Today’s the big day! My FRUIT BBQ! I am currently chopping kiwis for relish and stuffing banana dogs into buns. Will have a video and tons of photos up on Sunday!!! I wonder who’s gonna win the banana dog eating contest…
I love the opportunity that Foobuzz provides us featured publishers with the Tastemakers program because it gives us the opportunity to try products that perhaps we’ve never tried before or ones that we wouldn’t normally buy for ourselves. Well this time around, that is just not the case.
Sabra Hummus is my go to hummus brand. Unless I’m making it myself or at a Middle Eastern or Israeli restaurant this is what I’m eating. It’s because of my husband too, he’s been eating the stuff since before I met him. I can’t blame him, Sabra is all natural, healthy (it contains the good for you fat people), gluten free, and Kosher! Anyone can enjoy Sabra products!
Although I confess, it took until a few years ago for to finally really appreciate hummus. There are very few foods that I won’t eat but beans/legumes (not peanuts obviously!) are one of them. So I stayed away from chickpeas and hummus always reminded me of the same texture. I don’t know if it is a changing palate as I get older or I just got over the fact that hummus does not equal whole chickpeas but I started eating it.
As delicious as hummus is, one tub does not make dinner. So I took the opportunity to whip up a Middle Eastern feast to go along with the Roasted Pine Nut Hummus that I picked up.
A few weeks ago, we were dining at a wonderful restaurant in our neighborhood and one of the dishes that we had was their version of Lamb Souvlaki. It was flat bread, topped with tzatziki, lamb patties and grilled vegetables. The dish was fantastic and I’ve been wanting to recreate a version of it myself. Since we had so many other side dishes, I omitted the flat bread and tzatziki and turned the grilled vegetables into caramelized onions.
With our feast, I also served a simple roasted baby beet salad with bulgarian feta, some pickles from a local pickle guy, and labne cheese. If you aren’t familiar with labne, it is a yogurt cheese, slightly tangy but incredibly creamy. Turns out, it was an excellent replacement for the tzatziki and we dipped our lamb patties into the labne. I also heated up some whole wheat pitas with a little olive oil and za'atar seasoning.
1lb ground lamb
1 large egg
¼ cup panko or plain breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons za'atar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
zest from 1 lemon
juice from half a lemon
1 large onion, thickly sliced
parsley for garnish
In a heavy bottomed skillet on medium heat add some olive oil and the sliced onions. Let sweat for a few minutes and season with a bit of salt. Once softened add a teaspoon of white sugar to help the caramelization process and add sweetness to the onions. Stir frequently and lower the heat if the onions start to brown too much. Remove from the skillet and cover after 15-20 minutes when the onions are soft and caramelized but not too dark.
Carefully wipe the skillet out with paper towels after the onions are removed.
In a medium size bowl mix together the lamb, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, za'atar, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice. Do not over mix the meat otherwise it will be tough.
Wet your hands slightly and form the lamb mixture into 8 patties.
Heat the cleaned out skillet on medium-high and add olive oil. When the pan is hot add 4 of the patties and cook until brown on one side and flip, cook until browned on reverse side. Remove and cover with foil. Cook the remaining 4 patties.
Serve on a platter with onions, and chopped parsley.
From the booth at the Foodbuzz Tasting Pavilion on Saturday: Honey Walnut Spread with Goat Cheese on toasted baguette slices. Absolutely delicious. Plan on making them for Thanksgiving hors d'oeuvres or at least for our QGiving celebration the day after Turkey day.
*Note: It says to use dried pears but we ended up using dried apricot (pears were nowhere to be found) and it was still just as delicious. We also, in the interest of time, did not broil the cheese before adding the honey walnut spread and it was, in my opinion, perfect without that added step. Also, I am horrible with the broiler so I’ll probably skip this step when making it for my family.
I became quite the fan of Victoria Sponge Cake while in England (ignoring that, with my allergies, I definitely shouldn’t be eating it). This picture looks wonderful– I’d love to try to create mini victoria sponge cakes, maybe via muffin tins or mason jars?
Sponsor Post - Foodbuzz Tastemakers: Smile and Say Cheese
Behold the power of Cheese.
I love cheese, who doesn’t? So of course I was thrilled when I was selected by the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program to participate in a Sargento taste test. Our challenge: compare any of Sargento’s 100% natural cheese (made only from natural ingredients) to a processed cheese product.
First off, I am not a processed cheese type person, I can’t remember the last time I purchased anything that was called “cheese product”. I love artisanal cheeses and we all know how fond I am of fresh cheese curds. Back in the day though, I would pick up pre-packed cheese if I was in a hurry to make something or didn’t have the time to shred cheese myself.
I stopped by one of my local grocery stores to check out the selection. I knew first off that I wanted to bring home some cheddar and I also picked up the reduced sodium provolone and colby-jack cheese.
With the processed cheese, provolone and colby-jack, I whipped up three different types of grilled cheese. To me, it was the best way to taste each cheese and see their “melt-ability”.
To no surprise, the processed cheese was my least favorite. I didn’t buy the yellow american, that we all grew up with but instead pick a white southwestern flavor instead hoping for something different. It was still gross, barely melted and tasted like plastic. My husband said it reminded him of glue.
On to the next two, I spruced them up a bit by adding prosciutto to the provolone and salami to the colby-jack. The lack of sodium definitely affected the flavor of the provolone, but it was not a bad cheese and if I was in a pinch I would certainly use it again. It melted, but not as well as the colby-jack. That was the my favorite of the three. It was also reduced-sodium but had the most flavor out of the bunch. I’ll be snacking on this and probably taking it for lunch the rest of the week. My husband also agreed that the colby-jack was the best.
With the bag of shredded cheddar that I purchased, I made a tomato and cheddar pie. I had spotted this recipe in the August issue of Bon Appetit and I knew it would be delicious with my CSA tomatoes.
Recipe: From Bon Appetit
2 cups all purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon kosher salt 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ in cubes 1 cup buttermilk Filling: 2 pounds large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4in slices 2 ½ cups grated extra-sharp cheddar ¼ cup grated Parmesan 1 scallion, thinly sliced ½ cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar ¾ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 ½ tablespoons cornmeal
For the crust:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Using your finger tips rub in the butter until a coarse meal forms. Stir in the buttermilk and knead gently with your hands until the dough forms. Wrap in plastic and chill for an hour.
For the filling:
Lay your tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with 2 layers of paper towels. Place another 2 layers of paper towels on top of tomatoes.
Let stand for 30 minutes to drain.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic to about 11" in diameter. The dough is very sticky, so I recommend dusting some flour on the dough or plastic wrap before rolling.
Remove the top layer of plastic and invert into the pie dish. Carefully remove the top layer of plastic.
Top both cheese in a medium bowl, reserving ¼ cup.
In a small bowl, whisk scallions, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over bottom of crust, then top with ½ cup of the cheese mixture. Arrange 1/3 of the tomatoes over the cheese. Spread half of the mayonnaise mixture (about 1/3 cup) over. Repeat layering with 1 cup of cheese mixture, ½ of remaining tomato slices, and remaining mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese mixture over, then remaining tomato slices. Sprinkle with reserved ¼ cup cheese mixture. Fold overhanging crust up and over edges of tomato slices.
Bake pie until golden brown and cheese is melted and golden on top about 35-40 minutes. If the crust gets too dark about halfway through, tent with foil. Let sit for at least an hour before serving.