Monday, July 30, 2007

Pepper Chicken with Hummus

Since I already had some fresh hummus at home, I decided to try this recipe for dinner tonight. I didn't have any red bell peppers or Cubanelles, so I just used one large green bell pepper instead. This was great and pretty quick. The chopping is minimal, and I only broiled it for about 8-9 minutes and it was done. This tastes like you worked hard on it, but it's very easy and doable for a weeknight dinner. I would even serve this to company. We'll eat this one again.


We love hummus, but it gets so expensive to buy it at the store. I decided to try my hand at making it from scratch, and it was awesome! And very easy. The recipe I used calls for canned chickpeas, but I had dried ones at home so I just used those. I soaked a cup of them for a couple hours (boil water, then pour it over the chickpeas and cover it for a few hours until twice their original size). Then I simmered them for an hour and a half. When they were soft, I threw everything into my food processor, and voila! Homemade hummus - so easy. I halved the recipe and it was plenty. I used a little more lemon juice, used Joyva tahini, and skipped the parsley oil and the pine nuts. This was great and I will make my own hummus from now on.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Creamy Turnip Soup

One of my coworkers got a bunch of homegrown vegetables as a gift and was giving them away this week. There were a lot of turnips, and I figured I would give them a try. I have never eaten a turnip before, but since they were free I thought I would experiment with them.

Well, now I know why I have never eaten them. It's because they are bad. I found this recipe for turnip soup, and made it last night. I confess that I did have to make some substitutions (sweet onions instead of storage onions, soymilk for milk, evaporated milk for cream), but even if I didn't do that, I think it still would have been awful. These turnips just had the most bitter aftertaste - I couldn't eat it. I think I forced three spoonfuls down and then I gave up. My husband tried to eat a bowlful to be nice, but I told him he didn't have to eat it if he didn't like it, to which he breathed a sigh of relief. I don't like to waste food but this pot of soup went directly down the drain. It was the worst meal I have ever made. Thankfully, we had also made corn on the cob and biscuits (and had a container of Rocky Road ice cream in the freezer), so we did not go hungry last night.

Now, I have read online since that smaller turnips tend to be sweeter, and summer turnips when it's really hot out tend to be more bitter. So, perhaps someone somewhere makes turnips and they actually taste good. I am willing to eat them again if someone else makes them who can tell a good turnip from a bad one. I, however, will never make them again. There are plenty of other good vegetables out there to eat.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Grilled Chicken, Basil Mashed Potatoes, and Greasy Beans

I have been on a self-imposed cooking hiatus, and it's about time to resume cooking again. I decided to get a little more creative in the kitchen today. Usually I follow recipes, but today I just looked at what I had and made things up as I went along, with a little help from the Joy of Cooking.

For the grilled chicken, I took two boneless skinless chicken breasts and sprinkled Penzey's Singapore Seasoning on it. I grilled them outside, and basted them with some Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce as they were cooking. The seasoning adds a little more depth to the flavor than just using barbecue sauce alone.

For the potatoes, I boiled six or seven russet potatoes until they were soft, coarsely mashed them, then added soy milk, a couple tablespoons of butter, a handful of chopped fresh basil leaves, salt, and pepper. They were tasty, and the basil was a nice addition to your standard mashed potatoes. I used soy milk because that's what we had (I was planning to use buttermilk, but realized we were out at the last minute).

I went to the Johnson City farmer's market this past weekend and picked up some fresh green beans. They had a few different varieties there, and I had no idea what the differences were between them. I had seen the greasy variety before (an heirloom variety), and decided to try those this time (they were fifty cents more a pound than the other ones, so they must be better, I thought). They take a little more work than regular green beans because you have to string them, but they are way better than your average grocery store bean. I boiled them in salted water for about 6-8 minutes. My husband said they taste like a cross between a green bean and edamame. Yum.

So, my home cooked meal tonight was nothing fancy, but I've come to realize that it doesn't have to be. It was yummy and we were happy.