[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
Some people love surprises. Me, I’m not a big fan of the unexpected. Well, let me rephrase that: I’m not a big fan of the unexpected when I’m the one being surprised. If someone else, on the other hand, is treated to an unforeseen birthday party, or engagement ring, or earwig, well, then, I just lurve surprises!
Case in point: some of you will recall my snowbound trail-walk with the Girls a couple of weeks ago, which I reported on Facebook. It was the afternoon following (yet another) snowstorm**, and I’d spent the requisite 27 minutes bundling myself in layers as protection from the cold: two pairs of socks; long underwear topped with thick corduroy pants; cotton undershirt under cotton turtleneck, under fleece-lined sweater. On top of that, I added a pair of thick rubber galoshes, a padded ski jacket, a pair of thin gloves underneath a pair of thick gloves, a fleece hat topped with earmuffs for good measure, and my hood. Oh, and let’s not forget my sunglasses, huge contraptions that I wear over my regular glasses (really).
Looking like some bizarre Alaskan zombie, I somehow managed to ease myself out of the car and waddle my way along the trail, which was still blanketed in pristine snow that had clearly not been trod by anyone else that day.
The Girls always love these walks, so I’m happy to provide them. Besides, it’s kind of fun to watch Chaser scampering and leaping, bunny-like, through the snow whenever she’s off-leash. On that day, however, she was doing something different: not just leaping and prancing, but diving face-first into the snow, burying her entire head in it, over and over, at 2-foot (3/4-meter) intervals. Then she’d surface, nose covered in powder, sniffing the air as if a steak were sizzling nearby. What was up with that? I couldn’t help but laugh as I recalled a documentary the HH had been watching a few nights earlier about foxes, who thrust their snouts into the snow in order to seize their prey. How funny, I thought. Tee hee hee. . .
And then, it happened. Chaser dove head-first into the snow and came up with. . . a mouse! A LIVE MOUSE.
IN. HER. MOUTH!!
What followed could have come straight out of a National Lampoon vacation movie. I started shrieking like a banshee: “Drop it! Drop it! DROP ITTTTTT!!!!” as I sprinted (well, more like shuffled, zombie-like) through the snow toward her, arms flailing like a flag in a hurricane. And, to her credit, she did drop it.
The mouse stumbled across the path (by this time a bit wobbly), aiming to scoot back into its burrow. By now Elsie had figured out something was afoot, and came charging; she too, grabbed the tiny rodent in her muzzle and held it aloft for me to admire, the mouse’s feet and tail flapping uncontrollably. And again, my horrified shrieking, “DROP IT!!!” as I leapt to grab The Girls’ collars and prevent any further nose-poking of the mouse across the snow. By now my voice was pretty hoarse and my face was pretty darned red.
But as I threw myself forward, I lost my footing and crashed down–thwack!–rather ungracefully onto the snow (luckily, the depth of the snow, combined with my natural padding “back there,” saved me from injury). Before I could regain my composure, the mouse went berserk, zig-zagging across my legs. All I can say is that I’m glad there was no one else around to see what ensued as I struggled to get up, legs jerking like loose wires in an electrical storm, still shrieking (shrieking even more!), still clinging for dear life to the Girls’ collars so they couldn’t dive in for Round Two.
Finally, with all three of us panting and our hearts racing, I steadied myself, once again upright and watched as the mouse ambled back to safety under the blanket of snow. Frankly, I am still not sure which one of us was more traumatized by the experience.
So as you can see, I don’t react too well to unexpected, er, “visitors.” Needless to say, we won’t be back to that particular trail as long as the snow remains on the ground.
Now, when I receive an unexpected surprise from food, well, that’s a whole ‘nother story. This spread (or dip) came about, for instance, as a serendiptious discovery because we had run out of fresh produce. What with all the book edits, I’ve had not time for grocery shopping. (I know, boo hoo for me. Okay, cue violins). The only green ingredients left in the fridge were a few limp stems of fresh cilantro, half a cucumber from our CSA, half a lime and that neglected chunk of the HH’s brie cheese, cowering way at the back. I decided I’d create something based on all the nonperishable ingredients in the cupboard that I’ve been hoarding saving for a day just such as that one. I rooted around to find a can of black beans and some almond butter. I could work with that!
A quick whir in the food processor and my slightly unconventional black bean dip was made. We ate it with leftover corn chips from our previous nacho night along with the remnants of the cucumber. The following day (after a trip to the grocery store), I smeared it on a raw collard leaf, added grated carrot and sprouts, and had a fabulous raw collard wrap. If you’re looking for a high-protein snack or light meal, this is a great recipe.
And–don’t let it surprise you–you may just discover that you love it.
** I’ve officially dubbed this season “The Winter that Refused To Leave.” I mean, really, Mother Nature? This isn’t funny any more.
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Oil-free Black Bean Spread or Dip
This is a super-quick twist on classic black bean dip, with more protein than the original. If you like a spicy dip, add about 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) minced jalapeno.
1 can (15 ounces or 400 ml) black beans, well rinsed and drained
juice of 1/2 lime
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) natural smooth almond butter
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cumin
1/4 cup (60 ml) cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
2 Tbsp (30 ml) water, or more, to taste
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add more water until desired consistency is reached (you’ll need more for a dip vs. a spread). Makes about 1-1/2 cups/360 ml. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Today marks only a few days before the start of Passover, and Easter is right around the next corner–it’s time to cook for the holidays! Since the HH and I are invited to a friend’s house for a seder this year (and since her niece is a vegetarian), I decided to bring a dish that normally makes an appearance on Passover tables: chopped liver. My version, of course, is “mock.”
So you might be wondering, “what is a self-professed meat-refusenik doing posting yet another faux meat recipe on this blog? Like, the sixthoneI’veposted so far?”
Well, believe it or not, this time I’m not creating a vegan version of a meat I ate as a kid; this spread is the very same one that my mother made for us countless times when I was young, despite her having an unlimited supply of meat available via My Dad the Butcher (I told you she was a closet vegetarian).
I seem to remember this Mock Chopped Liver recipe originating from a cookbook Mom had called Second Helpings, Please!,but when I leafed through my old copy, I couldn’t find it. I did find a remarkably similar version to the one I remember on Nava Atlas’s Veg Kitchen site, however. Nava’s version seems to be almost identical to my mom’s, with two important differences: my mother’s used canned green beans instead of fresh (in particular, a type called “French Cut,” which was specified in her recipe); and whereas Nava uses cashews, my mom used walnuts. I decided to split the difference and use half of each type of nut (and walnuts result in a deeper brown color than cashews, more like the authentic spread).
Whether or not you like (or have even ever tasted) chopped liver, this spread is a perfect topping for crackers, celery sticks or collard leaves–but, unfortunately, not matzo. You see, my good intentions were dashed when I realized that beans are not allowed at Passover–and the main ingredient in this spread is beans! (If you observe Passover, you can try this other mock chopped liver on Nava’s site, which uses mushrooms instead).
To the HH, who grew up on liverwurst, this spread tastes “nothing like real liver.” And yet, it looks eerily like the “real thing,” with the same rich, smooth flavor imparted by onions, fried until caramelized (the hallmark of chopped liver).
And since it is the holidays with both Passover and Easter falling within days of each other, I’m also including a quick reference list of some holiday-themed recipes for those of you still thinking about what to cook (see bottom of this post).
Whether or not you like the “real thing,” this is a great spread for sandwiches, crackers, or veggies. I’ve added paprika and walnuts to the original recipe and decided to stick with the canned beans for a more authentic hue, but feel free to use freshly steamed if you prefer.
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 can (19 ounces or 400 ml) cooked green beans, well drained
2/3 cup (160 ml) lightly toasted cashews, walnuts or combination (I used 1/3 cup/80 ml of each)
1 tsp (5 ml) Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce (for ACD, use Bragg’s)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
sliced green onion for garnish, if desired
Heat the oil in a nonstick frypan and add the onions; fry over medium-low heat, stirring frequenty, until they are well browned and beginning to caramelize, 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, place all the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.
Once the onions are done, add them to the processor and blend until everything is smooth. Scrape into a bowl or container and allow to cool to room temperature before servings. Garnish with green onions, if desired. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml). Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
LAST MINUTE HOLIDAY RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
I’ve designated each recipe with B (either Passover or Easter) or E (Easter only).
Appetizers and H’ors D’oeuvres:
(E) Carrot Pâté ( Pâté is GF; for ACD version, use apple cider vinegar)
In case you haven’t noticed, we Canadians are pretty obsessed with the weather. It rules our schedules, our wardrobes and our moods. Wake up to sunny skies and 26C (79 F), as we did a couple of weeks ago, and it’s going to be a good day. Wake up to glum, sodden skies, and that scowl won’t leave your face for the next 18 hours.
The weather influences how early you have to leave for work, your choice of foot covering for the day, whether your hair will behave or not, and how long your dog-walk will be. Good or bad, it can even inspire me to haiku:
Last week was summer.
This week, earmuffs have returned.
(If you’re in the mood for more random haiku–including the HH’s magnum opus from his childhood–see this post).
Despite the unseasonally inclement weather this week, I’ve been hankering after raw foods for some reason. (I’ve also been dreaming of appearing on The Ellen Show, but that’s pretty much standard every week these days.)
Maybe I’m just classically conditioned to react this way at this time of year, thermostat to the contrary or not. It’s sort of like being hungry at 12:00 noon, even if I’ve eaten breakfast at 11:00 AM; my head says, “Oh, yeah! Time to eat!” and I heed the call, even if my tummy is still churning through my cereal. (Still trying to work on that “listen-to-your-body-signals” thing). Whatever; I decided to give in to the impulse, and whip up some broccoli hummus.
“Mum, are you suggesting that there’s something wrong with classical conditioning? And does this mean all of our work with that nice Mr. Pavlov was for naught? But you will still give us those treats every time you ring a bell, won’t you? “
This is Gena’s fantabulous recipe, so I can’t really take the cakethis man to be my lawfully wedded husbandthe heat the credit for it. However, I did minimally adapt it since, unlike Gena, I find it’s a rare hummus I can enjoy without a good hit of garlic included. If you prefer yours without the added allicin, then by all means, leave it out. I also substituted miso for the nutritional yeast, since I’m still adhering to ACD, of course.
The recipe is perfect in its simplicity, like a classic string of pearls, or a Henry Moore sculpture, or Jessica Simpson. I couldn’t believe how quickly it came together, and how scrumptious it was. The zucchini confers both smoothness and creaminess, just as it does in Gena’s remarkably delicious zucchini dressing (which I’ve been making almost daily for the past couple of weeks) as well; and the tahini provides a bit more density and heft for spreading.
Even if you’re not a fan of broccoli, you’ll likely enjoy this, as the flavor is tempered by the tahini. I’ve had the hummus spread on a raw collard wrap and on rice cakes–both work beautifully. And between the broccoli and tahini, you’re getting a nice hit of calcium in each serving. All in all, a bowl of yum.
And if you squint really hard at that photo up top, you can pretend it’s a poetry-inspiring photo of the sun, its rays emanating warmth and sunny dispositions across our Canadian skies this morning.
Gena’s Raw Broccoli Hummus (ACD Phase I and beyond)
This quick and easy spread is a perfect alternative to standard hummus, especially if you’re trying to reduce starchy foods. And since the main ingredients are broccoli and zucchini, you can even enjoy a little more than you would the regular stuff–without worrying about the calories.
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) raw broccoli, chopped
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) raw zucchini with skin, chopped
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup raw tahini (sesame paste)–use regular, as I did, if you don’t mind that the recipe isn’t entirely raw
1 Tbsp (15 ml) mild miso*
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cumin
3 Tbsp (45 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
fresh ground pepper, to taste
olive oil, for drizzling
Place the broccoli and zucchini in a food processor and process until almost smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides of processor bowl as necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups. Will keep, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.
*NOTE: For ACD Phase I, use Bragg’s instead of miso.
[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I'll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I've recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. This is the first entry on apples.]
Honestly, where does the time go? Here we are on November 5th–but wasn’t yesterday Halloween? Now that I finally seem to be clawing my way out of my flu funk, the days are whizzing by (if only they’d whiz directly to mid-April–do not collect $200, do not pass snow–that would be great. I, for one, could do without winter.)
Well, whether we want to or not, at this point most of us are thinking ahead to the holidays. With that in mind, I’ve got two great suggestions before I turn to today’s Lucky Comestible.
If you’re looking for some delicious holiday-themed dishes, take a look at Nava Atlas’s A Bountiful Vegan Thanksgiving ebook. At 78 pages, it contains a slew of recipes, from appetizers and soups to salads, side dishes, entrées, stuffings, sauces, and desserts. While most of the recipes are Nava’s own, she also includes dishes from ”guest” chefs like Beverly Lynn Bennett, Fran Costigan, Dreena Burton, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Robin Robertson and Susan Voisin, among others (and two recipes by yours truly!). I was thrilled to receive my copy and even though we’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada, I still saw lots of recipes I can serve up at Christmas time and through the new year. Best of all, profits from the book are all going to some of Nava’s favorite charities. Click here for more info or to buy.
And don’t forget that Sweet Freedomis on sale until the beginning of December! With over 100 recipes for all your favorite sweet treats made healthy (plus a few unexpected goodies!), you can have your cake this holiday season, and great health, too. The book would also make a wonderful gift, and can be signed for the recipient. Just click on the book cover at left or the Cookbook link at the top of the page for more info or to purchase.
And while I was thinking about the holidays, I decided on the focus of this sixth Lucky Comestible series. Although I love pumpkin and have a few recipes that include it on this blog, there’s never a shortage of pumpkin-based recipes at this time of year. I got to thinking about other autumn produce and how I could incorporate it into my holiday menus. And since I’ve recently seen the return of limited fruits to my culinary repertoire, I immediately decided to highlight one of these not-so-sweet beauties in my next Lucky Comestible series. And then it hit me–why not apples?
I mean, apples are, in a way, the original fruit (though technically those naked lovers did gorge on pretty much every other fruit before they bit into that MacIntosh). And it’s true what they say–your daily Granny Smith could very well be a means to protecting your health. Apples are also visually appealing, tasty, portable snacks; and, I daresay, they are probably the single fruit consumed by the largest number of people. They’re sort of like the Miss Congeniality of fruits. In fact, they’re actually the Sally Field of fruits–we like them! We really, really like them. How many people don’t enjoy apples?
Far from being a mundane pleasure, then, apples are a healthy indulgence that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and appellations. Of course, we’re all familiar with cute little Granny Smith, with her tough exterior and tart insides, or the sweet and delicate Delicious varieties. But how about the Scarlet O’Haralson or Summer Rambo? Apples take on Hollywood! If you’re curious about all the names bestowed upon this common fruit, check here.
Of course, we all know how versatile the forbidden fruit is in terms of flavor combinations; besides the seminal apples and cinnamon, apples can chum around with savory curries, sweet spice mixtures, your choice of alcoholic beverages, caramel, and even chocolate. It’s also a flexible ingredient that contributes equally well to any course of a meal. So I thought it would be fun to run the gamut of courses, featuring an apple-based dish spanning appetizer to soup to main course and dessert.
Ready for your appetizers? Let’s begin with this astonishing roasted red pepper and apple dip. Wouldn’t this look beautiful on a holiday buffet table?
This recipe hails from Nicole Routhier’s Fruit Cookbook, a massive tome that’s been wedged in my cookbook book case between Meena Pathak’s Indian Cooking for Family and Friends and the Moosewood Low Fat Favorites for almost a year without stirring (pun intended. Oh, and that reminds me, I really need to organize my cookbooks already). A book based on fruit recipes seemed perfect for my apple quest, so I pulled it from the shelf and began to browse. The original dip was intended for grilled shrimp, but we had it over grilled tofu with favorable results. It would also go exceptionally well spread on crackers, or as a base in either a grilled eggplant or avocado sandwich (or both together).
The alluring triad of smoky peppers, tangy Granny Smith, and fiery chili flakes was enough to win my heart (and my taste buds)–after enjoying this spooned over tofu, I took to spooning it straight from the container and into my salivating maw. One part chutney, one part part salsa, and one part jam, this is a perfect spread for almost any food. With a cheery orange blush (perfect for the season!) and slightly grainy texture, the dip looks beautiful mounded in a serving bowl and struck me as a fitting centerpiece for a platter of simple sweet potato “fries.” Let the holiday menus begin!
(And stay tuned for a very festive giveaway coming up next post!)
A versatile dip that works well with roasted vegetables, tofu, or burgers. This would also be great tossed with pasta or spread in a sandwich.
4 medium red peppers, roasted (you can roast them yourself or just use prepared ones), chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
4 tsp (20 ml) minced garlic
2 tsp (10 ml) dried red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
1/2 cup (85 g) natural almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar (for ACD variation, use lemon juice)
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar, or 3-5 drops stevia liquid
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat 2 Tbsp (10 ml) of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant and lightly golden, about one minute. Remove from heat.
Place the chopped peppers in a food processor or blender (I used a food processor). Add the sautéed garlic mixture, the remaining 6 Tbsp (90 ml) olive oil, toasted almonds, vinegar (or lemon juice) and sugar (or stevia) and process to a purée. Add the chopped apple and process again until blended. (If your blender isn’t large enough to hold allt he ingredients at once, process in two batches and then stir them together in a bowl).
Transfer the dip to a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Makes about 2 cup (480 ml). Will keep, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.
As we often do, the HH and I made the trek to Montreal over the long weekend to spend the holidays with my family. While I long ago became accustomed to toting along some sort of sustenance for these trips (my diet, even when I’m not on a candida cleanse, is considered fairly “out there” by the rest of my kinsfolk), this last visit presented a particular challenge, as I couldn’t even partake in those few foods I normally eat when staying with the CFO.
As a result, our cooler was packed a little more than usual as we departed for La Belle Ville. At our pit stop near Kingston, the HH bought himself a regular coffee and chicken club at Tim Horton’s, while I munched on grape tomatoes, baby carrots, and my new favorite hummus–a Curried Pumpkin variety.
The hummus came about the week before we left, as I was standing in the kitchen ruminating (figuratively, of course) about how much I miss my beloved pumpkin oats (à la Shelby) since I began this infernal ACD. While I ruminated (literally) on some hummus, it occurred to me: why not combine the pumpkin with my hummus instead? Eureka! I threw together some standard hummus, tinkered with the spices and fats, and ended up feeling rather smug for having created a unique, ingenious and flavorsome dish. Immediately, I determined to blog about it.
Well, a few days later, I encountered Vegan Yum Yum’s post about Apple Pie Coffee Cake. The post opened with the following line: ”I have a knack for inventing things that have already been invented.” Ooops.
Rather quickly, I was accosted by insistent, niggling doubts (sort of like Chaser when she wants to go for a walk) about my hummus. Could it be that my original invention already existed? Eventually, I succumbed and, after a quick Google search, discovered that pumpkin hummus abounds on the Internet. In fact, it’s almost as ubiquitous as those little popups (you know the ones–those rows of laughing emoticons) that invade your screens when you’re looking for something else. Curses!
I did take some comfort, however, in the knowledge that all of us, at some time or another, have probably considered an idea or concept of ours to be entirely unprecedented, only to discover fairly quickly that scores of others had already considered the very same thing.
* * *
The scene: Ricki, aged 17, returns home from CEGEP. The Nurse hunches over the kitchen table, enjoying a Fresca and reading Family Circle.
RICKI [flushed with pride at her own discovery]: Hey, did you ever consider how every person sees everything through their own mind? I mean, maybe each of us is actually living in our own little world, which is, like, just our own consciousness, and maybe everything else is just an illusion? Like, what if you’re not really here, but you’re only here because I think you’re here–what if everythng in the world is just an offshoot of my own imagination, creating my reality? What if there’s really nothing else except me? Whoah. Weird, huh?
THE NURSE: I hate to tell you this, but that’s a common theory. It’s called solipsism. Just read some philosophy, genius. Geez. [She yawns. Ricki sinks under the table].
Or how about the same scene, six years later:
Ricki and the CFO are hunched at the kitchen table, drinking Diet Pepsi and reading People magazine.
THE CFO: Hey, Ric, did you ever consider how every person sees everything through their own mind? I mean, maybe each of us is actually living in our own little world. . . . . What if there’s really nothing else except me? Whoah. Weird, huh?
RICKI: I hate to tell you this, but that’s actually a common concept. They even made a movie about it–The Matrix. Just rent the film (which is much more fun than reading philosophy; besides, Keanu Reeves is much cuter than Descartes).
* * *
Well, no matter. Original or not, this hummus is delightful. With its subtle, sunny glow from both pumpkin and turmeric, to the slightly sweet spice from a mild curry and creamy chickpea base, the flavors meld beautifully to create an enticing appetizer or sandwich filling.
When I served this at dinner last week, the HH proclaimed, “This is the best hummus I’ve ever had,” and made me promise to prepare it again.
Now, I’d be inclined to agree with him, except of course I can never be 100% certain that his experience of hummus is identical to my experience of hummus. . . I mean, what if he’s referring to something entirely different from me when he says “best”? And what if I am actually living in my own little world, separate and distinct from his, and the HH is just a figment of my imagination? (Well, okay, I guess that wouldn’t be so bad–it would just mean more hummus for me!). Either way, I’ll be making this again.
Curried Pumpkin Hummus
Unlike most hummus recipes, this one includes no added oils–the almond butter and tahini provide enough fat to render this smooth, creamy, and very satisfying. (And quite original, don’t you think?) It’s great as a filling in raw collard wraps–as seen above–too.
3/4 cup (180 ml) packed cooked pumpkin purée, fresh or canned
2 Tbsp (30 ml) smooth natural almond butter
3 Tbsp (45 ml) tahini (sesame paste)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) mild curry powder
1 tsp (5 ml) cumin
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt, or to taste
1/4-1/3 cup (60-80 ml) fresh chopped cilantro, to taste
Cover the chickpeas with water and allow to soak overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and cover with fresh water in a large pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until very soft, about 40 minutes. (Alternately, use canned, well-rinsed chickpeas).
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the drained chickpeas and remaining ingredients and process until smooth (add up to 1/3 cup or 80 ml water to achieve desired thickness). Scrape into serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil, if desired. Serve with pita chips or raw veggies, or use as a filling in sandwiches or wraps. Makes about 3 cups.
So, you may have heard: the economy is tanking. According to retailers, we’re spending less on gifts this holiday season than we did last year. We’re taking vacations at home. We’re economising on everything from groceries to toiletries, and people are learning how to darn socks again, bake from scratch again, or wash their own cars. Everybody’s worried about finances or being laid off. What to do?
Eat caviar, I say!
Okay, not really. That would just be silly (and totally uneconcomical). Not to mention slightly gooey, a bit slimy, way too salty, and overall, yucky. Of course you shouldn’t eat real caviar.
I’m talking about eggplant caviar! I first enountered a recipe for this economical dip many years ago in one of The CFO’sBon Appetitmagazines, and was intrigued as soon as I scanned the ingredient list. Then, once I finally I tasted it, I was totally enchanted. The blend of piquant balsamic with the moist, slightly chunky eggplant and sweet pepper was remarkably delicious. I ended up eating half of that first batch straight off a spoon, crackers be damned! (Well, since I was emulating a rich person by eating “caviar,” I figured I could be as eccentric as I wished).
This recipe is adapted from both this one and this, and I added another twist by tossing in some chopped olives (the salty, black chunks were the only similarity to actual caviar in the entire dish). Have this on crackers, or spooned along the crease of a celery stalk. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet it would even be great tossed with freshly cooked penne.
I made this last week, using two eggplants I bought in the “gently damaged” shelf of the produce section at our local supermarket (ie, the half price shelf). It was a great way to feel both frugal and rich–all at the same time. Now I must get to work on those holes in my socks.
(“Mum, we wouldn’t mind eating real caviar! Um, and just for the record, what’s wrong with gooey and slimy?”)
I’m also contributing this to Suganya’s “Vegan Ventures, Round 2” event, requesting a favorite vegan recipe. How could I not submit this–I mean, it’s caviar, right?
Actually, I could never really understand why they called this “caviar,” as, to my mind, it neither resembles nor tastes like its namesake. In any case, though, it’s a wonderful and tasty dip or spread, and economical, too.
2 eggplants, cut in half and roasted until tender, then peeled and mashed
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red or green pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/3 cup (80 ml.) black olives, chopped
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spary. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and place cut side down on the cookie sheet. Pierce the skin a few times with the tip of a knife. Bake in preheated oven about 45 minutes, until completely soft. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the tomatoes and olives, and heat through. Remove from heat.
Scrape the flesh of the cooled eggplant in a large bowl, and mash with a fork or potato masher (or pulse in the bowl of a food processor, just enough to break it up without puréeing). Add the cooked onion mixture, along with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings. Store covered in the refrigerator, but eat at room temperature. This tastes better the second day, as flavors meld. Makes about 2 cups.
This past weekend, I took the train to Montreal to visit with the CFO (unfortunately, the HH stayed at home on dog duty, as our regular doggie daycare was closed and it was too late to find an alternative). Just before I left, though, I was delighted to learn that I’d been awarded the “E for Excellence” award by Misty over at Mischief blog! Misty is also the owner of 2 adorable dogs (check out their Halloween duds!) who often appear on her blog (plus lots of yummy food, of course). Sorry it’s taken me so long to acknowledge this, Misty, as I ran off on Friday and just returned yesterday evening. It’s much appreciated and I’m so glad you think my blog is excellent! Thanks so much.
While lovely nonetheless, the visit was over in a flash, filled with a cocktail party, brunch with the family, a birthday lunch with friends, and a stroll through the area known as the Plateau (fascinating, isn’t it, how 90% of social activities revolve around food? Sorry, what’s that you say? What do you mean, it’s just me–??). Since my birthday (sort of) coincided with the CFO’s annual cocktail party, we combined celebrations. As the HH remarked before I left, this year I seem to be enjoying The Birthday That Wouldn’t End. But who am I to argue?
Let me tell you, that CFO sure knows how to throw a party! The menu featured several vegan options, as well as a few gluten-free choices (though, if I remember correctly, the two never overlapped in a single hors d’oeuvre). Still, there was plenty for me to eat and drink, such as tapenade-topped mini-toasts; an apple-pecan butter-cracker combo; crudités and spinach dip; thai rice salad with peppers, cilantro and mango; spanakopita; plus a few others I’ve forgotten (and don’t even get me started on the desserts). Saturday afternoon was reserved for a leisurely lunch with my old buddies Phil, Linda and Babe, and on Sunday morning, my family brunched at a restaurant I’d not heard of before, called Orange, where they offer the most astonishingly boundless bowls of steaming, perfectly creamy yet nubby oatmeal, capped with your choice of imaginative toppings, from fresh berries to cinnamon-apple pie filling to walnuts and coconut doused in maple syrup.
Still, it was good to be home. That final stretch of the journey always seems to elicit in me a certain psychic restlessness, the desire to stretch, stand up and stroll the length of car as the train approaches Toronto. No matter how many times I leave and return, I still experience that familiar ripple of excitement and anticipation, the tingle in the chest, when I first catch a glimpse of city life twinkling in the distance beyond the blanket of black outside the window. Slowly, the number of flickering lamps or silhouettes in apartment windows multiplies, then the glaring neon billboards make their appearance above highway overpasses, and cars’ flashing headlights join the symphony of movement and glitter. Before I know it we’re within reach of the CN tower and the station beneath the Royal York Hotel, the buzz of the downtown humming up through the rails. Toronto, with its denizens crowding the streets at 11:00 PM, knots of taxis and buses jammed in front of the station, the clang of the train and roar of the subway and yips emanating from staggering groups of twenty-somethings as they exit the bars after midnight. . . yep, it’s good to be home.
As it turned out, we didn’t ”do” Halloween this year. Due to both my absence and The Girls’ xenophobic reaction to strangers at the door (read: frenzied barking and growling, at a volume of around 120 decibels), the HH chose to forgo the treats. Still, like many of you, we do have a surfeit of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds left in the house. I remembered this recipe and thought it would be a perfect way to use the pepitas.
I call this mixture “pesto,” but it can also be used on its own as a spread for crackers or bread. In fact, the inspiration came shortly after I sampled roasted garlic for the first time and was immediately transported. As I recall, the HH and I were served an entire head of garlic once at a restaurant, the top sliced clean across and the pudgy exposed cloves baked to a rich, earthy mahogany, glistening with a sheen of olive oil. We squeezed the garlic from the papery casing like toothpaste from the tube, spreading the softened, caramelized pulp on fresh slices of bagette. It was heavenly, and we polished off the entire thing in minutes.
Garlic smell? Yes, heavenly. When baked, its scent is subdued, sweet, and alluring. It’s one of my favorite foods, and I use it as often as I can. In this pesto, the garlic adds richness and a smooth base for the grainy pumpkinseeds, contrasted perfectly with the cilantro and citrus tang of the lemon zest and juice. You can use this spread directly on crackers, as I like to do, or toss it with pasta (save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to thin it out a bit and create a slight creaminess to the mix). Or, hey–I bet it would even be great as a snack while you mull over some election results!
This dish is great for your heart, and also terrific for flu season: both garlic and pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants,and the pumpkinseeds contain zinc, essential for fighting viruses and bacteria.
1 whole bulb garlic (about 8-10 cloves)
4 T. (60 ml.) extra virgin olive oil, separated
1/2 cup (120 ml.) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), lightly roasted
3/4 cup (180 ml.) loosely packed cilantro or parsley, or a combination
2 T. (30 ml.) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. (5 ml.) lemon zest
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Cut the top off the garlic to expose the cloves inside.Place the garlic on a square of aluminum foil or in a garlic baker and drizzle with one tablespoon (15 ml.) of the olive oil.Wrap in foil or cover the baker and bake for about 40 minutes, until soft and dark golden. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor or blender, whir the pumpkin seeds, cilantro or parsley, lemon juice, zest, and remaining oil until almost smooth. Squeeze the garlic from the bottom toward the top so the cooked cloves are pushed out of the skin; add the garlic to the processor and blend again until combined.Season with salt and pepper to taste. Best served at room temperature. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes about 1/2 cup.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a ”from scratch” kind of gal. I mean, when you’ve been told you can’t eat anything processed, anything with additives, anything with coloring, anything with refined sweeteners or flours–basically, anything that’s not fresh from the vine or the ground–you learn to cook from scratch. Baptism by (Gas Mark 7) fire, and all that.
As a child, I thought ”homemade” was synonymous with “bland and boring.” (Actually, I was onto something there: my mother’s cooking actually was bland and boring). For my sisters and me, the most exciting foods we could imagine came in a box, a jar, or a can. Perfectly round, single-serve “layer cakes” coated in crunchy, ”chocolatey” shellac and packaged in individual cellophane bags; McDonald’s large fries and chocolatey “milk” shakes; soft, mushy, impossibly orange and slightly gooey Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Alphagetti; and–the best possible treat my mother could ever offer, the holy grail of convenience foods–Swanson TV Dinners. How we loved that Salisbury Steak with the little square of blueberry cake baked into the center of the aluminum dish!
But such rewards were few and far between. What seemed like a rare and elusive jackpot in our kitchen was common fare for my two best friends, the Gemini twins; all the glamorous, esoteric items that were verboten at our house made regular appearances on their dinner table. I recall many a meal at their place when we kids were served a heaping portion of Hamburger Helper (with added sautéed onions for that homemade touch), along with canned chocolate pudding topped with a dollop of jam and sprinkle of walnuts (to lend some individual flair) for dessert. I loved it–and was entirely envious of their good fortune!
It wasn’t until I was in my 20s and began to cook for myself that I truly appreciated the home cooked dishes I’d been served throughout my youth, despite their insipid flavors. Subsequently, in my 30s, I began to realize how infinitely superior real food was to synthetic (much as SanDeE appreciates this difference in response to Steve Martin’s confused inquiry in LA Story). Since my Great Diet Shift in 2000, I’ve been cooking about 95% from scratch. It’s become a reflex to simply make things myself.
First on the ingredient list was ”one can of chick peas.” Well, of course I ignored that part. Why would I use canned anything if I could help it? So I soaked my beans overnight, then drained, rinsed, refilled with fresh water, and boiled away. And boiled. The recipe instructed me to mash with a potato masher or fork, but somehow, my beans were still too hard to accomplish such a feat. Instead, I opted for the food processor and blended the entire mound into a pulp. I ended up with little pebble-like pieces of chickpea, nothing like a “mash” at all. I mean, they were TASTY pebble-like pieces, mind you, but pebble-like pieces nonetheless. I liked the mock tuna well enough (even though–sorry, folks–it tastes nothing like tuna) and even made it a few more times. But let’s just say it would never achieve the same iconic status as Hamburger Helper at the Geminis’.
Then, last week while grocery shopping, right there in the canned goods aisle, I was suddenly overtaken by an overwhelming urge, one that was completely out of character (no, nothing like that, you pervs! Shame on you!). I had an urge to buy a CAN of chickpeas. A can! “Maybe, just maybe, using canned chickpeas will make a difference,” I thought. Hard to believe, but in all my 40+ years of eating I had NEVER TASTED CANNED CHICKPEAS. Well, dear readers, the result was truly humbling. In fact, it left me feeling quite sheepish. I’d even venture to say I was cowed (though not to be confused with “resembling a cow.”). Now, I must admit it: sometimes, convenience foods are superior. Truly, the dish was phenomenal. I couldn’t stop eating the stuff!
Imagine this scene: Dinnertime at the DDD household. The HH sits on one side of the table, munching a slice of bison loaf (purchased at the extortionary Planet Organic, because (a) at least it’s organic; (b) the HH demands his meat; (c) the store is 80% empty most of the time and I’m afraid it’s going to go bankrupt before it’s even open a year; and (d) who feels like cooking for the HH when I’ve already mixed up a chickpea spread for myself?). I’m on the other side, eating my delectable mock tuna on a rice cake.
HH: [Chewing]: Hmm. [Chomp] That’s not too bad. [Chomp]. Tastes sort of like potato salad. [Lip-smack]. Actually, that’s pretty good stuff. [Licks fingertips. Turns back to bison].
Me: Yeah, I see what you mean, it is sort of like potato salad. Mmmnnnmm!
HH: Hmmn. Yeah, like a very good, creamy, delicious potato salad. [reaches over to take another forkful].
Me: [clears throat] Help yourself.
HH: Thanks! [scoops half the mixture onto his plate.]
Me: Guess you like it.
HH: Yeah, this is great stuff! [Chomp, chomp, lip-smack, licks fingertips.]
In the end, the HH did finish his bison, but he also finished up the mock tuna (which was actually a good thing, as I would have scarfed it all up otherwise). He cleared the plate and asked if I could make it again sometime, because “Wow, that’s amazing stuff!”
Lesson learned: Sometimes, it’s okay to use a can for something you could also make from scratch. Oh, and you should always follow the recipe’s instructions.
“Good lesson, Mum. And if Dad ever doesn’t want to finish his bison, you know where to find us.”
This spread is perfect on crackers, as a sandwich filling, or just on its own. It’s creamy, a little spicy, and all around irresistible.
1 (15 oz or about 425 g.) can cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed well with water, or 1-1/2 cups (360 ml.) cooked beans
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) mayonnaise (I use a homemade vegan version–or use any type you like)
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) plain yogurt (I use this brand–or use any type you like)
1/3 cup (80 ml.) finely diced celery
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) finely minced dill pickle (about one medium pickle)
1-1/2 tsp. (7.5 ml.) nutritional yeast
1-2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. (5 ml.) tamari or soy sauce
1/2 small jalapeno or other hot pepper, minced
pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together well. Use immediately as a sandwich spread or dip, or refrigerate up to 3 days. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml.).
I’ll never forget the phrase that haunted me for months when I was about 16: delivered in a low, undulating murmur heard through the telephone receiver, a deep, throaty male voice posed a simple question: “Have you checked the children?”
Anyone who recognizes that line is familiar with the horror movie When a Stranger Calls. The premise is simple: a young woman is babysitting. Repeatedly, a strange man calls to ask if she’s checked the children. Eventually, she twigs in that this guy might just spell trouble, so she contacts the police to report the caller. “No problem, Miss,” the helpful lieutenant replies. “We’ll just trace the call and see where it’s coming from.” You can guess what’s next, right? When the subsequent call arrives, it’s the frantic police officer, warning the young woman to hightail it out of there: “It’s YOUR telephone number! The calls are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!!”
Egads. I still get chills when I think of that scene.
I know that horror movies are immensely popular, but I must admit that I don’t exactly, um, cleave to the genre very much (which, I suppose, would more appropriately be “cleaver,” in this case, anyway). I find nothing causes the blood to drain from my face and a gut-churning queasiness to overtake my innards quite so easily as the image of Jack Nicholson’s unctuous, demented grin poking through that ravaged pane in the door, drawling, “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” . Or how about the eerie, portentous silence that precedes the faceoff between Ripley and the alien in the original Alien? (Let’s just say I’m hoping those nail marks I dug into the the HH’s forearm will fade eventually).
I must confess, after seeing that last film, I finally swore off this type of movie for good. As a consequence, I have yet to see the original Psycho. I’ve also forfeited a good excuse to sidle up to the HH on the couch as we watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers; and I will remain forever ignorant of other modern classics such as Hallowe’en, or Se7en, or Shaun of the Dead. I mean, seriously, are 90 minutes of spectacular, digitally-enhanced bloody geysers, headless torsos and disembodied entrails really worth 48 hours of elevated blood pressure?
Now, you may ask, just why am I rambling on about horror movies at this particular juncture? It’s not that I’m no longer traumatized by them, or that I’ve recently relented and watched one. No, nothing of the sort. The reason I’ve got horror movies on the brain is an innocuous Middle Eastern sweet pepper dip (if anything that’s brilliant red can be considered innocuous when discussed in the context of horror, that is).
While I’m a fan of many types of Middle Eastern dishes from baba ghanouj to hummus to halvah, I had never heard of muhammara (and yet, a Google search on the dip yields a multitude of entries–this stuff has been around for eons!). Every time my sis uttered the word, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Vincent Price’s classic, villainous laugh, Baby Jane’s self-satisfied cackle as she serves up that dinner surprise, or even Count Floyd’s satiric rendition in Monster Chiller Horror Theater.
Here, try it yourself: “Mmmmwoohhhaaaaahaaahaaa–marra!!” Heh heh.
So you can see why, from that moment onward, the eternal pairing of muhammara and horror movies was born.
Yesterday, as I was musing about what I can eat on this cleanse (actually, I muse about what I can eat most days, cleanse or no), I remembered the muhammara. Could it be that following the ACD is beginning to feel like a horror movie? Perhaps. In any case, the dip’s ingredients are all fairly antagonistic to candida: it’s really just a puréed veggie spread made primarily of roasted red pepper, walnuts, garlic and olive oil. The only questionable items were the pomegranate syrup and bread; and I figured that if I made my own sugar-free syrup (without added sugar) and omitted the bread, this would loosely qualify for my new, “more flexible” form of the ACD. The result, even without the bread, was still entirely appealing, and made a wonderful dinner with baby carrots and a rice casserole.
This recipe, which I adapted from here, is so simple it almost qualifies as a “Flash in the Pan.” However, since the peppers must first be roasted, peeled and seeded, and since it requires pomegranate syrup (essential, but not hard to make your own), I decided it was a bit too much work for that category. On the other hand, it’s definitely not too much work to whip up in the afternoon as a pre-prandial appetizer if you’ve been dreaming of smooth, creamy, slightly sweet and slightly tangy flavors during the day. It’s also perfect as a light meal before a night out (just be sure to choose your babysitter wisely).
And since the predominant ingredient in the muhammara is red peppers, I’m submitting this recipe to Sunshinemom at Tongue Ticklers, who’s hosting the “Food in Colors” event. This month’s theme is “red” (as in, “blood.” As in, “slasher movie.” As in, “Have you checked the children. . . ?”)
This was a lovely, satisfying precursor to our dinner last night (a simple steamed veggie affair), that allowed me to indulge the need for something tasty without completely abandoning my ACD resolve. And with the hefty portion of walnuts included, it provides both a source of protein and heart-healthy Omega 3 fats.
3 large red bell peppers
2 cups walnut halves
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice spelt or kamut sourdough bread (optional)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
pinch cayenne (optional)
2 Tbsp. pomegranate syrup*
Preheat oven to 400F ( C) and place peppers on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Roast for about 45 minutes, until very soft and skins begin to blacken. (If you have a gas stove, you can roast the pepper directly over the flame of an element–it will be much faster). Remove from oven, place in a paper bag, and allow to cool. Once cool, peel away the skins, cut open and remove seeds.
While the pepper is roasting, toast the walnuts on another rack of the oven for about 7 minutes, until fragrant and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a food processor, process the garlic and bread until crumbly. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings and process again to mix. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This is even better the next day.
* To make your own pomegranate syrup, take 2 cups of unsweetened pomegranate juice and simmer down to about 1/4 cup, until the syrup is thick and easily coats a spoon.
Well, it snowed AGAIN yesterday (is this grating on your nerves as much as it’s grating on mine?* I mean, it is now March 19th. Like, what’s up with that? Snow is just. . . so. . . wrong at this time of year. In either hemisphere).
I am yearning for spring like the Tin Man yearns for a heart, like the artist formerly known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” (now known just as “Prince”) yearns for purple, like Hillary yearns for the nomination–but it’s all for naught. It’s still miserable outside. I’m still miserable inside. Oh, woe, oh boo hoo, oh woe is me (shouldn’t that actually be “woe is I”? Ach, whatever.)
Well, if I can’t have a dip in a pool, I’ve decided to just have a dip.
Dips evoke warm weather in my mind. I love me a good hummus, smoothed languidly over falafels on outdoor patios, or lolling atop baby carrots as the HH and I enjoy a relaxed preprandial interlude, watching The Girls fightwrestle frolic on the lawn during summer evenings. Traditional spinach and onion dips, bean dips, veggie dips, even sweet fruit-and-nut dips–they’re all served at outdoor Bar-B-Qs, weekend picnics, or summer wedding buffets.
(“We love dips too, Mum. Especially skinny-dips. How long till we can play in that wading pool again, Mum?”)
Still, the dip that beguiled me the most was the Creamy Aspara-Dip from Chocolate Covered Vegan. Brilliantly green and smooth; glossy, even–how could I resist that emerald harbinger of springtime after all these months of desolate winter wasteland?
“The Ugliest Food You’ll Ever Love,” trumpeted the blog entry, and ”If you aren’t a vegan, this dip will most assuredly NOT convince you to become one.” I remained undeterred, and not just a little entranced by the radiant, grassy hue. Katie promised to share the recipe with those who asked, so I asked away.
I should pause at this juncture to explain something. I feel extremely fortunate to have begun cooking and baking quite early on, and equally fortunate to have developed a concomitant ability to virtually “taste” a recipe just by reading the ingredients. This sense comes in handy when I want to decide whether or not to try something I’ve never eaten before (pears and balsamic vinegar? Yes. Smoked tofu? Yes. Kale and seaweed salad? Okay. Goji berries and mint? Not so much.)
The HH, on the other hand, was not blessed with this particular brand of sensory imagination. On Sunday mornings (okay, more like afternoons), we’ll sit across from each other at the brunch table, leisurely perusing the National Post, Globe and Mail and Toronto Staras we sip on our respective hot beverages (his: hazelnut-flavored coffee with 10% real cream; mine: Krakus coffee substitute with chocolate flavored almond milk–like a mochaccino!). We’ll occasionally pause to read something of interest to the other across the plates and mugs.
Mostly, the HH reads me stories from the Business section, about how an economic disaster (the likes of which we’ve not seen since 1929) looms, say, or where to find the latest ultra-exclusive audio gadgets (did you know you can buy stereo speakers that cost over $100,000, for instance?). I read to him from stories in the Arts and Life section, about how workplace bullying is more harmful to employees than sexual harrassment, say, or how women who rate their relationships as happiest are the ones whose spouses share at least 50% of the household chores.
Every once in a while, though, I’ll forget that he lacks an ability for conceptual cooking and may emit a remark such as, “Oooh, listen to this: watermelon and basil salad. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?” To which he’ll counter with a response such as, ”Bwwwffffzztttt!” (that’s a spontaneous spraying of hazelnut-flavored coffee and 10% real cream over the Business section of the newspaper). Of course, he simply can’t imagine it.
Well, as soon as I read the list of ingredients in Katie’s dip, I knew I’d enjoy it, despite her dip-deprecating comments. And it was, indeed, lip-smackingly, lick-the-spoon delicious: creamy, with a citrusy tang and sweet, green undertones. Though he couldn’t imagine it beforehand, the HH was happy to consume a hearty portion. And it provided us both with a little dip into virtual springtime.
Because this recipe contains not one, but two veggies, it’s the perfect dish to submit to Cate’s weekly ARF/5-A-Day event, over at Sweetnicks. She posts the roundup every Tuesday evening, so feel free to check it out then!
Katie’s Creamy Aspara-Dip
This dip is quick, easy, and, as Katie wrote, “this stuff tastes terrific.” While it’s great on crackers or crudités, I bet it would make an excellent pesto-like dressing for a summer pasta salad as well. If summer ever arrives, that is.
7 or 8 oz. (about 225 g.) cooked asparagus spears
5 oz. (about 140 g.) frozen peas
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) fat-free Nayonaise (I used homemade tofu-based mayonnaise)
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) fresh lime juice
1 tsp. (5 ml.) minced garlic
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) ground cumin
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) red onion, chopped
Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until desired smoothness is achieved. Serve immediately. Makes about 2 cups (500 ml.). Store leftovers in airtight container in the refrigerator (we ate the rest of ours the next day).
* Or perhaps it’s just my incessant daily mention of it that’s getting on your nerves? Apologies. Will try to stifle.