Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Greek Fava Hummus with Saffron Flowers

Public Service Announcement: Greek fava isn't actually all that fancy. The asterisk at the bottom reveals: contains no actual fava beans. Nope. Just yellow split peas boiled down and served with raw red onion. Greeks call this fava and actual fava beans koukia. Fava is the paradosiako or traditional thing to order a meze at a classic Greek Taverna and usually served with crudely chopped red onion, which has always been a little daunting to me.

Sometimes, the fava can come out almost chalky like and sometimes it's like butta. But it's even better made into a creamy hummus. Greek fava blended down with tahini and olive oil turns this simple staple into something luxurious. Plus, Greek fava is SO easy to make. I've been really into turmeric these days, so added some as well as some saffron flowers not to be confused with expensive saffron stigmas. Raw onion always throws me off kilter but not when in the form of tiny little gems on a dip with fresh mint to counterbalance. If you like hummus, I hope you try this version! If you like Greek fava, I hope you try this hummus!

Greek Fava Hummus with Saffron Flowers

1 cup of Greek fava (make a batch of Greek fava for the week) 
2 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon (throw in some lemon zest if you like!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon saffron flowers
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped mint

In a food processor, blend all ingredients except for onions and mint until ultra smooth. Pour into a bowl, top with onions, mint and more olive oil!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cherry Feta Summer Salad

Ah, there is nothing better than summer in the Pacific Northwest. It was these summers that made me decide to move to Portland in 1999 for college. It's these summers that always bring me back to this part of the United States and make me appreciate where I live (as if the coffee, wine, craft beer and flannel didn't already). Summer makes everything shine.
But really, every season in Portland boils down to the bigger question:
What's at the Farmers Market?

Cherries. So hot right now. Felon, criminal hot. 

Everywhere in Portland, people are talking about the cherries. Giving them out like a basket of candy at beer carts. Showing off their cherry bling upon entering a grocery store. Putting them on salad instead of tomatoes (they will have their day in due time).

The latest farmers market raid consisted of Chelan cherries from Hood River, Little Gem lettuce, goat feta, hazelnuts and a bouquet of basil. I celebrated this loot by mixing everything together in a bowl. The fleshy, sweet cherries stole the show of course, but played well with the tangy feta, aromatic basil and crunch from the hazelnuts (I prefer to roast em myself). This salad was so fabulous and easy to make - so delicious I can't wait to make it again. Hope you are enjoying the Summer and get your hands on some of those cherries while they last!

Cherry Feta Summer Salad

Handful of cherries (cut in half and pitted)

1 head of Little Gem lettuce
Small handful of basil leaves, sliced finely
handful of hazelnuts, roasted and chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta
Extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper

Chop up the little gems into bite-sized pieces. Save the inner leaves for outside decor if you want. Throw in cherries, basil, feta and hazelnuts. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vegan Coconut Matcha Swirl Pound Cake

This is my last week of Orthodox fasting from bleeding animal products, but this year I'm feeling really good and not missing my favorite dairy products (CHEESE) too badly. I really haven't felt any "struggle" fasting, in fact I feel pretty awesome. I want to keep this up and keep feeling great, however, will take a short break to help husband eat large wheel of recently purchased brie.

This pound cake came together like flow. It's texture was a tad crumbly, but the crumbs squeeze together effortlessly. The important part is that it was moist and very rich tasting.

Have you noticed swirl pound cake recipes use a stingy amount for the swirl/best part (half a cup or less!), I used more like a cup because swirl is like having more charms in your lucky. 

This cake baked up beautiful! Coconut and mactha are a match made in heaven. Perfume-y tea and tropical coconut, this does it for me! I love the basic recipe of this pound cake too just think of all the combinations - rhubarb vanilla bean, pandan coconut, almond and rose, marionberry and hazelnut...shall I continue? Happy green spring to you!

Vegan Coconut Matcha Swirl Pound Cake

2 cup AP flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup sugar (used unrefined sugar)
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup coconut milk ( used So Delicious brand)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup veganaise
2 tablespoons matcha powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
In a large bowl beat coconut oil (slightly warm if your house in cold!) with sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
Take turns incorporating coconut milk, veganaise, flour mixture and coconut flakes.
Scoop out about 1/2 - 1 cup of batter and mix in matcha powder.
Pour non-matcha batter into a vegan-greased baking vessel then plop matcha batter on top to swirl to heart's content.
Sprinkle with more sugar if you want!
Bake for 50 minutes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Carrot Top Hummus

The hummus spring is in full effect and we're getting teased with a peppering of 70+ degree days in the Pacific Northwest. The farmers market is back in full effect (minus the fruit) and everyone is out in their fabulous pale-faced selves. The first signs of spring make me think of beautiful carrots (and bunnies) - like these ones, in their almost natural picmonkey-skewed state. But the true pee-ees duh ree-sist-tahnse proved to be the tops - clearly begging to be made into hummus! What do carrot tops taste like? Vegas? Luxor? Self-deprecation? No! More like a fresh herbal tasting green that is perfect for a Springtime hummus.

Carrot Top Hummus

1 bunch of carrot tops
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chickpeas (or 1 16 oz can, liquor reserved)
1 tablespoon tahini

Blend All ingredients save for the chickpeas together in either a blender or food processor until smooth. Add in chickpeas and blend down until it reaches your desired consistency. Serve with carrots and enjoy the Spring!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Super Lemon Hummus

Who remembers Super Lemons? Where I grew up, we loved them so much I was even on a soccer team named after the ultra sour candy. We didn't eat chocolate or Jolly Ranchers, nope-- we ate Super Lemons, often times hoarded away in that ultra secret JanSport backpack pocket inside a pocket. 

What happened to Super Lemons? I have no idea. I became too distracted by more adult-like activities; drinking mochas from Coffee Society and lunching on sushi at Miyake's. Cupertino lifestyle of the 90s! Then I left my hometown for good and forgot hard about that sour candy I was so obsessed with. 

Fast forward three moves to Portland (3rd times a charm, right?). It's dead winter in the Pacific Northwest, meaning no sign of fruit until the 'barbs come out early Spring. I splurge on citrus to make it through these dark months (ok ok, it's a HELL of a lot better than Philly winters). This time around, it was a mix of pink lemons, sweet meyer lemons and Eureka lemons. The first thing I do of course is make hummus using as much lemon as possible. When I think it's too much, I can't help myself I add another squeeze of sunshine. 

Super lemon hummus

1 pink lemon
1 meyer lemon
1 eureka lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1 can of chick peas, liquor reserved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Zest and juice all lemons into a food processor, saving about 1 tsp for later. Add garlic, salt, tahini, and olive oil and whirl briefly until blended. Add chick peas and blend until smooth, adding bean liquor to thin down to your liking OR more lemon juice. Scrap out into a bowl, drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle remaining lemon zest. Taste the sunshine!