Middle Eastern hummus recipe with pita bread

Why blog about a dish that so many people already know how to make? I wasn’t really planning on posting this recipe actually but people have been commenting that this is the best hummus they have ever had. I do have a few secrets that make this hummus so good. So here they go …

If you have been following my blog you can proably guess easily … the most important one is … to cook the chickpeas for 3 hours or less for pressure cookers, of course. This is a must IMO if you are looking for that special flavor. You can use canned beans but will not get the same results. My other secret is to use lots of tahini. Recipes usually call for a few tablespoosns … no I use a 1/2 cup and you get this wonderfully nutty sesame flavor. Oh and of course the seasoning is important too. I use cumin, garlic .. So that is the recipe secrets … enjoy!

For those of you who are not familiar with hummus, it is a delicious chickpea based paste from the Middle East. It is made with mashing the chickpeas and adding tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. It can be served as an appetizer, a dip or to accompany other dishes.

… so since I am talking about my hummus recipe … I would like to introduce you to my new gadget, a manual food chopper by Briefton. My 20 year old Krupps food processor just broke and I was trying to find a replacemnt. I couldn’t find anything that I liked on the market right now and then came the idea … why not get a manual one? … so I did. And yes, you can make hummus with it too. I’m not trying to advertise this product, just would like to talk about a nice alternative to the electric one if anybody is interested. I should mention that the hummus will not be as smooth as when you use a food processor but we think that it is still tasty and definatelly bit chunkier …

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of uncooked chickpeas or 2 1/4 cooked (14oz can)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 larger onion
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil + more for serving
  • 1-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 5 Tbsp liquid from the beans or more
  • smoked paprika powder for serving
  • sumac for serving
  • olive oil for serving

Directions

Clean and soak the chickpeas overnight but at least for 8 hours. Drain liquid and cook in fresh cold water with baking soda for 3 hours, less if using a pressure cooker, of course. Take off foam at the end.

Chop onions in a food processor of your choice.

Add the beans and puree.

Add all the rest of the ingredients: tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, liquid from the beans, olive oil and continue mixing.

Continue until all ingredients are well chopped and blended. Hummus should be a nice paste in consistancy.

Add more salt, garlic and liquid from the beans if needed. If your tahini was dried out, you will need to add a few tablespoon of the cooking liquid for sure.

Serve with pita bread. (On a side note, these are very tasty. I made them smaller and cooked them at 475 F instead 500F ). Drizzle generous amount of olive oil on the top. Sprinkle the smoked paprika and chopped sumac (optional) on the top.

enjoy!

Text, recipe, photo by twincitiesherbs.com.

Source for the pitta bread: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/143045564/posts/4728

Oatmeal pancakes

This is a recipe that I borrowed from my daughter. She has been making it for herself so she doesn’t have to eat my pancakes. Then I realized it is actually good. The pancakes are very simple but nutritious and delicious. Basic ingredients are oatmeal, eggs, bananas … oatmeal, eggs, bananas … oatmeal, eggs, bananas … that is it and just add a few things to make it taste better. Of course, this is a very kid friendly recipe.

Dairy free and gluten free with the substitution of gluten-free oats. 

RECIPE

Serving: generous portion for 1 adult

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oatmeal, coarsely ground (use gluten-free for gluten free version)
  • 1 1/2 crushed ripe banana
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, I used apple spice (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • lemon zest (optional)
  • oil for baking
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • syrup of your choice
  • fruits (optional)

Preparation

  • Lightly beat eggs in a medium sized bowl.
  • Mash the banana and add to the bowl.
  • Add 1/2 cup of oatmeal to a blender and blend until you get a coarse flour consistency. Add to the bowl.
  • Add baking soda, cinnamon, lemon zest, salt. Mix.
  • Just like any other grains, I like to let the mixture soak for a few hours but it can be baked right away.
  • Bake in a preheated oiled pan on medium low heat on both sides for 3-4 minutes. Flip over and bake for a few minutes. Both sides should be nice and golden brown in color.
  • You can add fruits on top of the pancakes while baking in the pan.
  • Serve with fruits, nuts and syrup.

enjoy!

Source: unknown

Photo, text by twincitiesherbs.com

Fresh salsa recipe

Salsa is one of my favorite sauces. It is easy to make as it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. You can spice up many dishes with it and it can be made of course as spicy as you like it.

The most important ingredient is the tomato. You will need ripe, soft and tasty tomatoes. My favorite heirloom tomatoes are not ready yet but I find the hydroponic tomatoes a nice alternative. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use canned tomatoes, of course the results will not be the same. Also, I personally just use the tomatoes as they are and don’t remove the skin or the seeds.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, cored
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, chopped or 3 scalions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • juice of 1 lime or lemon or 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • handful of cilantro,chopped
  • 1/2-1 fresh chili pepper or jalapeño pepper, chopped or to taste

Directions

  • Chop up the tomatoes. I prefer using a very sharp knife. You can use a food processor but your salsa will be more liquidy and IMO not as strong tasting.
  • Add all the other ingredients.
  • Mix.
  • Serve in a small dish.

enjoy!

Recipe, text and photo by twincities.herbs.

Italian spinach/mushroom lasagna (vegetarian)

I have been making lasagna recently quite a bit. It is not too hot outside yet so I can turn the oven on but we want something on the lighter side too … so this dish seems to fit the bill. Of course, you can make this dish any time of the year. Lasagna is an Italian specialty. Traditionally, it is made with layers of tomato sauce based ragu, cheese and béchamel sauce. In this dish, I replaced the meat with spinach, mushrooms and cheese. I served it with red wine that seemed to compliment it very nicely.

Spinach is a great vegetable for the spring, it is hardy and nourishing for the liver.

Of course, an important part of the lasagna is the pasta. The best is if it is home made but good, high quality packaged pasta will do too.

Also, the cheese is also important. Try to get the best quality you can afford. Honestly, when I was in Italy, the first thing that I noticed was how tasty the cheese was in their dishes. I like to use a mixture of cheeses, here I used fresh mozzarella cheese balls, feta cheese and Parmesan cheese.

I make my own Italian seasoning but of course any store bought mix would work too. I think this is a nicely balanced mixture of spices grown in Italy. They are carefully selected herbs so one herb will not overpower the other. Also, they all are carminative therefore will help with digestion. Historically, we can thank the ancient Greek doctors who added these herbs to dishes so people can get their benefits all year along.

The warming, aromatic oregano is the key ingredient in pasta dishes. I like to use it because it gives a nice, distinctive flavor to Italian dishes. The sweet fennel seeds are acrid and compliment the strong aromatic oregano in the dish. The delicate basil is probably the most loved and popular spice used in Italian cooking. If you can, try to use the fresh plant instead of the dried. Its aromatic flavor is a nice addition to any Italian dish. The pungent chili pepper is not a big part of the Italian cuisine but Italians enjoy adding a little to their pasta dishes. The oregano and the fennel seeds both can offset the heat of some stronger spices.

Italian seasoning

2 TBSP (6 tsp) dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil or handful of fresh basil

2 tsp ground fennel seeds

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/4-1/2 tsp hot red pepper or to taste (optional)

RECIPE

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients

  • lasagna pasta (I used 10 strips)
  • 10-16oz spinach (frozen is fine too)
  • 4-8 oz chopped up mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • 2 slices of bacon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce + (more for the top and the bottom if needed)
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for the filling, 1/2 cup for the Béchamel sauce)
  • 8oz (100g) fresh mozzarella balls
  • 8 oz (200g) of feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp of Italian seasoning plus more for the top
  • handfull of fresh basil leaves (if you have them)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • About 4 oz grated Mozzarella cheese for the top

Bachamel sauce ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks (optional)

  • Rosso Piceno wine. Bottled by Saladini Pilastri 2018 (optional) It is the best and not expensive!
  • parsley leaves (chopped)

Directions

Start boiling the water for the pasta (omit if your pasta does not need to be boiled).

Preheat the oven to 400F and have the rack in the middle of the oven.

Making the filling: In a pan, sauté bacon (optional) and mushrooms in a little oil for 5-10 minutes. Transfer into a bowl. Meanwhile wash and take stems off the spinach. If using frozen spinach of course no need to do it. Sauté in a little oil and water. Remove and try to drain off water. Chop spinach well and transfer into the bowl. Add mashed feta cheese, tomato sauce, 1 egg, garlic, 1 Tbsp of the Italian seasoning (see recipe above). Mix.

Preparing the béchamel sauce. It is not too hard, just follow the steps. I used a whisk. Warm up 5 Tbsp of butter on low heat, when melted increase the heat to medium high and add the flour slowly, stirring continuously. Then start adding the milk very slowly, stirring after each addition and wait for a minute to let the flour mixture soak up the milk. When you start seeing bubbles, it is done. Take off heat. Grate some nutmeg. Add 1/2 cup of Gruyere cheese (optional) and 2 egg yolks. Last time I forgot the eggs and the sauce was still fine. So I will add here that it is optional especially if you are already adding cheese. Mix well. I use a double boiler but is not necessary.

Prepare the lasagna pasta according to its directions. If you need to boil the pasta, put it in the boiling water that was started in the first step. Proceed according to its instructions. When done take out of the water and try to make sure they don’t stick to each other. I like to cook the pasta more at the end to prevent sticking. So try to make sure you have everything ready before the pasta is ready so you can start assembling the lasagna.

Assembling the lasagna: Put a thin layer of the béchamel sauce or tomato sauce on the bottom of a 3 Qt size baking dish. (2Qt size will work ok too). Place 1 layer of the pasta strips on the bottom of the pan. Put the filling on top of the pasta, followed by the fresh mozzarella balls (cut up if using the larger balls), pour the béchamel sauce and top it all with another layer of the pasta. Spread some pasta sauce and the shredded mozzarella cheese on the top. Sprinkle some Italian spice on the top.

Turn the oven heat down to 375F and put the lasagna in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is nice and golden brown.

Serve hot with a little grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley on the top. I really enjoyed a glass of red wine with the dish. I felt like I was in Italy! I would recommend this bottle of red wine if you are looking for one to try (please see details above in Ingredients).

enjoy!

Source

  • Matthew Wood: Earthwise
  • Paul Pitchford: Healing with Whole Foods

Photo, recipe, text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Coronavirus truffles

Honestly, this is just too cute to pass … It is not a cure for the corona virus but might help your kids, the young ones and the older ones alike, get through the quarantine time. Oh and the oreo cookies should be still available in the grocery stores. Recipe is from Rozina’s kitchen.

Recipe

makes 11 truffles

Ingredients

  • 24 Oreo cookies
  • 113 gramm cream cheese
  • handful of goji berries or cranberries

  • Have cream cheese at room temperature.
  • Grind the Oreo cookies into a fine powder consistancy. You can use a food processor or a rolling pin.
  • Work the cream cheese in with the Oreos.
  • Form smaller, 2″ balls with your hands.
  • Stick goji berries into the truffles.
  • We refrigerated the balls for a half hour before serving.

Directions

Enjoy and stay well!

Source

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/136488425/posts/31232

Hungarian egg-drop soup (tojásleves)

Hello, I’m writing this post from voluntary quarantine. I believe most of my readers are effected by the virus one way or another. My recipe may be helpful for getting through these difficult times although I normally make it quite often. It is very simple, tasty and nourishing as the main ingredients are eggs, caraway seeds and broth. It is the Hungarian version of a hot and sour soup that can be served with the semolina croutons or any bread croutons that you can buy in stores. Please check this website for more info on caraway seeds.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • Broth (vegetarian or meat based) or water
  • oil (vegetable or lard)
  • 1 smaller onion, finally chopped
  • 1 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • about 1 cup of semolina flour + 2 eggs or bread croutons
  • dehydrated vegetable seasoning (optional)
  • parsley, chopped
  • Hot pepper to taste

Directions for the soup

  • Have 1/4 cup of cold water ready
  • Sauté the onion in a medium sized pot until translucent.
  • Add 1 Tbsp flour, stir for 1 minute.
  • Add 1 tsp paprika for stir for 1 minute.
  • Add the water that was set aside from the first step, stir well.
  • Add stock, bay leaves, and caraway seeds. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Separate 2 eggs and lightly beat the yolks. Add a small amount of liquid from the soup, mix. Slowly add to the soup while stirring the soup.
  • Add vinegar and dehydrated vegetable seasoning (optional)
  • Season with salt, black pepper and hot red pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with semolina croutons or bread croutons.

Direction for the semolina croutons (optional)

  • Lightly beat 2 eggs. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp oil.
  • Add about 1 cup of semolina flour or as much what the eggs takes up. You should get a dough that is dry enough so you can pick it it up and make it into a circular shape.
  • Let it sit for 1 hour if you can.
  • Pan fry this dough in a lightly oiled frying pan on both sides until golden brown.
  • Take out of frying pan and cut up into squares.

Enjoy!

SOURCE

Recipe, text and photo by twincitiesherbs.com.

Chana masala (Indian chickpea dish)

Chana masala is a delicious Indian dish that would be great for the spring. I still vividly remember the first time I had chana masala at a friend’s house. He had us over for dinner when his parents came to visit like 25 years ago. I did not even recognize the chickpeas … I actually thought they were chestnuts. I never got the recipe but his mother gave me some tips. (Thanks to the internet I found this recipe on line and I think it is very close to what we had that night).

Chana means garbanzo beans and is the main ingredient in the dish. IMO it is crucial to prepare these beans properly. I remember our friend’s mother told me to cook the beans for a long time. They should be cooked for 3 hours or you can use a pressure cooker according to its instructions, of course. Cooking for this long will soften the beans and let the flavors come out. So if time is not an issue, I would recommend home cooked chickpeas instead of using the canned ones. The canned beans will not have the same results for sure.

Garam masala is the main spice in the dish. It is not just one spice but is actually a cleverly chosen mixture of a few spices: fennel seeds, star anise, mace, black cardamom. It is nicely balanced so one flavor will not overwhelm the dish. You can blend it yourself or you can just buy it. (I ended up buying it at the store).

This is a common dish that people in India make on a regular basis for lunch or dinner. It has an interesting flavor, taste and texture. It can be made less spicy, if you don’t like spicy dishes, just leave out the green chili. So chana masala is basically a chickpea curry cooked in an onion tomato sauce with the spices. I always wonder how poor people in India get by on very little money and still eat well. This dish might be one of their secrets …

RECIPE

-I doubled the recipe

serves 3-4 people

  • 1 cup of dried chickpeas or 1 (15oz) can
  • 3 cups of water

Ingredients for the tomato sauce

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil/ghee
  • 2 large onions, finally chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch ginger piece, finally chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2-3/4 TBSP of red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for the chana masala gravy

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick (If you double up the recipe, you will not need to add another cinnamon stick)
  • 2-3 clove pieces
  • 3 green cardamom pods without the shells.
  • 1 green chili pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 pinch mango powder (amchur) (optional)
  • fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • coriander leaves

Directions

Clean and soak the chickpeas for at least 8 hours. Pour off soaking liquid. Add fresh cold water and cook for 3 hours. Less for pressure cooker. Save cooking liquid. Omit if using canned beans.

Directions for the tomato sauce

  • Sauté the onions in oil or ghee until golden. Add the chopped ginger for 1 minute, stir.
  • Add red chili powder and turmeric. Stir for 1 minute. Add garlic quickly, stir.
  • Quickly add chopped tomatoes and little salt, stir. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until there is a nice sauce. The onions should not taste raw.
  • Let this mixture cool. Add 1 tbsp liquid from the beans. Make a thick gravy with a blender. Set aside.

Directions for the Chana masala gravy

  • Dry heat the spices (cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cardamom, clove) in a pot for 1 minute until you can smell the aroma of the spices. Stir. I grind the cardamom as some people don’t like them in their foods whole.
  • Pour the blended tomato sauce mixture from the previous step back into the pot, the chopped green chili pepper, coriander and garam masala powders and the spices.
  • Mix and cook for a few minutes until ingredients are mixed nicely.
  • Add the cooked chickpeas and the cooking water. You might have to add more water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  • Taste the mixture and see if you need more garam masala. Boil and simmer for 2 more minutes if spices were added.
  • Take out the larger spices like bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves.
  • I also added salt here.
  • Keep it covered until served.
  • Serve hot with cilantro, yoghurt, lemon, rice, vegetables and roti.

enjoy!

Source

https://www.indianhealthyrecipes.com/chana-masala/

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is an Italian coffee flavored dessert. It is made with layers of lady fingers dipped in coffee and the egg/mascarpone mixture topped with chocolate. This is a simple dessert that you can whip up easily. Really wow your family, guests and they will think you are the most amazing chef…

You will need Italian lady fingers. I believe it is a must and you can buy it fairly easily. I got mine at Whole Foods but you can even get it on Amazon or make it yourself. (In Europe, people always have a package of lady fingers at home).

Traditionally, raw eggs are used to make tiramisu. I use fresh, local eggs but you can use heavy whipping cream as a substitute so you do not need to worry about raw egg issue. Of course, the cream will make it heavier and richer. In Europe, eggs are not a problem but in the US, eggs are processed differently and might not be fresh. If you decide to use eggs, here is the egg test. When you immerse your egg in a pot of cold water, it should lie flat on the bottom. If it goes to the top or even one side starts moving up, do not use the egg. You can only use eggs that are fresh here. I will have instructions for both versions, the only raw egg version and the alternative version using cream and cooked egg yolk.

What kitchen equipments do you need? 1 medium sized dish for whipping the whites or the cream, 1 larger, medium sized dish for the egg yolk/mascarpone, one 2 Qt sized deep dish for the tiramisu. 1 double boiler if cooking the egg yolk. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a metal bowl that fits on the top of a the bottom pot securely but does not touch the bottom of the pot. 1 whisk, 1 plastic scraper, 1 sieve. Optional but nice if you already have them: coffee maker, handheld mixer and food processor. Plastic wrap for refrigeration.

Separating the egg white from the yolk can be a bit tricky if you are new to baking. When cracking the egg, tap the egg on a flat surface. Taping on the edge of the counter can push the shells in and then you end up with egg shells inside your egg. Also, I like to put the egg white individually into a separate smaller bowl first to make sure the egg is not addled and no yolk is mixed in. Then you can pour it into a bigger dish that is suitable for whipping the whites and collect the rest of the eggs whites. My daughter uses a plastic bottle and scoops out the yolk to separate the whites from the yolks. Of course, the egg yolk can go into a medium sized bowl that will be used to mix egg yolk and mascarpone.

Another key ingredient is mascrapone. Yes it is expensive! … but it is the main ingredient and is worth it! So what is mascarpone anyway? It is like cream cheese but is creamier and has a higher fat content as it is obtained from cream and not from milk; cream cheese has 35% while mascarpone has 70% fat.

The recipe uses alcohol. I used dark rum. In my opinion, it suits this rich dessert better but the light rum is fine as well. Amoretto works well too. If you don’t want to use alcohol, simply use vanilla or almond extract instead.

To assemble mascapone, you can use different size dishes. If you want to put it all in one big dish, you can use a deeper dish that is 2Qt in size (I used a rectangular dish that is 11.5x8x2inches). But you can use anything even circular dishes. Sometimes I use ice cream serving dishes and make tiramisu individually. Just make sure that lady fingers are tightly laid down.

Coffee gives tiramisu the distinctive, interesting flavor, so yes you will need a good strong Italian espresso. The lady fingers are dipped in the espresso so make sure you make a good strong brew. 1 1/2 cup of espresso should be enough for dipping. (If you have left overs, you can drink it or pour it on your plants). For 1 1/2 cups of water, I used 1/3 cup of coffee beans that is 2 1/2 Tbsp ground coffee. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, purchase the coffee already ground. If you have an espresso machine, great! If you don’t, no worries! We have a simple Italian coffee press that works well. If you don’t have either just use a pot and a sieve and make it like a tea.

This dish is definatelly a make ahead dessert. It needs to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours but one whole day is even better … but honestly, I think it tastes the best after 2 days … although that might be too long to wait … Otherwise, if you use fresh eggs, it should be consumed within a few days and if you use cream and cook the yolk, you can keep it for a week in the refrigerator.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of strong espresso at room temperature (1/3 cup of coffee beans or 2 1/2 Tbsp ground coffee)
  • 28 lady fingers, might need more
  • 6 (divided) Tbsp of rum/amoretto/vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs (whites and yolks separated) at room temperature
  • 16 oz COLD mascarpone
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 sugar
  • coco powder
  • shaved chocolate for decoration, optional
  • 2 cups COLD heavy whipping cream (if not using egg whites)

Directions for the raw eggs version (If you can’t use raw eggs please use directions below).

  • Take the eggs out of the refrigerator. They need to be at room temperature.
  • The mascarpone needs to be cold so keep it in the fridge until you need it.
  • Make the espresso. Pour it into a shallow dish with a flat bottom along with the 3 Tbsp of rum. Coffee needs to be at room temperature.
  • Dip the lady fingers in the coffee quickly one at a time for a few seconds. Lay the dipped lady finger in a dish nice and snug.

  • Making the tiramisu sauce. Seperate the eggs.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the yolk with a pinch of salt and mix for 6-10 minute or until you get a nice creamy consistency. Keep checking, do not over-beat. You want to get a nice creamy, pudding like consistency. Here we are adding air to the yolks to increase volume.

  • Add the 3 Tbsp of rum and mascarpone to the egg yolk. You can use a whisker or a hand held machine on low speed. Beat until just combined and smooth.
  • Whip up the egg whites until the whites are solid for about 2-3 minutes. When you turn the bowl upside down, it should not fall out of the bowl. You can use a food processor, electric mixer or you can do it by hand. Do not over beat. Keep checking.
  • Add the egg whites to the egg/mascarpone mixture. Don’t mix but gently fold it in. You just need to incorporate it into the yolk mixture keeping its fluffiness. Make sure to scrape from the bottom of the bowl to catch any hidden pockets of flour.
  • Pour half of this mixture on the lady fingers that are already in the dish.
  • Put another layer of the coffee dipped lady fingers on top of this mixture.
  • Pour the other half of the tiramisu mixture on the lady fingers.
  • Gently sprinkle some coco powder on the top through a sieve.
  • Cover the dish with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or 2 full days.
  • Serve with shaved chocolate, optional.

Direction for the cream and cooked egg yolks version

  • Take the eggs out of the refrigerator. They need to be at room temperature.
  • Mascarpone and cream need to be cold. Keep them in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
  • Make the coffee. Pour it into a shallow dish with a flat bottom along with 3 Tbsp of rum. Coffee needs to be at room temperature.
  • Dip the lady fingers in the coffee quickly one at a time for a few seconds. Lay the dipped lady finger in a dish nice and snug.
  • Making the tiramisu sauce. Seperate the eggs.
  • Prepare the double boiler by bringing some water to a simmer in the bottom pot.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the yolk with a pinch of salt in a pot or metal bowl that would fit the bottom pot and mix with a whisker for 8-10 minutes over low heat or until you get a nice creamy custard consistency. Keep stirring continuously. Here we are adding air to the yolks to increase volume.
  • Add the 3 Tbsp of rum and the mascarpone to the egg yolks. Beat until just combined and smooth.
  • Whip the chilled cream for about 2-3 minutes or until it is solid. When you turn the bowl upside down, it should not fall out of the bowl. You can use a food processor, electric mixer or you can do it by hand. Do not over-beat.
  • Add the cream to the egg/mascarpone mixture. Don’t mix but gently fold it in with a plastic spatula. You just need to incorporate it into the yolk mixture keeping its fluffiness. Make sure to scrape from the bottom of the bowl to catch any hidden pockets of flour.
  • Pour half of this mixture on the lady fingers that are already in the dish.
  • Put another layer of the coffee dipped lady fingers on top of this mixture.
  • Pour the other half of the tiramisu mixture on the lady fingers.
  • Gently sprinkle some coco powder through a sieve on the top.
  • Cover the dish with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or 2 days.
  • Serve with shaved chocolate, optional.

enjoy!

Gourmet kitchari (moong bean stew)

I don’t know if the ground hog’s prediction is right or wrong but it is still cold here. So let’s go to a more exotic place like India and get a popular dish. No worries, no exotic foods will be used. You should be able to find all the ingredients here in the US at any grocery store. If your grocery store does not have them, you can try any Indian or Asian store but really all these ingredients are common in the US. I serve the dish with whatever vegetables I can get in the store, spinach, kale, cauliflower etc.

This dish is more of a gourmet version of the simple kitchari with the addition of mustard seed, cinnamon, cardamom and chili pepper. You can also add your favorite vegetarian dishes to make it more complete and fun. I used spinach, paneer, fried mushrooms and rice. Kitchari is such a healthy dish even if you serve it with all these other foods. If you want to experience the healthiest dish on the planet, please check out my simple kitchari recipe from last year.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup of mung beans
  • vegetable oil (I used home made ghee. )
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 10-15 mustard seeds
  • 1″ stick of cinnamon
  • seeds of 3 green cardamom pods (discard green shell)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of stock (more if you want a soup)
  • 1 green chili pepper (you can remove the seeds if you don’t like your dish too hot)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • yoghurt
  • cilantro
  • lime or lemon

Direction

  • Clean and soak mung beans overnight but at least for 2 hours. Pour off water and use fresh cold water to cook the beans for 1-1.5 hour.
  • Making the gravy. Saute the onion on medium high heat. You can add the cinnamon stick.
  • When you smell the nice aroma add the ginger, cardamom seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the powders (turmeric, cumin, coriander), stir. Add garlic, stir.
  • Add 1 chopped tomato and cook for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes saucy.
  • Add chopped chili pepper and cold stock, stir.
  • Bring to a boil, turn down and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add in the cooked moong beans and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve warm with rice, yoghurt, cilantro and lemon.
  • I also used paneer, spinach stew and fried mushrooms.

enjoy!

Recipe, photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

White black bean chili soup

-can be vegetarian

This tasty soup is a fun twist to the regular chili soup. The difference is that the beef is replaced with turkey or chicken and the chili beans are replaced with black beans but otherwise it is very similar to the well known beef chili soup … just even better in our opinions. Of course, you can add all your favorite foods that you would otherwise add to a chili soup.

The biggest change in the recipe is the meat. Many people prefer the lighter turkey or chicken meat. The chicken or turkey is very nice here, the thigh gives more flavor and is cheaper but the breast would work well too.

Maybe it would be more accurate to call this soup black and white chili soup. The white makes sense with the white meat but I used black beans instead of white beans because I think it has more flavor. Of course, you can use either.

EDIT: I decided to make a minor change to the title to better reflect what this soup is all about so I added black bean in the title. I have been calling it the white chili soup for years so I did not even give it much thought when I posted the recipe. I apologize but this will be more accurate otherwise it is still the same tasty soup recipe.

I decided to post this recipe now because beans especially black beans are great in the winter. The warming black beans have a sweet flavor and nourish the kidneys. They are antibacterial, anti-parasitic, detoxifying and have high levels of disease fighting antioxidants, numerous vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber. In addition, it has heart, skin protecting and anti-cancer properties. It also improves digestion and is great for overall health. It is native to the Americas and have been used for thousands of years. No wonder the natives ate it with almost every meal.

I like to make up my own chili spice, please follow the recipe below or you can use whatever you have on hand or buy it in a store already made. It is cheaper if you buy it in bulk vs buying in a jar and has no additives either.

You can experiment with the vegetables of course, I added corn, carrots and green beans. In the summer, I like to add zucchini too. But please feel free to add whatever you would like.

Vegetarian readers might be wondering if this soup could be made vegetarian. The answer is yes! – you can take out the meat and just use vegetarian stock and I also added eggs. I have made it without meat, it is tasty.

Surprise your guests at a party or just treat yourself. Honestly, we believe that this version is even tastier than the original soup.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey thigh or breast
  • 28 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 5 tsp of chili seasoning (please see recipe below)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • chicken stock
  • 3 medium sized carrots, sliced
  • 8 oz corn (frozen)
  • 8 oz vegetables. I used green beans. Also zucchini would be fine
  • 2 cups of uncooked black beans or 28 oz of canned beans
  • salt and pepper
  • yellow cheddar cheese
  • chips
  • sour cream
  • cilantro

Chili seasoning ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp (3 tsp) chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preparation

  • Wash and soak beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Pour off the liquid and wash well. Add cold filtered waterm and cook for 2 hours or until soft but not falling apart. Omit if using canned beans. The home-made beans are well worth the extra effort though, they taste so much better.
  • Make the stock. Omit if using ready made stock.
  • Heat oil in a large pot with a large surface area. Add the chopped onion, celery and the chopped up bacon, sauté for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent and render the bacon.
  • Add 5 tsp of the chili seasoning, mix. Add the crushed garlic cloves, mix.
  • Quickly add the tomatoes, stir. Add the tomato pure and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes make a nice sauce.
  • Add the carrots and enough stock so the liquid covers the soup well. Cook for 1 hour or until the carrots are soft.
  • Add the corn and the vegetables at the end so they can be cooked for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the beans and more stock to cover everything.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with sour cream, chips, cilantro.

enjoy!