Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yummus Tacos y Taquitos

As you may remember from my Yummus post, I had a large amount of it left over from the New Year Eve party. Remembering what a friend of mine had said when I had first introduced him to hummus, "Oh, it's like a bean dip!" I decided to make tacos from the remaining hummus.

The Yummus recipe was:
  • 1/4 garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 TBS lemon grass
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
To this I added a packet of taco seasoning. The mix should be just thin enough to spread - not too thin!

Bake at about 350F for about 10 minutes (5-7 minutes if using a toaster oven). If you want a more pliable taco, bake at a lower temp for less time.

I also made taquitos since I had kids in the house that day and didn't want taco toppings all over the living room while they were playing video games. I just cut the taquitos into bite sized pieces. Some have cheese in them, some don't. The kids cleaned two plates of these!

The tacos I topped with a mix of my home-made salsa, sour cream, and avocados with some romaine lettuce thrown on top.

OMG!! It was SO GOOD!! I would buy this at a restaurant.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


For the New Year party I also made hummus for the first time. I started with the recipe from the Red Mill bag of garbanzo bean flour. [This post is mostly the making of the recipe. If you just want the finished recipe go here]

3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
2-1/2 cup water
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chicken broth (I skipped this)
1/4 cup sesame paste (I didn't have this, so I mashed 1/4 sesame seeds with a chop/blender)
1/4 cup lemon juice (I didn't have this so I added 2 TBS lemon grass instead)
1/8 tsp tabasco sauce (I substituted powdered cayenne pepper because I like it)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I totally missed this - you'll see this come up later)
salt & pepper to taste (1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp ground pepper)
1/4 cup olive oil

Which gave me this:
A hummus paste, or more accurately, lump. I wasn't sure that it was going to even work, and was short on time, so I abandoned it to the fridge until later. After all other appetizers were done, I did have time to work with it, and I had picked up tahini and lemon juice as well.

I spooned out about 1 cup of the lump and added 1 cup tahini, 1/4 cup water, and 2 TBS lemon juice and mixed until smooth. It is MUCH easier to get a smooth mix if you just mix the lump and the tahini together first, then add the water.
The flavor still was not right, so I added 1/4 tsp sea salt, mixed and tasted. Still not right. So I added 1/4 tsp more cayenne pepper and 2 more TBS olive oil. Good, but still not right. It needed some depth. It could use some more garlic, but I was going for at least one dish that wasn't garlicky.

SSB asked me if we had any Middle Eastern spices. I added 1/2 tsp paprika. Better, not quite there. There was a taste in my mind... what is it? CUMIN! It really needed cumin! So I added 1/4 tsp cumin, tasted and added 1/4 more. Perfect! Then I looked at the original recipe and noticed that it actually had cumin in the ingredient list and I had just missed it. Silly me!

Here is the final result. The little dish to the right is my trial dish that I used to try out a few variations before I made the changes to the main mix.

My final recipe for a batch was probably close to this:
  • 1/4 garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 TBS lemon grass
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
Put everything into a mixing bowl and blend using a chopping/blending handmixer until smooth. If it is too thick, add a little more liquid (lemon juice if you like a snappier hummus, olive oil if you like a super smooth hummus, or just water if all is good and you just need it so you can get a chip into it!). And of course, all spices are adjustable to taste. If you are not serving immediately, you should bring to room temperature before serving. This is great with flatbread chips/crackers, rice chips, or tortilla chips.

If you want a garlicky hummus, just add more garlic!

It was delicious! And I got lots of compliments at the party for it not only being really rich, but amazingly smooth! And I had so much of the original lump left over that I made it up for work as well, and it was a hit there too! I also had enough of the lump left to make another yummy goody that I will post about later.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Apple Brie Flatbread

Earlier this year I had the good fortune to attend a drug rep dinner being hosted at a local up-scale restaurant that I had never been to. The food was amazing! But the item that I came away thinking, "I have got to figure out how to make THAT" was the Apple Brie Flatbread. It was a crispy, almost cracker flatbread topped with apples, brie, nuts, carmelized onion/shallot, and balsamic vinegar reduction. YUMMY!!!

It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was figuring out a bread recipe. I have a fantastic bread machine book that I got from Borders (a very dangerous place for me!). If you love bread, get this book! The recipes will work great as hand-mades too. I often just make the dough with the machine and bake the bread in my oven. That is the case with the flatbread I made for these appetizers.

There are a lot of flat breads in the book, but I chose Carta di Musica as it seemed the closest to that nearly-cracker flatbread.
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (I actually used 1 TBS C&H dark brown sugar, cuz that's what I like!)
  • 1 tsp yeast
Put it in the bread machine in this order and run it through the dough cycle. Take the dough out and cover with a piece of plastic wrap while you work. Break off a small piece, about the size of a walnut. Roll out the piece to as thin as you can get it. It helps to keep the dough from sticking if you ocassionally oil the rolling pin. As you finish rolling each piece, place it in a stack under a piece of plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

Once you have enough rolled to fill a cookie sheet, place them on the pre-heated sheet and bake them in the oven at 450F for 10-15 minutes. For this recipe, you will want to take them out while they are still light as they will go back into the oven for a second baking.

The topping is fairly self explanatory: apples, brie, nuts, carmelized onion/shallot, and balsamic vinegar reduction.
  • The apples can be any kind. I like to use sweet, crisp apples like my current fav -- Honeygold.
  • I love Joan of Arc brie, unfortunately my grocer has been having trouble getting it so I picked up some Delice de France. I liked this very much as well. It is different in that it is stronger, but it is delicious!
  • The nuts could be walnuts, pecans, hazelnut, almost any nut -- I LOVE pecans, so that's what I used.
  • My son does not like onions, so I skipped the carmelized onion/shallot part. It is very good though, so you might want to try it yourself. I recommend using either shallots or very sweet, mild onions like Vidalia. Slice them thinly and cook over medium low heat until carmelized.
  • I used about 6oz of balsamic vinegar. It needs to be reduced to something resembling molasses by heating it over low heat for about half hour. DO NOT LET IT BURN!
Thinly slice or dice the apples and brie and place desired amounts of each on the flatbread pieces. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction over the topped flatbreads (if you accidentally reduced it too much to drizzle, just add a little water or more balsamic vinegar). Place in the oven until the brie is melted.

OMG!! THESE ARE DELICIUOS!! They were so great, I didn't even get a chance to take a picture before half of them were devoured by onlookers at our New Year Eve party! These are best fresh from the oven, but can be re-heated in the microwave or eaten cold as well.


There was a New Year Party at my house, and I was inspired to make some very yummy appetizers. I'm going to make each recipe a new post, so watch for the others over the next few days. I'm going to start out with double tomato bruschetta.

When my son asked me what bruschetta was, the best I could come up with was "Italian salsa". I think that is a fairly good explanation. I got this recipe from AllRecipes. I read through the comments before I chose it, and ultimately made it, for ideas. Many said MORE BASIL AND LOSE THE CHEESE. The following is what I ended up with after making some slight changes:

* 6 roma tomatoes, chopped
* 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes softened in 1/8 cup olive oil
* 3-6 cloves minced garlic
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used Alessi - my favorite so far)
* 1/3-1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
* 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 French baguette (I use the New French Bakery Take and Bake brand - THE BEST!!)
* 1/8 cup olive oil

The original recipe calls for sun-dried tomatoes in oil, but I only keep the dried variety -- so I just took some of the oil called for in the recipe to soak my dried tomatoes. Chop them up when soft enough. Mix with the chopped Romas, basil and minced garlic. Add the two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper.

This smells DELICIOUS freshly made, but the flavors are still pretty separate at this point. This can actually be good when you are going for dramatic, but if you want subtle, well melded flavors, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.

The original recipe calls for the mix to be put on the cut pieces of baguette then broiled until the cheese is melted, but, I agreed with the commenters that suggested serving the mix on the side and allowing people to add their own topping -- not everyone likes the same amount of topping, plus the toast will stay toasty. SO, right before serving, cut the baguette into 1/2-1" slices, brush with olive oil and broil to toast.
Serve the mix at room temperature with the toasted baguette. I also had a dish of Romano cheese that could be sprinkled over the top.

The bruschetta was very easy and very popular. I will definitely be making this again.

One thing I might try next time is reducing (boiling down) the balsamic vinegar a little to deepen the flavor, but this was also great as is.

Another note: I brought the left overs to work on Friday (about 36 hours later) and it was even BETTER!