Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Developed February, 2016. This tasty spread of chickpeas and sesame has nourished millions over the millennia. Those two foodstuffs were among the earliest crops raised by early people of the Fertile Crescent, and remain tasty, nourishing, and versatile food over wide parts of the globe to the present day.
8 oz dry chickpeas
1/2 t baking soda
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 c tahini (sesame paste)
1/3 c lemon juice
1 t ground cumin
1⁄2 t salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the dry chickpeas in a colander, transfer to a bowl, cover with water, add baking soda, and soak for 10 to 12 hours, stirring occasionally. Rinse well, drain, transfer to a three-quart saucepan, cover with water, bring to a fast simmer. Cook gently, covered, for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for doneness by squeezing a pea. If it breaks easily and is not gritty, they are done. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid and transfer peas to a food processor. Add sufficient liquid to blend. Blend until smooth, about four minutes on low speed. Add salt, garlic, tahini, cumin, and lemon juice with the processor running on low speed. Increase speed to high, and blend until creamy, adding cooking liquid as needed. Adjust the seasoning, and stir in the oil. As the hummus it cools, it will thicken, so aim for the runny side while it’s warm. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. Yields about 28 ounces.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Laura's Italian Wedding Soup

Lacinato kale (source: Park Seed)
Developed January, 2016 by Laura on a cold winter day. Comes together quickly using frozen meatballs. Lacinato kale (also known as Italian or black kale) has been cultivated since Roman times. It gives Italian soups such as this and minestrone their special character. Its sturdy texture stands up to cooking.
4 T olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
1 large scallion, chopped
2 large carrots, cubed
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 T garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch of Lacinato kale, rinsed, stems removed, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 t dry oregano
1 t dry thyme
2 bay leaves
6 c chicken stock
4 oz small pasta, uncooked
1 lb frozen cooked meatballs, homemade or commercial
salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste
Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy Dutch oven. Add the onion, scallion, carrot, celery and garlic, and a teaspoon of salt. Cover, lower heat, and sweat until they soften, about six minutes. Add the mushrooms, oregano, and thyme, and continue cooking a few minutes more. Stir in the stock, bay leaves, and meatballs. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, stir in the kale. Cook five minutes. Add the pasta, and cook until the kale is tender and the pasta is al dente, 7 to 10 minutes more. Adjust seasoning. Serves six as a main course. Pair with crusty bread.