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

Everything Rub

Years ago, my husband and I came across Szeged brand steak rub in a restaurant supply store. We tried it and were quickly hooked — it’s a great basic flavoring not just for steak, but for chicken, pork, even fish or vegetables. So while we still refer to it as steak rub, we should really call it an everything rub. We probably use it most often for roast chicken.

Over time, we’ve developed our own copycat version of the rub — a mix of spices we actually like better than the original. After all, when you blend your own spices you have a chance to use fresh, high-quality ingredients, and tweak the flavors to your taste.

Ingredients

1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp paprika (sweet)
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp celery seeds

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the rosemary and thyme into small pieces. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in a cool, dry place.

Pictured: Pyrex Town and Country 501 Refrigerator Dish, Hazel Atlas Mixing Bowl

Honey Lemon Dressing with Preserved Kumquats

We have a huge crop of kumquats this year from our patio tree, so I’ve been trying out some new ways to use them. And since I’ve been into fermentation lately, I preserved a jarful of kumquats in brine with a few spices. The result: a little spiced jewel with the pleasant funkiness of a preserved lemon and a fruity taste somewhere between a sour orange and a sweet tangerine.

Now, what to do with these preserved kumquats? They have cocktail potential, or would be great on a cheese board, but to me salad dressing seemed like the easiest place to start. Here I’ve added them to a basic honey lemon dressing, and the result is so good I think I’ll be making it again and again.

Fermenting kumquats is easy and fun — I used this recipe from the Kraut Source website. But you can also make this dressing with fresh kumquats, leave the kumquats out altogether or use a teaspoon of grated zest from another citrus fruit.

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp coarse Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 preserved kumquats, thinly sliced (seeds removed)

Whisk together all ingredients except the kumquats, until well combined. Stir in the kumquats, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, let sit at room temperature for a few minutes and then whisk before using.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 441 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Fire King Gravy Boat, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup

Double Streusel Coffee Cake

This is my all-time favorite coffee cake: a simple white cake sturdy enough to hold plenty of crumbly brown sugar streusel. It comes from an old Betty Crocker recipe — when I was growing up, the 1969 edition of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook was my family’s go-to for a lot of baked goods. But over the years I’ve made a few changes — most importantly, I’ve always liked to double the streusel topping. It’s the best part! So here’s my take on updating the recipe with the “proper” amount of streusel.

Ingredients

Streusel:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter, softened

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.

For the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter, using a fork or pastry cutter to distribute the butter evenly. Set aside.

For the cake: In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the shortening and blend with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and egg, then pour into the flour mixture. Stir until all the flour is incorporated.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and top with an even layer of streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.

Pictured: Fire King Meadow Green Square Baking Dish, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Agee Pyrex Paisley Round Mixing Bowl, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup

Cranberry Apple Breakfast Cake

When I was growing up, one recipe my family always made for guests was a breakfast cake called Apple Delight. I suspect it might have come from a magazine or newspaper clipping at some point, as many “family recipes” do. But after decades of baking it again and again, it has been imprinted on my family history.

The original recipe just calls for apples, but after stocking up on some post-Thanksgiving cranberries, I decided to try mixing them in. The cranberries add a nice tang and extra dimension to the cake.

Note: I baked this in an 8×8 pan because I wanted to use my Fire King dish, but it’s really too small — the batter ended up ballooning over the top edges of the pan and the top got very brown by the time the cake fully set. If you don’t have a 9×9 pan, 8×8 is doable — just allow for some extra cooking time.

Ingredients

3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped granny smith apples (about 2 small apples)
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine milk, eggs and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in apples, cranberries and pecans.

Pour into a greased and floured 9×9 pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Pictured: Fire King Hildi Fruit Square Baking Dish, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 401 Round Mixing Bowl, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate