Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's a Party!!

Party at Renee and Paul's house! Well, it was a party. Took me awhile to get a post together. It was actually a work function last weekend to say good-by to my former boss and wish him well in his new assignment. So of course I volunteered to host! I love to have company and I especially love to cook for people.

It was a blast with people that I know well and have worked with for many years. Everyone brought a little something so there was quite a variety of goodies! Here are my contributions.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

This a sort of a pantry challenge dish. I pretty much just used what I had on hand to make it. This dish is best when made the night before, chilled overnight, then allowed to come to room temperature before serving.


4 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 red onion, chopped

3 sweet bell peppers - I used 1 red, one green, and 1 yellow - diced
2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bag frozen white corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 recipe Spicy Vinaigrette dressing
1 16 oz bag rotini pasta, cooked al dente

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix. Chill.


Hummus has just a few ingredients and is quite easy, but there are a couple of secrets to making delicious and creamy restaurant-style hummus. Th
e first is starting with fresh cooked chickpeas. Fresh cooked chickpeas don't even taste like the same legume as canned.

When I cook chickpeas I always cook at least 2 pounds and freeze what I am not going to use immediately. I also save the cooking liquid, which
is important for yummy hummus.

The second secret to perfect hummus is the tahini. I'll describe this in the recipe directions.

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 - 1/2 cup water or cooking liquid from chickpeas
2 large cloves garlic

3 cups cooked chickpeas

juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt, more to taste

This first step is the most important for smooth, creamy hummus. Place tahini in a food processor. Process for about 2 minutes, unti
l the mixture is very smooth and creamy.

Add 1/4 cup of liquid and process another 30 s
econds. Add more liquid if it seems too thick. Add garlic and process for another 45 seconds. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, and cumin. Process until the whole mixture is very smooth. If it seems too thick, add more liquid; too thin, add more chickpeas.

Refrigerate for at least an hour and adjust seasoning as necessary. Sprinkle paprika over top as a garnish.

Salsa Fresca

The secret to wonderful salsa is
fresh ingredients. Use tomatoes and peppers right out of the garden when possible.

4-6 medium-size ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (remove the seeds for less heat)

1 green pepper, chopped

juice and zest of 2 limes
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt, more to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for several hours.

There is one more thing...... See those yummy-looking candy-coated pretzels? Well, I promised to add the how-tos for these on my blog. Kathy brought them and she says they are very easy!

Use one bag of Snyder's pretzel logs, a package of vanilla Candy-Quick (I'm certain this is not vegan, but you could use vegan white chocolate chips instead), and candy sprinkles. That's it!

Melt the Candy-Quick (or vegan white chocolate) in a double
boiler over low heat. Dip the pretzels in it, then roll them in the sprinkles. Lay the coated pretzels on wax or parchment paper to cool. That's it!

Bye-Bye Bob! Good luck!

So please be thinking about me next Saturday! I'll be swimming, biking, and running in my very first triathlon. I'm feeling scared but excited. Actually scared is an understatement - it's more like terrified, but it just makes me that much more determined!

No comments:

Post a Comment