Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

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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Relishing the Simplicity of Rice and Peas

So simple, so satisfying -- Italian rice and pea soup.

So simple, so satisfying — Italian rice and pea soup.

 

Peas and rice make more than nice.

Together, they make total comfort in a bowl, too.

In fact, “Rice and Peas” (Risi e Bisi), an almost porridge-like dish of Italian rice, pancetta and peas reminds me very much of Chinese congee. But it’s quicker to make. Yes, imagine that — an Italian version of Chinese jook, if you will.

The recipe is from the wonderful new cookbook, “Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey,” of which I received a review copy. It’s a beautiful coffee-table book. But with fuss-free recipes you will actually make. It’s a collaboration between National Geographic, which provides the photos and narrative about the various regions in Italy, and America’s Test Kitchen, which came up with the recipes.

Read a travel log on each distinctive region of Italy, then get to know it even better by cooking one of its iconic dishes. For instance, “Rosemary Focaccia” from Liguria, Italy’s northern Mediterranean mountainous coastline; “Jewish-Style Artichokes” from Lazio, home to Rome, famed for its thistles; and “Tuna with Sweet and Sour Onions” from Sicily, an area awash in olive groves and citrus trees.

TastingItaly

For generations, Venetians have served “Rice and Peas” (Risi e Bisi) on April 25 for St. Mark’s Day to celebrate spring peas and to shine a spotlight on rice producers in the Veneto region.

But nowadays, frozen peas mean you can enjoy this dish anytime.

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Sensational Seared Miso Mushrooms

What's in this bowl? An umami bomb, that's what.

What’s in this bowl? An umami bomb, that’s what.

 

There are only three ingredients in this recipe and none of them is meat. Yet you won’t believe the powerhouse of earthy, meaty flavors it possesses.

The secret is red miso.

“Seared Miso Mushrooms” is a recipe from the new cookbook, “Feasts of Veg: Plant-Based Food for Gatherings” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Nina Olsson, a Sweden-based photographer and recipe developer who created the blog, NourishAtelier.

The book is a collection of vegetarian recipes that take influences from around the world. Think “Caramelized Onion Tarte Tatin,” “Smoked Tofu Rillette,” “Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos,” and “Sweet Tahini Babka.”

Feasts of Veg. jpg

Miso is made from soybeans fermented with rice or other grains. If all you know is the lighter tasting white and yellow varieties, it’s high time you tried its deeper, darker cousin that’s been fermented even longer. It is much more pungent, with a much deeper and stronger earthy funkiness that will give anything it touches a big boost of umami.

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Slow-Braised Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni and Whipped Ricotta

Whipped ricotta with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil finish this lamb ragu with rigatoni.

Whipped ricotta with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil finish this lamb ragu with rigatoni.

 

Winter’s chill begs for a robust dish.

One that demands an equally powerful wine alongside, too.

So stir up a big pot of “Slow-Braised Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni and Whipped Ricotta” and pop open a bottle of Italian Barolo — and you can’t go wrong.

The recipe — and pairing — is from the new “Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking” (Lorena Jones Books), of which I received a review copy.

It was written by Dana Frank, a Portland sommelier who co-owns the wine bar Bar Norman and urban winery Bow & Arrow; and cookbook writer Andrea Slonecker.

Wine Food Cookbook

Packed with more than 75 recipes, this book makes pairing easy and understandable, by not only suggesting the best wine for each dish, but giving recommended producers, too.

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