices. I used a little cumin and some dried herbs! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Roasted Spicy Pumpkin Seeds with Herbs

Pumpkin seeds are very healthy and fairly inexpensive. I got an eight ounce bag for $2.50 at the Mediterranean market. It makes a great party snack and you can serve several versions at one time. You can season them with just about anything. I chose to use to make this batch with rosemary, parsley, sea salt and jalapeño powder. There is a recipe a few posts back for the jalapeño powder. 

4 ounces raw pumpkin seeds 
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary 
1 teaspoon fresh parsley 
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil 

Pre heat your oven to 350. Place the seeds on a an oven sheet and spread out evenly. Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until they start to crackle. Remove and let cool. Add the oil to a pan over medium high heat and put in the seeds while moving the seeds in the pan add the rest of the ingredients. Keep moving until you can no longer see the grains of salt and you can smell the Rosemary. Remove from the heat and serve! Enjoy! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dijon Style Mustard

Dijon mustard is my all time favorite mustard. It's actually super easy to make, you just have to be patient. I got the mustard seeds at the Mediterranean market. They came in a large container for only $2! This recipe makes about a cup and I used less than half of the container, so do the math on that! This is a basic recipe and you can make many versions of it. I made one jar plain then I added tarragon to the rest and gave it a couple spins in the food processor until it was well incorporated. It's also really good with pickeled jalapeños blended in! 

1/2 cup mustard seeds
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 champagne vinegar 
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Mix the mustard seeds, wine, and vinegar in bowl. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for at least 48 hours. I used a sparkling wine but any white wine with high acidity will work. 
After a couple of days put the mixture          in food processor or a blender add the salt and sugar and process. Get it as smooth as possible. You will not get it as smooth as store bought. So don't freak out when it is a little grainy. Now is the time to put any other flavors in. Place your mustard in air tight containers and place in the fridge for at least 2 more days. This time in fridge will mellow out the bitter taste. This will keep for about a month. Enjoy!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Shrimp Stuffed Pork Loin

I love stuffing and smoking pork loins! I usually stuff then with different kinds of cheeses or sausage. This time I decided to go with a seafood stuffing. The stuffing is similar to a shrimp Creole except I used red bell pepper and added arugula to add some pepperiness and color. After I tied the loin up I smoked it with orange wood for about 2 hours!   

1 two-four pound pork loin
1/4 pound fresh shrimp
1/4 cup onion
1/4 celery
1   Red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic 
1 hot chili pepper
1 cup loose packed arugula
1/4 dry white wine
Fresh herbs
Salt and pepper

Start by finely chopping your vegetables and sauté them in a hot pan with oil. 

Prep the peeled and deveined shrimp in bowl with herbs, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Let marinate in the fridge until your ready to use them. 

Next it's time to perp your pork loin by butterflying it. 
Finely chop your herbs and salt and pepper the loin on both sides and set aside. 
Once your vegetable mixture in nice and soft add the shrimp until they turn pink. 
Once the shrimp are done add the arugula and cook until slightly wilted. 
Pull the shrimp mix from the heat and let cool. Once it's cool, spread the vegetable  evenly on the loin. You can either chop the shrimp and spread them with the vegetables or keep them whole, like I chose to go, and spread them down the middle. 
Roll the loin up and tie up with butchers twine and it's reddy for the smoker! 

After about 2 hours here's what you have! 
Untie and slice this beauty up!
I served it with some simple sautéed asparagus! 
This came out really fantastic! A new version on surf and turf! Enjoy!