Spicy Tomato Salad

It’s tomato season! The best part of the summer. I threw together this simple salad over the weekend after getting a great big sack of juicy tomatoes from the farmers’ market.

Ingredients:

4 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 of an onion, minced
1 tbls minced jalapeno
1 tsp turmeric
Juice of one lemon, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Whisk the turmeric into the lemon juice. Add all the other ingredients and gently mix. Let it set for about 30mins to allow the flavors to marry. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve.

Delicious as a side for your veggie burgers!

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Finding My Food Processor

After a few months of mashing bean burgers by hand and forcing my immersion blender to make hummus (it hates that), I have decided to purchase a food processor. I began with a Google search and a question on Facebook, and thus began looking at Cuisinarts. Boy, are they expensive! I slashed my summer clothes shopping budget to save up the $200-$300 or more I would need. Now that I’m getting close to my goal amount, it’s time to shop!

I got some good guidelines from this article in Real Simple

Since I don’t make bread dough more than once a year, and when I do I really enjoy kneading by hand, I have determined that I don’t need a 1000 watt motor. Also ruled out everything with nesting bowls.

I have decided I need 11-14 cup capacity in order to make hundreds (ok, dozens) of burgers at once, or at least shred a whole head of cabbage. So this Cuisinart was initially my first choice.  14 cups, 720 watt motor, $200.

Then a good friend suggested this KitchenAid and I started to get confused.  12 cups, 700 watts, closer to $300 unless I get a refurbished model.

So many choices! So much money! What say you, Amazon customer reviews?

The reviews are more helpful in a “what to expect” way than a decisive, what to buy way. I read the best reviews (5 stars) and the worst (1 star), as well as a few in between. Everyone seems to say the same good and bad things about both machines. Pros: Powerful motor, high capacity, variety of handy accessories.  Cons:  Hard to clean by hand (an issue for the dishwasherless), flimsy plastic parts, tricky locking mechanism, takes up lots of space (duh).

Thought I was doing really well comparing the Cuisinart and the KitchenAid, until yet another person tipped me off to Hamilton Beach, a brand I hadn’t considered because it was so very cheap that I assumed the quality would be low.  She says she got hers used from a relative and it lasted her eight additional years.  Not bad, Hamilton Beach! Turns out, the low price probably has more to do with the lower wattage of the motor: 400-525 watts, compared to 700+ watts on the more expensive models. Additionally, from what I can tell, the body of the Hamilton Beach is plastic, rather than metal.  However, all the pros and cons of these cheaper machines are similar to the more expensive ones.

So what’s a poor young cook to do? I might have to make a trip to some kitchen stores to get a better idea of how things work.

Do you have a food processor? If so, what kind, and what do you like and dislike about it?

Hummus

The heat is on in Brooklyn and all I feel like eating are raw veggies and watermelon.  Sounds like it’s time for some hummus!

The first few times I made it, I measured everything very carefully, following the recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian to the letter. These days, I eyeball it, tweaking it to my taste that particular week.  I also completely cut out the olive oil from that recipe with great results. Therefore, feel free to take liberties with these guidelines.

Since the weather is hot this week and I just returned from a lengthy vacation, I used canned chickpeas, but normally I cook them myself. The results are better with home-cooked because you can use the flavorful cooking liquid to thin the hummus out to your desired consistency.

Hummus

2 cups drained well-cooked chickpeas, liquid reserved (or a can of rinsed, drained beans and some water)

1/4 – 1/2 cup tahini, or to taste (You can even leave this out if you don’t have it or are allergic)

2 or more cloves garlic, peeled

juice of one lemon and/or a few tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I like a little of both)

1 tablespoon cumin or more to taste

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor or blender, adding more bean-cooking liquid or water as necessary to keep things running smoothly.

2. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, tahini, garlic or lemon juice/vinegar as desired.

Ideas for Variations (all off which I have tried):  Add lemon zest if you really love lemon (I don’t, but my dad enjoys it).  Roasted garlic instead of raw.  Roasted red peppers (you’ll need a little less liquid).  Fresh herbs.  Sun-dried tomatoes and basil (yumyumyum).  The options are endless.

Tips:  Add liquid very slowly in small amounts so you don’t end up with hummus soup! Taste frequently to figure out what you like.  When in doubt, get a second opinion or let it rest over night to allow the flavors to marry.

A few times when I’ve been overzealous with a certain ingredient and gotten frustrated, I’ve put the result in the freezer for a few weeks until I feel like messing with it again.  It’ll get a little watery after thawing, but over all does pretty well, and allows you to start over.  No messed up hummus can’t be fixed!  You can also freeze it if you make too much hummus.

I’m trying not to get too political on here, but since it’s too hot to cook (and I have to work a lot too), I figure I might as well.  If nothing else, you’ll suddenly realize that the moon is very small.

 

Veganism by the numbers.

Infographic by CulinarySchools.org