Category Archives: Spreads

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Spinach, Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Gruyere Dip

Well yesterday was the Super Bowl and I suppose it could be said this post is a day late.  I actually put this together yesterday with out recipe . . . shooting from the hip if you will.  It came out so darn good I wanted to post it! During the game it was hard not to keep getting up and having a little more dip, sometimes on the French bread I took to serve with it and sometimes on a chip.

This recipe is easy to make, the longest part is slowly caramelizing the onions which can take a 1/2 hour or so to do right.  Low and slow wins while caramelizing onions.  This recipe will serve 8 as a appetizer.  Serve with chips or French bread to dip.

Enjoy

Thyme fly’s

Jason

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

6 ounces bacon, diced

3/4 cup white wine

5 ounces baby spinach

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise (commercial)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1 packet Hidden Valley ranch powder .4 ounce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese

  1. Turn your oven to broil and set out your cream cheese to soften.
  2. You will need to have two pans one to render the bacon and one to slowly caramelize the onions.  Begin by rendering the bacon.  Heat a pan to medium and add the tablespoon of olive oil to get started but once the bacon starts to cook it will give you all the fat you need.  As the bacon cooks you will see a good amount of fat rendering off, this is what you will use to caramelize  your onions.
  3. When the bacon is almost crispy pour most of the fat into your other pan and turn on to medium heat. Add the diced onions and start to cook them.  Once they start to sizzle and begin to brown turn it to low.  Then slowly caramelize slowly while stirring every few minutes.
  4. When the onions are golden brown add the spinach and wilt down.
  5. When the spinach is fully cooked add the wine and bring to a boil.
  6. When the wine is boiling add the everything except the gruyere cheese.  Let everything heat until it is all melted together and hot.
  7. Pour into a oven proof dish and top with the gruyere.  Put in oven on broil and cook until bubby and brown.

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Cauliflower Hummus

Is Cauliflower  a misunderstood and underappreciated vegetable? You bet!  It’s often regarded as a peasant vegetable, not elegant or full of flavor, and that’s just wrong!  Cauliflower has many wonderful uses – not the least of which is this awesome low carb, paleo friendly, healthy “hummus”. It also happens to taste great!

I  love all things hummus but once in a while I find myself looking for something just a little bit healthier (not that hummus isn’t good for you), something with just a few more veggies and less carbs.  This is it!  Healthy and fantastic.

In this recipe the cauliflower is grated then cooked in the microwave with a bit of water.  This can take anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes depending on the microwave.  Its very important to cook  completely or it will be impossible to get the smoothness you will want.

Cauliflower Hummus

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower

1/8th cup of water

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 ounces of tahini (Lebanese)

1.5 ounces lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1.  Separate the head of cauliflower into flowerets that are a good size to grate.  Grate the cauliflower and put into a microwave save container.

2,  Add the water to the cauliflower and microwave on high for five minutes.  Cover and microwave at lest 3 more minutes (but up to 10 minutes depending on the microwave).  The important thing is its complete cooked.

3.  When the cauliflower is completely cooked put all remaining ingredients, including the cauliflower into a food processor and puree very well.  This could take 5 to 8 minutes.  Scrape down every minute or so with a rubber spatula.  This needs to be very smooth!

4.  Chill and serve with a drizzle of avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy and be healthy!

Thyme for a snack,

Jason IMG_2864 IMG_2849 IMG_2852 IMG_2859

Chasing the “Hummus Ghost”

 

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Years ago my wife and I moved from our relatively miserable neighborhood (actually downright dangerous) to our first “nice” house.  Granted we were in Michigan, not Texas, so the standards of “nice” were clearly different,  As we all know, Texas is the supreme state and is difficult to be rated against.  Specifically Allen, Texas (where the dew falls first from Heaven). I digress….

So we end up in Dearborn, Michigan, a wonderful city.  I was working at the Ritz – Carlton Hotel, all was good.  We loved Dearborn, because it was close to work and . . . . the food! We ate hummus, baba ganoush, shawarma, and falafel almost daily. To us it was as normal as pasta or burritos, and was so flavorful and multidimensional, we ate it often!   We had no idea how special this little area of the world was!  Since Dearborn we have lived in Miami, New York City, Allen TX, Las Vegas, Houston, and back to Allen TX.  I had never even come close to having Middle Eastern food as good as in the “Dearborn Days.”  Not even close!  There was a particular restaurant called “La Shish” that was a real stand out.  Their hummus was legendary, the best I have ever had.  Creamy and rich with a depth of flavor that I could never achieve in a hummus.  It was addictive. One of the great culinary achievements!

For years I tried to get close to that hummus, searching hummus recipes high and low.  I looked in professional cooking books, home style cooking books, text books from culinary schools, the internet . . . you name it.  Never found it. I made hummus hundreds of times, and it was always good, unless you compare it to “La Shish”.    About two years ago I hired a younger cook named Rashid.  He is a Lebanese guy with some good experience.  Of course on my mind right away, hummus.  For 15 years I had been chasing the “hummus” ghost.  I asked him if he knew how to make a great hummus.  Rashid says “I ran the best Lebanese restaurant in DC.  I make the good hummus.”  I was intrigued.  When he said he needed three days . . . I was really intrigued.

Rashid “made the good hummus.”  I could close my eyes and think I was back in Dearborn.  The “hummus ghost” . . . I had it in my sights.

In Rashid’s hummus the devil is in the details.  The chickpeas are soaked in water and baking soda overnight.  Then they are cooked at a slow gentle simmer, for 6 or 7 hours, in the same water they soaked in.  The cooking should be stopped when the water is at the level of the chickpeas, and the chickpeas are very tender.  The chickpeas are cooled in that liquid, which will gel like a classic, well-made stock (Rashid chilled his overnight).  The liquid and the chickpeas are pureed together with tahini, garlic and lemon.  The puree must be very smooth!

Lebanese Hummus

Makes 1.5 quarts

Ingredients

½ quart dried chickpeas

¾ tablespoon baking soda

3 quarts water

3 ounces tahini (Lebanese if you can find it)

½ ounce garlic

¾ ounce lemon juice

¼ ounce kosher salt

  1. In container large enough to hold the 1st three ingredients, combine the dried chickpeas, baking soda and water.  Cover and allow to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, in a thick bottomed pot dump the chickpeas and water in to simmer, do not drain, simmer in the same water it soaked in.  Bring to a light boil then turn down to a gentle simmer and allow to simmer for 6 or 7 hours.  The simmering time will vary greatly depending on the size of you pot, specifically the width because of increased evaporation.  I have had great luck simmering between 5 to 7 hours.
  3. The cooking should be stopped when the liquid is level with the chickpeas.  Do not drain!  Cool in the liquid.
  4. When very cool the liquid will gel like a well-made stock.  You will be pureeing chickpeas and this liquid in the final step of the recipe.
  5. In a food processor (you may need to do in a few batches.  It’s ok, just stir all of the batches together well at the end) puree the chickpeas (and the gelled liquid) with the remaining ingredients.  Here is the final detail . . .  it must be velvety smooth.  You may have to puree in your food processor for 5 or 10 minutes, scraping the sides every so often.
  6. Adjust seasoning a bit if necessary, although you should not need to.
  7. Cool down and store in your refrigerator.  It will last for 5 days but you won’t need to worry about that, it will be gone well before the expiration date.

Thyme Remembered,

Jason