Five Favorite NEW Recipes I am Making This Summer

This is only my second Five Favorites ever (linking up with Jenna at Call her Happy), and really it is just bunch of links to recipes I don’t want to lose.

I should write them down on paper, because I still use cookbooks and my recipe book most of the time.

Making pesto with the baby.

Now that I have an 8 week old/am 8 weeks postpartum I am trying to cook again. Plus, I have a whole bunch of great foods coming out of my garden.

1. Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesean, Basil, and Parsley
This is going to be a go-to Friday night meal for a long time, I think. So, yummy, so easy. And it would go great with Tabbouleh salad.

2. Tabbouleh
I love Tabbouleh; maybe it is my 1/8 Lebanese coming out. (I also love Falafel, and the garlic sauce at the Maronite church fish fry…) I finally made it. This is not the exact recipe I used, but close enough. You really just need a lot of parsley, and then the other stuff: burghul, garlic, lemon juice (lemony is essential), oil, tomatoes, and cucumber. Any ratio that you like will work.

3. Carrot Top Pesto
I was determined to use my nice green luscious carrot tops. So, I made this pesto despite rumors that carrot tops might be poisonous? I think it is the same issue the presence of alkaloids in vegetables like raw spinach. So, basically, don’t eat tons of it everyday, and you won’t have a toxic build-up.

As for the pesto, the kids loved it because of the garlic and parmesan… M thought it was very similar to basil pesto, which I didn’t quite agree with. Next time I might do half carrot, half basil. Or parsley…. or oregano. We have a ton of oregano.

Yes, that is a quart of cold press concentrate…

4. Cold Press Coffee
I can’t believe that I did not try this sooner. So good. I also drink mine with milk and a little bit of simple sugar syrup sweetener departing from my normal black hot coffee. It almost tasted chocolatey.

5. Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs
Not exactly new thing for us, but I wanted eggs that I could peel easily. This technique nailed it. I have been eating a ton of salads since T was born, because we had a lot of lettuce, and a hard boiled egg really tops them off nicely… especially on meatless days.

There you go… Happy Summer eating!

Recipe: Easy, Delicious Tahini-less Hummus

I love hummus, and I love saving money. I set out to find a recipe for hummus without the added most expensive ingredient of tahini. (I think that maybe I am allowed to do this, since I am 1/8 Lebonese–I mean it is in my blood!)

After a couple of years of toying with the recipe, I finally have something I am willing to share with the world. I love having lemony flavor in my hummus, so I go heavier on that. I also love the garlic standing out, so I put in three cloves. The lemon juice and garlic make up for the lack of flavor resulting from the missing tahini. Processing it for a long time makes it extra fluffy.

Easy Tahini-Less Hummus

2 15 oz cans of drained and rinsed chic peas/garbanzo beans
(or 2/3 cup dried, soaked and cooked beans)
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
3 TB Olive Oil
3/8 cup (6 TB) of water
3 whole, peeled garlic cloves
1/2 tspn salt (or to taste)*
1/4 tspn pepper (or to taste)
*I really like having suggestions on what is a good amount “to taste”. To taste leaves me with no idea how much is enough for good flavor...

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process for 5 minutes straight. Scrape the sides down if needed. Add water or more seasoning depending on your texture and seasoning preference.

Enjoy! We really like eating our hummus on tortillas with vegetables (like cucumber, sweet pepper, and spinach) and some sort of cheese. It makes a great Lenten lunch or dinner.

My Own Recipe: Meatless Spinach and Swiss Quiche

We like quiche. We like quiche a lot. We like quiche so much that I have been slowly developing an amazing recipe. I am not sure that I should stop now and say, “Hey guys, it’s done,” because you never know when more brilliant quiche making inspiration will hit. But I am going to give what I have done so far.

I first want to make a note about crust. This is the crust recipe that I have been using, and it has been super flaky every time I have made it:

Double Crust (for one quiche, I do a half recipe)
2 2/3 c. flour
1 tspn salt
1 c. shortening
7-8 TB cold water

I have been doing it the old fashioned way, with a pastry blender. It is a pretty neat tool. Once it is all crumbly, I add the water until it holds together. Then I usually chill it awhile.

After putting the question out to my Facebook friends, I discovered that you can also do crust in a food processor with butter. I am going to do this next time, because butter is far superior to vegetable shortening. Now, over at Smitten Kitchen, they are saying to not us a pastry blender and to use all butter, but you can check out that recipe yourself.

Now, you did not come here to read about crust making, you came here to get my recipe for amazing meatless (good for Fridays!) spinach quiche.

I don’t think I have ever made a quiche that I did not like. Even my epic failure of a quiche back when I took the time to pre-bake the crusts that I did not let cool long enough and the cheese melted to one side of the quiche and the filling did not rise, was still delicious. I do not think you can really go wrong combining pie crust, egg, cheese, and onion with any other add ins. This is one of my “go to” Friday dinners that I can guarantee that the kids will eat. Plus, when I make it with spinach, no one even realizes that they are eating vegetables!

I have learned a few things from my mother about making quiche, which for some reason I refused to eat her quiche as a child. I was very suspicious of Swiss then, and now I will only eat it if it has enough salt in the dish. I learned from my mom, that the crust is only as beautiful as the effort you put into it.
I watched her this summer carefully roll out a perfectly round crust, place it in the dish and trim it just so to make the edges so beautiful. She also taught me to use egg whites left in the egg shells to line the crust, to protect it. We rub it in with our fingers and save the pastry brush. Finally, she showed me that spinach, which is so hard to spread, clumped and cooked, can be easily spread if you mix it into the egg.

My own little touch to my quiche making was to precook my onions (and mushrooms when I use them) and then cook off a splash of dry vermouth or white wine. I think that this is probably the key to my amazing quiche. Seriously.

Also, this time, I did not have enough Swiss, so I threw in some Mozzerella as well, and we liked it better than ever. So, without further ado, my recipe:

Spinach and Swiss Quiche

-1 onion, finely chopped
-(optional: 4 oz. chopped mushrooms- I have done it both ways and both are super good–sometimes I skip the spinach and do more mushrooms)
-1 TB butter
-splash of dry vermouth or white wine
-8 oz. cooked chopped spinach (I started with frozen)
-1 c. shredded swiss cheese
-1/2 c. shredded mozzerella
-4 eggs
-1 c. cream (or milk)
-1/2 tspn salt
-1/4 tspn pepper
-nutmeg for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Have ready in a 9-10 inch pie pan, your crust of choice. Use the whites from the shell of your eggs to coat the inside of the crust. Cook, drain, and cool the spinach (squeezing it out with your hands works well here). Melt butter in frying pan, and add the onions. After 3 minutes or so, (if using) add the mushrooms. Cook them both until a soft and a light brown. Add in splash of vermouth or wine, and then cook off the liquid. In a bowl or quart liquid measure, whip together eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Add the spinach to the mixture and stir.

Spread half of the mushrooms and onions into the prepared crust. Sprinkle evenly in half of both cheeses. Pour over the layers half of the egg and spinach mixture. Layer the rest of the onions, cheese, and egg mixture. Sprinkle nutmeg over the top.

Cook the quiche at 425°F for 15 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 300°F and cook 30-45 minutes more (until it is done). A knife should come out clean near the center for what I consider perfect doneness. Let the quiche cool for 10 minutes before serving.


I would love to hear if anyone tries it, and how it turns out for you! And any other thoughts on crusts or other amazing fillings!

Recipe: Really Thick Greek Yogurt in a Crockpot

I have been making this yogurt since we lived in Buffalo, NY. I think I started when G was one, so maybe four years now. It saves money and is so much fresher tasting then store bought yogurt! After many different ways of straining and flavoring I have finally perfected my yogurt recipe/process. It is really about timing and waiting.
I start off around 4 pm with 8 cups of whole milk in my 6 quart crockpot slow cooker. I turn it on low and set a timer for two and a half hours. When the timer goes off, I simply turn off (and unplug for good measure) the crockpot, take my starter of a 6 oz plain Fage Greek yogurt out of the refrigerator, and set the timer for three more hours.

At 9:30 pm, I put the starter yogurt in a two cup measure and ladle a few scoops of warm milk in with the yogurt. After I “introduce” those live and active cultures to the milk and pour them all into the crockpot and wrap the whole thing up in two super warm blankets and put it in a cozy warm corner of the kitchen counter.

In the morning (around 7:30-8:30 am), I unwrap the crockpot, lay about 5 paper towels on top of the nice brand new yogurt, and put the whole thing in the refrigerator for the next 24 hours.

The next morning, I remove all the excess liquid that has been soaked into the paper towels and voila: 2 quarts of think, creamy, Greek yogurt.

Thick Greek Yogurt:
8 cups whole milk
6 oz. plain store bought Greek yogurt

-Put milk in Crockpot on low for 2.5 hours. SET A TIMER!
-When 2.5 hours are over turn Crockpot off, take starter out of refrigerator, and set another timer for 3 hours.

-When three hours are over, mix starter and 1 cup of hot milk from Crockpot together and stir it all into Crockpot of milk. Wrap in lots of blankets and keep it away from drafts. Let it sit overnight.
-In morning place about 5 paper towels on top of yogurt covering the whole surface and put in refrigerator.
-In 24 hours, remove paper towels and put yogurt in storage containers.

I like to serve the yogurt with a teaspoon of homemade jam. We also serve it with falafel or fajitas as a substitute for sour cream. 🙂

Notes: Some Facebook commenters have suggested to ways of thickening the yogurt without “straining”.
1) Add two tablespoons of gelatin in with the starter.
2) Adding 1/3 c. dry milk powder at the beginning.