Decided to make some easy and crazy good dips, olives and some flat-bread for my video blog initiation.
Started with the Flat-Bread, and yeah I cheated.
Bought the whole grain pizza dough at the place where foods are whole. There are a bazillion recipes for pizza/bread dough, use the one you like best. Or go the way I did. Whatever works for you.
I heated the oven up to 450 degrees and put my cast iron skillet in it to heat up. That thing is my go to kitchen workhorse/staple!
Broke the dough into 4 somewhat equal pieces, flattened them out and tossed two at at time into the pan. Once they were good and toasty brown (3 or so minutes about) I flipped them and baked til toasty brown on the other side. Done. Easy. Excellent.
Orange Roasted Olives were even easier.
Same oven, 450 degrees, smaller cast iron pan. Tossed in olives and thin strips of orange peel. You could use zest here as well. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until wrinkling and fragrant then douse with a shot of olive oil. Done. Easy. Excellent.
Now for the Hummus.
I used 1 cup dried garbanzos/chickpeas/chi chi beans that I soaked overnight. Then I drained them, tossed them into a slow cooker with water to cover, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. On high and they were done if 4 hours. (Edit: You then let them cool a bit and rub them between a towel or your hands to remove the skin to make for a smoother hummus.) And yes, you can take it easy and use canned chickpeas. Whatever works for you works for me.
Threw 2 cups of the cooked chickpeas into a blender with 1/2 cup of tahini, the juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of garlic, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Oh and season with salt and pepper. Blended until smoother, adding more olive oil on the way until it got to the consistency I like. Chunky and smooth, if you can believe it.
And here it is with the flat breads. (That's a sprinkle of cayenne on top, you can go the paprika route if you are so inclined.)
Now for the Baba Ganoush.
Eggplant is not my favorite vegetable, but I adore it here. Like I'll knock you over to get to it like it, so outta my way!
Turned the oven onto to broil and the famous cast iron pan when in to heat up. Cut the eggplant in half and removed the green stem. Placed it in the pan (with a red pepper which we'll use for the next recipe) and let it get dark on both sides. Took about 20 minutes. And yes that dark. You need that smokiness.
The eggplant innards were scraped into a bowl (yes black bits and all) with about 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 1 teaspoon of garlic, 2 tablespoons of tahini, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and salt and pepper. I used my stick blender and blended until smoother. Added in 1/2 a roma tomato, seeded and chopped small, 1/4 cup of chopped curly parsley and seasoned with salt and pepper. Smoky fabulousness!
Last, and most definitely not least, Muhammara.
It's not too well knows, but I promise you, it will become so once you see how the flavor brightens up whatever you serve it with.
Took 1 roasted red pepper and tossed into a blender with, 1/4 cup of walnuts, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup pomegranate syrup (found at Mediterranean or Middle Eastern markets) and seasoned with salt and pepper. Pureed until smooth. Poured into a bowl and added in about 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs. This thickens the dip and adds texture. Seasoned with some more salt and pepper and voila!
This would make a great spread for a falafel or gyro sandwich.
And then we ate...no we feasted! Cause it all was that good.