Cranberry Orange Scones

Food

otherscone

Hello, poppets. I bring you scones! Scones that appear to share the same unfortunate hue as my kitchen floor. It might be time I up my photography game, maybe invest in one of those umbrella lights or a tasteful backdrop.

Laser Scone

So much better. I can already tell I’ve amplified my photographic professionalism by a such degree I’m going to go ahead and cancel that umbrella light.

Hey, want to hear a secret about scones? I’ve experimented with at least a dozen scone recipes, each time adjusting the levels of flour, butter, and leveraging agents, and have reached a very staggering conclusion: scones are bloody delicious. All of them. Sweet scones, cheesy scones, oatmeal scones, flour scones, scones made with all different varieties of animal lard, they’re all just so delicious. I have truly never met a scone I didn’t like.

I will make one tiny recommendation that guarantee your success in this cutthroat world of scone baking: use real butter! Or shortening, if that’s your jam. Margarine is alright and all, but scones don’t really lend themselves to healthy substitutions. Besides, is margarine really that healthy a substitution? We’re basically talking about single-serving cakes here. If caloric restriction is the name of your game I’m not even sure what you’re doing on this page.

Also, somewhat contrary to what I just said, scones don’t need a whole lot of sugar to obtain optimal deliciousness. You know those mini vanilla scones from Starbucks with the thick layer of icing on top? SO GOOD. I love those things. But if we are being honest with our biscuit-consuming selves, those are scone-shaped sugar cookies. Scones are meant to be just a little sweet, and I think the 1/4 cup of sugar in this recipe is just the right amount. Plus, last I checked flour and butter are a pretty delectable combination on their own.

This is a very basic scone recipe that you can use as is or swap tasty things in and out of. I’ve used oranges and cranberries in this particular version, but you could use lemons, dried cherries, nuts, raisins, or whatever satisfies your culinary inclinations. Just look at all those tasty scones!

Scones

Recipe time.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 medium orange (zested and squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut chilled butter into flour mixture until the enite mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.
  4. In a small bowl, combine orange zest, juice from orange, and dried cranberries. Add to flour and butter mixture and stir to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat yogurt and eggs until fluffy (3-5 minutes).
  6. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is well formed (about 1 minute).
  7. Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll each portion into two 6-inch circles about 3/4-inch in thickness. Cut each circle into 6 equal wedges and place on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.
  9. Combine confectioner’s sugar and milk and drizzle over scones (optional).
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Apple Custard Pie

Food

This past weekend I both baked and consumed an entire pie. I’m really starting to think I have some impulse control-related kinks to work out.

Shelly has been hounding me to bake her a pie for weeks, possibly even months. Actually, it has definitely been months. Months and months of incessant pie badgering. I was bound to cave eventually, right?

I’m mostly glad I did, save for all the butter and flour still fighting its way through my digestive tract. This pie is a little different from my pies of yore, which are fairly standard, double-crusted confections. What makes this pie special, you ask? Custard. Delicious, creamy, gelatinous custard.

Actually, I don’t think this qualifies as a proper custard due to its conspicuous lack of egg yolk, but I don’t care even a little. IT’S JUST SO DARN TASTY.

sliceedit

The recipe for this pie belongs to my momma. I visited my parental domicile over Thanksgiving, and mentioned that I had been apple picking recently and had an extreme abundance of apples in my possession. This prompted my mother to extract this pie recipe from her archives, and I immediately remembered her making it when I was a kid.

I figured it was time to appease Shelly, use up my freshly-picked apples, and relive some delicious pie nostalgia. The results couldn’t have been tastier.

I’m not sure what exactly went right when I made the crust, but for some reason it turned out much lighter and flakier than usual. It felt like like I was eating a pie ensconced in Toaster’s Strudel. Plus there was all that aforementioned custard… There was no way this pie was going to live to see Monday.

Here’s my momma’s delicious apple custard pie recipe! Hopefully you will be able to exercise the modicum of self-restraint that I was not.

Ingredients
Pastry shell:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Filling:

  • 6-8 apples, pared, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • Ground cinnamon

Method
Pastry shell:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Stir in water one tablespoon at a time until mixture forms a ball.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Arrange apples in a 9-inch unbaked pastry shell.
  3. Combine sugar, flour, salt, and cream. Pour mixture over apples.
  4. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
  5. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

White Bean Chicken Chili

Food

chiliedit

I think summer might actually be over. My skin is moisture-deprived and flaky, the warmth of my combat boots looks way more appealing than that of my flats, and I’m pretty sure my coral lipstick just became seasonably inappropriate.

Now is around the time when I usually go into deep hibernation, ensconced under a toasty assemblage of comforters, emerging only for knitting supplies and occasionally to go to work.

While I am not such a fan of winter and all its glacial horrors, I am very much a fan of winter comfort foods, chili being the newest addition to my mental stockpile of favoured winter fare.

Up until very recently I was under the impression that chili was a requisite source of nasty tomatoes and indiscernible ground meat. (More information about my tomato revulsion can be found here!) But did you know that chili can also be delicious? And completely tomato-free?

This white bean chicken chili is incredibly tasty, which may have something to do with the fact that I replaced all the tomatoes in the recipe with booze. Good old booze. Always there when you need it.

It also boasts nice big chunks of chicken breast, white kidney beans, and a leafy combo of Swiss chard and kale, ’cause there’s room for greens in everything.

I know I’ve already completely sold you on my delicious chili, but I’m gonna keep going.

This recipe can be made both on the stove top or in a slow cooker, though I highly recommend the slow cooker version because it’s so much less effort, and you can stay nestled under your thermal acropolis for eight whole hours while it cooks. Plus cooking things at low temperatures for long periods of times just makes things taste extra good.

Here are both versions of the recipe, in case you have not yet joined the slow cooking movement (which you totally should because slow cooked food makes winter just a pinch less painful).

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 lbs chicken breast, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 (15-oz) cans white kidney beans
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard or kale
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white whine
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh ground pepper for seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese (garnish)

Method (slow cooker)

  1. Combine all ingredients except Parmesan and Swiss chard/kale in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
  3. Stir in Swiss chard/kale and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with Parmesan.
  5. Method (stove top)

    1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
    3. Add the uncooked chicken, salt, cumin, fennel seeds, and chili powder.
    4. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
    5. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, chicken stock, and white wine.
    6. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and continue simmering for 50-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened.
    7. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes.
    8. Season with salt and pepper.
    9. Ladle into bowls and serve with Parmesan.

Creamy Lemon Cheesecake

Food

cheesecakeedit
If too many cheesecake posts is wrong I don’t want to be right.

I realize it has been only a few short weeks since my last post about cheese-based confections, but my dear friend Sarah recently had a birthday, and what better way to celebrate one’s thirtieth voyage around the sun than by gluttonizing a deliciously creamy cheesecake? (Answer: none. There is no other way.)

This particular cheesecake is made of cream cheese and Greek yogurt, giving it a super velvety texture and slightly increased protein content (yay!). And it contains lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice, which adds just a hint of citrus to your ever-discerning palate.

Here’s another fun fact about this cake: it’s a huge pain in the ass to make. If your heart is set on consuming this creamy treat (which I am personally burdened with at all times), be prepared to dedicate an entire afternoon to the feat. Or if you’re not one for time management, you can follow my approach and bake late into the evening and set an alarm to wake you up when it’s time to let the cake sit in a water bath, another when it’s time to let the cake cool, and another when it’s time to refrigerate.

The point I’m trying to make here is that I’ll only make this cake for you if I really, really like you. So far my friends Sarah and Cait have been the only ones to cross this threshold.

Just look how happy birthday girl Sarah is with her cake!

cheesecake3edit

As far as I could tell, Sarah and the other birthday party compatriots seemed to really enjoy this lemony cake. (Although what kind of monster would outwardly expresses disgust at one’s baking efforts?)

Here’s the recipe for this deliciously time-consuming cheesecake and the ultimate way to say “Hey. I really like you”:

Ingredients
Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling:

  • 32 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Slowly add butter and stir until crumbs are well coated.
  3. Grease a 9×3″ springform pan and cover the bottom and sides with a double layer of aluminum foil.
  4. Press graham cracker crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Bake crust for 10 min and set aside to cool.
  6. Reduce oven to 325°F
  7. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
  8. In a electric mixer or food processor, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  9. Slowly add sugar, salt, and lemon zest while continuing to beat the cream cheese. Scrape down the sides of the mixer and beat another 5 minutes on medium speed.
  10. Add vanilla.
  11. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each and scraping the sides of the mixer before adding additional egg.
  12. Turn mixer on low and add Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Mix until blended and smooth.
  13. Place the aluminum-foil wrapped pan in a larger pan, ensuring there is some space between the larger pan and the foil-wrapped pan.
  14. Pour cake filling in the springform pan and place in the oven.
  15. Pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  16. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and prop the door open. Allow cheesecake to sit in the waterbath for an additional hour.
  17. Remove pan from oven and carefully remove the aluminum foil.
  18. Allow cheesecake to cool to room temperature.
  19. Cover cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.

The Humble Beet’s Guide to Homemade Bacon

Food

homemade bacon

I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong time period and some cosmic flaw in the spacetime continuum expelled me into the late twentieth century instead of the 1760s where I belong.

I mean, can you imagine what a kickass pioneer girl I would have been? All I want is to be a butter-churnin’, pie-bakin’ ranch wife whose fur-trading helpmate buys her petticoats and hunts domestic fowl.

Instead I’m just a homespun hussy, bound to the newfangled scaffolding of the twenty-first century.

But that is ok! Because I know how to make bacon, and few things give me the same feeling of anachronous contentment as home-cured meat.

If you are fortunate enough to know me personally, you may feel baffled by this new undertaking, given my widely known and amorous love affair with the vegetable kingdom. It is true that I prefer greens and legumes over fleshy comestibles, but it is also true that homemade bacon tastes way better than store bought varieties.

It’s just like the difference between freshly baked bread and packaged; hand-squeezed lemonade and from concentrate; stove-popped popcorn and microwaved. Homemade is just better.

Making your own bacon is also incredibly easy. Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to cure and smoke your very own sowbelly.

step1

First you’ll need to acquire a pork belly. You can buy a whole pork belly from any butcher shop, or if you’re feeling thrifty, from any of the meat counters in Chinatown. Make sure to thoroughly wash your pork belly, cut off any excess fat (but not the skin!), and pat dry.

You can put just about anything you like in your seasoning mix, but kosher salt and pink curing salt are both necessary. Curing salt (also called pink salt) is a mixture of table salt and sodium nitrate that inhibits bacteria growth while your meat is curing.

Did you know that curing salt is a controlled substance in Canada? I didn’t either until I attempted to cure my own meat and learned that it’s a little difficult to find. I did manage to find some at Williams-Sonoma, and have since seen it in specialty meat shops, so hope is not lost.

Here are a couple of spice combinations I’ve tried that have yielded very tasty results:

Classic bacon (pictured):

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pink curing salt
  • 4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves, crushed
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. chili powder (optional)

Maple bacon:

  • 3 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pink curing salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • step2

    Rub the spices into the pork belly, distributing evenly on all sides. Place the pork belly and any leftover seasoning in an air-tight freezer bag and refrigerate for 7-10 days, turning the bag every 2-3 days.

    After the 7-10 day period your meat will be fully cured. It will be darker in colour and firm to the touch. Before curing, rinse off the rub and leave the pork belly out at room temperature for an hour.

    step3

    There are many ways to smoke a pork belly. You can use a meat smoker, as is tradition, you can use a gas or charcoal grill, or you can opt for the super easy method of oven smoking. (I highly recommend this method. It is almost impossible to mess up!)

    You’ll need a foil roasting pan, aluminum foil, and five cups of wood chips. Line the roasting pan with several long sheets of aluminum foil and put the wood chips inside, like so:

    step3a

    Very good. Now you’ll need to find a way to elevate the pork belly so it’s an inch or two above the wood chips. A roasting rack is ideal, but if you are without, I’ve found that an inverted metal dish rack will also do the trick. Place the pork belly on your chosen meat elevation device and form a sealed tent with the aluminum foil:

    step3b

    Place the roasting pan in a 200°F oven. Smoke your pork belly anywhere from 4-10 hours, depending on how smokey you want the bacon to taste. My strategy involves putting the pork in the oven right before I go to bed and removing it in the morning, which results in anywhere from 6-8 hours of smoke time.

    When your bacon is finished smoking it will look something like this:

    step3c

    When the pork belly is cool, slice off the skin and discard. Wrap the belly tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

    step4

    The culminating moment. Fry up some ovums and toast some rye, ’cause it’s time for a fervently well-earned breakfast.

    You can leave your bacon sealed and in the fridge for up to two weeks, in the freezer for up to three months or, if you’re seriously lacking in self restraint, in your gastrointestinal tract for six to eight hours.

    Happy curing!

Spicy Thai Soup with Tofu

Food

Spicy Thai Soup

There is very little I find more comforting than a hot bowl of soup, especially when that bowl of soup is spicy enough to induce an evening of dyspepsia and acute gastritis.

Ok, this soup isn’t that spicy, but it should leave you with at least a mild case of belly burn (a sensation I find to be incredibly satisfying). Such is true for most Thai food, which is why food from the southeast region of Asia is among my favourite.

Visiting Thailand during my Tour de Southeast Asia in 2011 was a very conflicting experience. I was tempted by exotic, fiery street food at every turn that wreaked absolute havoc on my digestive system. But I was in delicious Thailand! What was I to do? (Stuff myself full of the delectable local fare and pay the consequences later, of course.)

This soup is definitely reminiscent of soups typically consumed in Thailand, but is much less likely to cause a peptic ulcer.

It is also a very versatile soup in terms of the ingredients you can use. My plan was to include sauteed mushrooms, because I love me some fungi and put them in almost everything I cook. A thorough search through my refrigerator yielded no mushrooms, so after a good, hard cry I decided to substitute celery.

And the celery was good! It gave the soup some crunch, which I really liked.

This soup also calls for jalapenos, which I forgot to include until after I had taken a photo. I planned to retake the photo the next morning, but in a state of post-slumber haze decided the original picture would suffice. So just pretend there are vibrant rings of jalapenos nestled against the chunks of tofu and sliced onions.

This spicy Thai soup recipe is incredibly tasty, and vegan! (You could deveganize this recipe by adding 2 1/2 pounds or so of chicken instead of tofu, which I bet is really tasty, but I am partial to coagulated bean curd.)

Enjoy!

Ingredients ☑ Vegan

  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bulbs thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 2″ piece of fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 package of tofu, drained and sliced into 1″ cubes
  • 12 oz mushrooms or 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings

Method

  1. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan and add tofu cubes. Fry until all sides are golden and crispy. Set aside.
  2. Stir lemongrass, garlic, and ginger together in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Strain chicken broth and set aside. Discard lemongrass, garlic, and ginger.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add celery or mushrooms and cook 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until just combined. Add vegetable broth and coconut milk. Return to a summer and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Skim off any excess oil that rises to the top and discard.
  7. Add red onion and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and garnish with jalapeno slices.

Baked Mini Cheesecakes

Food

Baked Mini Cheesecakes

Whoever came up with the idea of making cake out of cheese deserves an extremely vigorous high five.

And let’s not forget the cunning mastermind who made the first miniature version of something.

I mean, name one thing that doesn’t taste way better in a slightly shrunken state. Mini muffins are approximately 2350569 times better than their regular-sized counterparts. And mini Chips Ahoy cookies? Don’t even get me started.

Cheesecake is, of course, no exception.

Shelly’s birthday was last weekend, and I had the super thoughtful and industrious idea to bake her a surprise birthday pie. I was all prepared to spend my Saturday afternoon buying pie ingredients, laboriously rolling out a double crust, and packing that bad boy full of fresh apple and pear slices. Then I accidentally got drunk and told her all about my pie plans.

I fully expected her to be ecstatic about the impending birthday pie, but instead she leaned in and said “You know what I want more than pie? Mini cheesecakes.”

That ungrateful she-devil.

Just kidding! Cheesecake is way less involved than pie, and so delightfully cheesy, so I was pretty open to the idea.

I’ve made all kinds of cheesecake in my day: no-bake, crustless, sour cream-based, yogurt-based, ricotta-based, goat cheese-based, but none quite as satisfying as the mini cheesecake. These mini cheesecakes are incredibly easy to make and taste great topped with fruit, chocolate, jam, or just plain. Plus, mini things can be eaten with your hands, and utensils are absolutely for chumps.

This recipe makes 12 mini cheesecakes and includes enough dairy to challenge even the brawniest of digestive systems:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup(s) graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup(s) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Grease cupcake liners.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Spoon evenly into muffin cups (approximately 1 tbsp per cup) and use something round and firm to press the crumbs into the bottom of the cups.
  3. In a large bowl, beat ricotta until smooth. Add cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar and mix using an electric mixer or food processor until smooth.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and mix into batter.
  5. Evenly distribute cake mix into muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until set completely and slightly golden around the edges. Let cool 1 hour and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Remove paper lining and top with fresh fruit.

Note: These cheesecakes will collapse if you attempt to remove the paper before they have been sitting in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. It’s probably best to make them a day ahead, but if you’re tight on time you can serve them in their paper cups and just pretend they’re supposed to be that way.

Baked Honey Lime Salmon with Sweet & Spicy Sauce

Food

salmon

Sweet, delicious, flaky salmon. Why don’t I cook you more often? Oh that’s right, you’re $15 a freaking pound. What’s the deal?

I suppose I do live in the middle of a giant land mass… and fish tend to prefer a wetter milieu… but still. I’d eat salmon every day if it weren’t so costly.

Did you know that salmon contains tryptophan? Tryptophan is an amino acid our clever little bodies convert into serotonin, which makes us feel happy.

Tryptophan is one of those essential amino acids, meaning our bodies can’t produce it on their own. It has to come from the food we eat. If we don’t get the proper levels of serotonin, things get a bit ugly. We start to feel tired, irritable, anxious, and depressed. Maybe not all at once, but you definitely won’t be on your A game. (I can’t believe I just used a sports idiom. I had to google it to make sure I’m using it right, and then I asked an athletically inclined coworker just to be sure. I’m bad at sports analogies.)

When I do cook fish, it’s usually an indication that
a) Shelly has been complaining about eating veggies all week long;
b) I’m feeling motivated enough to walk all the way to the fish market; and/or
c) I’ve been craving some omega-3 goodness.

This past weekend was a combination of all three. And the results were so tasty!

This salmon recipe includes a sweet and spicy sauce I like to smother my entire meal with, but if spicy isn’t your thing the recipe tastes great with just the marinade. Actually, you could save the marinade once you’re through marinating the fish, simmer it on the stove for a few minutes, and serve it on the side. That… sounds really good. Next time!

Here’s my baked honey lime salmon recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. salmon
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp. honey or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Method

  1. Combine lime juice, honey, and soy sauce. Put salmon in a resealable bag and add marinade. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove salmon from marinade. Discard marinade. (Or, if you’re going for the non-spicy version, simmer the marinade on the stove for a few minutes and set aside.)
  3. Place salmon in a greased baking pan and cook until flaky inside, about 20 minutes. Top with spicy sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

Beet Hummus

Food

Beet Hummus

If you think you don’t like beets, you’re wrong. Just so you know. Because beets are amazing.

I too used to be anti-beet. I never ate them growing up, and always thought they were ugly, mysterious, and smelled a little. I was right about the smelly part. They smell like dirt. Why would anyone want to put something that smells like soil in their mouth?

Beet hummus is why. This recipe will make a beet lover out of even the most squeamish beet skeptics.

I mean do you see how beautiful it is? It’s hot pink! More food needs to be hot pink.

This recipe was my introduction to cooking with beets. First time eating beets, even. I saw a beet dip recipe on the internet somewhere, and a switch flipped somewhere deep in my cranial cavity. Suddenly I was all, “Beets… are the answer. To everything.”

Since then I’ve experimented with beet salads and side dishes, beet cakes and beet donuts. Is there anything you can’t do with beets? I’m going to go ahead and say no. Definitely, explicitly, categorically no.

I’ve made several variations of this beet hummus recipe, and this is the version I’ve had the most success with:

Ingredients ☑ Vegan

  • 2 medium beets
  • 2 14oz cans chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 chilies (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Wrap each beet in tin foil and place in the oven. Cook until you can pierce each beet with a fork, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and let cool.
  2. Chop beets and add to food processor. Add all other ingredients and puree until smooth.
  3. Garnish with additional parsley and serve.

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Food

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

I hate tomatoes. Their vile, slimy, seed-filled innards disgust me on a very visceral level. Why are they so wet and sloppy? Why are they so full of mushy, semi-congealed seeds? Why are they so difficult to slice through, despite their soupy insides?

More importantly, why do I love this soup so much?

I’ve been making this soup for a couple of years, and during that time I’ve conducted some pretty momentous soul-searching. Here’s what I’ve learned: I don’t hate tomatoes; I hate the texture of tomatoes! Ketchup and salsa are OK in my books, but the thought of eating a slice of raw tomato churns my stomach.

When I was making this soup Shelly scooped up a bowl before I had a chance to puree and I watched in disgust as she shoveled chunks of brothy, roasted tomatoes into her mouth. But as soon as I blended everything together I ladled myself a bowl and let the tomatoey goodness slide right down my gullet, because damn this soup is good.

I remember serving this to Shelly’s brother once who, upon tasting it, exclaimed “I can taste all the vegetables!” (I think he was referring to the combination of garlic, onions, celery, and bell peppers that contributes to the rich complexity of this soup.)

Now that we’ve gone over how remarkably delicious this soup is let’s talk its health benefits. Tomatoes are full of vitamins A and C, folic acid, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and a magnitude of other things that keep us happy and healthy. Basically, tomatoes are really really good for us (despite how unforgivably disgusting they are).

If you’re a tomato lover, you will love this soup. If you are a tomato hater, experiment a bit! For me, pureed tomatoes is the answer, and I can’t get enough of this creamy, delicious soup.

Ingredients ☑ Vegetarian

Adapted from this goboroot recipe.

  • 2 kg heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 onions, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup(s) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cup(s) vegetable broth
  • 1-2 red chilies (optional)
  • 1 cup(s) cream (half and half)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dried parsley

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Coat vegetables evenly. Roast until slightly charred, about 30 minutes.
  3. Toss vegetables in their own rendered liquid and roast for another 10 minutes.
  4. In a large pot, melt the butter and sauté the celery over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the roasted vegetables and liquid do the pot. Add chilies. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the vegetable broth and simmer 30 minutes, skimming often.
  7. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to the pot.
  8. Add warmed cream. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley and serve.