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Smokey Roast Red Pepper Hummus (yum!)

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This is another one of those recipes that is so easy to make and so delicious that you’ll wonder why you don’t make it more often. You can use fresh peppers—as I did for this recipe—or jarred ones which you rinse. I cooked the peppers over the grate of my stove at work, but this time of year it is fun (and flavorful) to cook them outside on a charcoal grill. And as with most my recipes, this is just a suggestion…add whatever flavorings or seasoning you would like. You’ll also note that when I say this is easy to make, it truly is one step. Once the peppers are roasted you simply combine everything in a food processor and puree it. The hummus will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator…but it is so delicious it will likely be eaten straight away.

 

Smokey Roast Red Pepper Hummus

Makes about 4 cups

2 (15oz) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed

2 roasted red peppers

1 cup tahini

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup hot pepper sauce (optional)

4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt

 

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process to a smooth puree.

 

How to Roast a Pepper

Remove stickers from the pepper. Place the pepper directly on the grate of your gas stove with the flame adjusted to medium. Using a set of tongs turn the pepper ever couple of minutes until the entire outside is completely black. Immediately place the pepper(s) into a small paper bag and seal it closed. Allow the pepper to rest for a couple of minutes. The steam that naturally occurs loosens the skin. Remove the pepper, and while holding it under cold running water gently rub of the blackened skin (it’s wise, but not essential, to do this over a small colander to catch the skin, which may clog the drain). After the skin is removed gently tear the pepper in two and remove the stem and rinse the seeds.

Urban Simplicity.

How to make tofu really flavorful and chewy in three simple steps (yup, it’s this simple)

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This is really easy and the outcome is so delicious that I’ve even had a devout “tofu hater” say it was really good. Eaten as a snack, on a salad or sandwich, or as a component to a stir-fry or rice dish, it delicious, healthy, and versatile. I seasoned this with Cajun seasoning and sea salt but the flavors are really up to you (herbs, curry, smoked paprika, Mexican…it’s really limitless) but what you want to take away from this post is the simple method in which it is prepared, not specific ingredients..

(1) To start with, purchase extra firm tofu, then–after removing it from it’s package–place it between a few plate to gently squeeze out some of it’s moisture; leave the tofu like this for about 20 minutes (continued below).

(2) Slice the tofu and coat it with whichever seasonings you prefer. Then place it on baking sheet that is fitted with a wire rack. Having the wire rack is important because air need to circulate under the tofu as it bakes.

(3) Bake the tofu in a preheated oven (350F) for about 20 minutes, then turn the slices over and bake for another ten. Allow it to cool before serving.

For multiple actual printable tofu recipes click here.

Urban Simplicity.

 

Buffalo Style Tofu Nuggets…yup, you heard me.

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Ok, so first of all, I am fully aware that “Buffalo-Style” and tofu are usually not in the same sentence, but these are really delicious and easy to make, too. I am also fully aware that just because they are tofu does not make them any more healthier than if they were made of chicken. But they are delicious. Eat them dipped in blue cheese dressing or on a salad as I did. Anyhow, here’s how to make them…

Drain a package of extra firm tofu and press it between two plates (click here to see how). Then drain it again and dice it. Place the diced tofu in a bowl and add enough Franks Hot Sauce to coat it, then also stir in a tablespoon or two of cornstarch and a bit of chopped parsley if you want added color (I also added granulated garlic and onion but these are optional). After the tofu has marinated for about 20 minutes pan-fry it in hot oil for a few minutes until crispy…simple and delicious.

By the way, I made these for staff lunch the other day and a self-proclaimed tofu hater said she really liked them. I’m jus’ sayin’…

Urban Simplicity.

Spicy Avocado Hummus with Roast Garlic and Jalapeno (yum!)…

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This is another variation of hummus that I’ve posted in the past. This is, as usual, really easy to make and super delicious. If you like hummus, if you like avocado, and if you like spiciness…try this, you won’t be sorry.

Spicy Avocado Hummus with Roast Garlic and Jalapeno

Makes about 4 cups

3 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 jalapeno, split lengthwise and seeded

6 cloves garlic

2 ripe avocado

2 cans (15 oz. ea.) chickpeas, rinsed

½ cup lemon juice

1 cup tahini

¼ cup water

¾ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat an oven to 350F. Combine the olive oil, garlic, and jalapeno in a small skillet and place over medium heat; toss or stir to coat with the oil. When it begins to sizzle transfer the pan to the oven. Roast the peppers and garlic for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and refrigerate it until the ingredients are chilled. Once chilled, transfer the cooked garlic and jalapeno to the bowl of a food processor along with the remainder of the ingredients. Process the hummus to a smooth puree.

Urban Simplicity.

Vegetable Broth!

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I’ve been experimenting with vegetable broth recipes for a while now, for days when I choose to not eat meat, which has been becoming more and more frequent. This is not meant to be a vegetarian substitute or imitation of a meat-based broth because nothing can substitute the richness of a well made chicken or beef broth. But it is meant to be a replacement, and a really delicious one at that. The key to it’s full flavor is using a lot of vegetables in relation to water, slow simmering, and also the cooking and browning of the onions and carrots which brings out their natural sweetness.

And when making traditional—or should I say animal based—broths, which are usually made with bones and unusable scraps, when the broth is strained the solids are most often discarded. But in the case of this vegetable broth this would seem a waste on many levels. The remaining solids can be added to a soup, pasta dish, mashed and eaten as a side dish, or mashed and mixed with a bit of flour and a few eggs for burgers or patties (or even mixed into your dog’s food). There really are plenty of options. And the finished broth can then, of course, be used in any recipe that calls for stock or broth. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this as it is simple to make and really flavorful. The recipe can be multiplied or divided, and the finished broth can be portioned and frozen as well.

Vegetable Broth 

Makes 3-4 quarts

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium onions, peeled and diced

4 medium carrots, peeled and diced

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 small head celery, diced

8 plum tomatoes, quartered

24 medium mushrooms, sliced

4 quarts cold water

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a sauce pan, then add the onions and carrots. Saute the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes, or until the begin to brown, then add the garlic and cook them for another minute or two. Then add the celery, tomatoes, and mushrooms; stir to combine. Then stir in the cold water, along with the sea salt, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring the broth to a boil, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Simmer the broth—without stirring—for 1-to-2 hours. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the vegetables with a ladle or the back of a large spoon to extract as much broth as possible. Discard the solids or incorporate them into another recipe.

 

Urban Simplicity.

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