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Hummus & Spicy Beef Bites

hummus

As much as it pains me to call hummus a dip, for the sake of this post let’s just say it is. I’m sick of the same old boring chips and dip options.

So, this Superbowl, I’m making this little crunchy suckers. Hummus with spicy beef and toasted pine nuts on cabbage chips.

They are very tasty, and it doesn’t hurt that they are very healthy either.

I’ve posted on “how to make hummus” before. So, make your hummus in advance, and make sure it’s nice and creamy.

It’s pretty quick to put together. Dice up some onions, throw them in a pan with some oil and sautee till soft. Then add the ground beef. Let it all cook. Add some paprika and chili powder. Make it as spicy as you like.

While it’s cooking, take some cabbage leaves and cut some squares out. Spoon some hummus on top.

The ground beef should be done by then, add it on top of the hummus, sprinkle some toasted pinenuts and paprika. Drizzle some olive oil, and serve!

Roasted Cauliflower & Pomegranate Tahini Sauce

I love roasting vegetables. It is my favorite way of consuming natures bounty. If you don’t like cauliflower I will bet that you will love this dish. That’s how good it is! It’s also very quick and easy. Traditionally in Lebanese cooking cauliflower is deep fried and then eaten with lemony tahini sauce. This is a healthier play on that with no frying.

To start take a whole cauliflower head and cut off the stem. Slice apart the florets and half any huge ones. Place them in a bowl and generously coat them with vegetable oil and a sprinkling of Kosher salt. Put them in a pan and place them in a 475 degree preheated oven. Cook them for around 4o-45 min with occasional flipping. You could also initially cover them with aluminum foil for the first 20 min and get them tender fast. You just need to make sure it doesn’t “steam” till the end. They need to be roasted so make sure there is enough oil on them to bring out the sweetness. They should be a bit firmer and slightly darker when you pull them out. Sometimes I just stop here, add some salt or a squirt of lemon and I’m good to go. But this time, the sauce is madness, so lets keep going…

While the cauliflower is cooking, its on to the sauce which is really what this dish is about. It’s very easy. All you need is some Tahini paste (the sesame paste normally used in making hummus), pomegranate molasses and some water.

Pomegranate molasses has a tacky texture and is dark in color. It is sweet and sour at the same time and is a great addition to any vinaigrette. You can usually find Tahini at Kroger now, but I’m not sure about the pomegranate molasses. It is a staple in middle eastern stores if you have one near you. If not, your best bet is to order some online.

Take 4 large tablespoons of Tahini and 2 of the pomegranate molasses then a few tablespoons of water to it and whisk. You may adjust the amounts as you like. If it is too nutty for you add some more pomegranate, just be careful it’s not too sour. Adjust the thickness via the water. It needs to be similar to that of maple syrup. I cannot give an exact measurement on the amounts because each pomegranate molasses has a different thickness and the recipe should be adjusted to taste. If its too sour for you try adding a little more tahini and water.

Once its just right and the cauliflower is done, just drizzle it on top and serve! This can also be served cold and is great wrapped in pita bread sandwiches. The natural cauliflower sweetness that comes out in the roasting pairs beautifully to the nutty & slightly sour sauce that it sits in. So good. You absolutely must make this. The flavors are like nothing you have had before. Enjoy!

Hummus – Roasted Red Peppers – Avocado

Hummus

EVERYONE and their mother loves hummus. This is my old school Lebanese recipe. It’s vegetarian/vegan of course, as humus should be! No bacon to muck it up please.

I like to make it from scratch, meaning, dried chickpeas / garbanzo beans. If you want to save time, you can just used canned chickpeas and skip the next few steps.

You have to start the night before. Take a little over 2 cups dried beans and soak them generously with 1 teaspoon baking soda.

The next day, before boiling, just wash them out and add to a pot and immerse in water. Make sure all the chickpeas are submerged and there is enough water for them to absorb.

Hummus

Boil it for at least 20 min. Make sure the chickpeas melt when put in your mouth. Check on them regularly. Don’t over cook or the whole thing will turn to mush and you will have a saucy hot mess.

Consider yourself WARNED about the over cooking and one more thing…DON”T cover the pot or the water will foam up and boil over onto your stove. Don’t forget then blame me, aight?

Hummus

For the recipe start with

  • 4 cups cooked/canned chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tahini (ground sesame seeds)
  • don’t forget the salt

Hummus

Use a food processor if you have one. If you don’t you can use a blender, but it will come out chunkier and you will need to work in smaller batches.

Add the chickpeas first and start blending. WHHRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr (sound of blender, yeh, im a dork)
Hummus

keep going…WHHRRRRrRrrrrrr
Hummus

Till the garbanzo beans are pulverized
Hummus

Add the garlic….then WWWHHRRRRRR (I add less because my hubby likes it less garlicky)
Hummus

I love mine lemony so I use 1/2 cup, but you can add less if ya like..then…WHHHRRRRRR..

Hummus

Then let it WWWHHRRRRRR while you slowly drizzle in the tahini. The more you add the creamier it is.
Hummus

And Voila. Hummus…yum yumm…
Hummus

Now you can go ahead and plate it and eat, or like out the bowl or whatever you like…or….
Hummus

OR…jazz it up a bit and make a hummus TRIO!

You will need some avocados and some Roasted Red Peppers

Hummus

This doesn’t need precise measuring. I added 2 avocados to about a cup and a half of the hummus puree.

WHHHRRRRR……

Hummus

It was sooo green and yummy….next time i might even add some tomatoes and onions and make Guacummus…get it? Yeh, again, I can be realllly not funny, but you know you laughed anyways 🙂

Hummus

On to the peppers….WHHHRRRRRrrrrr

Hummus

and more yum!

Hummus

I wanted to spice up the presentation and plate it up appetizer style, layer the 3, act like I’m Martha Stewart…so your welcome in advance for the following hummus food porn.

Hummus

Hummus

Hummus

Hummus

Hummus

Hummus

Like I said..no need to thank me 🙂 Also, check out the Baba Ghanoush I made.

always uncut,

Mira.

Basturma – Lebanese Armenian Pastrami

BEWARE : beef heavy post ahead

Basturma

Basturma is one of those things that has a lot of memories for me. Piling up in the car, heading to the Armenian side of town, into the deli. The wafting smell of spices. Hot fresh crunchy French bread, tangy garlic sauce, crisp pickled Persian cucumbers, and lots of thinly sliced spicy salty Basturma.

Ok, so its not technically pastrami, but it is related. It is originally a Turkish dish, and was adapted by many including Albanians, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians and Lebanese.
Basturma

Bastourma, or Pastirma, is simply a cut of meat that is dried and cured with a mix of spices. The process is not as simple and has many steps. I don’t know the exact recipe, but it starts out with salt curing it for days to pull out all the moisture. Letting it dry, by putting weights on it. Then, cover it in a paste of crushed cumin, fenugreek, garlic, and hot paprika, followed by thorough air-drying. The paprika should be spicy. This whole process does not take less than 3 weeks.
Basturma
Basturma
Basturma

I have never made it myself . It is available at a local meat market, and it’s sold for around $9.00 a pound. I buy 1/2 a lb and ask the butcher to slice it real thin. I don’t dare buy more because it really doesnt last around me, lol. I start munching on the thin translucent buttery slices the minute I’m in my car. The soft beef, with fat ribbons has a salty addicting taste that is just punched up with the spicy thick paste on the outside.

When it does make it home, its great with eggs in the morning, or just simply on a pita with some mayo. Just don’t blame me if you get addicted.

Lebanese Mutabal – Baba Ghanoush

Mutabal - Baba Ghanoush

Remember the  Baba Ghanoush I made last week? Well, what I’m posting about is what the west considers as Baba Ghanoush. In Lebanon, we call it Mutabal. Just wanted to be clear on the two. I don’t care what you call either, because they are both YUMMY!

Now, you prepare the eggplant like I did in the baba ghanouj post. I still prefer grilling the eggplant if possible to give a smoky taste, but its good to just pop em in the oven and make a bunch for a big batch. You can easily freeze the rest too.

What you need for the Mutabal:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4  Tb tahini
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil

And thats it! Can you believe something so yummy is so simple.

Add the garlic and lemon.

Mutabal - Baba Ghanoush

I decided to use an immersion blender. Most people use a blender.

Mutabal - Baba Ghanoush

Add the tahini.

Mutabal - Baba Ghanoush

and blend blend blend. Salt to taste, and also add more tahini or lemon as you like. Its very forgiving.

Mutabal - Baba Ghanoush

You drizzle olive oil on top, and garnish with paprika and parsley.

Mutabal - Baba Ghanoush

Now, try making that and tell me you don’t love me. 🙂

Pacman eats Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ganoush

Little arabic lesson, Baba Ganoush, really pronounced “Ghannouj”, is literally translated as “father cute”. Don’t ask. I have no idea why.lol.

I have one issue with the western adaptation of this dish. Baba Ghanoush and Mutabal are often mixed up and interchanged. They are very similar dishes, but are distinctly different. Baba Ghanough contains no tahini whatsoever, while Mutabal does. It is frequently Mutabal that is refered to as “baba ghanoush” in the west.

SO, I decided to introduce you to the REAL Baba Ghanoush. Very simple recipe. Completely vegetarian/vegan, healthy, and quick. Best part is it holds up well in the fridge and you can enjoy it for several days…mine is usually gone before it even cools 🙂

It is best served cold. And I think the eggplant is one of the least utilized veggies, so here it is, an ode to you my aubergine friend!

First, you start by repeatedly stabbing ur eggplant friend…all over…way to start off a friend shipBaba Ganoush 

Next, place in preheated oven at 350F for about an hour or till tender. Don’t cover it or put any oil or anything. Simply pop them in after stabbing em.

Now the traditional way calls for burning over an open flame on the stove, but this is far too messy for me, as it requires you to put it directly on the stove top flame. If you have a maid (i don’t), then go for it.lol. Otherwise, into the oven they go. The only negative is you don’t get the smoky flavor.

Pull em out when they are as wrinkly as your grandmothers buttocks. Sorry, too much?

Baba Ganoush

Then, carefuly peel off the skin(after it cooled), keeping the flesh intact. If you have cooked this enough, then it should be fairly easy. Baba Ganoush Baba Ganoush 

I like to take out the seeds, just simply pull out the ‘sacks’.Baba Ganoush 

Now this is VERY important. Grab the eggplant between your plams and squeeze. SQUEEEZE. You will be surprised how much water comes out. Keep doing it till barely any comes out. If you don’t you will end up with a soggy mess.

After, just roughly dice it all up. I like it chunky. 

Other ingredients you need:

  • 1 tomatoe
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt 

Crush garlic, and squeeze the lemon into the eggplant. Add salt. Mix. It should be really lemony to be good.Baba Ganoush 

Top with the tomatoe, then the onion. Then drizzle with olive oil. You can add mint or parsely.Baba Ganoush  

Baba Ganoush 

Then guess what happened? PACMAN decided to join.Baba Ganoush 

Sorry, i’m a nerd. I couldn’t help it.Baba Ganoush

So basically this is delicious and I ate it all then licked the plate. Your turn to eat real Baba Ghanoush.Ok? Ready, set, GO!

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