Sunday, 29 April 2012

Doritos and Hummus

Today was my first day of summer vacation. I think I'm in shock. I woke up and thought 'okay, breakfast, then study'- I had to pause and remind myself that I have nothing left to study for! Gotta love vacation~ Though I do start MCAT studying in a week.... Still, studying for one thing is much easier than studying for five exams.

I made cassoulet last week on a whim. I'd been dying to try out such a classic recipe for a while. It was pretty awesome, but that's not what this post is about. It's about the leftover beans I had. Today, they were staring at me, so I decided to put them out of their misery and made 'em into a hummus!
I started out using a recipe from a cookbook, but ended up ignoring it and just going with what I had on hand. Turned out pretty delicious, if I do say so myself! Even better: I had just bought those new BBQ Chipotle Doritos. Now, I didn't really think it through when I grabbed the bag in order to use some chips for the pictures... Then I was cleaning up and tried the chips with the hummus...

OH MAN. It was so good. The spiciness of the chips was cooled by the hummus, which I left a bit chunky so it gave it some texture with the crunch of the chip. It was awesome. If you can't find the BBQ Chipotle Doritos, the JalapeƱo Cheddar Doritos would work great as well. Either way, try to stick with a spicy chip- trust me, it's awesome.

Phenomenom Hummus
Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
• 1 cup canned white kidney beans
• 1 cup canned chickpeas
• 3 cloves of garlic
• 1/3 cup of water
• 1 tbsp lemon juice 
 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp hot sauce
• 2 tbsp tahini 
• salt to taste

Drain and rinse the canned beans, shaking off excess water. Place in a food processor with the garlic, water, salt, lemon juice and hot sauce. Blend until just shy of smooth; leave it a tiny bit chunky.

Add tahini and blend once more to incorporate. Add salt (and lemon juice or hot sauce) to taste. If it's too thick, add more water. If it's too thin, add more beans (you'll probably have some leftover from the cans) or tahini. 

Serve with BBQ 
Chipotle Doritos and enjoy~

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Daring Bakers: Armenian Nutmeg Cake

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.
Holy cow, what a month. I feel like I haven't posted anything in ages! I have finals to thank for that. 5 exams are never a cakewalk and I am proud to say that I actually spent most of my last month studying for them. Today may be an exception, but not only is it my last exam this afternoon, it's also my elective (which shouldn't really be an excuse, since the exam is worth an odd 59%, but tell that to my laziness). Either way: summer is nearly upon us!!!

This Daring Baker's challenge was to make either nazook or an Armenian nutmeg cake (or both). I was tempted to try the nazook, but my mother intervened and requested the nutmeg cake. Either way, I knew this challenge would turn out delicious. I had leftover Easter chocolate laying around- I'm talking really good quality dark chocolate from a local store just down the street. I saw it on the counter and thought: 'why not?'. When is chocolate ever a bad thing to include in a dessert anyway? It gave the cake a deep, rich colour and a slight bitterness to counter the sweetness of the cake. I also went almonds instead of walnuts, mostly because I was watching Sugar at the gym and she made an almond cake a bit similar to this one, so I had a hankering. 

This recipe was really neat. I liked how they first used the batter to make a crust before adding the wet ingredients for the cake part. Really cool way to do it and the added crunch at the bottom gave it texture (I admit that I may have enjoyed the crust more than the actual cake... but I'm backwards like that) and a nutty taste.

Make sure to be careful with that nutmeg. This is a nutmeg cake, but when the recipe says 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons, don't go generous with 2. Nutmeg is really potent and can go wild if you put just a bit too much in. 

I really enjoyed this challenge- I had a lot of fun making the cake and I always am excited to try out different cultural dishes. It makes me feel like I've expanded by baking repertoire! My mother absolutely loved the cake (she ate two slices the day I made it) and suggests having it with a cup of tea. 

Armenian Nutmeg Cake
Makes one 9”/23cm cake which yields 12 servings
  •   1 cup milk (I used 2% but any kind of milk would work)
  •   1 teaspoon baking soda
  •   2 cups all-purpose flour
  •   2 teaspoons baking powder
  •   2 cups  brown sugar, firmly packed
  •   3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  •   2/3 cup almond pieces (or any one of your favourite nuts)
  •   1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  •   1 egg 
  •  2/3 cup dark chocolate
  1. Preheat your oven to moderate 350°F.
  2. Mix the baking soda into the milk. Set it aside.
  3. Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. One sift is fine.
  4. Add the brown sugar and stir.
  5. Toss in the cubed butter and mash the butter with a fork or use your fingers to incorporate it into the dry ingredients. You want to get a more-or-less uniform, tan-coloured crumbly mixture. 
  6. Take HALF of this resulting crumbly mixture into your springform (9”/23cm) pan. Press a crust out of it using your fingers and knuckles. 
  7. Melt your chocolate- I always use a double broiler to do this: place a small pot on the stove on medium heat, filled with about an inch of water. Fit a glass bowl on top of the pot so that it sits in the pot, but doesn't touch the water. Add your chocolate to the glass pot and let it melt, stirring with a spatula every so often. Once the chocolate is almost melted (just a few chunks left), take it off the heat and stir until it's smooth.
  8. Crack an egg into a mixer or bowl. Add the nutmeg and start mixing slowly with a whisk attachment and then increase to medium speed (you can also mix by hand).
  9. Once it's mixed well and frothy (about 1 minute using a standing mixer, or about 2-3 minutes of vigorous beating with a whisk), pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until uniform. Add in the melted chocolate. 
  10. Pour in the leftover crumbly mixture. Mix well, with either a paddle attachment or by hand with a spatula or whisk. The resulting mixture is thick, but still liquidy
  11. Pour the batter over the base in the springform pan. Sprinkle with the almond pieces. 
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when the top is a golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan, and then release. Enjoy!