Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photo Blog: Pesto-Making

This is just a simple little photo blog. I decided to make some pesto this afternoon and photograph the process, just for fun. Enjoy :)


Monday, October 18, 2010

Adventures in Hummus: Pasta Edition

I've been on a hummus kick lately, but that "kick" has almost exclusively consisted of dipping a variety of snacks -- Wheat Thins, pretzels, veggies -- in the delicious and healthy dip/spread. I have had it on a pita and with falafel before, but I started to think, "There's gotta be more I can do with this stuff." Last week I made some scrambled egg whites for breakfast and on a whim, put a few dollops of Tribe roasted red pepper hummus on top, and it was delicious.

Yesterday at Pathmark, I bought some artichoke-garlic Athenos hummus, which I've never had before. I was dipping pretzels in it today at work, and I have to admit, I wasn't too crazy about the flavor. I think I'm just not an artichoke fan. Anyway, while fantasizing about dinner, I did some brainstorming. I remember reading in one of my Rachael Ray mags something about tossing hummus with pasta. I didn't want this hummus to go to waste, and I thought if it was combined with a variety of other ingredients, the flavor wouldn't bother me as much. Long story short, this was my final plan: toss whole-wheat spaghetti with sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes I already had in the fridge, and make a sauce out of this hummus!

Pasta with Hummus and Sautéed Veggies

  1. Cook pasta (I recommend whole-wheat spaghetti) and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine 2 parts hummus, 1 part water (use your judgment with the amount of hummus to use, depending on how much pasta you're making).  Stir and place on low heat.
  3. In a skillet, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté chopped mushrooms until tender and browned, and add some chopped tomatoes at the very end.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To the skillet, add the pasta and hummus sauce.  Mix well.

The verdict? Using hummus as a pasta sauce is, in a word... interesting. It adds a creaminess much different from that of Alfredo sauce, for example. And I was right: the nuttiness of the pasta, meatiness of the mushrooms, and sweetness of the tomatoes all counterbalanced the "funny" taste I didn't like about the hummus, but you could definitely tell the hummus was there. And this was so, so easy to make.

Next adventure in hummus? MAKE MY OWN! Hmmm, perhaps that will be a blog in the very near future.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lord, I was born a ramblin' (wo)man...

Sadly, there has not been much to blog about lately.  Life events, busy schedules, getting home late... keeps me from doing what I enjoy in the kitchen!  The only things I have really "cooked" lately were some box-mix and frosting-from-the-can (cringe) cupcakes to bring to work last week, and some mac & cheese last night that I spruced up with ground pork and red bell peppers. Otherwise, Paul and I have made close friends with the Wendy's drive-thru. I gotta say though, their Pick-2 deal is pretty sweet. I get a half-size chicken pecan salad - their healthiest salad with mixed greens, grilled chicken, apples, pecans, dried cranberries, and low-fat pomegranate vinaigrette - and a baked potato. Proof that fast food doesn't have to kill your diet! And even though I haven't been able to dedicate much time to my kitchen, I have been dedicated to fitting in some exercise when I can. Working out for 15-30 min., 3-4 times a week makes a world of difference for my energy level and overall mental/physical/emotional well-being.  I can now jog non-stop (no walking breaks) for 20 minutes! Haven't been able to do that in about 5 years! I am becoming familiar again, though, with the shin splints that plagued me during my high school track team years. Need better running shoes. ...This is the most rambling post ever.

Anywho, I am determined to make time this weekend to whip up some good quality home cookin'.  We attempted to go apple-picking last weekend, but all the good ones had been picked over and the only ones remaining were hail-damaged.  We are going again this weekend, so hopefully I will come home with a bushel of apples and can whip up all sorts of apple-related dishes.  *Fingers crossed!*

We did, however, enjoy Milburn Orchards' market shop and pumpkin "patch".  It wasn't pick-your-own, but we picked up a cute lil' pumpkin which is now on our front stoop.  We got some of their fresh apple cider, homemade apple butter, and fresh apple cider donuts.  Holy crap, those donuts were good. We also got some romaine lettuce, snow peas, and of course some gummy bears for Paul.