Friday, May 16, 2008

Detox night

My Dad was in town earlier this week, and that usually means one thing: Beef. Dad is a major carnivore, and he truly feels that the only green that need enter his life is the pale stuff that holds up the blue cheese in his wedge salad. I'm all for a nice juicy steak now and again, but two steakhouses in 3 nights is a little rich, especially when one of them is Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, well known for cooking their steaks (and everything else they serve, it seems) in gobs of butter. Personally, I felt Ruth's Chris did not live up to all the hype, but that's neither here nor there. After all that richness, the Hubband and I felt like we needed something fresh, light, cool, and crunchy. Crudite! Perfect! But not with a rich sour cream or mayo-based dip...the answer? Hummus! And not just any hummus. I remembered a recipe I had seen on Orangette quite a while ago, for a luscious-sounding White Bean Hummus. I rearranged it a little to my taste, and I must say, I prefer it to the typical chickpea variety! It was delicious; subtle, creamy, light...drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with crunchy salt, just the thing for dipping fresh veg and whole-wheat pita. 

I accompanied the pita plate with a salad of mixed baby greens, scallions, (left-over) roasted chicken, and a really nice mustard-balsamic vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was a Cooks' Illustrated recipe, very slightly tweaked. I upped the mustard and vinegar and omitted the sugar for a really zesty, flavorful dressing to counterbalance the creamy smoothness of the hummus. 

Overall, it was a wonderfully light, but very satisfying, dinner that made us feel refreshed after the days of rich fare. 

White Bean Hummus
adapted from Orangette

2 large cloves of garlic
1 20-oz can of Cannellini beans (I like Goya brand, they're firm with a nice creamy interior)
1/3C +1 Tb sesame tahini
1/4C + 1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 C water

Peel garlic cloves, then pulse them in a food processor until they are well-minced. Stir tahini well to mix, and drain and rinse the beans well. Add the tahini, beans, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the food processor and puree. Scrape down the bowl of the food processor as needed. Add water slowly while processing, and keep going until the hummus is light and smooth. Taste for seasoning. Drizzle with olive oil to serve. (This hummus is particularly delicious with red bell pepper.)

Mustard-Balsamic Vinaigrette
adapted from Cooks' Illustrated

1/2 small shallot, grated on a microplane (about 1 tsp)
3 Tsp whole-grain/country-style Dijon mustard
1 Tb + 1 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Tsp salt
1/8 freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp minced scallion
1/4 C +1 Tsp olive oil

I just chucked all of this into a deep cup and used my stick blender to whiz it up into a dark, creamy dressing. Be sure to check for seasoning before serving; if you feel the flavors are too strong, add a little more oil to tame them.  You could also put it all into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and do a little dance with it, or put it all into a blender. Easy peasy, rice and cheesy. Toss the dressing with greens, scallions, and chicken like I did, or use it as a really flavorful dipping sauce. 

No comments: