Monday, January 31, 2011

Easy Black Bean Hummus

This afternoon I made a quick stop at one of my favorite local stores - Mom's Organic Market.  They were showcasing their organic canned black beans, and had a delicious black bean hummus to sample.  I picked up the recipe to share, definitely something I will be making soon, and I love how it's SO simple!

  • 1 can organic black beans
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 T olive or sesame oil (maybe a blend of both!)
  • Sea Salt to taste
Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  Add oil or water as needed to reach desired consistency. 

For other DC area readers - if you haven't checked out Mom's before, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Capresé Style Soup

Maryland was hit by a bit of an ice storm last night.  While the evening started off with a scenic snowfall of about an inch, it was quickly thwarted by the bully of the meteorological world, the evil "Wintery Mix." Soon, snow had turned to slush, and slush had turned to ice, and  every outdoor surface was coated with an ice glaze.  While somewhat pretty from within my nice cozy house, it is not fun to deal with.  Thankfully, it wasn't a very severe storm - the main roads were cleared relatively quickly, and to my knowledge there weren't any downed tree or power line problems.

So, while slipping and sliding my way up my front walk today after work, I began to think about how excited I am for summer.  A food blogging friend and I were just lamenting the lack of culinary creativity that strikes us in the dead of winter, and how everything is much more fun when you can grill outside, stock up on amazingly fresh and delicious veggies at your farmers market, enjoy homegrown herbs, and more.  Craving warmer summer days, I decided to do a winter version of a summer classic, and make a fresh tomato and pesto soup - let's call it Capresé style.   While nothing can touch the awesomeness of fresh summer tomatoes, the hubby and I enjoyed a 'sneak peak' of summer flavors in a dish that was still nice and comforting on such a crummy winter day.

So without further ado, here's my Capresé Style Soup


  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half.
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2-3 chicken breasts - cooked and chopped into bite size pieces (I used a time saving rotisserie chicken!)
  • 1 box of Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 cup store bought pesto sauce (I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1/3 box of small tube pasta of your choice (I used mini Penne)
  • 1 T flour
  • EVOO
  • Butter
  • S&P

Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat in a little EVOO and butter until tender and the juices have released, 3-5 minutes.  Add in the shallots and a bit of S&P and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and the bell pepper and sauté until the bell peppers are tender. Add in the flour, and stir well.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.  The pan might get very dry, but that's okay, just keep cooking and stirring.  Next, stir in your chicken and the grape tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes gets soft, about 3 minutes.  Then, add in your pesto and mix well.  Add in the chicken stock as well as 1 cup of water.  Stir well, and bring up to a boil.  Add the dry pasta, and instantly reduce heat to low.  Stir occasionally, and cook until the pasta is al dente.  Super easy, and pretty quick.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guest Post! Stuffed Crust Pizza a lá Christy!!

Mmmm...Cheesy Delicious Crust!
Well folks, you all must be starving because I haven't blogged a recipe in AGES!  Well, what's happened to this blog? Let's see.  It all boils down to two simple thing. One, I started a part time job. And, Two - I started another one!  Suddenly my days of playing housewife and wasting away the hours cooking lavish meals for the hubby are far behind me!  With that said, I AM still cooking, just a more abbreviated version of it.

Christy and her hubs - what a
beautiful picture!!
It took a gentle nudge in the form of an offer for a guest post to get me to log back in and post tonight. The nudge came from the lovely Christy H, who happens to be my little sisters best friend!  Knowing that my sister adores her, makes me adore her as well.  She's a kindergarten teacher (what lucky kids!) as well as a devoted army wife who was by my sister's side through more than one deployment.  If that doesn't instantly endear you, just read this recipe!  This is such a fun twist on pizza, and sounds absolutely delicious.  I hope you all give it a try, I know I will!

And without further ado - here's Christy's recipe!

Home made Stuffed Crust Pizza
by Christy H.

I am not a crust fan. Usually, I eat the whole slice of pizza and the crust goes to my husband or if she's lucky enough, my dog. BUT I do love stuffed crust pizza. The cheese inside the bread...YUM! We've been pretty budget conscious around our house lately and I've been trying to make as many meals at home as I could rather than ordering out (most the time it's healthier too!). So I decided to give it a go on making our own stuffed crust pizza.

What you'll need:
  • Pizza dough (I used the recipe that came with my Kitchenaid Mixer, but use your favorite recipe, or you could probably use pre-made stuff from the store, Trader Joes has some good stuff for pretty cheap!)
  • 8 mozzarella cheese sticks - I've done this with only 4 and then cut in half vertically if you don't want it AS cheesy (or if you forgot to buy extra cheese sticks! oops) but I think it was better with the whole stick
  • Garlic powder/salt and a lil corn meal
  • Sauce and toppings for your favorite pizza

What you do:

Make your dough according to the directions. I like to spread a lil bit of garlic powder/salt and corn meal before putting down the dough. It's a nice extra flavor on your tongue when you bite in! After your dough has risen spread it out onto your pizza pan or stone. Try to make it as even as possible and reach as far to the edge as possible. I'm still trying to perfect this as you can see in the photo. What I really need is someone to teach me how to throw pizza dough!

Take one cheese stick and place it at the edge of your dough. Carefully pull towards you as you roll towards the center. The extra tension will get out air. Press the dough together where it meets. 

Continue with the other 7 sticks folding over the extra dough in between cheese sticks. You should have a new shape...what is it!? an octagon!! Yes, I teach Kindergarten. Go around and press your seams again, just to make sure your dough won't unroll when it's cooking.

Before I put my toppings on I like to sprinkle garlic powder/salt on the edges (did I mention we like garlic at our house?) Then load your pizza up with whatever you want. We had supreme pizza so it was green peppers, onions, olives and mini pepperonis (seriously the cutest things EVER!)  Just for extra security, I make sure to place the cheese over the seam to help keep it together,

Follow the directions for your pizza dough (mine was 20 minutes at 450 degrees). Cut and you are ready to eat! My husband, Jon, is the pizza cutter in our house and he likes to cut in between the sticks, but it really doesn't matter. Enjoy!!