Posts Tagged ‘cumin’

Mango Salsa, Hummus

August 5, 2009

Mango Salsa, Hummus

For years, I’ve been telling my wife I’d make her mango salsa. And for years I’ve put it off. So, I wasn’t surprised when a mango ended up in our basket at the farmer’s market, whether I was conscious of it or not. But there it was when we got home and I was left without choice. Fruit salsas are a great summer treat and are really easy to prepare.

I diced up the mango and added some chopped cilantro, sugar, salt and a very tiny amount of cumin (very tiny). I finished it with a quick splash of Simpy Orange with Mango Juice to give it the necessary consistency. Let the flavors marinate for a few hours or overnight (or several days in my case as I ran out of time) and you’re good to. Enjoy with your favorite chip, rice or chicken subsitute.

For months I’ve been meaning to make hummus. I bought the dried beans, but they sat in my pantry forever. Until I decided to just do it. So I soaked the beans overnight and boiled them until tender. Puree in the food processor with tahini, roasted garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper. It took me a while to find the right consistency, so I kept adding varying amounts of tahini and olive oil until it looked right (well, actually, a little looser than what you’re expecting as it will set up a bit when refrigerated). The only problem? I oversalted it. A lot.

So a few days later, I put it all back in the food processor with more soaked and boiled beans and it came out much, much better. Frankly, and not to boast, I like it better than most of the of ones you can buy in the store. The other problem? I made too much. Like a half gallon, which is a lot of hummus for two people. But, it can be frozen with very good results. So I put it in smaller containers and froze it so I can pull it out as needed.

Vegetable Fajita Quesadilla, Guacamole

July 14, 2009

Vegetable Fajita Quesadilla, Guacamole

One of my wife’s guilty pleasure used to be a chicken fajita quesadilla, which, as you might surmise, is a quesadilla stuffed with everything that would normally be served with fajitas – notably onions and peppers. It had been literally years since I had a quesadilla myself (vegan cheese sorely lacking – until recently) so I decided to try and approximate her guilty pleasure. And the results were immaculate.

I’m not one to just throw a bunch of onions and peppers in something and call them vegetables and be done, but she was pretty adamant about not using things like broccoli and cauliflower. So I went with a pretty standard mix of zucchini, yellow squash and carrots – all diced small – in addition to the onions and peppers. In a very hot pan I added some garlic oil (a shock, I know) and began to sautee the vegetable mix until everything was cooked through.

While that was sauteeing I shredded some Teese so that as soon as the vegetables were done I could combine everything in a bowl. I’m glad I didn’t try to add Teese directly to the pan – it would have melted too fast – as well as not trying to use it from a cold state. Adding the hot vegetable mixture to the cold Teese in a separate bowl was the perfect idea.

I laid out my whole wheat tortillas, filled them halfway and began to sear each one individually to get the optimum crust. The key here is to have a hot pan, low amount of oil and not be scared of hot things – it will allow you to keep an eye on the bottom of the pan without flipping too early or too late.

Before all of that had begun, however, I had made some guacamole. I love guacamole – I eat at work almost daily. I also criticize guacamole a bit too harshly. It sounds like it’s a really easy dish/condiment to make, but to make a really good guacamole takes more than just an avocado, salt and lime juice.

For mine I use the following in varying amounts – literally until it tastes right:
Avocado
Lime Juice (I cheated and used the bottled stuff – shhh) [Lemon Juice will suffice as well]
Salt
Pepper
Tomatoes
Cilantro
Cumin

The key here is to get that perfect blend of salt, lime and cumin. Too much of either will overpower everything, but the right blend? Sublime.

Sweet Potatoes, Cumin Rice, Seared Bok Choy

May 29, 2009

Finished Plate

Sweet potatoes are locally in season, it seems, so I’ve been grabbing them on sale whenever I see them ($0.49/pound? How can you resist). This dinner was really easy to put together and ended up being delicious.

Cumin is one of my favorite spices, but I have a tendency to overuse it (though not for my tastes, just everyone else’s), so I was pleasantly surprised when my wife enjoyed this rice so much.

I hate waiting 45 minutes+ for brown rice to cook so I tried to shorten it by soaking the rice overnight. Unfortunately, I spilled some of the water in the fridge so I didn’t have a good grasp on how much to use to heat it up and ended up overcooking it a bit. It was still good, just a bit mushy. Moral of the story? Soaking overnight totally works and I’ve used it since to reduce my cooking time by as much as 25 minutes!

The sweet potatoes were sliced lengthwise on a bias and sauteed in a really hot pan with some salt and pepper. Same with the bok choy to get that nice crisp, almost-burnt flavor and look. Just a reminder: really hot pans + plus oil = fire hazard, so be careful and have an extinguisher handy.

As I was putting the plate together I felt it needed something else so my wife suggested the last blood orange. I dismissed it initially but then had a change of heart and it turned out to great. The tartness of the blood orange was a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the potato and the spice of the cumin – an excellent choice that I will use again in the future.