Jalapeño Lime Hummus

20140202_164427My sister-in-law and brother-in-law throw a super bowl party every year. My sister-in-law is a fabulous cook and an amazing hostess. As a small contribution to the endless spread she had prepared, I made jalapeño lime hummus. It was my first time trying the recipe and I will definitely be making it again. I loved the combination of the lime and jalapeño with the garlic nuttiness of the traditional hummus. Next time I make this, I will blend the peppers with the chickpeas and spices instead of adding them on top so that the flavors are evenly blended.

I apologize for the poor quality pictures. My DSLR decided to blink its angry, red, change-my-battery message at me right as I started cooking. 

IMG_4040Do not be alarmed by the number of jalapeños in this photo. I quadrupled the recipe below to make hummus to serve 30 people.

IMG_4056Jalapeño and Lime Hummus

Recipe modified from The Kitchn

Makes about 2 cups

2-3 jalapeños
2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Tahini**
1 teaspoon cumin-coriander powder (you may also substitute 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp of coriander)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons minced cilantro
Pita slices or Pita chips for serving

Roast the jalapeños on the stove. Flip every few minutes until the peppers are charred all over. This process takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the heating capabilities of your pan and stove. Move the charred peppers carefully to a heat safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool.

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From this…

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…to this.

When the peppers are cool enough to touch, peel off the charred skin to reveal the moss green cooked pepper beneath. Remove the stem. Slit the peppers down the middle, remove the seeds, and slice them into thin strips. Set them aside. Be careful when you handle the jalapeños. I washed my hands at least 4 times after I finished cooking, but when I went to the bathroom to slather moisturizer on my face, I inadvertently set my face and eyes on fire. Jalapeño oils are extremely strong, so be wary.

Remove the skins from the chickpeas. It is tedious, but it makes the hummus significantly smoother. If you are in a rush, don’t worry. Skin or sans skin, it still tastes the same.

Pour the chickpeas into the food processor with the lime juice, garlic, tahini, cumin-coriander powder, and salt. Add the olive oil gradually as you start processing. Blend until desired texture.

Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the sliced jalapeños. Adjust to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving (a step I failed to do and wished I had).

Garnish with minced cilantro, jalapenos, and lime wedges. Serve with pita slices or pita chips.

**Tahini recipe: Roast 2 1/2 cups sesame seeds, tossing frequently, for about 5-10 minutes. Do not let them brown. Cool the seeds. Toss them in a food processor with 3/4 cup olive oil and blend until desired consistency. Yields about 2 cups.

20140202_164334Enjoy!

Munchies: Homemade Dark Chocolate and Almond Bites

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Today, my friend and roommate made these delicious dark chocolate and almond bites using two simple ingredients. They make for the perfect dessert: sweet and rich enough to satisfy a craving without overloading on sugar. We no longer feel the need to run out to the store at 1 a.m. to satisfy our chocolate craving (yes, this has happened on more than one occasion). These little bites are richer than any chocolate bar we have tried, mostly due to the amazing féves we used from Whole Foods. I had never used these chocolate discs before, but the quality is apparent. I may never use chocolate chips again. IMG_2613

Dark Chocolate and Almond Bites

1 pound 72 percent cacao chocolate féves

1 1/4 cups roasted whole almonds

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave the chocolate féves in a bowl for 20 seconds on the lowest power. Stir and continue microwaving in 10 second increments on the lowest power setting until melted. You could also melt them over the stove, but in an attempt to make it quick and easy, we used the microwave.

Stir the almonds into the melted chocolate and spread onto the prepared baking sheet in a 1/2-inch-thick circles. Make sure the nuts are completely covered in the chocolate. We made our first batch in about 2 inch bites. We made the second batch slightly smaller in 1 inch bites. Refrigerate the chocolate bites for about 10 minutes or until hardened.

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A French Soiree

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After a several week hiatus, I am back, hopefully more organized to post regularly without large gaps of MIA-ness. This past weekend I threw a bridal shower for one of my dear friends. I used France as an inspiration for the shower and tried to incorporate soft colors, elegant typography, fun mustache elements, and lots of homemade goodies as best I could with my limited budget.

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The bride to be once told me that if she could have a swimming pool filled with champagne she would swim in it all day. Thus, a mimosa bar only seemed appropriate.

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In lieu of a traditional guestbook, there was a faux-photobooth set up for guests to take pictures with a message to the bride in front of a giant heart I made using doilies. The DIY mustaches and lips on sticks were fun props for guests to use.

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For the shower favors, I bought unpackaged organic soap bars from Whole Foods and wrapped them using kraft paper, lace, and twine. I printed the labels on champagne metallic cardstock and punched them out using a 1.25″ circle craft punch.

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The radiant bride-to-be and I right before the cake cutting.

Stay tuned for recipes and DIY projects coming your way!

Last Minute Sandwiches

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Yesterday, in the middle of an intense study session, my fiance and I both agreed it was time for a dinner break. I opened the fridge, hoping some leftovers would magically appear. Unfortunately, they did not. I decided then to whip up some tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I did not have the pepper jack cheese which is usually my grilled cheese staple. Instead I had a small slice of brie, a slice of Spanish manchego, and a tiny piece of aged gouda. So, as a variation of the traditional grilled cheese, I made grilled brie sandwiches and a manchego-fig sandwich once the brie ran out.

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Grilled Brie Sandwich made with brie, fig jam, and strawberries

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Grilled Manchego sandwich with fig jam

If I were to do this again, I would switch out the fig jam in the brie sandwich for something spicier, like a jalapeno jelly, to balance out the sweetness of the strawberry and add some greens (spinach or kale) for some crunch.

In the Manchego sandwich, the fig jam worked much better to balance the nuttiness of the manchego. However, I would add some caramelized onions for some substance.

Happy Grilling!

Munchies: Dark Chocolate Fudge

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Everyone who knows me knows the key to my heart is chocolate. Case in point: every single birthday present I received this year from my family (which includes Neeraj’s family) involved chocolate. Yes, I am a lucky girl.

That being said, I am currently devouring the dark chocolate fudge bar Neeraj brought me from Crumbs Bake Shop in New York. They are known for their fabulous collection of cupcakes ranging from mini bites to the colossal size. Although they have a limited number of locations in the U.S. (mostly clustered on the East and West coasts), they do offer shipping within the continental United States. Crumbs’ chocolate bars are customized for sale in their shops by Astor Chocolate.