Sunday, July 26, 2009

Karina's Jalapeño and Lime Hummus

I recently came across this Jalapeño and Lime Hummus recipe while looking around Karina's Kitchen blog. As many of you know, Karina's blog is beautifully photographed with many vegan recipes to explore. This hummus turned out to be delicious. My only change was to substitute pinto beans for the chickpeas, just because we were out. While I've used tahini in many bean dips, I've never used peanut butter, so I'm glad I tried Karina's recipe to find out how well it works! And don't skimp on the lime juice. It lends a strong citrus flavor that is just right.

Before wrapping up, I want to share this fun video of "Pit Bull Blues" by John Shipe. If you've been thinking of adopting a pit or pit mix, check out the HSMO where you are sure to find one you can't resist.

By the way, I almost forgot to give a "pine mouth" update! Thank you for the sympathetic comments. The metal taste lasted about 5 days, and now I'm ready to try another pine nut recipe, with a new batch of nuts, of course.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pine Mouth and the Quinoa Salad that Wasn't

It dawned on me yesterday that everything had been tasting bitter, since, uh, since Sunday! (Why it took me three days to notice the pattern is still a mystery.) Poblanos, wine, salad, everything. After this realization, I came to the hysterical logical conclusion that I must have a stress-induced neurological disorder. A quick search on the internet did not reveal this high on the list of potential diagnoses, but pregnancy, GERD, and a hernia were. Not liking any of those answers, my research continued and I noticed that food blog posts about pine nuts kept popping up. What does that have to do with my symptom?

Everything, it seems. After eating a dish including pine nuts, I apparently developed pine mouth. Some people develop a reaction after eating pine nuts resulting in a bitter, metallic taste that can last a couple of weeks! I've eaten plenty of pine nuts in my day, and this is my first experience with metal mouth. It's been proposed that certain pine nuts may be rancid, and those imported from China seem particularly risky. The weird thing is that not everyone reacts with the bitter taste after consuming them. I checked my recently purchased batch from a local grocery store chain, and sure enough, they are from China. From now on, it's back to the Italian brand I used to buy that never caused me this problem.

As you can imagine, the perception that I've been chewing on pencil lead every time I consume something is not so helpful for creating recipes. I created this quinoa salad before I realized my tasters were out of whack.

Tastes bitter to me. MD says it's bland. Oh well. I will leave the cooking up to the rest of you for now! Have a great weekend, and let's be careful out there (about pine nuts).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gin Cocktails, Dogs, and Tofu Goulash

Summertime is in full swing in St. Louis and time is flying. What's been up since my last post? I've been keeping up with your blogs. (You all put me to shame with your consistent posting!) Otherwise, a new cocktail book, get togethers, and dogs have consumed my time.

Mix Shake Stir by Danny Meyer makes me want to run away from home to become a mixologist. I could spend hours poring over the gorgeous photos and both innovative and classic recipes in this book. Above you see the Rickshaw, a straightforward gin cocktail with basil-infused simple syrup and lime juice. Created to "make gin fun." (Who says it's not?) The book includes recipes for infusing simple syrup and alcohol, cocktails, special garnishes, and mixers, mostly inspired by the seasonal kitchen.

On the food front, I've relied on some already posted recipes such as Tipsy Soft Tacos for the most recent Supper Club (our friends chose Cooking with Beer as the theme). We had Sweet Tahini Miso Dip with Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots for dippers as well as Cannellini Spread with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil with Crostini for a July 4th get together.

And of course Humane Society dogs such as Maxine and Hailey keep me entertained. (They can be found here, select dogs, then dogs again, and search by names or St. Louis City location.) Maxine is such a goofy girl who loves to play on her walks. She has a special pink stuffed bunny that she brings along. You can catch a hint of her personality and playfulness at the end of this video.

Before I get to a recipe, you have likely heard about the HSMO and HSUS participation in the largest dog fighting raid and rescue in US history. The most recent number I saw was over 400 dogs rescued and being cared for. The HSMO could use money donations or large box fans, sheets, full-size towels, blankets, shredded paper, newspaper, creamy peanut butter and sturdy toys. Donations can be dropped off at the Humane Society of Missouri Headquarters at 1201 Macklind Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110.

Finally, I did recently try a new recipe when I wanted to get dinner on the table and practically the only fresh vegetable around was bok choy. A variation on a couple of recipes for Tofu Goulash did the trick. This sounded a little weird to me, but turned out delicious. You can't beat vegetable soup with tofu for a filling, one-dish meal. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tofu Goulash with Bok Choy
Serves 6-8

14 ounces firm tofu
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 head bok choy, leaves sliced and stalks chopped into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Crumble the tofu into a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot (that has a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the tofu, paprika, and tomato paste. Stir periodically and cook until the mixture becomes mostly dry and begins to stick slightly to the pot.

Add the tomatoes, stock and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes. Add the bok choy, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian


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