Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Friday Chronology

Finally, finally, finally: I have cracked the code to a perfect Friday night.

I started with a lizard sighting.  I love the lizards down here!  They’re so exotic to me, something I am used to seeing only in glass cases at the pet store.  But here, they hang out on my patio and run away when I try to take a picture.  They threaten me too, nodding their head up and down and swelling their throat to show me how red and scary it is.  But it’s hard to be frightened of a creature that’s so small and cute, even when he’s being aggressive.

Then I went to the grocery store and bought wine.  This step is very important and necessary until I start building some sort of wine collection.  I’m not a big drinker, but I like wine.  Wine is fun.  Wine reminds me of Matt and relaxing with friends.  Wine reminds me to slow down, to sip, not gulp.  One glass is all I need, but oh, the amazing power of one glass of wine.

Last night I was all about the Chardonnay.  I waffled between J. Lohr and Toasted Head Chardonnays, remembering the visit that Matt and I made to J. Lohr’s winery in Paso Robles, California.  I read the bottle labels and was persuaded by Toasted Head’s promises of “aromas of vanilla spiced pear and nectarine…complemented by tropical fruit and toasty oak notes.”  Yes, please!

From the grocery store, I walked home, threw the wine in the fridge, was licked by a cute dog, and did a short but sweet running work-out while storm clouds brewed in the sky above.  A few drops slipped out of the clouds, but I made it home before the rains descended.  It was hot and humid outside, and I was drenched in sweat, so I hopped in the shower to cool off.  Then I put on my favorite pajamas and went into the kitchen to make dinner.

I’ve been going through my old issues of Vegetarian Times, ripping out recipes that I want to save and putting the remaining magazines in a give-away pile.  [Dear reader, are you interested in the give-away pile?  E-mail me if you’d like back issues of VT and we’ll work something out!  All I ask is that you pay for shipping.]  A hummus recipe had caught my eye—I really want a hummus recipe to call my own, something that I love and love to share with others.  I keep trying recipes, but I have yet to come across a candidate for my recipe.  This new recipe was a little unusual: it left out the tahini to make a lower-fat hummus.  I find tahini to be very bitter, and I wondered if I’d prefer a hummus without it.  The answer is yes, I do!  The hummus was wonderful: creamy and spiced with cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.  I streamlined the recipe by replacing the garlic plus olive oil with garlic oil, and even though I don’t usually post recipes on Saturdays, I will make an exception for this hummus because I like it a lot.

I paired the hummus with homemade tortilla chips, carrot sticks, a green salad with feta, and of course, my glass of Chardonnay.  Then dinner and I watched Private Practice together on Hulu.  Everybody needs a guilty pleasure or two, and Private Practice is one of mine.  The show has been so good lately!

A Full Plate

The wine was fabulous.  It tasted like toasted marshmallows and pineapple, with some heat and oak at the end.  I mangled the cork trying to open the bottle and ended up with a few bits of cork in my wine glass, which I like to think complemented the other flavors.  I like a little cork with my marshmallow.  Also, I found the fire-breathing bear to be a very convincing mascot for the wine.  That’s kinda how I felt after this long week: don’t mess with me.

Fire-Breathing Bear

Then it was time to clean up the kitchen, run the dishwasher, and soak some oats for breakfast.  I stayed up past my bedtime, curled up with a book, and when I finally turned off the light, I fell asleep almost instantly and slept like a hibernating bear.  It was perfect.

Tahini-Free Hummus

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

This creamy hummus is probably quite similar to other versions you’ve tried, but as I say above, leaving out the tahini makes for a less bitter, more mellow hummus.  The garlic oil adds a nice richness, and the lime juice adds spunk.  I think the combination of spices is very nice—a bit of smoke, a smidge of heat.  This recipe might become my signature hummus.  And every chickpea lover needs her own hummus recipe.

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. smoked paprika

1/16 tsp. or a pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. garlic-infused olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tbsp. yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Place all the ingredients in a food processor.  Buzz until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.  If the hummus seems a little dry, you can add a little more yogurt or olive oil to help it blend together smoothly.

2)  Taste the hummus and add salt and/or pepper if needed.  Serve with chips or veggies for scooping or dipping.


Laurie said...

Sounds like an excellent Friday night to me, except for the running of course!

I find tahini to be terribly bitter too, but I'd never thought to leave it out! Usually I just cut back considerably from what the recipe calls for, and I always add cumin whether the recipe calls for it or not. Have yet to find smoked paprika here, so it will be a while before I try your recipe. Will keep looking for it though, as your recipe sounds that good!

Rosiecat24 said...

Hi Laurie! It's nice to hear from you again. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who is raising a skeptical eyebrow at the tahini jar. And cumin! Oh, how I adore cumin.

Your comment makes me want to send you a jar of smoked paprika because that stuff is fantastic and I use mine all the time. I bet you could order it on-line: The Spice House sells two types of smoked paprika and they ship to Canada! In fact, I'm hoping to visit a brick-and-mortar Spice House when I go to Chicago next week. That store is amazing.

Have a good week, friend!

Unknown said...

ooh, hummus! LOVE. i usually only add ~1T tahini for my hummus, probably more b/c i already have the jar! sometimes i even forget :) love roasted garlic hummus, i think that's what i make most frequently. although lately i've been getting the big tubs at costco, b/c it's so cheap and delicious. and i'll stop rambling about hummus now, happy wednesday!

Rosiecat24 said...

Hi Shannon! You know, I feel the same way about the open tahini jar. I've got a recipe for oatmeal cookies that calls for tahini that I can't wait to try.

Costco hummus! Add that to the list of Costco products that people love. Matt goes wine shopping there and finds all sorts of great deals. And you know, I think hummus would go well with a nice red wine--maybe a Shiraz? (I think Shiraz is my answer to everything!)

Happy Wednesday, friend!