We've had a ton of snow already this winter, and its pretty awesome. I've gotten to miss a little work, and its just so much more festive and pretty than the 34 degree rain that Knoxville normally gets every winter. We had what I think was our 2nd big snowfall 2 days ago, and we're expected to get a 3rd storm tomorrow. I don't know if its knowing that we might get snowed in for a few days or just that I've been sick and am finally feeling better today, but I woke up this morning ready to cook!
First I put on my first ever batch of vegetarian soup beans (recipe here). I always thought I couldn't make them without a big hunk of pig in the pot (or whatever people normally season it with), but it turns out that I can! I'll know at 6:45 tonight if it worked out (it takes 8 hours on low to cook). Then I baked a loaf of Seth's breakfast bread, which is seriously the easiest and cheapest thing ever....and SO GOOD. Here's the recipe for that one. Next I made another batch of granola bars...something I tend to dread making even though I only have to do it every 4 weeks to have one for every work day.
The last thing I made was batch of sweet potato hummus. This one doesn't have a recipe, something that normally scares me. But I'm trying to trust myself more in the kitchen and just try stuff. A friend of mine on Facebook posted a status that was something like: "just made sweet potato hummus and it was amazing" so I commented asking for the recipe. She said she didn't have one...just put a baked sweet potato, 1 can of chickpeas, the juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt into a food processor and blend until it tastes right. I did just that, tweaking it until it "tasted right" and it turned out awesome! I guess Facebook isn't all bad ;)
To all my friends that don't have a lot of experience cooking and want good starter recipes to try, try this hummus. It is incredibly healthy, cheap, and you don't have to be nervous about screwing it up. Its pretty much foolproof, and if something does go wrong then you've only lost about $2 and 10 minutes of your time. Here's what I did more specifically:
1. Wash sweet potato, poke several holes in the skin, then microwave it for about 7 minutes between 2 paper towels (this will depend on your microwave, but you can feel the potato and know when its soft).
2. Once the potato is cooked, cut it in half and scoop out the insides into a food processor.
3. Add 1 drained can of chickpeas, the juice of 1 lemon, a shake or two of cayenne pepper, roughly 1 teaspoon of cumin, 2 pinches of salt, a few glugs of olive oil, and a little water. Remember that you can always add more spices, oil, etc. later but you can't take it out.
4. Blend until mostly smooth, taste, and add more of whatever it needs. I ended up having to add more oil, water, salt, cumin & cayenne.