Saturday, October 23, 2010

LEMONNY EDAMAME HUMMUS

Hummus is one of my favorite snacks, but edamame is something I've avoided.  Green soybeans just didn't sound appetizing to me.  But we recently ate at Chef Pia's in Washington, where the food was awesome.    Especially the edamame hummus.  So I bought a bag of frozen shelled edamame, then searched the internet for a recipe.  I found one at foodnetwork.com that sounded like it might work .  Just to be sure, I cut the recipe in half to test it.  The beans are already shelled and everything goes in the food processor, so this was a dream to make.  And delicious.  I added more lemon and tahini, reduced the water, increased the olive oil and parsley.  The end result was very close to what we had at Chef Pia's, except, maybe for the parsley.

Lemonny Edamame Hummus
Adapted half recipe from foodnetwork.com
Rating:  10 out of 10
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INGREDIENTS: 
1/4 lb. shelled edamame, frozen or fresh (about 3/4 cup)
3 Tbsp. tahini (roasted ground sesame seeds, find it in the peanut butter section)
1 Tbsp. water
3/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2-1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt + extra salt for the water to boil the beans
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp. for drizzling
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Boil the beans in salted water for 4-5 minutes.  Drain.  In a food processor (I used my mini), puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin and coriander till smooth.  With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 Tbsp. of oil and mix until absorbed.  (If you can't keep a mini processor motor running, just add the oil, put your top back on and process.)  Transfer to a small bowl.  Stir in the parsley by hand.  If desired, drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil or sprinkle top with extra chopped parsley.  Serve with veggies (cucumbers, celery, carrots), toasted pita bread or crackers.  Makes about 2/3 cup.  (The hummus tastes better after it "cures" in the fridge for a few hours.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

PIMIENTO-PECAN CHEESE SPREAD CROSTINI


Before we moved to New Bern, I had never even heard of pimiento cheese spread.  The first time I saw it, I thought, "Who would eat a sandwich of this stuff?"  Boy was I wrong.  Pimiento cheese spread is totally addictive, and I am in love with it.  On crackers, on bread, with celery, or as a topping for a burger, I make it often now and keep it on hand for snacks.

Here is yet another use for this marvelous spread:  make a delicious appetizer.  Toasted French bread topped with cheese spread and roasted red peppers can be served as is or can be placed in the oven for just a few minutes.  Either way, everyone loves this crostini.

Pimiento-Pecan Cheese Spread Crostini
Source:  The Bear Cupboard
Rating:  9.5 out of 10
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For Pimiento-Pecan Cheese Spread:
3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, or Neufchatel cheese, softened
2-1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese with jalapenos, grated using large holes of box grater
1/2 tsp. Louisiana pepper sauce
1 (10 oz.) pkg. good-quality aged cheddar cheese, grated using large holes of box grater
1 (4 oz.) jar diced pimientos with juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

For Crostini:
1 baguette, sliced
1 jar roasted red peppers, sliced in thin strips

Prepare pimiento-pecan cheese spread:  In work bowl of food processor, pulse pecans till finely chopped.  Transfer to medium bowl.  Combine cream cheese, garlic, mayonnaise and Monterey Jack cheese in work bowl; pulse till smooth; transfer to bowl with pecans.  With spatula, stir in cheddar cheese, pimientos and parsley*.  Refrigerate.

Prepare crostini:  Heat oven to 400F.  Place baguette slices on baking sheet and toast till crisp, about 5 minutes each side.  Spoon some cheese spread on each baguette, then top with some roasted red pepper strips.  Serve immediately, or place back in oven for about 5 minutes to just warm the cheese.  Enjoy!

*Please be sure to add the parsley last.  Otherwise, you might get green cheese spread, as I did the first time I made this.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A NEW "CAKERY" IN NEW BERN

Laura Oleniacz of the Sun Journal recently wrote about the grand opening of Say It With Cake, 1906 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. (across from Piggly Wiggly).  I was excited about the grand opening because the owner of the new shop, Angela Scamordella, said her store aims to be "super trendy, super modern, and hip."  Wow.  In little New Bern?  Visions of Southern red velvet cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting made with vanilla beans, cupcakes made and iced with super-fruit puree or topped with fresh fruit, and not-so-sweet frosting danced in my head.  And I fully expected to see even more exotic flavor combos.  After all, bakeries in New Bern are abundant and to start a new one and keep it alive, one should have something to entice customers to come in, buy something and return to make more purchases.  To open a bakery with the same type of product that anyone can get while they are grocery shopping at Food Lion, Wal-Mart or Harris Teeter would almost ensure failure.  Yet, that's exactly what I found here.

Angela and her mom work together at the shop, and they seem to be a good team.  Inventory on hand is light,  without much variety.  The chocolate cupcakes are unexceptional with typical bakery-type sugary icing with no real flavor.  Angela informed me it's buttercream frosting.  The carrot cake is pretty good, topped with cream cheese icing that, again, is very sugary with not much flavor.  Cookies were wrapped in plastic wrap, not available for sampling.  A wall blackboard provides prices.

Angela told me this is not a bakery, but a "cakery."  Her forte seems to be cake decorating.  When I questioned her on what is "hip" about this place, she replied it was the wallpaper.

My sincere best wishes to Angela and her mom for a successful business venture.  I do hope they have a solid 5-year business plan in place to guide them and that they are well connected with friends, neighbors and relatives who can give them lots of business.