Americans are obsessed with hummus, a spread with options so complex it belies the simplistic nature of its makeup. Anyone with a blender or food processor can whip together a hummus dip with results that will leave guests reaching for the....veggie tray?
Yep. Hummus is one of those things that make the crunch of fresh vegetables even more appealing, even though hummus can and does make just about any snack food better. From pita chips to celery, hummus is the perfect healthy snack as we approach comfort food season.
This simple hummus recipe is quick, easy, and will keep for at least a week in a tightly-covered container. If it lasts that long.
Want some spice? Add cayenne pepper, paprika, or cumin for a bit more flavor.
Need some ideas for serving hummus, besides the usual vegetable tray or naan flatbread? Try using hummus instead of butter or mayo on sandwich wraps, on toast, or a burger. Yum. It's also awesome on pizza.
2 8 oz cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
½ cup tahini (sesame paste, easily found at grocery stores)
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, or to taste (don't skimp!)
1 TBS cumin
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste (add more at the end, if desired)
¼ cup olive oil
Drain beans, reserving the liquid in case you need to thin out the mixture later.
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
(Are you kidding me? That's It?)
Yep. That's it.
Go wild and add other flavors such as sweet peas, red pepper, or even beets for a cool color shift, blending main ingredients first, then adding "extras" last.
The venerable horseradish has been a staple of gastronomic use for more than 3,000 years, and as a medicinal therapy long before that. The long, white root is known for its ability to spice up meats and seafood, but it also is reportedly an excellent therapy for sore muscles, as a cough syrup, and, um, as an aphrodisiac.
Globally, the horseradish market is a vibrant one, especially here in the United States where six million gallons are produced annually, enough to season enough sandwiches to wrap the planet 12 times. That's a lot of spice.
What is horseradish, exactly? A long, tapering root that is is harvested every spring and fall and sold to processors who work their magic; grating the root and releasing volatile oils that distinguish horseradish from all other flavors. The ground horseradish is then mixed with distilled vinegar to stabilize that distinctive burn that can clear out sinuses in a snap; but this is also where formulas can vary -- additions usually include salt, sugar, cream or vegetable oil.
The Flying Chef recipe is similar to many, but with the addition of gin, which I think provides an unusual bite to the already-spicy horseradish. It's great on grilled red meats.
4 Tbs horseradish
1 jigger of gin (1.5 oz)
1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
3 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- In a small bowl combine all ingredients except the gin.
- Stirring with a fork, add small amounts of gin until you achieve a desired constancy. It is better to be on the thicker side.
- Cover, refrigerate and give it another stir just before serving atop grilled meats or as a side for sandwiches.
Let's talk about two very special Alaska things: berries and fish. For centuries, Alaskans have utilized both as mainstays to a healthy diet, even if they didn't know it at the time. Cranberries, crowberries, watermelon berries, salmon berries, and, of course, blueberries. This has been a fantastic year for blueberries, so why not combine this bounty with another Alaska resource; salmon. Reds or kings are best for this recipe.
Oh, and while I'm at it, I should mention that my salmon came from the good folks at Catch 49, a cool new co-op opportunity that allows the purchase of shares for such wonderful products as wild Alaska salmon. So check them out HERE.
1/2 fillet of red or king salmon
Large pinch of salt
Large pinch pepper
4 sprigs thyme
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 TBS butter
2 cups blueberries
2 cups white wine
2 TBS honey
2 TBS white wine vinegar
1 stick cinnamon
1 TBS butter
- In a small saucepan, add shallots, wine, vinegar, thyme, cinnamon, and a small pinch of salt. Reduce until the liquid has all but evaporated, approximately 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- When reduced, add blueberries, half the butter, the honey, and cook until the berries are soft and the sauce turns pink.
- Heat grill to medium and make a foil “boat” to contain the salmon.- Place foil on grill and add remaining butter. When melted, place salmon in the foil boat and spoon blueberry mixture over the salmon, reserving just a bit of sauce for the presentation.
- Grill for about 10 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily. - Plate salmon and drizzle with the remaining sauce.
There are a lot of potatoes in this world, all of them good. But some, like Yukon Gold, are just better. Yukons are smaller, with yellow flesh (hence the name), and a slightly-sweet, smooth flavor. Mashed with lots of butter and the right seasonings, they're simply sublime. As harvest season goes full bore, perhaps you've found yourself with an abundance of these little beauties and wonder what else can be done with their deliciousness.
Behold the smashed Yukon Gold tater with hints of orange and garlic; the perfect sweet-tart combination topped off with bacon bits. Be sure to leave the skin on these potatoes for a rustic look and lots of vitamins (your mother was right!).
Smashed Potatoes with Orange and Garlic
2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, quartered
6 cloves garlic, chopped
½ stick butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 oz orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Rinse and quarter potatoes, leaving the skin on.
- Place potatoes in pot and boil until they can be pierced easily with a table knife. Drain pot and leave potatoes in.
- Chop garlic and set aside.
- Add your butter, garlic, and half the whipping cream to the potato pot.
- With a table knife or spatula, use a slicing motion break down the potatoes. When a desired texture (i.e. 'smash') is achieved, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the rest of the cream - a little at a time. You don’t want to turn the smashed potatoes into a gooey paste.
- Add orange juice, mixing carefully, and adjust with bacon bits, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
The oldest-known recipe using Fritos brand corn chips in combination with chili was first published in the state of Texas in 1949. Word has it that a Mrs. Daisy Doolin, mother of Fritos founder Charles Doolin, was the inventor of this savory, filling dish, but some also believe that Mr. Doolin's secretary, Mary Livingston, may have also had a hand in creating the crunch heard round the world. By contrast, the Frito-Lay company credits the official Frito Pie recipe to Nell Morris, who joined the company in the 1950s, and who helped develop a company cookbook that included the Frito Pie recipe.
While controversy surrounds the invention of this late-night dish for the sometimes-inebriated masses, Frito Pie also stands on its own as an American icon of guilty pleasure food. And now you can make it yourself, The Flying Chef way.
1 or more individual snack-size bags of Frito brand corn chips.
Your favorite chili. I, of course, recommend my Crowd-Pleaser Chili. Find it HERE.
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salsa of your choice
Set out all ingredients to let people choose toppings.
In a small bowl place bag of Fritos and slice open the top of each bag, which will become the "bowl."
Spoon chili onto chips, then add toppings. Don't be afraid to go crazy. After all, you're eating Fritos. Have fun. Crack open a cold beverage. Talk about the old days.
OK, it's July now, and Alaska's temperatures are rapidly approaching "hot," so this Japanese cucumber salad is a cool way to beat the heat. A few facts about cukes: There are quite a few different types (who knew?). Some are best for pickling, some for eating, and some are good for both. Look for cukes with descriptors like "burpless," or "slicers," meaning they are crunchy and light, and literally won't make you burp.
Find cucumbers at Alaska's farmers markets from now through September, or pick some up at your local grocery store. Just be sure the cukes are firm, not mushy (especially on the ends). Serve up this dish with fish (salmon and halibut, anyone?), or grilled meats. It's perfect for deckside dining.
1 cup rice wine vinegar
2 TBS of Nori (a Japanese seasoning) or 2 TBS white sesame seeds
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp ground or crushed dried chill pepper (or to taste)
1 mason-type jar or plastic container. If using a traditional mason jar, the metal bands and lids are OK for use, otherwise, avoid any other metal.
Trim ends of the cucumbers, and slice in half. Then, slice cucumbers in half again, lengthwise. Slice that in thirds lengthwise. Now, one more time: slice the cucumber into thirds again, this time perpendicular so you end up with nice chunks.
Place cucumber chunks in mason jar.
Add remaining ingredients. Close the lid and shake to mix.
Leave in refrigerator overnight or up to four days.
Shake or invert the jar once in a while to infuse dressing around cucumbers.
Alaska's summer is in full swing, with sunshine and warm temperatures to boot! On a day as warm as this one (75F here in Anchorage), this is the perfect time to take advantage of fresh fruits and outdoor dining.
Try this strawberry salsa with grilled flank steak, sliced thin, and served in a warm flour tortilla. It would also be tasty on grilled halibut.
2 cups chopped strawberries
Zest and juice of one lime
Lime wedges for serving
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs honey
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped shallot
1 Tbs chopped cilantro
Extra chopped cilantro for garnish
1 Tbs chopped mint.
In a non reactive bowl (remember, glass or plastic -not metal), mix all the ingredients and set aside. Add more cilantro for garnish. Drop the lime wedge to the plate and that's all, The Flying Chef wrote!
Every Alaskan has his or her favorite (and sometimes secret) recipe for salmon dip. Some people like it savory, some herb-y, but everybody has their own special something that makes it unique. This dip is pretty simple, taking advantage of the rich flavor of smoked salmon, and letting it take charge. Capers provide a saltiness different from the salmon, and I highly recommend you add them. Serve with crisp crackers or toast rounds, preferably out on the deck with a cold beverage.
½ pound smoked salmon
½ pound cream cheese
3 Tbs ranch dressing
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
½ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp dill
1 bunch, (4 or so) green onions, including leafy green tops
3 Tbs horseradish
1 Tbs capers (optional)
Remove cream cheese from refrigerator and soften on the counter.
Break apart salmon with a fork or your fingers.
Mix together softened cream cheese and salmon in a medium bowl or food processor, being careful not to overmix.
Add ranch dressing
Juice the lemon and chop onions, and add to the bowl.
Add Tabasco sauce, pepper, horseradish, and capers. Stir with a nice big spoon or hit the pulse button on the food processor. Mix until desired texture is reached.
I like to mix for about 10 to 15 seconds for a chunky texture. Want it smoother? Mix it longer.
Grab some crackers and enjoy!
What better way to kick off summer than with a slab of smoky, hearty ribs slow-cooked on a grill? This is a time-intensive process that is worth the wait. These pork ribs are enough to feed a crowd, but you may want to do two slabs -- they're that good. Serve with grilled corn (recipe coming tomorrow), a salad, and some good beer.
1 slab pork ribs
Your favorite seasoning or rub (like The Flying Chef brand, perhaps?)
A sheet pan for each rack of ribs
2 Tbs mustard
½ onion, chopped
¼ cup apple juice or cider vinegar
Bottled barbecue sauce
The night before: Remove the ribs from the package and rinse.
Remove membrane from the back of the ribs, and apply rub to both sides of the meat.
Wrap tightly and refrigerate on a sheet pan overnight.
Fire up a grill on a low temperature, and arrange coals, if used to cook with indirect heat.
Soak wood chips and place near heat source in a small metal dish or discarded can. A pie pan works great
Smoke ribs, meat side up, for 3 hours. Try and keep the temp to around 180F.
Meanwhile in a non-reactive bowl mix the mustard, juice or cider, onion and Worcestershire to taste. Set aside.
After 3 hours remove ribs and place on sheet pan. Adjust grill temperature to 225F, or use your oven to finish the ribs.
On sheet pan, make a foil “boat” for the ribs and add mixture. Sprinkle the top with some brown sugar, cover with more foil and crimp the edges to seal it.
Place sheet pan on grill or in oven.
Cook at 225F for 2 hours.
Remove from grill or oven and open the foil packet.
Slather ribs with sauce, then place ribs back on grill or in oven until the skin starts to tighten and the ribs begin to pull away from the bone. Approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove from grill and let rest.
Slice and enjoy.
During this season of grilling, pickled things often find themselves to the table. Pickling is a process that uses a brine -- vinegar, water, and salt -- thus extending the lifespan of all kinds of foods, but particularly vegetables.
All kinds of fresh veggies can be pickled, with a variety of flavors produced ranging from sweet to hot to spicy.
These quick-fire red onions and jalapeno peppers offer a bit of all three: the peppers obviously send the heat, but the onions and vinegar give a spicy tone and rich texture while a tablespoon of sugar tempers the burn.
These pickles are easy to make, and can be eaten right away, making them a perfect compliment to deckside grillouts or potlucks featuring hearty main dishes.
1 red onion
½ cup cider vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs salt
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt.
Bring to a boil and them reduce to a simmer until all solids are dissolved.
Slice the onion in half, and in half again. Thinly slice once more. Wearing gloves if sensitive to peppers, slice the jalapeños into rounds and remove seeds until your preferred level of heat is achieved. Seeds equal hot!
Place onion and pepper in a sterilized mason gar and pour liquid on top.
Let sit for one hour, uncovered, then secure the jar lid and place in refrigerator.
Eat right away or leave in fridge for a week.