Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Hummus. I don't even know where to start. I think my mum introduced me to hummus one summer. Then I became friends with A, who informed me that you could make hummus at home. This was before the days of me doing more in the kitchen than toasting a bagel, obviously. A came to visit me and brought along a tub of hummus that her amazing Lebanese momma made for me. oh em gee.

It wasn't until 3 years later that I made my first (successful) attempt at the dip. It was in Spain, where I learned that you can buy garbanzo beans in a jar, you don't have to go through the long process of soaking and boiling to achieve a tender garbanzo. This was about the time that I went beyond the microwavable section of the supermarket.

Pita bread isn't commonplace in Spain. My friend Irish A is a genius though, and offered the solution of carrot batons. Irish A makes a mean carrot baton, I still attempt the perfect width as she does, but have come to terms that my chopping requires a lot more practice before it develops the skill that she has. A lot of the hummus and carrot baton combination was consumed on the Costa del Sol.

The hummus continues to evolve. In the last year I've learned that to get the texture perfect, you have to peel the garbanzo beans. Peeling an entire jar of garbanzo beans is like getting the fruit out of a pomegranate. It takes practice and patience. But once you get it, it's a breeze. Soon you will be staying with friends all over the place, earning your room and board by filling their refrigerators with tubs of the snack. You'll be teaching them the best technique that you know on how to peel a garbanzo bean, and having endless discussions about what could make this particular hummus even better: Less salt. Roasting the garlic first. More tahini. Trust me, it's good BBQ conversation.

As you know, I am a fan of food blogs, and Peas and Thank You is one of them. Today Momma Pea listed Apricot Cinnamon Almond Hummus as a starter for Thanksgiving. I can't remember at which point I saw this, as I slept very little last night, and spent the day in meetings. But after dinner with Mum and E, I had them drop me and the Os off at the supermarket so that I could pick up the ingredients to try this enticing recipe.

Apricot Cinnamon Almond Hummus

  • 1/2 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. raw almonds
  • 4 dried apricots
  • 3 dried dates, pitted
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 T. agave
  • splash of water

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

I followed this recipe almost to a T, replacing the agave with maple syrup, and I used 6 dates instead of 3 because the dates I had were kind of small.

You've probably noticed by now that all of my food photos are taken in this small space. I kid you not, this is the extent of my counter space. I do plan on looking for ways to spice up the pictures shortly. Maybe in the New Year. Maybe when I sleep regular hours. Who am I kidding.

The Apricot Cinnamon Almond Hummus:

I don't know what I was expecting when I took a bite, but I was not expecting what I got. It is an amazing balance of flavours. It is thicker than normal hummus, and the cinnamon + almond + sweetness made me feel like I was curled up in a blanket on the couch on a cold day with a mug of hot chocolate. Make it. Snack it. Love it.

And yes, it goes well with carrot batons.

Soup, the Next Generation

A couple of weeks ago a trip was made to Toronto to visit my cousin family. We had lots of adventures, including walks on crisp fall days, trips to the dog park, and playing with helium balloons:

Little L is nearly two years old. She loves to run. She loves to babble on in her lovely two-year-old voice. She loves "PUPPY"s. She doesn't quite love mittens. But she does love...


Girl has her own little soup bowls in a variety of colours (a gourmande fashionista this early, we're going to get along just fine), she likes to add the occasional cookie (a whole wheat cracker, nice work K!), and she's no stranger to putting that spoon to the side and slurping back the last little bit.

I couldn't get enough pictures to show off Soupita L and all of her eagerness of getting that chicken noodle down the hatch:

Can't wait to see you again L! You bring the spoons, I'll bring the soup!

Purple Breakkie

Smoothies are definitely one of my top favourite foods right now. The perfect combo of the moment:

1 banana (blends all of the flavours together, consider this the base)
1.5 cup almond or soy milk (liquid! I'm off of regular milk at the moment)
1 cup frozen fruit (fruity flavour! makes the smoothie the perfect temperature without adding just plain ol' ice)
1 tablespoon peanut butter (texture, extra energy to get you through the morning)
a couple of handfuls of spinach (Popeye, need I say more?)
a spoonful of chia seeds (omega omega)

The frozen food aisle offers loads of options for frozen fruit. While I love strawberries, they often don't have much flavour when you buy them frozen. I'm a fan of blueberry, mixed berry or tropical fruit. In summer, when local fruit is cheap(er) and a-plenty, I would stuff those little ziploc baggies to the brim with fat, juicy blueberries and freeze them. Nothing beats a Canadian berry.

In late summer in Nunavut, you can find your momma and your aunties and every other woman you know out picking berries. Not just any berry, but paunga. Similar to a wild blueberry in shape and size, it's darker. It's got a tougher skin and goes *pop* in your mouth when you bite them:

This picture makes my mouth water.

You can expect purple fingers for a couple of days after eating these. Purple other stuff the next day as well. Because once you start, you can't stop. Luckily, Inuit are similar to Mediterraneans in one aspect: they don't want you to miss out on food. They will send these berries down to Hottawa with family members who are coming. Enough that it's impossible to eat all of them in one sitting. Trust me, I've tried. They freeze well though, and you can make a King Smoothie, the Paunga Smoothie:

I'm going to head to bed, so I can dream about berries (those with experience of berry picking know what I'm talking about) and wake up to make one of these babies. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Last week I had my wisdom teeth out. Most of you who read this blog already know this. I had prepared my fridge with individual packages of rice pudding and apple sauce. I made jello and vanilla pudding, thinking that if I get sick of these, I won't miss them afterwards. I ate more sugar in 4 days than I had in months. Definitely sick of 'porquerias'.

Since I've been back on my feet, in other words, off the painkillers, I've been running around with little spare time; I'm still recovering, so I fall into bed at the end of the day exhausted. I bought canned soup the other day. I tried to make it better by buying Amy's brand. It's the first time I tried this brand and they're pretty darn good! However, I miss creating deliciousness.

My solution: trying out one of these soup mixes of mixed beans! I've never been a bean user, I think it's one of those things that you prepare if you grow up with it. I started making lentils a couple of years ago, that's the Spanish influence, but I haven't ventured very much beyond that.

The instructions said to soak this mix overnight, then rinse, boil vigorously for 10 minutes, then simmer for an hour or two. First thing I learned in the morning when rinsing these babies: beans stink. No wonder there's that little tune.

When I added them to the soup base to boil, I also added 5 cloves of garlic, whole, 2 carrots, peeled and chopped, and 3 chopped chives. The result:

I have to say it was pretty darn good! It was nice as it was filling, yet easy on the jaw. While I've been adventurous in trying to chew, I realized that I have to take it easy. Beans are easy.