Friday, September 25, 2009

Guacamole----Sarah Waite

1/4 c. chopped tomatoes
1/4 c. chopped green onions
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped cilatro
2-3 avacados depending on size
1 lime
lots of salt and some pepper

Peel avacados and mash. Squeeze juice from one lime and mix. Add some salt and pepper. Mix. Add all other ingredients and more salt and pepper. Mix. Taste. If it just doesn't taste quite right, then add more salt. Add more salt until it tastes amazing! Honestly it uses a lot of salt, so don't be shy. Enjoy!

Hummus----Marcie Francis

1 can garbanzo beans
1 clove garlic (you really have to have fresh garlic for this)
2-3 tbsp Tahini Sauce (sesame paste, available in the international section of Kroger, or in a health food store)
3-6 tbsp fresh lemon juice (you can always add more, so start with just a bit)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt (or to taste)
2-4 tbsp water (the water they cooked in is ideal)

So, if you use canned beans, you have to boil them in their juice (and some water) for about 20 minutes, until they are really soft--they mush quite easily between your fingers. Then, once they're that soft, you want to get the skins off. Vigorously stirring them in the pot while they're still hot/warm makes the skins fall right off. And the skins float to the surface, so they're easy to just scoop out. (If a few skins remain, that's fine)

Then, after adding all the ingredients, blend the hummus until it is very smooth and creamy, usually about 5-7 minutes in the blender.

Be sure to taste it as you go. You don't want the lemon to over power, or be over-powered. And you gotta use a good salt.

When it's done, you can serve with a drizzle of olive oil and then a sprinkle of Paprika.

Fried Pita Chips--Marcie Francis

Our favorite middle-Eastern restaurant in town, Falafel's, serves great fried pita wedges with their "Taste of Jerusalem" sampler platter. The following recipe is my husband Jason's best approximation at recreating Falafel's recipe:

1 package pita bread
olive oil
caraway seed or other favorite spice (optional)

Carefully split each pitas to form two circles. Heat a scant teaspoon of oil in a skillet (I used cast iron) over med high heat until the oil starts to smoke. (Be sure your kitchen is well-ventilated!) When the skillet is nice and hot, throw a pita in, "inside face" down. Check on it after a minute or two. It should get a little blackened. Flip over, and give the "outside face" a minute or two to char up. Remove from heat and drizzle a little more oil on the "inside face." (and sprinkle a little more oil on the skillet before frying next one.) Cut pitas into desired number of wedges. Sprinkle with caraway seed, if desired.

Autumn Pasta Salad~Lisa Esplin

I found this on Vera Bradley's website. Very easy to make and works well to make ahead of time for an easy dinner. It is a yummy salad and goes great with Parmesan Breadsticks. Enjoy!

1 (16-ounce) box tubular pasta
1 bunch spinach, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 large red onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 small can sliced olives, drained
1 (16-ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
¾ cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. In a large bowl, combine pasta, spinach, onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese and Parmesan cheese. Mix well. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and Parmesan cheese. Pour vinaigrette over pasta salad and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.