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!

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Mini Raspberry Parfait

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Parfaits are a perfect healthy treat. With Thanksgiving in a few days, it is nice to have a few easy nibbles on hand for the madness of friends and family. Even with the massive amounts of food being prepared for meals, having snacks allows guests to freely grab a bite in between scheduled mealtimes. If your guests are anything like me, a hungry belly usually leads to an angry grouch. Snacks are always a welcome remedy.

These mini raspberry parfaits are incredibly easy to make and are the perfect size. Fill them in cute disposable cups like these to avoid extra dishes in the sink.

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Mini Raspberry Parfait

Greek Yogurt

Granola

Raspberry Pie Filling

Cinnamon

Honey

Scoop the pie filling with a spoon into the bottom of the glass. Add the Greek yogurt on top. Drizzle with honey and cinnamon. Layer the granola on top of the yogurt. Drizzle with honey and cinnamon. Continue as needed.

Pie Filling

3 pints fresh raspberries

1/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

A pinch of nutmeg

1/4 cup of water

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

1 pint fresh raspberries

Cook and stir the 3 pints raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a saucepan with the water over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is thickened. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the butter and remaining 1 pint of raspberries. Stir gently so as to make sure the raspberries do not disintegrate into pulp. Allow to cool. If putting in the fridge, make sure and cover them with a cake cover to prevent the granola from going stale.

Serve and enjoy!

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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.

Enjoy!IMG_2602

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Champagne Cupcakes

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A few weeks ago, I threw a bridal shower with a French theme featured here. My theme for a French Soirée emerged from my friend’s (and bride-to-be’s) love affair with champagne. Her fiancé proposed to her in a winery in Napa where they spent most of the day sipping champagne at the champagnerie next door. Thus, it only seemed appropriate to incorporate this into her bridal shower.

I have never been particularly fond of alcohol in my baked goods mostly because the flavors are too strong for me. But these petit sweets were definitely an exception. The amount of champagne was just enough to provide flavor, without overpowering the cake itself.

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Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures while I was making these and only have pictures of the end product.

Recipe modified from 52kitchenadventures.com

Mini Champagne Cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup champagne

For the Champagne Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon table salt

4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

4 tablespoons champagne

3 drops red food color

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with parchment cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one as you continue to beat. Add the vanilla and mix.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix together the sour cream and the champagne until the mixture is homogeneous.

Alternate adding the flour and sour cream mixtures to the large bowl (with the sugar-butter mixture). Mix well.

Spoon the batter into each cupcake liner until about half full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool.

For the frosting, beat the butter on medium speed. Add the confectioners sugar and beat at low speed until completely mixed. Add the vanilla, salt, heavy whipping cream, champagne, and food color. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached.

Pipe or spread the frosting on cooled cupcakes. I made the mistake of piping my frosting before my cupcakes had completely cooled and it turned into more of a glaze than a frosting.

Makes 50 mini servings

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Bon appétit!

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

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There is nothing that screams teatime sophistication more than little cucumber sandwiches. Traditionally, tea sandwiches are made with fluffy white bread and their crusts are removed. For the bridal shower, I opted to use a whole grain bread and keep the crusts intact, complete with their oat lined goodness. The rich butter with a strong kick of garlic combined with the cool spiced cucumbers were a perfect blend for the hot Houston afternoon. I can’t wait to try new combinations of these little sandwiches: maybe olive tapenade on focaccia or apple and brie on french bread or tomato with a sharp cheddar and marinated red bell pepper? Or what about a dessert tea sandwich? The possibilities are endless.

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced very thinly (I used my mother’s homegrown Armenian cucumbers and eyeballed the number I needed)

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pepper to taste

3/4 cup softened unsalted butter

4 fresh garlic cloves minced

Thin-sliced bread

Lightly salt the cucumber slices and place them aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper. Add the cucumber slices, coating them well, and let them sit in the mixture for several hours. I let mine marinate in the fridge overnight so that I could quickly put my sandwiches together the morning of the shower.

Combine the butter and the garlic and whip them together until they are well blended. Spread the garlic butter mixture on one side of each slice of bread.

Arrange the cucumber slices on half of the bread slices and top with the other half of the slices. Slice them into quarters or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Serve.

Depending on how many cucumbers you put in each sandwich and how much garlic butter you spread you can get anywhere from 30-40 sandwiches. I ended up with around 30 sandwiches.

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