Thursday, March 6, 2008


I love many of my Thursdays. I call them Fake Fridays, as I have the next day off. I get home, finally, after some minor disturbance regarding my car's state of repair, pulling into my driveway in the rental car. My friend L is coming over soon, and I'm expecting the Nino, and E is about to arrive. I've put out a cheese plate, and have some potstickers out and ready to heat up in the frying pan. The door bell rings, and it's the Nino and Grandma C, wanting to know if he can stay over there for the night.

I start to prepare the hummus I need to make for this week. Much of my cooking is by feel, ideas coalescing from various sources. Maybe it's from a cookbook, or something I saw on the Food channel, or perhaps something I saw on another blog. I love my cookbooks, but unless it's the art of baking, rarely do I use recipe. Often, whatever's in the pot somewhat resembles my meal: eclectic, flavorful, and often dictated by what's lying around.

So, my "hummus," or as I say, Garbonzo Spread Stuff. If you are expecting that tahini, hummus-y taste, you might be disappointed. It's like carob... if you want something tasty, it rocks, but if you're looking for a substitute... well it isn't :) BUT my hummus-stuffing friend L said she loved it. I'm sorry that I can't give you exact amounts, the ones I list are guesses as far as herbs and such go...

Garbonzo Spread Stuff-

1 can garbonzo beans ( about 2 1/2 inches in diameter... not very good with the ounces stuff either)
4 cloves garlic ( probably why L likes it so much.)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt- add more to taste
1/4 cup olive or grape seed oil (oh, the blasphemy! But grape seed was all I had tonight)

Put the can contents, beans, water, and all into a small frying pan or a larger sauce pan, and bring to a low boil. Just enough for thing to look exciting. While this is heating up, crush the garlic cloves open with the flat of a knife or a water glass, then rough chop into a few pieces. It doesn't need to be fancy, 'cause it's all going in a blender in the end. Toss these in the pan and stir things up a bit.

Then add your spices, order absolutely does not matter. Curry blend doesn't matter either, as long as you can smell that cumin. If you can't, add a pinch of cumin too. After this, add as much paprika and salt as tastes good, but be does not take much since you used all of that great salty bean juice from the can! Cook until garlic is soft, adding water as necessary to keep things from getting dry.

After the garlic has gone completely soft, you're ready for the blender. My son has a Magic Bullet blender that he graciously allows me to use (it was a Christmas present from Grandma L) and it works wonderfully for this. Anyhoo, pour the oil into the blender, add about half of the beans and all of their pan juices (yum!), and about another 1/4 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Add the rest of the beans, and more water if the consistency is not correct. When it's all smooth and has the texture you want, dump it into a container and grab those peppers!

SO next on my list was chicken and baked potatoes. Someday, dear friends, I will remember to take at least blurry, ill-light pictures of what I'm making... but it's all put away now. I even washed all of the dishes! I'm a big fan of baking meat in foil packets. It's perhaps the most wasteful part of my cooking :( I try to make big batches to make up for this un-eco habit. SO, after putting a large sheet of heavy duty foil on a large cookie sheet I put the following in it:

3 large Franken-chicken breasts- about 2.5-3 pounds (yikes!)
3 cloves garlic, squashed out of their skins and chopped into about 4 pieces each
A solid sprinkling of paprika
Sprinkling of oregano, salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 350 F

Fold the edges of the foil together and place the Giant Chicken Packet in the middle of the baking sheet. Around the edges I put 4 wrapped potatoes that were just stabbed by a fork a few times to make sure they didn't blow up. I also though about little packets of carrots, but by this time the week was falling away from me, and I'd had a few potstickers and a glass of wine... so I didn't care about carrots anymore. I was in "relax" mode with a very good friend! Put into the oven for 60-80 minutes or until you handy little thermometer reads 180 F in the thickest part of the chicken breast.

After chicken, (and potstickers, and edamame, and cheese and crackers) I was stuffed. I was failing to remember basic things, it was so good. Now I'm failing to remember what I meant to type, so I'm sure that means I should go to bed and get lots of sleep. That way, when they tell me at the dentist's that I need another root canal, I have a bigger context to relate to *grin*

Anyhoo, thanks for reading and I hope you al have a great day!


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