Appetizers

Pita Chips and Hummus

It makes me so very happy that I will never be forced to buy pre-packaged hummus or pita chips again!  Freedom from store bought foods!  Ok, so there may be a time when buying a bag of pita chips will be necessary.  BUT, if I have the time to make my own, then I will make my own because the hummus is delicious and easy, as are the pita chips.

Both recipes come from Finecooking.com.  There are quite a few hummus recipes on the site, but this one seemed just different enough to be fun without being weird or overly complicated with ingredients.  I like the versatility of hummus.  A dip for pita chips or fresh veggies, and equally good spread on a flat bread with veggies or some turkey and wrapped up for a quick lunch.

hummus

The garlic in this hummus is cooked in olive oil along with some ground cumin to mellow the flavor of the garlic, and the results are really nice.  The soy sauce in the hummus isn’t obvious, but does add something to the flavor.

For the pita chips, make sure to halve them to create 2 circles, then cut the pita halves into triangles or strips.  If you cut the entire pita into pieces, your chips will not crisp quite as well.  The recipe calls for 10 pitas, but I only used 4.  Just cut what you need, brush them on both sides with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Easy peasy.

Hummus

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 15-1/2-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tbs. tahini
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed

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Summer Vegetable Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

This is time consuming, frustrating, quite prep intensive, and not easy.  The resulting dish is delicious and worth every drop of sweat and shed tear.

Summer rolls are one of those things that seems so daunting that most people, or maybe just me, do not even want to attempt to make them at home.  Why spend so much time preparing something like this?  Why not just be content to order them at a restaurant where someone else labors instead of you?  Because once you know how to do it you will realize that it’s not an impossible task and that they taste better when you’ve made them yourself.  Oh, and it’s quite a bit cheaper than restaurant fare.

summerrolls2

This recipe is from Epicurious.com, and had really high fork ratings and 95% of people would make them again, so I figured I could handle it.  I prepped everything and made the sauce early in the day.  I didn’t really measure my vegetables and herbs.  I chopped and shredded more than I needed and made more noodles than called for.

summerrolls3

This resulted in a lot of leftover veggies, but made more rolls and I had more chances to screw up and tear the rice paper…which, by the way, is very easy to do!  Use a light hand with the wrappers and be prepared to toss some into the trashcan. I like bean sprouts, so I added those to a few of the rolls when I added the carrots.  After adding the carrots, when rolling the roll closed, is when I would tear the rice paper.  Good news though, by the last couple rolls I was putting out some very pretty, tight, nice looking rolls.

Tips for making summer rolls:

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