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Dippy night

April 21, 2008

We had our friends Chad & Lindsay over for dinner a few nights ago, and we decided to do a dippy night. Or, rather, I decided that, and Justin cooked it all.

It’s been hard to hand over the reins in the kitchen…I’m so used to cooking everything, and feeling the satisfaction afterward of a delicious meal, made by my own hands. But now, with me at work all day and Justin at home freelancing, the chores end up on his plate, including cooking. He does a great job with it, and it’s so nice to come home and find dinner almost ready…but it still makes me a little sad. I think part of it is that I enjoy cooking, and I’m proud of my creations in the kitchen. And part of it is just feeling a little guilty, knowing that I didn’t have to do a thing to enjoy these wonderful meals. It must be that nurturing need, some deeply buried instinct. Or something.

Anyway. The dippy stuff. All three of these recipes were great, though the hummus was the real standout. It was just a little different from your average hummus, with a strong cumin kick. The zucchini was also delicious, served barely warm and scooped up in a toasted pita. And the tabbouleh was also nice, minty, with a welcome bite from the radishes.

But if you try any of these, seriously. Try the hummus.

Random fun link: Indian Street Graphics on flickr. So bright and inspiring.

Spring Tabbouleh

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup medium or fine bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 4 or 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 1/4 cups of water and the 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Stir in the bulgur and simmer, covered, for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 20 minutes. Transfer the bulgur to a serving bowl, fluff with a fork, and let cool.

When the bulgur has cooled, stir in the mint, parsley, chives and radishes. Add the lemon juice and oil and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the tomatoes and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley.

Lemon Walnut Hummus

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • Pinch of coarse salt or to taste

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even browning. Transfer the nuts to a sieve to cool.

Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the skillet and toast for 30 seconds. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, add the cayenne pepper, and grind to a powder.

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, oil, lemon juice, garlic, ground spices, and salt.

Rub the walnuts against a sieve over the sink to remove most of their papery skins. Add the skinned walnuts to the processor, and puree until smooth. Add chickpea liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the hummus is thicker than you like. Season with additional salt if needed.

Makes 2 cups

Adapted from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley.

Zucchini Puree with Tomatoes

  • 1 pound zucchini, cut into thick slices
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Boil the zucchini in salted water until tender. Drain and chop, then press in a colander or strainer to remove most of the liquid. Mash with a fork and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add tomatoes and garlic. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes have softened and garlic begins to color. Season with salt and pepper. Add zucchini puree, parsley, and remaining olive oil and mix well. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Makes 4 servings

Adapted from Arabesque by Claudia Roden.

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