Posts Tagged EVOO

Good Karma’s Awesome Hummus Recipes

Hummus-Recipe-1There’s nothing quite like Hummus. It’s so versatile, and so tasty, and there are so many ways to serve it. I confess that there are days when I buy Hummus ready made. Sabra makes a great Hummus. But there’s nothing like making your own because you can make as many permutations as you like!

I got turned onto Hummus way back in the 80’s when I spent a lot of time eating at a great restaurant called Grendel’s Den in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was awesome. That’s where I learned you could serve Hummus with more than just pita bread.

We’re going to start here with five recipes for Hummus, but I can guarantee you that I will be posting several more as the winter months progress.

All of these recipes call for roasted garlic. It’s much better when the garlic cloves are roasted before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. Garlic is sweeter after roasting, and the flavor isn’t overpowering. It doesn’t take rocket science to roast garlic. Toss the cloves in a 350-degree oven lightly coated with olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on it. It could take less time, it could take more. You want the garlic to be slightly browned and softened, but not burned.

Lemon-Garlic Hummus


1 16-oz can chick peas, drained and liquid reserved

1/4 cup reserved liquid

4 tbsp Tahini paste

5 tbsp lemon juice

5 cloves garlic, roasted

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp olive oil

Olive oil and paprika (for garnish)


Roast the garlic and set aside. Put all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth. Remove to a serving bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Place in a serving bowl, make a small well in the center, add some olive oil, and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with pita chips, warm pita bread, cucumbers, petite carrots, pepperoncini, whole pitted Kalamata olives, and red onion slices.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


1 16-oz can chick peas, drained

1/3 cup Tahini paste

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, roasted

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

3/4 cup roasted red peppers


Roast the garlic and set aside. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with several strips of leftover roasted red peppers. Serve with pita chips, fresh cut red pepper strips, red onion strips, and warm pita bread.

Jalapeno Hummus


1 16-oz can chick peas, drained and liquid reserved

1/4 cup reserved liquid

2 Jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded and chopped

1/3 cup Tahini paste

3 garlic cloves, roasted

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp Kosher salt


Roast the garlic and set aside. Put all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl, create a small well in the middle and add olive oil, garnish with strips of Jalapeno peppers. Serve with warm pita bread, blue corn strips, and Pepperoncini.

Black Bean Hummus


1 16-oz can black beans, drained

1/4 cup Tahini paste

3 garlic cloves, roasted

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

3 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground chili powder

1/2 tsp Kosher salt


Roast the garlic and set aside to cool. Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with blue corn chips, warm pita bread, and fresh pepper strips.

Roasted Pine Nut Hummus


1 16-oz can chick peas, drained and liquid reserved

1/4 cup reserved liquid

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts

3 tbsp Tahini paste

3 garlic cloves, roasted

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp olive oil


Roast both the garlic and pine nuts and set aside. Add all of the ingredients, reserving the 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts for later. Puree until smooth. Put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with the reserved 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts. Serve with warm pita bread, red onion strips, pita chips, and fresh red, orange and yellow pepper strips.

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ratatouille-image_1Before we begin, let’s establish that we’re not talking about the Disney movie here. There are a million variations on this particular theme. Make mine a million and one. This French concoction can be a side dish, or it can be a main dish (with rice pilaf), or it can be an appetizer. Pick your poison. Everything that is used in this recipe is roughly chopped…not too big, and not too small. Leave the skin on everything except the red (or Bermuda) onion. I use cilantro here, but you can also use parsley if you’d like. My problem is that I’m not a great lover of parsley, with the exception of specific recipes. I think cilantro (often referred to as Mexican parsley) is a much more interesting taste.

Another basic staple in my house is Balsamic Drizzle or, as some call it, Balsamic Cream. I like to drizzle some on mine but this is entirely optional.

This is a project for sure. Everything cooks in stages initially, and it comes out best if cooked slowly. Cooking it for less time will leave you bigger and more distinct pieces of vegetables. Cooking it for up to 1.5 hours will result in a more blended silky stew. The beauty of this is that it can be served warm or room temperature. And leftovers? Nothing like it. Roll it up in a piece of lavash bread or throw it in a pita pocket, melt some Italian Fontina on it, and have yourself a great lunch. It can also be frozen.


2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

8 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 large red (or Bermuda) onion, roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped

2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms

6 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 medium-large eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes

3 zucchini, sliced and cut in half

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup fresh basil, cut in strips

10 springs thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Balsamic Drizzle (for serving)

1/4 cup dry white wine (for deglazing the pan)


Prior to beginning this process, a word about deglazing the Dutch oven. During the cooking process a brown glaze will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep a 1/4 cup of dry white wine on hand for deglazing purposes. You do not want this brown glaze to burn and ruin the flavor of the dish. Add wine a little at a time as necessary and scrape off the bottom of the pan. Add the deglazing liquid to the bowl with the cooked vegetables.

The first thing you have to do is cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Eggplant traditionally retains a lot of water. Cut the eggplant first and place the pieces in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit while you prepare the rest of the vegetables. Prior to this becoming a blended dish, the vegetables will be cooked in stages. Therefore, you want to keep the raw vegetables in separate bowls.

Place 2 tsp of olive oil in a large Dutch oven (at least 5-1/2 quart) and warm over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt, and sauté until they are just beginning to turn brown. This will take about 10 minutes. Then, add the peppers and mushrooms and cook for about another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and put this into a large, clean bowl.

Add another 2 tsp of oil to the Dutch oven and toss in the zucchini. Add another pinch of salt. Cook the zucchini until it begins to brown. This should again be about 5-7 minutes. Remove the zucchini and add it to the other vegetables.

Rinse the eggplant under cold water, and squeeze the pieces to remove as much moisture as possible. Add 2 more teaspoons of olive oil to the pan along with the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant becomes translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove the eggplant and add it to the other vegetables.

Finally, add some more olive oil to the pan and sauté the garlic until it becomes slightly brown and fragrant. Then, add the tomatoes, thyme, cilantro, red pepper flakes and bay leaves. Allow the tomato juice to bubble, and deglaze the pan as it does.

Add all of the cooked vegetables back into the Dutch oven. Stir to mix, and reduce the heat to low. Taste and adjust salt level, and add black pepper to taste. You can cook this for another 30 minutes or up to an hour and a half. Shorter cooking time will result in larger more distinct pieces of vegetables. Longer cooking times will result in a very nice melded stew. The choice is up to you.

Before taking the Ratatouille off the stove, remove the bay leaves and stir in the basil. Serve in bowls, adding a dash of olive oil to the top. You can also offer a drizzle of Balsamic cream as well as some finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

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Smoked Salmon Supreme Plate

LoxThis is one of those appetizer plates that could easily turn into a meal if you let it. It’s spectacular when you’re too damned lazy to cook, or when you’re watching the Red Sox march to the World Series (which they are this year), or when you’re watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead.

It’s fairly simple to assemble. You do not need to smoke your own salmon. Smoked sockeye salmon is readily available (and sliced perfectly for this dish) at your local supermarket. Everything else you need for this, in my opinion, is stuff a well-stocked kitchen should have.

Serve it with your favorite wine. People will tell you that it should be a white wine, but what if you don’t really like white wine? I hate food and drink rules, frankly. Drink whatever the hell wine you want.

For serving, you need a long platter. I still have the one that my mother used when we were kids.


1 pkg of smoked sockeye salmon

4 tbsp capers

Lemon juice (for drizzling)

Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

2-3 tbsp freeze-dried dill (Litehouse makes a great product)

Bunch of asparagus, blanched

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper (to taste)

Baby arugula


This is mostly an assembly project, folks. However, the first thing you need to do is trim off the hard (whiter) ends of the asparagus and discard them. Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil, place the asparagus in and just blanch them until they are tender enough to eat. Don’t allow them to become limp. Drain the asparagus and run it under very cold water. Set aside.

Line the long serving plate with a layer of baby arugula, one of the eight wonders of the foodie world.

The smoked salmon is generally layered in the package in stages. You want to spread them out a bit more, but leave them in layers, so that all of the slices can benefit for the olive oil and lemon drizzle. Place them atop the arugula on the long serving plate. Then, place the blanched asparagus along the sides.

Drizzle everything with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice, and salt and pepper (to taste). Sprinkle dill on top and add the capers. Remember to drizzle and sprinkle the asparagus as well.

I recommend serving this with Triscuits, and I prefer the olive oil and cracked pepper Triscuits. Simple and delicious.

Remember that this recipe is simple to double up on as well.




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Braised Pear and Wild Rocket Arugula Salad

Arugula-RocketThis salad borders on the decadent. I mean, the variety of flavors, from sweet to savory, is incredible. Arugula (also known as Rocket) is an amazing green. I’m not one to eat iceberg lettuce anyway. I generally use Boston lettuce, romaine, red leaf or green leaf for my salads…anything but iceberg. And I always add arugula.

My Good Karma partner in crime, Bill, gave me this recipe. This is one of those recipes I received with absolutely no measurements. I laughed when I saw it. So, I played with it a bit and came up with this recipe. This recipe should serve three or more.


3 Asian or Bosque pears (Asian preferred, but sometimes hard to find)

Wild rocket (baby) arugula

Honeyed Chevre goat cheese log

Walnuts or Pecans

1 Sweet Maui or Vidalia onion

White Balsamic vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil

Fresh-ground black pepper

4 tbsp light brown sugar

4 tbsp unsalted butter


Thinly slice the pears and braise in the butter; add the brown sugar at the end and be sure that the pears are coated. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Add arugula to a salad bowl.

Slice the onion super thin in whole circles. Break apart and scatter over the arugula.

Add generous dollops of the honeyed chevre over the arugula and onions.

Scatter the braised pears and the nuts over the top of the salad.

Prior to serving, add the fresh-ground black pepper, and drizzle olive oil and white balsamic over the top. Toss gently to mix.



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Roasted Peppers With Garlic and Olive Oil

Bell-Peppers_This is a great little appetizer. It’s also a great sandwich topper. I particularly love this simple dish when I’m eating rolled fillets of anchovy with some crusty Italian bread and some really fine red wine, like Layer Cake Shiraz. (Of course I know it’s from Australia, but nobody says your red wine has to be from Italy to enjoy it with good Italian food!)

For this dish, I like using green, red, yellow and orange peppers. It adds intrigue to the flavor, going from the deeper flavor of the green bell pepper all the way up to the sweetness of the yellow.


8 fresh bell peppers (2 each of green, red, yellow and orange)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves of garlic, sliced thin

Sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper (to taste)

5-6 basil leaves, stems removed and cut in strips (optional)


When it’s warm out, I like roasting the peppers on the grill. However, the weather shouldn’t deter you from making this. My mother made this using her old-fashioned oven.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast in the oven, turning so that all sides are partially charred. This takes a good hour to accomplish, turning every 10 minutes or so. The peppers should look wrinkled and collapsed when they are done.

Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a paper bag for about 15 to 20 minutes. This will help loosen the skin so that they can be easily peeled.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and seeds, and peel the skin off.

Tear the peppers into long strips and put in a bowl with garlic slices and olive oil. Season with sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper to taste. Enjoy!


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