Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Yum!  Pretty simple to make and so many possible applications like snacking with veggie sticks or crackers, hummus and vegetable wraps, smeared on toast or tossed with pasta... you have some options.  I'm going to use it as a cheese substitute of vegan quesadillas - i'll let you know how it goes.  

I prefer to use dried beans when I have the forethought (although, I almost never do.)  3/4 cup dried chickpeas ends up being about 1 1/2 cup cooked which is equal to one 14oz tin of chickpeas.  If you use canned chickpeas, just drain and rinse them.  

Makes about 2 cups.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

3/4 cup dried chickpeas or 1 14oz tin chickpeas

1 red bell pepper

1/4 cup tahini

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon cumin

1 garlic clove, peeled

juice of 1 lemon


dash olive oil

Place dried beans in a bowl, cover with 3 inches of water.  Let soak 8 hours.  Drain water.  Place chickpeas in a pot, cover with plenty of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Strain.  

Roast red pepper by placing it directly on a gas burner set on high.  Rotate occasionally to cook each side.  Once all of pepper is charred black and flaky with the pepper itself softened, remove from flame.  Immediately place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand about 10 minutes or more.  Remove charred skin, stem and seeds.  

Place cooked chickpeas, roasted red pepper, tahini, parsley, cumin, garlic clove, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process to desired consistency, adding olive oil to loosen things up as needed.  Season with more salt and lemon juice, to taste. 

Stuffed Mushrooms

These are my father's specialty and are a requested staple at every family get together.  It's an exercise in willpower to resist eating half the tray before it gets to the table.

1 lb mushrooms (cremini or whites), cleaned

4 cloves garlic, diced

olive oil

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

few leaves fresh basil, chopped

parmesan cheese, grated


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove stems from caps.  Diced stems and set aside.  In a baking dish, place mushroom caps cup side up.  In a skillet, heat olive oil, add diced mushroom caps, garlic, bread crumbs, oregano, chili flakes, basil and parmesan cheese.  Cook until soft, adding more olive oil as nesseccery to keep the mixture moist, about five minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and spoon mixture into mushroom caps.  Bake until mushrooms are cooked, about 25 minutes.

Vegetable Strudel

Phyllo dough consists of very thin sheets of pastry that are layers together to create a delicate flaky crust.  It is sold frozen and should be thawed in the fridge.  Once thawed and opened, it will need to be kept under a damp towel or plastic wrap so it won't dry out.  I used Apollo brand #4 pastry sheets which are 12x17" and cut them in half leaving me with 12x8.5" pieces.  The package contains 28 full size sheets.   This recipe doesn't use the entire package so securely wrap up remaining sheets in plastic wrap and return to fridge or freezer.   Serve with basalmic vinaigrette.

Vegetable Strudel

24 (or so) sheets thawed phyllo dough

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 red pepper, washed, seeded, sliced

1 yellow pepper, washed, seeded, sliced

1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed

1 log chevre (goat's milk cheese) , herbed or regular

black pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on work surface.  Lightly brush with butter.  Place another sheet on top of the previous and brush lightly with butter.  Repeat until there are 4 layers.  Line up chevre, asparagus and peppers and sprinkle with black pepper.  Roll up, fold edges under to seal.  Brush with butter and poke 4 small holes in top to vent.  Repeat until you have 6 strudels.  Place all on baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 30 minutes.

Bruschetta Pomodoro

Very good one for summer.  I hate tomatoes but for some reason I can eat them chopped, soaked in olive oil and punched up with basil on bread. Bruschetta Pomodoro

4 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, fine dice

a long healthy pour of olive oil (about a 1/4 cup)

large handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

salt and pepper

Grilled bread slices, for serving

Mix tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil in a bowl.  Heavily salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon onto slices of crunchy grilled bread.

Wedge Salad

Classic! Who can say no to a wedge salad. Iceberg Wedge Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, washed, cored, cut into wedges

bleu cheese dressing

1 tomato, sliced

1/2 red onion, sliced

bacon, cooked and crumbled

Top each wedge of lettuce with tomatoes, onions, bacon and dressing.