Friday, 6 January 2012

SmartCooks Lights a Candle to Candle 79 Cookbook and Recipes

January 2012

SmartCooks here lighting a candle to Candle 79 Cookbook:  Modern Vegan Classics from New York's Premier Sustainable Restaurant.  Oh, that I could have found this book/e-app during the Holiday Season!  

For Christmas dinner, I searched for a vegetarian meal menu, with soup, entree, and 2 sides (salad and vegeys). I surfed half a dozen well-known blogs and sites that feature vegetarian dishes (e.g., Bon AppetitFood 52) as well as strictly vegetarian sources (e.g., Vegetarian Times etc). Nothing jelled.  So I eventually pulled a menu from a number of sources.  (And it was Scrumptious! as was the whole meal!)

It was only after Christmas that I came across Candle 79 Cookbook and downloaded the e-book (thanks to the wonder of Kindle iPad apps). The Cookbook represents the best of the Candle 79 restaurant, whose mandate is to bring elegance to vegetarion cuisines and make concepts such as 'local', 'seasonal,' 'organic', and 'vegan' part of the culinary mainstream.  The Cookbook has well over 100 recipes, all easy for a home cook, divided into appetizers, soups, entrees, salads, desserts, drinks, brunches etc. 

Candle 79 Restaurant was started about 20 years ago by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza who won $53,000 playing a lottery. They decided to invest the money in a restaurant devoted to vegan cooking and opened Candle Cafe and then later Candle 79. 

According to a New York Times review, the Restaurant ambiance and dishes made him "see the light" about vegetarian cuisine. The clientele includes luminaries such as Paul McCartney and Woody Harrelson. 

PLUS the Restaurant boasts eco-friendly liquor. (Husband will be thrilled  that there's Maker's Mark bourbon, which has a low-carbon distillery so he can drink in good conscience and digest the vegetarian food more easily).

I looked up Smoked Paprika Hummus, which the New York Times food critic described as "one of the more enjoyable hummuses" he has had in New York.  The authors recommend dried chickpeas, which need to be soaked overnight, but also says canned chickpeas will do (so I did). 

Here's the recipe from the Cookbook.  It makes about 3 cups and is perfect for three days' worth of 4 p.m. snacks just before a January Get Fit workout.  The hummus pictured is served with grilled paratha bread (Indian flatbread), olives, roasted garlic and a drizzle of red pepper oil.  

Smoked Paprika Hummus

1 cup dried chickpeas, or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika, plus more for garnish
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
1⁄2 ts freshly ground pepper
2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1⁄3 cup tahini
Optional garnishes: roasted red bell peppers, roasted garlic, lemon slices, olives, mint or parsley sprigs

(((If using dried chickpeas, put them in a saucepan or bowl and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Soak in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.  Put the chickpeas in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and let cool, reserving 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup of the cooking water.)))
Combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, parsley, olive oil, and tahini in a bowl and stir to mix well.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until well mixed.

Add 1⁄4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid (or water or vegetable stock if using canned chickpeas) and process until smooth and almost fluffy.

Add more liquid if necessary. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Best served at room temperature.
To serve, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the hummus and sprinkle a bit of paprika. Serve with desired garnishes.

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