Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recipe Redux: Lunch and Dinner

You remember that kickass marinara sauce I cooked up last week? Well, there's still a ton of it in my freezer, and some more in my fridge. I've enjoyed it immensely. It is soooooo tasty. I just wanted to share with you how well it has paired with a roasted onion and goat cheese ravioli I picked up at Pastaworks in Portland. I served the ravioli with my marinara sauce and topped with a piave cheese that I also picked up at Pastaworks. Really good stuff. Really.
I don't know how to explain it, but I feel like this marinara sauce has renewed my spirit somehow, even if only just a little. It kind of started with Lent. You see, every year, I usually decide to give something up for Lent, even though I'm not Catholic. I do it for my own growth and development, to challenge myself. One year, I gave up Facebook for Lent. The next I went vegan (and I have been vegetarian ever since). The year after that, I tried to give up baked goods, but it only made me crabby, so I gave in after two weeks. Last year I tried giving up foods made with high fructose corn syrup, but that didn't work out either. This year, instead of giving something up, I'm trying to regain an interest in my lunches and dinners.

Up until the week before Lent began this year, I had eaten a peanut butter sandwich for lunch every working day for the past three and a half years. I got sick of it. I said to myself, "no more!" Lunch should be more interesting than that. So for now, I am having hummus and pita for lunch. I think I have officially perfected my hummus recipe, which I will share with you below.

As for dinner, I had grown careless. I was eating eggs and toast or leftovers. I don't mind leftovers, but I don't know that I can eat eggs and toast for awhile. Instead, I would prepare a large quantity of something freezable which I can thaw and reheat as needed. Thus, the marinara sauce in my freezer, which can be paired with any pasta. I am now excited about dinner again, even though I am eating alone. It's not the lack of company that bothered me after all; it was the lack of enthusiasm for what I was eating. I also realized that I have to eat at least three times a day for the rest of my life, however long that may be, so I might as well make it interesting.


Hummus, Perfected
adapted from this post

1 can (16 oz) chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid), rinsed, and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, chopped
1/3 cup well-stirred tahini
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor and whir until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil and some of the reserved chickpea liquid a little at a time until the hummus is a nice, thick, scoopable texture- you'll need about 2 tbsp of the liquid. Add the cumin, if you'd like, tasting to get the amount you want, then season with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if you think it needs it.

Scoop the hummus into a bowl or refrigerator container and chill until serving time.


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