White Bean and Basil Hummus

Michelle’s White Bean Basil Hummus

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So I kinda’ have a problem… I mean I kinda’ had a problem.  I was addicted to TJ’s white bean and basil hummus (thank you so much, Heidi, for introducing this to my mouth!) Thank goodness that problem is behind me.  Whew!  Now that I make my own version of this delicious stuff I’m addicted to it, instead.

See?  Problem, uh, solved…? 🙂

Ingredients:
15 oz can Garbanzo (chick peas) drained and rinsed
8 oz (1/2 can) white beans (navy, northern, any will do) drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I squeezed one large lemon)
3-4 tbsp. olive oil (plus a little more on top when finished if you like)
3-4 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. cumin
I fresh garlic clove (diced or crushed)
1-2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
salt to taste (I used less than a tsp.)

Directions: place all ingredients in food processor.  Puree, dip, enjoy!

Unsolicited tips: Most of the above ingredient quantities are approximate.  My food processor is on the fritz so I had to use the blender which, with such a thick dip, got a little tricky so I had to add more olive oil and water to get it mixed properly.

Remove the white beans and basil from the ingredient list above if you’d rather make a simpler hummus.  Great dip for fresh vegetables, crackers, pita… I even like a dollop mixed in with my salad.  Adds a bit of texture and zing.  Perfect addition to a holiday party spread.  Happy New Year!

I Swear I’m Not Lame!

balsamic glaze

This is not new, but for whatever reason I just met balsamic glaze.  Where have I been?

Balsamic glaze is basically a reduced balsamic vinegar which you can even prepare yourself if you’re feeling Italiana.  It has a malty, rich taste and a syrupy texture that really turns my dial.

And just so you know, I’m not only worried about being labeled “lame” because I’m late to the balsamic glaze party.  The recipe I’m about to share is verbatim a Trader Joe’s sample that I walked by and ate the other day.  What can I say?  Some things you can’t improve and that’s that.

There are two details I would like to point out before I list the recipe.  First of all, you can get balsamic glaze at many markets (aka: this is not a plug for TJ’s!)  Secondly, I’m sure you can make a ton of tasty treats with balsamic glaze, but as fresh ripe summer tomatoes and basil are my best warm weather friends, I haven’t actually experimented with other glazey combos yet.  I just keep making this and we keep shoveling it in and now I’ll tell you how to do it too.

Glazed Caprese Salad (shown here on a summer’s night candle lit table where I ate and drank with some girlfriends who were like recommended bonus ingredients to the whole experience.)

caprese salad

Ingredients: buffalo mozzarella cheese, fresh chopped tomatoes, fresh chopped basil, balsamic glaze, dash of salt

Directions: chop, mix, pour, eat, smile, eat more.

Tips: you may notice that I didn’t list quantities of the ingredients.  It really doesn’t matter and anyway I say grab as much of each item as you can so you’ll have a ton of salad in front of you when you’re finished!  Just drizzle the balsamic glaze a little at a time and stir/taste along the way.  It will mix and dilute with the tomato juices so you’ll need less than you might think.

p.s. I’m back Lisa!

My Friend, Bruschetta

bruschetta

OK, so I’m just gonna come out and say it: Bruschetta is the best salad in the world.  Yup.  WORLD.

Don’t get me wrong, I need variety in my diet and absolutely adore other salads (cole slaw, for example) but, honestly, if I had to eat one salad for the rest of my life, (a strange  scenario, but just go with it) I would–hands down–choose bruschetta.

I love the simplicity of this dish.  6 little ingredients that come together in the easiest way to create a sensory experience that appeals to the eyes, nose and mouth.  I can seriously smell the basil and garlic in that photo above.  And the ripeness of the tomatoes coupled with the malty vibrancy of the balsamic vinegar… oh my…

On a hot summer’s night when the thought of turning on the oven or standing over the grill makes me wilt, sometimes I make just this for dinner.  With fresh fruit for dessert and (who are we kidding?) a nice glass of wine… well, that’s kind of a complete meal, right?  At our house: yes.

Michelle’s Bruschetta (pronounced “Broo-skeh-tah”)

Ingredients (quantities are approximate–I eyeball it every time): 5-6 good sized ripe tomatoes, handful of fresh basil, 1 large clove garlic, 1 rounded tsp. salt, 3 tbsp. decent balsamic vinegar (I like Costco’s Kirkland brand, actually), 3 tbsp. olive oil.

Directions: dice tomatoes, chop basil (stems can go in too as long as they’re not too “stalky,”) press garlic and throw everything together in a bowl.  Mix and let sit for a few hours if possible.  That’s it, baby!

Serve on sliced pieces of french baguette.  If you’re feeling super fancy, you can broil the pieces of bread with a drizzle of olive oil for a couple of minutes each side so they get toasty and won’t get soggy with the bruschetta on top.  If you’re not fancy today (and it’s OK, I won’t judge you); slice the bread and there you go.

Tips: Tomatoes need to be ripe and pretty much any kind will do.  Basil can be droopy or even at that “just before it goes off” stage and still work just fine.  Even if you’re a garlic lover like me, use only one clove per 6 tomatoes as I suggest above.  The vinegar and tomato juice will amplify the garlic as it sits.

I make this salad a lot, take it to various summer potluck gatherings and it has never-ever-ever failed to impress.  Hope you enjoy it!