Hummus Among Us

There is nothing easier than making your own hummus! You can make so many different types and it is so good for you. This is a basic recipe I make and you can add in what every you feel like having. Peppers, artichoke hearts, spinach, roasted garlic, roasted peppers, See I could keep going but I wont. Here is my favorite all around recipe.

1 Can chick peas strained & rinsed well ( also called Garbanzo beans you want to rinse the salt from the canning. Using fresh beans is best but i’m going for the quick version)
2 Tablespoons Tahini
1 Garlic clove minced
1 Lemon (juice & zest save the zest for garnish)
fresh cracked pepper
chives for garnish (optional)
Olive Oil (about 3 tablespoons but more as needed to get to desired consistency, I like it very smooth)

*Put it all in a food processor and blend until desired thickness.
*drizzle in olive oil as you go very slowly and when you like the texture, you are done!
*put in a nice serving bowl and put out some dipping favorites. In our house its pretzel chips & carrots.
Some other dippers are bell pepper slices in all colors, celery, pita bread, cucumber slices, zucchini slices


So Sorry Cucumber Noodle Salad

Ok, so…..offically it is no longer “Still Chicken Meatballs” hahaha! My Mother and Nick at work look to see what I’ve posted every day and apparently mom yells out “No, Still Chicken Meatballs”. So this is for you two and I’ll show you why.
Cucumber Noodle Salad??!!

Thanks to my sister I finally went and spent my gift card from Christmas. The set of peelers are so fun. The one I used for this makes long strips of what ever you peel carrots, celery, cucumbers etc. Herb called it Cucumer Spaghetti.

1 english cucumber (it needs to be long to get the effect but a regular one will be ok)
4 or 5 “peels” of parmesan cheese (optional – using the same peeler)
vegetable peeler (Williams Sonoma set of 3 for $12 i think)
2 Tablespoons Cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Chives & parsley for garnish
fresh cracked pepper
*peel the cucumber with a regular peeler
*using the peeler that makes strips, start at one end and firmly hold the cucumber and pull the peeler from the top to the bottom, creating long “spaghetti like” strips
*place them in a bowl and all all the ingredients and gently toss.
*chill in fridge or serve room temp

What I’ve been up to!: It’s spring so I have been in the yard every day getting ready for whatever comes our way ūüôā
The bench I re-stained.
After and before.
 The green chairs were all rusty on the bottoms and the arm rests. I sanded them down and re finished them with a non rust spray paint. My sister gave us the 4 (and yes I did all 4 all alone, no help) when we moved in 10 years ago and they are great for around the koi pond. They have cushions for them. When we grow up we plan on getting a nice set that I saw with a love seat 2 chairs and a table. they have red cushions (HINT HINT MOM ANNIVERSARY :))

I also have been drilling holes for the trellis & keeping dogs out of the garden!! So enjoy the salad. More food & yard to come!!

Chicken Meatballs…I know, not the most attractive name but ~

Very attractive results! This all started when I saw a Blog¬†Chicken Kofta¬†Curry¬†and decided I was making it. So I went and bought the ground chicken and then “Chickened” Out! Ok I didn’t really chicken out I just didn’t think it through and didn’t have all the ingredients to make it and the chicken was sitting there so….I went a completely different route. I have not given up on the Kofta at¬†Kolpona Cuisine¬†I just had to cook up the chicken & I still need a few things for my “spice kitchen” to ensure authentic tasting results. Ok, Ok, on to the Chicken Meat Balls: By the way, a pice of shoe leather would taste amazing sauteed in Rao’s Marinara Sauce.
1 lb ground chicken
1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 jar RAO’s Marinara Sauce (Seriously you need to get this, it is fantastic)
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock (I always have veg stock)
1 Lg garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tablespoons Fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
vegetable oil to brown

* In a medium mixing bowl mix the chicken with all the ingredients except for the Sauce and Vegetable oil.
*Using your hands pull out a heaping tablespoon of the mix and roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter.
*Make sure to roll them nice and tight/compact so they don’t fall apart
*In a large saute pan with high sides heat the oil on Med/High heat and place the chicken Spheres (no, doesn’t work), Balls into the pan and brown on all sides.
*Once they are brown turn off the heat & gently remove and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil.
*Pour the oil out into the garbage or a can (carefully) and place the pan back on the stove.
*Note all the brown bits in the pan.
*Turn the heat back to medium and pour in the stock, using a wooden spoon gently scrape the pan and swirl until all the bits are up and you have a rich, flavorful broth.
*Pour in the Rao’s sauce and add the Chicken back in to pan.
*Bring to boil then reduce to simmer and cover for 30 to 40 minutes.
*Don’t stir them around too much just once or twice to make sure they are covered in sauce. If you stir a lot they will crumble.
Serve alone, over pasta, as a side dish or as the Main Course
Herb said they were “ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS” and just so you know he is very honest so if they are not good or Mediocre he will say so:)
Enjoy -T

Honey & Lime Glazed Carrots

I’m not exactly sure why lime came to mind when I was making carrots but It may have been there wasn’t much left in the fridge and I needed to get creative… Boy they were really great!

1 bag of baby carrots (you can use regular carrots chopped into 1 to 2 inch pieces or the small fresh carrots with the greens too, I just had these in the veggie drawer)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 lime
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons water
1 tsp chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 Teaspoon Aleppo Pepper or Red Pepper Flakes: optional(the Aleppo adds a nice gradual heat)

*In a saute pan add butter, olive oil, water, Aleppo Pepper and carrots.
*Heat to Med/high and cover. (The water helps to soften the carrots and keeps them from getting too brown)
*Cook for about 5 minutes
*Test the carrots to see if they are starting to get tender. They should be firm & tender, not soft and mushy. This is pretty quick.
*Remove from heat and add in the honey and squeeze in the lime.
*Stir & serve immediately (the honey and lime don’t cook in with the carrots they are added at the end to coat)
*Garnish with chives for some green color & sprinkle with garlic salt.

Mushroom Risottooooo

Every recipe says the same thing for risotto, It takes time and a little work but it is so worth the end result
This recipe is no different. This came out so good I surprised myself!
The garnish is chives, parm, mushrooms and Arugula so you see what is in it before you eat it. You eat with your eyes first right? AND mushroom risotto or any Risotto really is not all that beautiful alone.
1 Cup Arborio Rice
3 Cups fresh mushrooms chopped (Crimini quartered & Shitake sliced for texture variation) save a few for garnish
1 Cup dried mushrooms reconstituted (optional! I wanted a nice assortment if you don’t have the dried just use 1 more cup fresh)
5 Cups homemade Stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/4 cup onion chopped
1 large garlic clove minced
3 Tbls Oilve Oil
3 Tbls Butter
3 Tbls chopped chives
2 Cups grated fresh Parmigano Riggiano (Not optional this makes the dish)
1 Cup Arugula chopped or torn

*Boil about 2 cups of water and turn off, add the dried mushrooms let stand for about 20 min to plump them back up. (this again is optional I had them & wanted a variety but this will be just as good without)
*Drain the mushrooms out and set them aside
*Filter the broth from the reconstituted mushrooms through a paper towel to remove any grit & set aside.
*Chop the fresh mushrooms different sizes, the Crimini hold up pretty well during cooking and have a nice contrast to the Shitake and the rice, once cooked.
*In a sauce pan heat up the stock & the mushroom broth. You want to add hot stock as you are cooking the risotto.
*In a large saute pan, Saute the onions and garlic until translucent in 3 tablespoons Olive Oil & 1 Tablespoon butter, adding more butter as is absorbs (about 3 Tbls total).
*Add in the Arborio Rice and cook with onions & garlic for 5 minutes on Med/High heat.
Here is the important part! You need to stay right on front of the pot stirring constantly while adding stock, this may take 30 to 40 minutes depending on your cooktop.
*1/4 cup at a time add stock to the rice and let it absorb completely before adding the next 1/4 cup, stirring constantly.
*As you add the stock it will absorb slower and slower. This takes about 30 minutes.
*The rice should be AL DENTE not mush. Taste it as you get close to the end of the cooking.
*Once it is done stir in the cheese, chives and Arugula, This adds  freshness, salt & green color to an otherwise brown dish.
Be sure to garnish with a little of each ingredient to make it look beautiful!

Filbert and The Peasant Bread Mystery

So I decided to make bread! This is not something I do often and honestly I’ve only attempted it a few times but I did get the beautiful dutch oven for Christmas and there is a bread a friend of mine makes right in the pot. I got out a recipe and of course added more herbs etc. This is a 2 day process unless you start first thing in the morning but I did not. So… I put the ingredients together and set it to rest for the 12 to 15 hours it calls to do. The excitement of getting it ready and baking it is so gratifying. Ah…but where is it? It was here on the counter, I cut one piece when it was warm!? Where did it go? It was right here!??
Peasant Bread or No Knead Bread, is surprisingly easy and fun!. Just be sure it is not close enough to the end of the counter to be pulled down and devoured by Filbert after all your hard work….Yep, I had that one end piece and it was so delicious and Filbert got the rest. The best part was me trying to figure out where the loaf went I literally was looking all over like I had misplaced it. hahaha, Mystery solved Filbert one of our beloved pack was found slumped over it at the bottom of the stairs (I guess it was too heavy to carry up) with what was left of it.
Here he is the Master Thief. If you look closely in the first photo you will see the loaf of bread there on the floor. DAMN IT, FILBERT!

3 Cups all purpose flour
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs chopped small
(I did thyme, rosemary, sage and chives)
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 Cup luke warm warter
1/8 cup olive oil

*In A large mixing bowl put in all your ingredients and mix until it all comes together.
*It will be sticky and shaggy but not to worry it should be.
*Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot for 12 to 15 hours.
*Make sure it is at least 70 degrees.

*Once its done it will have grown and be airy and have bubbles at the surface.
*Turn it out on to a flowered surface, be sure to flower your hands.
*Turn it over on it’s self 2 times. (fold it in half and then half again)
*Let it sit on the board for 15 minutes loosely covered with plastic or a dish towel.
*Flour your hands again and quickly shape your dough into a ball.
*Lay a cotton dish towel down and dust liberally with flour.
*Place the ball on top
*Cover with more flour and cover with an additional towel.
*Gently lift and place back into bowl and set in warm spot for 2 hours.
*Pre heat oven to 450 with a Le Crusset pot in it, cover and all.
*Once it is preheated (at least 30 min) gently remove the dough from the cloths and place into the heated pot
*Cover and bake for 30 minutes
*Uncover a bake additional 15 to brown.
I would let it brown a little more then I did but it was still great. I just couldn’t wait to try it.
Put on cooling rack for an hour. The ENJOY!!

Aleppo Pepper & Newport Spice Company

I Am constantly using Aleppo Pepper in my Blogs and quite a few people ask me what it is so…..

Aleppo chili pepper comes to us from northern Syria, near the town of Aleppo, which is considered one of the culinary meccas of the Mediterranean. It has a moderate heat level with some fruitiness and mild, cumin-like undertones, with a hint of a vinegar, salty taste. Use it for authentic chili flavor in any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dish.

Aleppo chili offers a nice variation from your usual crushed red peppers. It has a very robust flavor that hits you in the back of your mouth, tickles your throat and dissipates quickly. Try this staff favorite in place of regular crushed red chilies on pizzas, salads, and pasta. Use when a recipe calls for Red Pepper Flakes or red Chili flakes.

¬†Sprinkle on zucchini before grilling, on sliced tomatoes with a little salt & anywhere you put red pepper flakes…..Try it on Pizza YUM! And here is where I get mine. Newport Spice Company. This¬†quaint shop I have blogged about before is the only place a Aquidnick Island to buy spices and they have a huge selection, along with refills so you can reuse your tins. Love that!! They do have ordering online so go check them out. You will also find when you go in there, not only a world of spices and rubs…..they have beautiful grinders in bright, bold colors. These are not your average “run of the mill” grinders they have a lifetime warrantee and are made by Vic Firth in collaboration with Mario Batali. Is there more you ask???? Why yes there is! There are beautiful Salt stones for cooking and serving, olive oils, extracts, preserved lemons, vinegars, gifts galore and the best part of all….The owner seems to always be there to assist you with a huge knowledge of everything spice, his personal books with inspiration and incredible recipe ideas. Being in Down Town Newport it is not all that common to find a friendly, personable and knowledged person working. There are some, but businesses come and go so often due to it being a seasonal town and the faces change all the time. To me it is comforting to go to a favorite store and be able to talk to someone and get suggestions, discuss successes and not just be sold.
Ok, OK, I Know blah, blah. But go check them out and TRY THAT ALEPPO PEPPER!!

24 Franklin Street Newport Rhode Island 02840

Enjoy -T