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Pita Chips and Spicy Hummus

2 Mar

by Green Gourmet L

Have you noticed that hummus is now everywhere? In every different flavor you can imagine? Roasted garlic, red pepper, black bean, eggplant, cilantro, and sun-dried tomato! Have you noticed how much they charge for the smallest tub? $3.99 or even $5.99 for some of the specialty kinds. It’s funny to shell out money for hummus, week after week, when you can make 10x the amount at home for the same price. All you need are the right ingredients for the perfect, melt in your mouth, Middle Eastern street-food favorite. This recipe is for the plain version and then you can jazz it up with whatever eggplant/cilantro/tomato combo you like. For me…I’ll stick with extra spicy. Yummmm.


  • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed) or 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (cooked and drained) *see below
  • 2 TB tahini (sesame paste, can be found at most grocery stores)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 TB yogurt
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2-4 TB of water (or chickpea cooking liquid)
  • salt and pepper


If cooking your own chickpeas (which I highly recommend), soak overnight in a bowl. Make sure there are at least 3 inches of water above the top of the chickpeas. Once soaked, drain and place into a medium pot. Add new water that comes 3 inches above the chickpeas.

Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Skim any foam that forms on the top. Save some of the cooking liquid for your hummus. When done, chickpeas should be tender but not mushy.

Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor or blender. If you like yours spicy (like me), I add one whole chili pepper in adobo. It has that smoky heat that is really great in hummus.

Add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and yogurt. Blend. Begin adding your reserved chickpea liquid (or water) one TB at a time until mixture is creamy. Pour into a serving dish and top with additional olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper. By the way, wouldn’t this hummus be fabulous with some home-made pita chips? It couldn’t be easier!

For Pita Chips:

Preheat broiler and line baking sheet with foil. Cut pitas into 8-12 pieces and separate each piece in half.

Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Add whatever spices you like (garlic salt, paprika, cayenne, etc).

Cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

You just saved money and now you can make as much hummus as you like! Don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!


Savory Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

15 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

I know someone who is very upset that football is over. But who says you can’t eat tailgating food anyway? One of those foods that just screams football to me is potato skins and twice baked potatoes. Smothered with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, and chives. It’s great, but it’s far from a healthy side dish.

I love sweet potatoes since they tend to have added health benefits. They are high in Vitamins E and A, low in fat, cholesterol-free, and have more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal.  But it seems that the only sweet potato recipes that I can find have a “healthy” dose of butter, sugar, and maple syrup. I don’t want a potato dessert, I want a savory appetizer. So here’s our take on twice-baked potatoes, Green Gourmets style.


Makes 2 large servings or 4 appetizers

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2-4 whole garlic cloves, with paper left on
  • 1/4 tp cumin
  • 1/4 tp paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • aluminum foil


Preheat the oven to 375. Pierce your sweet potatoes with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Put your garlic cloves (with paper still on) onto a foil sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and bring up the sides of the foil to seal the package.

On another piece of foil, place the chopped onion. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and seal the package. Place the garlic and onions on the same baking sheet as your sweet potatoes.

Bake for 1 hour (check your onions and garlic at 45 minutes). The onions and garlic should be roasted and sweet.

Remove from the oven and allow the sweet potatoes to cool until they are cool enough to touch. Slice the potatoes in half; scoop out the insides while leaving the skin intact.

Remove the skin from the garlic and place the bulbs and the cooking liquid from the packet in a small bowl.

Add potato flesh, onion, and spices and mix together.  Season with salt and pepper.

Rub the outside of the potato skins with oil and season with salt and pepper to ensure they get crisp. Add the filling back into the skins and top with a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Enjoy this healthy twist on Twice-Baked Potatoes and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets! To print this recipe, click here.

Mushroom/Spinach Quesadillas

9 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

One of my ideas when we moved to DC was to take a year to “eat around the world”. Since DC has so many different ethnic restaurants, I wanted to see how many different cuisines I could try. So far we’ve had Moroccan, Malaysian, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, French, Belgian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Thai, and Ghanian. If you have traveled with me (driving, walking, etc.) you know that I have a horrendous sense of direction. I am also terrible at reading a map. Fortunately, adventurous eating helps me with geography since I have to color in the countries on a map once I’ve eaten there. Using food to teach basic skills, brilliant!

As much as  I love ethnic food, sometimes I have to fall back on my old standby- greasy Mexican. The fact is, among all the ethnic restaurants we’ve heard about and been to, we haven’t tried a Mexican restaurant here. So I decided to whip up an old standby… the quesadilla.


Serves 2

  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 cup part-skim shredded mozzerella cheese
  • olive oil
  • 4 tortillas (I usually like to use sprouted grain tortillas)
  • 1 tp cilantro, chopped


Heat 1 tp oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until carmelized, about 5-7 minutes.

Turn the heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook for about 3 minutes. Important note: Do not salt the mushrooms, or they will be soggy. Add the spinach and stir frequently until spinach has reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and place cooked veggies to the side.

Using the same pan, layer one tortilla, 1/4 cup of cheese, 1/2 the veggies and  1/2 tp cilantro, an additional 1/4 cup of cheese, and another tortilla.

Cook over medium low heat until tortilla begins to brown and cheese begins to melt (about 2 minutes). Flip to the other side and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove from pan and cut into 4 pieces.

Enjoy your non-greasy home-cooked Mexican comfort food and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Pickled Shrimp

31 Dec

by Green Gourmet K

Happy New Years Eve!

Now add the recipe below to your New Years resolutions.  If you’re in the South, you must know how to make this. If you’re elsewhere, you can make this and people will admire your Southern cooking skills.

Have you had pickled shrimp before?   This Southern delicacy is so downright delectable – how about that for alliteration?  In the village where my parents live (yes, they live in a village), shrimp can be bought fresh most of the year.  Once you have fresh South Carolina shrimp for $4.99 a pound you will never, ever want to buy them from the grocery store again, unless desperate.  What the husband and I do is go by the seafood store (which is literally next to the docked shrimp boats) and pick up several pounds of shrimp and freeze it until we need it.  It’s cheaper, we know where our shrimp came from and we also like to support the shrimpers in the village.

Usually we just boil the shrimp with old bay and a splash of vinegar.  Then peel and eat them with cocktail sauce.  But having shrimp available for an appetizer is a great way to elevate your party food or treat you dinner guests to something special.  This is a very easy recipe that is best made the day before serving.  It lasts 2-3 days. [Update: A true “villager” tells me that this recipe will last a week or more in the fridge! It has always been gone within a day in my house.]

Pickled Shrimp


1 lb of medium sized shrimp (the smaller ones are better for this recipe)

1/4 of a large onion, sliced into thin strips

1/4 of a large green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

capers – 1-2 tbsp

24 oz bottle of ketchup – try to get the kind with no high fructose corn syrup

1-2 tbsp of good mustard – suggest adding one tbsp then tasting your sauce

1 cup of white vinegar

drizzle of olive oil, 1-2 tbsp

salt and pepper, to taste


Boil your shrimp in old bay with a few bay leaves.  The minute they start to float and turn pink pull them out.  They will not be cooked all the way, the vinegar will do the rest.  Peel your shrimp and set aside.  Combine all the rest of your ingredients for your sauce and taste it before adding your semi-raw shrimp.  It should be tangy, spicy and sweet without too much of a ketchup taste.  Adjust your vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to taste.  Once satisfied with your sauce mix in your shrimp.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.  If you don’t want to let the vinegar cook your shrimp the rest of the way, just boil them as you would for boiled shrimp and then let them chill in the fridge with the rest of the ingredients for at least a couple hours.  Serve with crackers.

The next day it will look like this:

(That’s my brother’s thumb, he’s my hand model and food tester.)

This also makes a great gift.  Bottle your pickled shrimp into little jars and package it with some crackers for a great gift for a host/hostess.

To print this recipe:

Green Gourmet Dip – A Little Holiday Balance

16 Dec

by Green Gourmet K

This time of year you can barely go anywhere without someone offering you a holiday treat.  As much as I love all of the seasonal treats I need a little balance in order to truly enjoy the decadence.   When it came time to plan what to bring to A’s holiday party I knew I wanted to bring vegetables and dip.   I have been on the lookout for a dip recipe that was easy, quick and involved real ingredients (in other words not tearing open a packet of dry powder and adding to sour cream).  I think I finally found it, a great homemade dip recipe.   I altered this recipe from my favorite food magazine, you guessed it, Bon Appetit.  The December issue had a recipe for Green Goddess dip that I adapted to my own tastes and I hope you all like it.  Serve it with a large platter of veggies at your next holiday event and people will be eating their carrot sticks right along with their buche de Noel.

Green Gourmet Dip

1 cup of vegenaise (this is an egg-free mayo and I happen to like the taste of it much better than mayo but you can use real mayonnaise)

1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled

salt and pepper, to taste

Blend the vegenaise and the next 6 ingredients in a food processor. A blender will work but it will take a little stopping and stirring in between blending.  Add the avocado and blend.  Taste and determine if you want to add a smidge (technical term) more garlic or vinegar and then season with salt and pepper.  Place in a bowl and serve with a variety of fresh vegetables.