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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Foodie Friday: Black eyed pea hummus

My husband is a fan of hummus. I am too, just not to the extent that he is. I appreciate a good hummus, but I don’t crave it. Since we’ve been married I picked up a classic hummus recipe from the kitchen bible, How to Cook Everything. If you want a classic, this is it. I’ve had hummus snobs beg me for this recipe.

A few months ago we were out and ordered an appetizer which came with a black eyed pea hummus. When I saw it on the menu I was intrigued, but after tasting it, I was hooked. Instantly I knew I needed to learn to make it. Upon arriving home (we were out of town) the first thing I made was a black eyed pea hummus. This is a very easy rift off the classic recipe.

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

1 can black eyed peas, drained but juices reserved

2-3 tablespoons tahini

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves, minced



dash of cayenne

In your food process add black eyed peas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and spices to your liking. Blend.  Add a little water to your reserved juices. As the mixture blends, pour in a little juice/water to thin to your desired consistence. Garnish with a swirl of olive oil and a dash of paprika and/or cumin.  Serve with pita chips.


Book Worm: Spring 2012

Why yes, I do have a shirt that looks like this.

Every day on my lunch break, I take my food out to my car and read my Kindle, like the nerd that I am. It’s the perfect way for me to escape for an hour, that doesn’t involve shopping (I work right by the mall and lots of good shopping. Danger.)

Here are some of the books I’ve read recently:

Nicholas and Alexandra– A very in-depth and very sad look at the fall of the Russian Empire and the death of the Romanovs. Gets into the “power” that Rasputin managed to wield against hemophilia, and shows how quickly everything can change.

The Hunger Games– This was actually my second time to read the trilogy, in preparation for the movie. Which I went to the midnight premier of. Yup, nerd alert.

The Passage– Technically this isn’t a recent read, but I just preordered the second book in the trilogy, so it’s been on my mind. Post-apocalyptic vampire book. Think I Am Legend mindless killing machines. No Twilight sparkles or love triangles.

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir… of Sorts– Beautiful and painful book about struggling with an alcoholic father and faith.

Unbroken– The true story of Louis Zamperini, a bomber in WWII, who was shot down and captured by the Japanese. This book was seriously intense. I’m pretty sure I cried a few times. The fact that people can endure that sort of experience blows my mind. Makes me wish my grandfathers were alive to ask them more questions about fighting in the war.

Not sure what I’ll read next, though I did just preorder Rachel Dratch’s new book, Girl Walks Into a Bar. It comes out tomorrow, and might be a nice change to laugh after reading about entire families being shot.

Anyone else? Lists, recommendations? I’m always on the hunt for more!

Foodie Friday: Herb Aioli

Photo courtesy Martha Stewart('s team of photographers)

I had another recipe for today. A recipe that I made a massive amount of for this week’s lunches.

A recipe that turned out to be a complete diseaster. Seriously, it’s all thrown out, that’s how bad it was.

Apparently soba noodles and I don’t get along.

Probably doesn’t help that I was super high on Claritin D at the time.

Instead, I’m posting a really delicious sauce that I made this week that shows up pretty frequently in our home.

We put it on lamb chops mainly, but it would really be good on any meat, and is also delicious on vegetables.

Considering mixing it with orzo now too, since I do love some orzo salad.

We’ve changed an herb to suit our taste (since parsley is of the DEVIL, but the recipe actually call for it instead of cilantro) but that’s part of the beauty of the recipe. Change it to suit your taste. Sometimes we throw some hot chili oil in it to give it a little kick. Sometimes we mix in some lemon juice. Sometimes. we forget an herb.

It’s still delicious.

Recipe copied ( and slightly tweaked) from Martha Stewart

Herb Aioli

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Throw the egg, garlic, and herbs into the food processor and mix til finely chopped and well mixed. Then, with the food processor going, slowly add the oils in a steady stream until fully incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in a covered container and chill until needed. The flavors really do come together more after an hour or so.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Wasted Wednesday: Grapefruit Rosemary Cocktails

Spring is here, which means it’s time for new cocktails! Yay!

Inspired by Rachel’s Pinterest challenge, I decided to try a new recipe as well.

There is a restaurant around here that makes a really delicious rosemary grapefruit juice (non-alcoholic), and since I loved the flavors so much, I went with this recipe for a grown up version. I did wind up tweaking the amount a good bit, mainly because I don’t think the original called for nearly enough juice, and I really wanted to have it taste like grapefruit.

Then I drank it out of a little mason jar, sitting on my back porch, because that’s what spring is for.

Rosemary Grapefruit Cocktails

Makes 1 serving

courtesy eat make read


  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • 3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce rosemary syrup 

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake until cold (about 10 seconds). Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Foodie Friday: Beer Battered Asparagus

Confession: I myself have never made these. Josh makes them for me. I’m spoiled.

The recipe includes a dipping sauce that’s mayo, lemon juice, zest and pepper, but we have never made it. We prefer ours drizzled with lemon juice and a sprinkling of sea salt. Then we inhale about a pound of them. Seriously. the first time Josh made them, he thought he had made way too many of them. Then he looked away for a second and I inhaled about half of them.

What can I say? As a true Southern girl, there’s nothing better to me than some good fried vegetables.

Beer-battered Asparagus

•1 cup all-purpose flour
•1 tsp salt
•1 Tbsp lemon zest
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1 cup beer (We prefer Harp, but any lager would do)
•About 4 cups vegetable oil
•1 lb medium asparagus, trimmed
Combine flour, salt, zest, and pepper in a bowl, then add beer and whisk well.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a 3-4 quart pan (we use my dutch oven), over medium high heat until hot. The recipe calls for 375, though I don’t think we even really measure the temperature.

Dip asparagus into batter, then drop into oil, no more than about 10 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Stir gently to prevent them from sticking to each other. Fry until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. Squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle sea salt over them before serving.

Wasted Wednesday: White Sangria

So I decided on white sangria for my self-imposed Pinterest Challenge.

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

Above is the original pin. Apparently its from some place in California. I know nothing about anything west of the Mississippi, so I’ll just take their word for it.

White Sangria

2 bottles dry white wine, preferably Pinot Grigio
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced

In a large pitcher whisk together orange juice, triple sec, and brandy. Pour in as much of the white wine as you can. I was only able to get some of one oversize bottle in. Add sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the sliced fruit. Serve over ice with fruit garnishes.

Note: original recipe also called for apple slices and grapes. My pitcher topped out before I could add the apple and grapes, so I just skipped them and added a couple of grapes in my glass.


Watch out, its a little boozy. I made this after work, but before dinner and was a little tipsy after one glass. Its especially decadent in your great grandmother’s crystal.

Also note that I used what the original recipe called for in orange juice. Next time I’ll tone it down and use what is written above.

Recommended usages: brunch, luncheons, showers, lolling about outdoors

Have you made a Pinterest cocktail lately?

Pinterest Challenge: Tasty Beverages

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog you’re well aware of the fact that we like to drink. Allyn and Josh love a good cocktail, but my husband and I are beer drinkers, as evidence by our latest major purchase. We tend to get in a funk of just drinking beer. However my eyes and fingers love pinning tasty looking drinks. Inspired by a few of my favorite bloggers, I’m going to take the Pinterest Challenge and try to make at least one of the tasty beverages I’ve pinned.

Yes, I have a whole board dedicated to cocktails. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. So what should I tackle?

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

The Downtown Abbey cocktails?

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

Pimm’s Cup, my new favorite cocktail after our last trip to New Orleans?

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

How about a sangria?

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

Or maybe a John Daly?

I’ll report back on Wednesday with what I’ve made.

Garden Grows: Chapter 1

I love vegetables. I really really love them.

My parents made sure to constantly expose us to a variety of fresh vegetables when I was growing up, and I am forever grateful.

The problem? Good, fresh veggies are expensive, especially when you try to get local, organic ones. Dishes like this can really rack up quite a bill at the grocery store, which is a bummer. My solution? Plant a big garden and grow my own produce! That way I know where it comes from, what it’s been exposed to, and, most importantly, they’re way tastier and waaaaaaaay cheaper.

Last summer we had just moved into the house, and between new jobs and planning our wedding, I intelligently decided not to tackle a large garden. I did grow tomatoes and basil in pots, peppers in one of the front beds, and a bunch of herbs in our herb garden, but that’s it.

This summer, I’m tackling THIS bad boy:

The previous tenants had dug out this flower bed, and we cleared it out last fall. However, it is full of weeds, and I really don’t want to weed that much. Plus, even if I pulled out all of those weeds, who knows how many more are just waiting to come up. I really don’t want to spend my entire summer weeding, so here’s the solution:

Weed cloth! Hooray! Lay out this bad boy, cut to fit, and pin it down.

The next step will be covering this with mulch, then bye bye weeds. Can’t grow, can’t live. Boom.



Foodie Friday: Asian Noodle Salad

The great lunch experiment is going very well! This is now the second week in a row that I’ve made my lunches ahead of time, and I’ve only eaten out for lunch twice. Once was an unexpected half day at work, and once was to meet up with friends, so I don’t feel too bad.

After Josh saw how the first week went, he asked me to make double the amount of food for this week, so that he could take a lunch too. I did, and luckily he loved it (orzo, black beans, chickpeas, corn, and a cumin citrus vinaigrette. Yum). We realized that between the two of us, we’d save between $80-$100/week if we brought our lunch every day. Sheesh. Obviously, this needs to happen.

This next recipe is one of our favorites, and the perfect thing for lunches. What I’ll do is pack up individual salads, then give each of us a big jar of dressing to leave at work for the week so we can just add it each day before we eat. Nobody wants a soggy salad.

I’m just copying the recipe in its entirety here, but we definitely tweak this one depending on what we feel like/what’s on sale. I can’t wait til our garden (details soon!) is able to provide some of these ingredients, which will cut way down on cost. I also love to cook a little chicken in soy sauce and sesame oil, dice it up, and mix it in as well. I might also double the pasta to help this go further. Prep work for this does take a while, since it’s a LOT of chopping, but I’ll just crank up some music and get it knocked out on Sunday afternoon.

PW’s Asian Noodle Salad

  • 1 package Linguine Noodles, Cooked, Rinsed, And Cooled
  • 1/2 head Sliced Napa Cabbage, Or More To Taste
  • 1/2 head Sliced Purple Cabbage, Or More To Taste
  • 1/2 bag Baby Spinach, Or More To Taste
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Sliced Thin
  • 1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced Thin
  • 1 whole Orange Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 bag Bean Sprouts (also Called Mung Bean Sprouts)
  • Chopped Cilantro, Up To 1 Bunch, To Taste
  • 3 whole Scallions, Sliced
  • 3 whole Cucumbers Peeled And Sliced
  • 1 can (about 10 Oz.) Whole Cashews, Lightly Toasted In Skillet
  • _____
  • 1 whole Lime, Juiced
  • 8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 8 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons (up To 3 Tablespoons) Sesame Oil
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger Chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 2 whole Hot Peppers Or Jalapenos, Chopped
  • Chopped Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

Mix salad ingredients together. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Mix with tongs or hands and serve on a platter.

Note: dressing keeps for up to three days before serving, without cilantro.


Foodie Friday: Ramen Soup, sorta

When we first married I wasn’t much of a cook. I loved good food, I just didn’t know how to make it. It took a bit of education before I felt somewhat comfortable in the kitchen. One of the big influences in my cooking was Mark Bittman and his legendary book, How to Cook Everything. I became a huge Mark Bittman fan that first year or so. He had a great column in The New York Times called the Minimalist. Its great for people, who like me, enjoy good food, but don’t have or want to spend the time and energy. Its simple, delicious food.

I bookmarked this video and decided it would make a perfect Saturday lunch. You know when you have been cleaning the house all morning, but can’t bring yourself to eat any more of that casserole and just want something fresh and comforting? I’ve adapted it over the years and made it my own. My husband loves it. He mentioned it the other day asking why I haven’t made it for him in a long time.

Ramen, sort of (Allyn says its more noodle soup, I still call it ramen)

Noodles, I use ramen
Chicken broth or water
soy sauce
rice vinegar
chili paste or chiles
Optional: frozen veggies, fresh herbs, cooked meat, anything in your pantry

Bring 2 cups of chicken broth or water to a boil. Season with 1/4 cup of ketchup, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon or two of rice vinegar, and maybe some chili paste. I literally do not measure anything. I throw in whatever looks good from my pantry. Stir it up.

When the water is boiling add in your noodles. I always use a packet of ramen. Two if I’m feeding my husband.

Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the noodles are done. Ladle into a bowl and top with siracha or your seasoning of choice.

Occasionally I throw in a cup or so of frozen veggies if I want to feel healthy. You can’t mess this up. Be creative and make it your own.