Saturday, February 12, 2011

White Bean And Roasted Garlic Hummus

I was always worried about beans as they make me sound like I have an orchestra inside my body. Now that I know more about them and how to stop having people give me weird looks when standing near me after... you know, I appreciate them a whole lot more. White beans, also known as Northern White or navy beans, are an oval, creamy white, pea-sized bean that is a good source of bad cholesterol-lowering fibre, folate and manganese. A nice little package.

We've had two cans in the pantry now for awhile and I figure it's time to do something with them. A while ago, we were shopping and I mentioned to the wife that I think we should try out a few white bean recipes as they were easy to work with and quite healthy. I also mentioned I could use them to make a dip just like hummus. Sold! We turned the corner into a different aisle and there were a couple cans of cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans or fazolia. These can be substituted for the white beans with no problem as they are very close to the same thing.

Beans are one of the key ingredients in a Mediterranean's diet. They are quick and easy to deal with (despite having to soak them overnight if you're using dried) and can co-exist in a dish with many other flavorful ingredients. They can be eaten hot or cold, in soups, stews or salads. Even O will have a taste here and there of them, but we have to be careful as her little stomach may not be able to handle the gas buildup, but we'll see what happens.

Ingredients
- 1 head of garlic
- one 14-ounce can white beans, such as cannellini or northern white, rinsed
- 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
- EVOO
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- smoked paprika or cayenne, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
2. Cut off the very tip of the head of garlic. This will make it easier to remove the cloves when finished. Rip off a piece of aluminum foil, about 10" square and place the garlic in the middle. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then drizzle with a little EVOO.



Wrap up the garlic and twist the top to make it look like a pseudo Hershey's kiss.


If you have a garlic roaster, use that instead. Roast until garlic is soft and golden inside, about 45-60 minutes. Let cool.
3. Mash beans in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. Squeeze out the cloves of garlic into the beans. You could also use a potato peeler to dig the cloves out. Add olive oil. Stir or pulse the processor. Season the dip with salt and pepper. Pulse or stir again and transfer to a bowl.


Sprinkle a little smoked paprika in the processor and pulse or over top when you are ready to serve.

Tips: This is a dip, but you can also spread it on a sandwich or donair if you like. Be adventurous. It's good for you, so find other ways to get it into your diet. Sprinkling a little parsley over top wouldn't hurt either. It will add a little more taste and texture.

Little O's Menu

Hmmm, not much happening here lately as she is too busy walking laps around the house. No interest in food, just get out of her way! The only things she's really eating are loads blueberries, a raspberry or two, a little oatmeal alone, with berries, cinnamon, maple syrup and/or a cube of apple sauce. Tonight, we will add a little ricotta cheese to her oatmeal. This will add more protein, calcium and omega fatty acids to her diet. The past day or two she is actually getting back into eating bread again with some cranberry jelly. The bread we have been feeding her this week is whole wheat bread with chia seeds in it. This also helps her get more fibre and protein. In her defense, she has been sick so her taste buds aren't really firing on all cylinders for the about the past week. 

My last blog was about the River Cafe here in Calgary. Both Sal and Andrew both sent me emails saying thanks and they liked what I wrote. I'm glad to get feedback like this and hope to do more interviews with restaurateurs and chefs. It's educational for me and I hope all who read this can benefit from this as well. I look forward to my next one.

Quote Of The Day:

"A writer is like a bean plant - he has his little day, and then things get stringy."

- E.B. White (1899-1985) American writer


Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark

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