Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dip into summer - Green pea hummus, cucumber and spinach raita

DC experienced a brief bout of heat and humidity before it was relieved by the thunderstorms (thankfully no tornadoes). During that time, I transitioned from still wanting soup now and again to just wanting to crawl into that bag of frozen blueberries in my freezer. As a sort of compromise, I made a couple of dips, all with success. So much so that after multiple meals of pita, dips, and smoothies, the only thing I want is more pita, more dip, and more smoothies even though the weather is no longer oppressively warm. 

A recipe for green pea hummus appeared on Serious Eats the other day and having recently acquired a well-loved second hand food processor (thanks, D+D!), I was eager to try it out. It involves simply processing a bag of frozen peas with some oil, lemon juice, and cheese but the results are fantastic: light but filling, and a little sweet from peas frozen at their peak. And it's seriously satisfying to dig into something so vibrantly green.

A second dip was inspired by a raita (yogurt relish) dish in Madhur Jaffrey's new cookbook, which is a beautiful book with highly approachable Indian recipes. I substituted mustard seeds with the more commonly found cumin seeds and added some cucumbers at the end. The result is a light but flavorful sauce that is delicious alone, on a salad, with a pita... you name it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Greek Salad

My trip to China was great (pictures of roasted baby pigeons to come), but frankly, after two weeks of half-familiar vegetables and proteins swimming in a pool of MSG-infused oil, I was really excited about coming back and eating some crunchy, non-greasy foods. Solution? A diet consisting of cereal and salad has never tasted so delicious and chemical*-free.

The Dupont Circle farmers market was going on the day I got back. Not only was it nice to walk around in the beautiful weather under blue skies, which incidentally, I saw precisely twice on my entire trip to China, but it was also great to see all the wonderful produce I can start playing around with. I bought some lovely little Persian cucumbers, which are infinitely tastier, crispier, and more fragrant than their fat, overly seeded and thick-skinned counterparts, whose existence is as inexplicable to me as America's obsession with chicken breast. Seeing those cucumbers immediately inspired me to make a Greek salad.