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New Food Friday – Za’atar Focaccia Bread

18 Oct Slice of Za'atar Focaccia Bread

As much as I love physical exercise, sometimes I want an easy to make bread recipe that requires NO KNEADING! I don’t remember how I stumbled across the original recipe but if you want some background on Za’atar Focaccia Bread (it’s a different recipe but similar), click here.

I’ve made Za’atar Focaccia twice now and probably by the time you read this, three times. I absolutely love it!

Za'atar Focaccia Bread Ready to be Sliced

Za’atar Focaccia Bread

The only down side to this recipe is that you have to let the dough rise/ferment for 18 – 24 hours. This delicious, healthful bread recipe is in the spotlight for this New Food Friday.

As is typical of me, I altered the recipe. It calls for black sesame seeds. I used black poppy seeds which are more readily available in my grocery store. It also calls for Sumac and I couldn’t find that but one of my favorite chefs, Kary Osmond from the LiveWell Network, says you can use Turmeric in place of Sumac. I love Turmeric so that was no problem for me. Also, in order to make the bread more nutritious, I added 1/2 cup of White Whole Wheat flour.

Special Note: When I followed one of the recipes, the dough was way too soupy so I added an additional cup of flour.  You should be able to press your fingers into the dough after letting it rise the 18-24 hours and the imprint of your fingers should remain.  I added more flour after it had risen and the results were still excellent. So, don’t be afraid to play around with this dough as it is very forgiving.

DOUGH

1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 ounces dry yeast
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup water
Za’atar Spice Mix (see below)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and yeast.

    Flour Mix

    Flour Mix

  2. Add the water and olive oil, and mix everything together until you have a uniform dough. 
  3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place for 18-24 hours to rise.

    Dough Mixture

    Dough Mixture Covered in Plastic Wrap

  4. Once the dough has risen, you can either make one giant focaccia with all the dough, or split it up and bake smaller focaccia.  If you keep some of the dough for later, just cover it back up and put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  5. To use the dough, turn it out onto a pan and press the dough out  towards the edges with your fingers making dimples in the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in height.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2 tablespoons olive oil, in a small bowl
2 teaspoons ground toasted black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sumac
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Maldon (or other coarse) sea salt
The Za’atar in this focaccia bread recipe is the combination of spices that you sprinkle on top of the bread. It gives it a nice color and great flavor. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern blend of spices that can be sprinkled on bread, meats, fish, or vegetables as a seasoning. It can even be used as a dip. I didn’t have coarse sea salt, I only had fine sea salt on hand so I decided to use coarse kosher salt instead.
Poppy Seeds

Poppy Seeds or Use Black Sesame Seeds

Add Turmeric

Add Turmeric

Oregano

Add Oregano

Add Thyme

Add Thyme (I freeze mine from my garden)

Add Coarse Salt

Add Coarse Salt (Sea Salt if you have it)

Spread the Za’atar Spice Mix on the focaccia after it has risen. Then bake at 400 for 20 – 30 minutes. I didn’t mix the olive oil with the spice mix. I spread the olive oil on the dough first, then distributed the spice mix over all.

Za’atar focaccia bread is great as a snack, as a substitute for your usual bread that you eat with a meal, and is great for dunking in soups and stews.

Bowl of Harira

Bowl of Harira with Za’atar Focaccia Bread

You can reheat the focaccia the next day and it still tastes wonderful. It is also great for mopping up salad vinaigrette after you’ve eaten the salad! Let me know if you come up with other ways to use it!

If you’re not in the mood to bake bread, you can sprinkle the Za’atar Spice Mix on meats and/or vegetables. Buon appetito!

Za'atar Spice Mix on Chicken and Vegetables

Za’atar Spice Mix on Chicken and Vegetables

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New Food Friday – Daikon Radish

7 Dec Roasted Daikon and Vegetables

When I think of radishes, I think of small, round, red radishes.

Radieschen - Raphanus sativus - Marktware

Red Radishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s why I was surprised to find this long, white, Daikon radish in my supermarket. It is exactly why it’s on the menu for today’s New Food Friday.

English: Picture of a pile of Daikon (giant wh...
Daikon (giant white radish)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daikon radish is very low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol free, and a good source of vitamin C. It’s milder than regular radishes and a little sweeter.

According to fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org there are many ways to prepare this radish. Already that is a big difference from the small red radishes that we know which typically get sliced into a salad!

They list 10 ways to enjoy it, but I decided to try it two ways:

Raw with peanut butter. I used Smuckers Natural peanut butter. Daikon Radishes are another option for people who like to nibble on raw veggies with a dip.

Daikon Peanut Butter Sticks

Daikon Peanut Butter Sticks

  Or,

Roasted and slow cooked with carrots, onions, garlic, celery, olive oil, salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings you like. I omitted the seasonings except for the salt and pepper. You can do a lot of variations on this roasted dish. Add sweet potatoes or squash or whatever vegetable you have in the fridge.

This turned out great! It was delicious. The Daikon Radish became more peppery. I took some photos and then tasted it. I decided I wanted it browned a bit and put it under the broiler. I had roasted it for 45 minutes in an aluminum foil packet. I really liked this dish and will be making it again.

Roasted Daikon and Vegetables

Roasted Daikon and Vegetables

I think it would also be great raw in a cole slaw dish or salad.

Daikon Salad with Sashimi - Horoki

Daikon Salad with Sashimi – Horoki (Photo credit: flickr – avlxyz)

It’s good in an antipasto dish too.

If you are the adventurous type, you can even make a cake out of it!

Daikon Cake - pre made

Daikon Cake  (Photo credit: Mr & Mrs Stickyfingers)

I paid $.79 per pound and my Daikon Radish was under two pounds. Daikon RadishLet me know if you try this.  I was pleasantly surprised at the results when it was cooked.

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New Food Friday – Baba Ghanouj (Baba Ghanoush)

9 Nov Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanouj (prounounced Baba Ghanoosh) is the food I’m discussing today for New Food Friday. Does it sound familiar to you? I think I may have heard it first on the Jerry Seinfeld sitcom.

I picked up a can when I bought the can of ZiYad Hummus and Tahini dip. They were both the same price, on sale for $2.29 each.

Ziyad makes this Baba Ghanouj which is an eggplant and Tahini dip. They fire roast the eggplant and add the following ingredients: tahini, salt, citric acid.

Preparation suggestion on the can: add lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Drizzle olive oil on top.

Click me to enlarge

Nutritional Facts:

The sodium level is high: 478mg so if you are watching your salt intake, you may only be able to have a small amount. I think we should all watch our salt intake so I may make my own version fresh in the future.

The Taste

The taste of this Baba Ghanouj is very smokey. It’s like eating charred wood but a creamy version of charred wood. So, they’re not kidding when they say they fire roast the eggplant! I liked it. There are chunks of eggplant in the dip which I enjoyed too.  I did not add any lemon juice or garlic or salt because I didn’t think it needed anything.You can see from the front cover of the can that the product is tan in color. The yellow part is olive oil. The red sprinkles in the center and around the dish are pomegranate seeds.

The Accompaniments

Baba Ghanouj is most often eaten with pita bread. It can also be eaten as a dip with raw vegetables. This could pair well with certain flavors of Triscuits which come in many varieties now, Rosemary and olive oil being my favorite. I like Baba Ghanouj with pretzels, the larger pretzels with less salt. This would also be a good spread on a wrap. I tried it on a bun with a turkey burger but instead of a barbeque taste, it brought out a more lemony flavor which I did not care for. That surprised me. In fact, the way I liked it best was without any accompaniment.

Here is a nice sized eggplant growing on a vine. Isn’t it a beauty?

 This is what sesame seeds look like (below) in case you’ve never seen them. The photo shows them enlarged. They are much smaller in reality. There are also black sesame seeds. Tahini can be made from either the white sesame or the black sesame seed. This Baba Ghanouj uses the white sesame seeds. The seeds are crushed to make a paste.  You can find the seeds on the spice aisle of your grocery store. If you want the paste (the tahini), look in the ethnic aisle. It usually comes in a jar and is not cheap!

On the other hand, this canned version of Baba Ghanouj is very convenient to carry with you say, to a picnic because it has a pop-top and can be eaten cold or at room temperature. Once opened though any leftovers should be refrigerated. Another benefit of the canned version is that it can be easily stored on your pantry shelf to be used at a moment’s notice. So, it’s good in a pinch!

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New Food Friday – Jicama

2 Nov Slicing ends of a Jicama

I hope you are having as much fun with New Food Friday as I am.

This Friday I’m discussing Jicama.  It’s pronounced, Hic-ama.  Jicama is a tuber and it is also known as the Mexican potato. The skin is like a potato and it is white inside like a potato.

This Jicama reminds me of a spinning top

It is easier to slice and peel than a potato.

It tastes nothing like a potato though. When you bite into a piece the first taste is mildly sweet. The next thing you will notice is that it is crunchy and very juicy, like an apple. But it doesn’t taste like an apple either.

I haven’t decided what it tastes like. Some say it tastes like a water chestnut.  You’ll have to let me know what you think it tastes like!

I picked the smallest Jicama I could find at the store. They can grow to be big! It was $1.24 per pound and mine was a smidgen over one pound or $1.29.

I found that you need two different knives to cut Jicama. A large chef’s knife for slicing and a small paring knife for peeling the skin.

I also thought it was very easy to peel and slice. It wasn’t slippery or sticky.

Hummus and Jicama

As I said in last Friday’s post, I would talk more about the Ziyad plain hummus and tahini dip (the non-spicy one).  It goes perfectly with Jicama! A marriage made in heaven! Great for those of us watching our weight.You can see from the photo that when it’s sliced into strips, it looks like uncooked french fries! These strips hold their shape.  They don’t break under the weight of the dip. You might become “addicted” to the crunch.

Storing Jicama

Jicama stores well in the fridge after you peel and slice it. It doesn’t turn brown and it stays juicy and crunchy in a covered container.  If you like to have celery and carrot sticks with your dips, Jicama is a great addition! I am really impressed with this tuber.

Some people like to add Jicama to salads.  You can also sprinkle lime juice on Jicama slices and then top with salt or chili powder.

I think these juicy sticks would be great for hikers or beach goers because of their high water content.

Nutrition Facts:
Serving size: ½ cup raw

Calories: 48
Carbohydrate: 11 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Potassium: 162 milligrams

Jicama is 85% water by weight.

Kids will also like Jicama because of its mild sweetness and the crunch factor. Just don’t tell them it’s a vegetable!

So far, I have talked about Jicama in its raw state only. However, you can also cook Jicama. You can add it to a stir fry or add it to stews.

I’m sold on this vegetable. What do you think of it?

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New Food Friday – Low Calorie Hummus with Tahini Dip

26 Oct sxc hu www.eastbourneguide.com/hotels-in-eastbourne-html-hamburger

It’s New Food Friday again and I have a new product that I tried and really enjoyed! Have you ever tried a can of hummus and tahini dip? I purchased the Ziyad brand of hot and spicy hummus and tahini dip in the can. I wondered if it could be any good coming from a can. I’ve purchased hummus in a plastic container in the refrigerated section of my supermarket before but I never tried a canned version. Surprise! It was equally as good if not better!

If you’re familiar with hummus, you know that it is made with garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas).

Here is the garbanzo bean as a growing plant.

Flowering garbanzo bean plant – Wikipedia

This hummus is made with tahini, or crushed sesame seeds, to form a paste.

The first canned hummus dip I bought was  creamy and spicy! (I bought the spicy version first – not shown in the photo).  I added some garlic salt, lemon juice, and a small amount of olive oil but it was equally good without the additions. You could see the bits of red pepper in the dip so it was definitely spicy. In fact, I decided to add more chickpeas to the dip because I can tolerate only so much spice! I had a can of chickpeas and minced half the can and added it to the dip. It was still spicy!

I served the dip with celery and carrot sticks. This is good for snacking or to bring to a party or potluck.

 

I found the canned dip on sale for $2.29 in the ethnic aisle of my Meijer supermarket. Ziyad is the name of two brothers from Jordan and their company produces 1,600 products.

Click me to enlarge

Here is the nutritional data:

As you can see, it is low in calories. It is a great dip if you are watching your weight.

I not only used this hummus as a dip, I used it as a spread on a sandwich for my turkey burger. It was also good!

Don’t be afraid to try this canned version of hummus with tahini dip. It’s a shortcut if you’re in a hurry and you can also keep it on the shelf for an emergency with the rest of your canned goods.

I bought the unspiced version a week later. It was also good. I’ll talk about that some more next Friday and also about the NEW vegetable that you can dip into the hummus which is also very low in calories.

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