I have a fear of deep-frying things.
Well not so much a fear, as an unshakable ambivalence.
And no, not just for health reasons. I’ll happily order deep-fried calamari, french fries, falafel, or agedashi-doufu at a restaurant. I’m just eternally reluctant to make them at home.
My history with deep-frying things is short and tinged with disappointment:
Paula learned how to make perfect pita bread! I possibly love her even more now.
It took a lot of trial and “error,” but without any real errors, since her pita bread has always been successfully delicious, just not always successfully puffy, as good pita bread should be. Now that we’ve finally cracked the code, it’s time to share the recipe with you.
But first! Why you should make your own hummus:
I’ve gotten a lot of comments over the past few pesto-related posts about how I’ve inspired people to make homemade pesto. I’m here to say that hummus is another recipe you should add to your homemade repertoire. Unless you don’t own either a blender or a food processor– but even then, you could possibly borrow your neighbor’s… (I’ve done it.) The point is, hummus is pretty painless to make, and you can make it your way. No preservatives; you choose all of the ingredients; and you can mix things up a little: try making avocado hummus, smoky chipotle hummus, or– another favorite in our house– cilantro/jalapeño hummus (the recipe I am waiting to post until I’ve pickled my own jalapeño peppers).
Who else gets way more excited about lemon tarts than about chocolate cakes?
(And who else is– or was– eternally tempted yet intimidated by lemon tart recipes? Read on!)
Maybe I’m the odd one out, but even with all of the chocolate-y icing-smeared treats out there, tangy fruit tarts are my kind of dessert– and this one takes the cake.
Sweet and sour. Fresh and citrusy. Practically as refreshing as it is indulgent.
I made this tart last week to welcome my parents to California and to celebrate my mom’s birthday. (The perks of having a food blogger for a daughter!) …but then I sliced myself a piece to take these photos, even before my parents had arrived. (The downside of having a food blogger for a daughter!)
Happy spring! I made you a winter salad.
Sorry that I am so behind the times (especially when two weeks ago I was so ahead of them!).
It’s going to be a shorter and photoful post today because my parents are visiting me in Santa Barbara. They needed a break from the dreary, snowy Wisconsin winter, so this week we’re taking a beach walk a day, and enjoying lots of California sunshine, citrus fruit, and avocados.
This is the story of how I accidentally invented Chana Masala Hummus.
But let me back up for a minute. Chana Masala is one of my favorite Indian curries. Tender, hearty chickpeas nestled in a rich tomato and onion-based sauce, with hints of roasted cumin and the kick of fresh cilantro.
When I lived in Japan, I occasionally made myself cilantro-less Chana Masala, since rural western Japan suffers from a sad lack of the controversial herb. (I also paid up to $3 a can for the only chickpeas I could find– in the tiny “international foods” section of a department store that mainly sold clothing and make-up!)
It’s already March! That means it’s theoretically almost spring!
This past weekend it got up to a summery 76 degrees in Santa Barbara, and I decided I’d post a spring-like pasta dish for this week’s recipe. Then, as the week went on, the temperature proceeded to drop 30 degrees and a dense dark fog settled over the mountains, threatening rain.
Today’s chilly, rainy weather is decidedly less spring-like– and more southern California-”winter”-like– but out of stubbornness (and not having any other recipes ready), I am sticking to my original pasta plan.
Perhaps through sheer force of will– and a suspension of squash-eating– we can lure spring into being a little early this year.
This might be the perfect pasta dish for the borderline of winter giving way to spring. It’s green and fresh tasting– especially if you juice up your basil pesto with fresh lemon the way I do– but it’s also hearty and filling. I mean, pasta with potatoes? Talk about redundant. On the other hand, winter’s dwindling days might be the perfect time to tuck into one last big bowl of hearty pasta before salad season really arrives.
Before I dive in to this week’s post, if you didn’t catch the link on the Spontaneous Tomato facebook page earlier this week, I am honored to be this month’s featured interview on the Flavorful World website! My interview is the February edition of Flavorful World’s “F.A.Qs” (Food Adventurer Queries) series. Check out my Q&A about everything from Japanese food to some unexpected results of creating a food blog.
When I visited Belgium and the Netherlands in 2011, my friends who lived there were all raving about Speculoos cookies and Speculoos paste. So much so that they convinced me and Paula to bring one weighty jar of Speculoos paste back with us from the Netherlands to California (along with an embarrassing number of boxes of De Ruijter chocolate sprinkles).
Turns out, we also could have just waited a year for the North American version, Biscoff, to appear on store shelves and food blogs everywhere.
Speculoos are Belgian/Dutch spiced shortbread cookies that taste kind of like gingerbread cookies without the ginger; although– don’t get me wrong– they’re delicious! Speculoos paste, though not the most appetizing title, is the even more delicious spread ostensibly made of ground up Speculoos cookies.