Category Archives: Cool Cooking Techniques

Got 5 Minutes? Make Hummus — Just Like That

Five-minute hummus with cinnamon-scented chicken.

Five-minute hummus with cinnamon-scented chicken.

 

These days, hummus is so ubiquitous that you can pick up a tub at most any store. You can even find snickerdoodle and brownie batter hummus — abominations that are enough to make the mind reel and the taste buds go into perpetual hiding.

But for a real treat, try making hummus yourself.

In his first cookbook, “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Chef-Owner Michael Solomonov of Philadelphia’s landmark Zahav restaurant, provided a detailed recipe for making hummus from scratch with dried chickpeas that need to be soaked overnight before being cooked until — yes — mushy to get the best consistency.

In his second cookbook, Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy, Solomonov and business partner Steven Cook acknowledge that few Israelis make hummus at home because they can get their hands on great versions so easily at supermarkets or hummusiyas.

Israeli Soul

In contrast, the quality of store-bought hummus in the United States can vary greatly, as anyone who has bought a tub can attest. To make it easier for home-cooks here, Solomonov provides a more streamlined hummus recipe in his newest cookbook that makes use of canned chickpeas instead. “5-Minute Hummus” really does come together as fast as it implies. As Solomonov quips, it will take you longer to clean your food processor afterward than it will to actually make this wonderful hummus.

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How Bitter Do You Like It?

The crispy edges on this broccoli rabe are addictive.

The crispy edges on this broccoli rabe are addictive.

 

Broccoli rabe can be rather polarizing.

Its bitter, mustardy bite can be a salve to some and downright too much to swallow for others.

The traditional method of preparing it involves first blanching it, then shocking it in ice water before draining it, and finally sauteing it with olive oil, garlic and pepper flakes.

That multi-step process does the trick, though. It thoroughly tames the broccoli rabe, erasing nearly all of its pungency so it ends up tasting fairly mild like regular broccoli.

But wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to cook it that didn’t require two pans and a bowl of ice, to boot?

There is. All it takes is turning on your broiler.

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Shredding It In The New Year

Your new go-to dish in the new year.

Your new go-to dish in the new year.

 

Another new year. Another pledge to exercise more, snooze more, disconnect from the electronics more, and of course, to eat more tofu.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

You know come Jan. 1, you promise yourself you’ll eat better. This is an easy way to keep your word.

Because “Shredded Tofu with Spicy Ground Chicken and Edamame” not only incorporates good-for-you tofu, but is effortless and delicious.

It will also teach you a new nifty trick with tofu.

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Can We Say Kung Pao Cauliflower?

All the flavors of Kung Pao chicken in vegetarian form.

All the flavors of Kung Pao chicken in vegetarian form.

 

There are many theories as to why Jews flock to Chinese restaurants on Christmas Day.

Some say this affinity, which dates back to the early 19th century, started because Jews and Chinese immigrants shared the commonality of being outliers in a new land.

Others say it’s because these were the only establishments open on the holiday, as Chinese restaurants famously never shut their doors.

I think it’s because who wouldn’t want to celebrate with family and friends around a big round table laden with winter melon soup, steamed dumplings, roast duck, a heap of chow mein and the like?

Whatever the reason, Chinese food definitely deserves a place at the holiday table. “Kung Pao Cauliflower” makes it super easy to inject a little Asian spice, no matter what else you’re serving.

Staub Cookbook

The recipe is from the new “The Staub Cookbook: Modern Recipes for Classic Cast Iron” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It was written with Nashville-based Amanda Frederickson, a former recipe developer for the Williams-Sonoma test kitchen.

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Sponsored: Add Pizzazz To Your Holiday Baking with New Pazazz Apples

A gluten-free, crust-less dessert made with new Pazazz apples.

A gluten-free, crust-less dessert made with new Pazazz apples.

 

There’s a new apple in town. And it’s full of pizzazz.

Or should I say pazazz?

The Pazazz apple is a descendent of the Honeycrisp. So if you love the latter as I do, you will go nuts for the new variety, as well.

Like the Honeycrisp, the Pazazz is crisp as can be, making it an ideal apple to eat out of hand. It has just enough tartness to balance its flavor. I think it has a fuller, more winey taste, too.

The process of creating this apple started a decade ago through cross-pollination with a Honeycrisp. The Pazazz is now grown by family orchards across the country, and available at Safeway stores.

Just say "Pazazz''!

Just say “Pazazz”!

When I received samples recently, I knew they would be ideal to bake with.

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