Hummus with Sweet and Spicy Roasted Peppers

You could say that I’m a little obsessed with Pyrex divided dishes. So recently when I was in the mood to make hummus for an NBA Finals party (Go Warriors!), I knew I wanted to make two different flavors — and exactly what dish to serve them in. Incidentally, since the divided dish was originally designed to hold packaged foods, it’s not surprising that two cans of garbanzo beans make enough hummus to fill each side of the dish just about perfectly.

My starting point for this recipe was Cooking Classy’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. I wanted to make sure my two hummus flavors would be different colors, though, so I used yellow bell peppers instead of red. The yellow ones have a milder flavor, too, so they add a nice sweetness without overpowering. The red fresno chiles provide a good color contrast plus a little extra kick.

Ingredients

2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into quarters lengthwise
4 red fresno chili peppers, cored, seeded and sliced in half lengthwise
2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
6 tbsp tahini
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
4 tbsp olive oil

Set your oven to “broil” and place the top rack about 4-5 inches below the broiler. Arrange the sliced peppers on a baking sheet and roast until charred, about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer each variety of peppers to separate Ziploc bags. Seal and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes (this helps the skin separate from the flesh). Peel the peppers and divide into two groups: 1) just bell peppers, and 2) fresno chiles plus 2-3 bell pepper slices. Chop each group into half-inch pieces and set aside.

Combine the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, cumin and olive oil. Pulse in a food processor or with an immersion blender until mostly pureed.

Divide the garbanzo mixture in half. To the first half, add pepper group 1 (bell peppers) plus 1-2 tsp water. Pulse until fully pureed. Test for desired consistency and add water in small amounts if needed. Add salt to taste, and set aside.

Repeat with the second half of the garbanzo mixture and pepper group 2 (fresno chiles and bell peppers).

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Optional garnishes: chopped parsley, red pepper flakes, and/or a drizzle of olive oil.

Pictured: Pyrex Royal Wheat 063 Divided Dish, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl (x2), Hazel Atlas Crisscross Orange Reamer

Pasta Salad with Snap Peas, Tomatoes and Mint

With summer around the corner, I’ve been looking for recipes that work well for barbecues, picnics and afternoons at the pool. Naturally, pasta salad is one of those recipes — plus, it happens to be my daughter’s latest favorite food.

As I was poking around the internet for pasta salad ideas, I came across Yotam Ottolenghi’s Pasta Salad with Spring Vegetables and Tomatoes on Epicurious. And I have to say: I’m sure his pasta salad is amazing. Roasted tomatoes in an orange-ginger glaze,  peas and spring onions each charred to perfection in separate batches, everything gently tossed and beautiful. But the recipe is so time-consuming! I’m just not going to spend an hour roasting tomatoes before I can even start assembling the final dish.

So instead, I’ve made a simplified pasta salad inspired by some of the flavors and ingredients in Ottolenghi’s version. I think it’s just as pretty as the original, and pretty tasty too.

Serves 6 

Ingredients

12 oz farfalle pasta (or your favorite shape)
8 oz sugar snap peas
4 stalks green onions, chopped
3 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (red and yellow are nice)
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
olive oil
salt
pepper

Cook pasta in salted water, according to package directions. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil to keep from sticking. Let cool to room temperature.

Blanch the snap peas by immersing in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then plunging in an ice water bath. Trim the ends and slice in half diagnonally.

Add the snap peas, green onions, tomatoes, lemon juice, mint and parsley to the pasta and stir gently until evenly mixed. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil and more lemon juice to taste.

Pictured: Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl

Radish and Green Onion Kimchi

This is my favorite kimchi to make, because it’s fast, easy and delicious. With cabbage-based kimchi, you have to massage the salt and spices into the cabbage leaves, but with radishes you basically toss it all together and that’s it! Plus, radish kimchi ferments in about three days, while cabbage kimchi usually takes more like six.

The recipe is based on Karen Solomon’s Cubed Radish Kimchi in Asian Pickles, which is a fascinating cookbook about pickles from Japan, Korea, China, India and Southeast Asia. In traditional radish kimchi, the radishes are cut into cubes, but I prefer mine sliced and quartered because it’s easier to pack into mason jars and I think the texture comes out better. I also love adding green onions, or occasionally incorporating some carrots. I find kimchi is very forgiving, so it’s hard to go wrong!

Note: In the photos below, I was making an extra large batch (about 6 1/2 pounds of daikon radish), so a regular batch should fit in one large bowl and two quart-size mason jars.

Ingredients

3 pounds daikon radish, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices and quartered
3 tbsp sea salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger root, unpeeled, minced
1/2 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
3 tbsp soy sauce or fish sauce
1 tbsp gochujang (Korean fermented red chili paste)
4 stalks green onion, chopped

In a large bowl, combine the radish slices, salt and sugar and stir until evenly distributed. Let it sit for 15 minutes, stir, then let it sit for another 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, gochugaru, soy sauce and gochujang.

Drain the radishes, then add the spice mixture and the green onions and mix thoroughly. Pack it all into mason jars or your preferred fermentation vessel, pressing down firmly to eliminate air pockets.

Cover the jars loosely (for example, with a half-tightened lid, so gasses can escape) and ferment at room temperature for about three days (keep out of direct sunlight). Shake the jars once a day to distribute the juices. The kimchi should have a pleasant fermented odor — strong but not foul. Taste for doneness, then transfer to the refrigerator.

Pictured: Pyrex Speckled Lines 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Verde 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 2 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Fire King 472 Casserole

Cherry Bomb Pepper Sauce

Hot sauce has become a staple in our household. I’ve always loved spicy food, but particularly now that we have to tone down our cooking to make it kid-friendly, I crave the heat that much more. And hot sauce is a great solution for adding spice individually rather than to the entire dish.

Cherry bombs are a medium-heat pepper about equivalent to a mild jalapeño. I used Kraut Source’s Fermented Sriracha as a guide for my pepper sauce, substituting cherry bombs for the peppers in the original recipe. The result was so good I decided I needed to document my version for repeat use!

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 lb cherry bomb peppers
4 green Thai chiles, stems removed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp demerara sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

In a small pot over medium heat, stir the salt into the water until it dissolves. Allow to cool completely. This is your brine, the base for fermentation.

Trim the stems from the cherry bomb peppers and remove the seeds. Cut into quarters. Pack into a clean glass jar (quart size) along with the Thai chilis, garlic and bay leaf. Pour in the brine, filling to the shoulder of the jar (the point near the top where the sides of the jar slope inward).

Top the jar with your fermentation device of choice. I’ve used Kraut Source and Easy Fermenter lids. For the latter you need a fermentation weight; I’m currently using Easy Weights. Ferment at room temperature for 10-12 days.

Drain the jar, reserving the brine in a separate bowl. Remove the bay leaf, then place the rest of the fermented ingredients in a blender. Add the sugar, vinegar and 1/2 cup of the reserved brine and puree until smooth.

Check the sauce for consistency — if it’s too thick, add more brine. When you’re satisfied, taste for flavor. Add more salt, sugar and/or vinegar to taste. Pour back into your jar and store in the refrigerator.

Pictured: Pyrex Terra 472 Cinderella Round Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl

Rainbow Coleslaw with Citrus Vinaigrette

It’s starting to feel like summer in Northern California — the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and the school year is winding down. And BBQ season is ramping up!

All of those things put me in the mood to make a summery coleslaw — light and colorful with a subtle citrus tang. I prefer chopping the cabbage and bell pepper by hand, to give the slaw a more rustic look, but I cheat with pre-shredded carrots. A sprinkling of salt in the prep process helps the veggies release some of their excess moisture, so that the finished product remains crisp but doesn’t get as watery.

Serves 6

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Ingredients

1/4 head green cabbage, sliced thin
1/4 head red cabbage, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
5 oz shredded carrots
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup parsley, roughly chopped
honey lemon dressing
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)

In a large colander, toss the cabbage, pepper and carrots with the salt. Place the colander over a bowl and allow the veggies to drain for at least one hour, up to four hours. Rinse and drain thoroughly (patting dry with paper towels helps too).

Transfer the veggies to a bowl and stir in the parsley. Toss with the honey lemon dressing to taste. If you prefer a little extra tang, add the cider vinegar and toss until well mixed.

Pictured: Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl 

Thrifted Find: Corning Ware Wheat

Corning Ware’s wheat pattern dates back to the 1960s, and is the subject of much speculation among collectors. Evidently it was originally intended to be one of the first Corning Ware patterns, but was supplanted by blue cornflower for whatever reason, and then released later on. The details are a little fuzzy. In any case, I was excited to find one in a thrift store recently, as I’d never seen the pattern in real life.

There was just one problem: I was thrifting while visiting family out of state, and anything I bought would have to make it home by airplane. I could wrap it in dirty laundry and lug it in my carry-on, or even ship it to myself, but that all seemed like too much trouble. I convinced myself that taking a picture would be enough, and moved on.

Fast-forward a couple days: Back at home, I was reorganizing my Corning Ware cabinet and discovered the very same wheat dish on the shelf. I thought to myself, “Good thing I didn’t buy that dish in Washington, because I owned it already and must have forgotten!” I told my husband about it and he laughed — typical me, my brain is a sieve these days and I’ve been known to experience thrifting amnesia.

Then I told the same funny story to my uncle, who had been in the thrift store with me back in Washington. “That’s funny indeed,” he said, because he had gone back to the store, bought the dish, and colluded with my husband to sneak it home for me. They were wondering how long it would take me to notice it. At first I didn’t believe him — he’s a known BS artist — but after calling my husband to confirm, I had a good laugh. It’s been a long time since I’ve been truly surprised by something, and this surprise was a pretty good one.

The whole experience made me feel so loved — people going out of their way to do something special for me — and that’s something I will forever associate with this dish.

Easter Dinner 2018

My Easter meal planning this year was inspired by two things: 1) the desire to use my Pyrex pink daisy divided dish (because pink and daisies are so Easter), and 2) the beautiful rainbow carrots and red fingerling potatoes we got in our produce box this week. The divided dish will be perfect for a berry and whipped cream dessert, and the carrots and potatoes will be roasted and tossed in a carrot top pesto.

For everything else, I’ve pulled together the most Easter-y pastels I could find in my collection: lime green, gold and sunny orange.

Rough menu:

  • Spice rubbed rotisserie chicken (recipe)
  • Roasted carrots and potatoes with carrot top pesto (recipe)
  • Brussels sprout quiche (recipe)
  • Simple salad with kumquat dressing (recipe)
  • Parker House rolls
  • Assorted berries with fresh whipped cream

 

Pictured: Pyrex Pink Daisy Divided Dish, Pyrex Lime 024 Round Casserole, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Lime 232 Oblong Open Baker, Corning Ware Butterscotch Round B-2 1/2-B Saucepan, Corning Ware French White F-3-B Quiche Dish, Fire King Gravy Boat