Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Funnies

I got it into my head to make a silly lunch for the boys the other day.  They often want shapes cut out of their sandwiches, but it drives me nuts to throw out half of a good sandwich just because it's the wrong shape.  So I came up with these guys.  I called them "Uglies" and the boys thought they were pretty neat.  Maybe it's because they look a little like pirates.  They kind of remind me of ugly jugs.  No, they're not from my recipe box.  My brain is a much weirder place...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

There's A Hummus Among Us!

Another tried-and-true recipe today.   I've been making this hummus since I first got married almost 12 years ago.  I found it on the Internet, of course...  It's the first hummus I ever tasted and it's still my favorite.  It's super quick to make if you've got some canned or leftover garbanzos lying around.

1 1/2 C cooked garbanzo beans
3 T tahini (sesame paste)
3 T lemon juice
2 T vegetable oil
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t ground cumin
1/8 t salt
Place ingredients in a food processor and puree.
* Variation: Add 1/4 C chopped scallions & Tabasco to taste.

My substitutions/additions:
  • I never put the tahini in.  At first it was because I couldn't find it, but then I found I didn't like it anyway.  Too bitter. 
  • I have never used scallions, though I bet shallots would be great, too.  I do sometimes add some onion.  I've never done the Tabasco sauce.  'Cuz why?
  • I put in 1 tsp cumin because we like it at our house, and usually a little more salt, too.
  • You can use all veg oil or all olive oil if you run out of one or the other.
  • I've also had pretty good luck substituting white beans for the garbanzos when I've run out.

  • Up until a few months ago, I never owned a food processor.  A hand blender (a.k.a. emulsion blender) was my tool of choice for this.  A regular blender would probably do a pretty good job, too.
  • For many years, I used canned garbanzo beans for this, one regular size can is almost 1 1/2 Cups, close enough for this house, anyway.  Recently, I've started pressure cooking organic dried beans to get rid of some of the salt.  Unsoaked garbanzos take 30-40 minutes in a pressure cooker.
This one has never steered us wrong.  I've even converted a couple of hummus haters with this one.  I like it with carrots but you could use it as dip for any vegetable and serve it with pita bread, of course.  It's also good as a condiment on a sandwich.  It's a keeper!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quite Possibly the Best Cookies on the Planet

The original recipe I got off the 'net calls these "Pecan Cookies."  My friend calls them "Crack Cookies" 'cause once you try one, you're hooked.  Both descriptions are wholly accurate.  My best advice for these cookies is to make as many as you want then give them all away immediately without tasting any.  Oh yeah, they're also insanely easy to make.  You've been warned.

Pecan Cookies

1/2 C softened butter
3 oz softened cream cheese
1 C sugar
1 C flour
1/2 C chopped pecans

Mix the butter and cream cheese until well blended.  Cream in sugar.  Then blend in the flour.  Add pecans and mix.  Roll into 48 balls and bake at 350 until bottoms just begin to brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 4 dozen

My substitutions/additions:
  • Obviously, I don't chop the pecans.  I omit them from the recipe and place one pecan half on each cookie.

  • This recipe doubles easily, though I find I don't usually get anywhere near 48 cookies per one batch.  Usually around three dozen.  I got 74 out of the double batch I made yesterday.
  • Don't use the double-thick insulated baking sheets on these.  The cookies tend to spread too much.  They still taste great, they just have more of a tendency to burn and don't look as pretty.
  • Besides the fact that they're so good you're going to want to eat the whole pan immediately, these don't keep very well.  They taste best on the first or second maybe third day.  It's downhill after that.
Chewy...  Buttery...  Crunchy...  Yummy...  Gah!  They're too good!  Don't make these!  (Who am I kidding?  I'm totally keeping this recipe...)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Not sure where this one came from, but I suspect I made it up from a bunch of stuff I had sitting in the fridge.

2 or 3 small tomatoes chopped (peeled)
1/4 C chopped onion
olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 lb potatoes peeled, chopped
+/-2 tsp bullion
2-3 C cooked pasta
2 large button mushrooms, sliced
basil, oregano, parsley, opt
salt and pepper to taste

In a frying pan sautee onions and tomatoes in olive oil until juices release and it begins to boil.  Add garlic cloves.  Boil till garlic has softened.  Blend with immersion blender.  Remove from heat.  Add mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste and spices if desired.  In a separate pot of water, boil carrots, celery, and potatoes until potatoes soften.  Add bullion to boiling water.  Add tomato puree.  Boil for about 10-20 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add cooked pasta till heated.  Serve with cottage cheese or sour cream.

My substitutions/additions:
  • I forgot to peel the tomatoes, but it was just fine anyway.  I also didn't peel the potatoes.
  • I used Better than Bullion Organic Mushroom Base instead of bullion.
  • The pasta I used was uncooked, so I added it about 15 minutes before my hubby got home.  It soaked up all the fluid and made it less like soup and more like stew.  I used 1 C of uncooked whole wheat macaroni.
  • I also added 1/4 C red wine when I mixed the tomatoes in with the rest of the veggies.
Served this with sour cream tonight.  It was fantastic!  It yielded about 6 cups.  Total comfort food all the way! Keeper!
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