Pink Hummus

Sometimes it’s just pretty. Sometimes it’s just tasty. When we found a new hummus recipe that was both pretty and tasty, we had to try it. This recipe is found on page 92 of the cookbook Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen with Wyatt Worcel.The secret ingredient for the pink color is pickled beet juice. Maybe you can find this juice on your own; we bought a jar of pickled beets and poured off the juice. (The beets were tasty, too!)

We made a few adjustments including adding a small amount of cumin.

Here is the recipe as it was written.


1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup pickled beet juice

2 Tbsp olive oil + more for garnish

1/4 cup tahini

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


In a food processor, place the chickpeas, beet juice, olive oil, tahini, garlic, and salt and process until completely smooth, 2-3 minutes. Season with pepper and more salt, if needed. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with parsley. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Makes 1 1/4 cups.

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Coffee-Roasted Carrots

Only one of us is a coffee drinker. One isn’t even fond of mocha-flavored this or that. However, this use of coffee brings us together. Coffee-roasted carrots is an idea attributed to famed California chef Daniel Patterson. This recipe from the May 2008 issue (page 114) of Cooking Light is an excellent adaptation of the original idea of roasting carrot over whole coffee beans. This version uses crushed instant coffee granules instead. The recipe also introduced us to another interesting spice variant: fennel pollen. This ingredient, similar to the use of saffron,, is used in tiny quantities. We found this spice at our local organic food store.

For those who don’t have access, here is the recipe.


1 1/2 lb. medium carrots, trimmed and peeled (halved lengthwise, if large)

1 Tbsp olive oil

3/4 tsp instant coffee granules, crushed

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp light brown sugar

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/8 tsp fennel pollen (optional)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp lemon zest


Preheat oven to 425º F. Toss carrots with oil, coffee, salt, sugar, pepper, and, if desired, fennel pollen. Arrange in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 425º F until browned and tender, 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer to a platter, and sprinkle with parsley and lemon zest.

Serves 6.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

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Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Mint Gremolata

Grilled potatoes can be tricky; they often take longer to prepare than other grilled items. Overdone, the potatoes are a dry, flaky mess stuck to the grates or lumps of black scorch. Underdone, the potatoes are toothsome to a fault. We have a tried-and-true recipe in a disposable foil pan, but we are like some variety. Here’s a good addition to the grilled potato repertoire.

This recipe comes from Jamie Purviance’s book, New American Barbecue, page 246. Not only do we like the technique, we love the gremolata. We hope you enjoy it, too!


For the gremolata:

1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, each cut lengthwise in half

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 garlic clove, minced


In the bowl of a food processor pulse the parsley and mint until coarsely chopped. Add the remaining gremolata ingredients and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the gremolata to a large bowl.

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (400º F.) and preheat a large cast iron griddle.

Combine the potatoes, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and turn to coat. Arrange the potatoes, cut side down, on the griddle and cook over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until tender, crisp, and golden brown, 30-35 minutes, checking occasionally and moving the potatoes to prevent over browning. Transfer the potatoes to the large bowl with the gremolata and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4 to 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Grill Time: 40-45 minutes

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Chicken Thighs with Sweet Apricot-Hoisin Sauce

Jamie Purviance is one of our favorite chefs for grilling inspiration. He has a new book, New American Barbecue. We haven’t perused all the new recipes, but we’ve already made one recipe twice. Not only are the results well-seasoned and delectable, but the preparation technique allows for grilled and smoked flavors, while minimizing grill clean-up afterwards. Bravo Jamie! This recipe is a winner! For those who can’t find this recipe on page 188, we include the information here.

Note: the recipe recommends cherry or apple wood chips, but we found hickory chips worked great.


For the rub:

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

8 chicken thighs (with bone and skin), each 5-6 oz. (Trim excess skin and fat, patted dry)

For the glaze:

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp peeled, minced fresh ginger

1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium-low heat (350º to 400º F.).

Combine the rub ingredients, and then season the chicken thighs all over with the rub.

In a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove, bring the glaze ingredients to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Drain and add the wood chips to the charcoal or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When smoke appears, grill the thighs, skin side down first, over direct medium-low heat, with the lid closed, until lightly browned, about 16 minutes, turning once. Place the thighs in a large disposable foil pan, place the pan over indirect medium-low heat, and brush the thighs with some of the glaze. Close the lid and cook until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink at the bone, 15-20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with the glaze. If the glaze becomes too thick as it cools, warm it briefly over medium heat. Brush with any remaining glaze just before removing the thighs from the grill. Serve the thighs warm, garnished with the cilantro.

Serves 4.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Grill Time: 31-36 minutes

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Smoky Grilled Vegetables with Cilantro-Mint Drizzle

We had the grill going and the hickory chips smoking. Luckily, we found this grilled vegetable dish to prepare alongside the chicken thighs. Even better, the herb drizzle for the recipe matched the profile for the thighs, too! You will need a grill basket for these vegetables—the pieces are too small for most grill grates.

The recipe comes from the May 20, 2018 issue of Parade magazine. We don’t know the chef’s name, but it was featured in the “What America Eats” section.



Use 2-pound mix of bell peppers, summer squash, eggplant, red onion, and mushrooms, cut into uniform size pieces.

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, grated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cilantro-Mint Drizzle:

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh mint, minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Juice of one lemon

Salt to taste


Place cut vegetables in a large bowl. Add olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes. Preheat grill to high. Transfer vegetables to grill basket, spreading in an even layer. Grill 12-15 minutes or until very tender and charred in spots, tossing occasionally. Transfer to a platter.

To make the drizzle: combine olive oil, mint, cilantro, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl. Serve with vegetables.

Serves 4-6.

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Beef Pot Roast with Red Wine Gravy

If you’re not familiar with Romertopf®, it is a type of earthenware. The Römertopf® is made using some types of clay. The clay is porous and left unglazed, allowing the Romertopf® to breathe during the cooking process. Food cooked in a clay pot requires no liquid unless specifically called for in a recipe. The result preserves nearly all of the juices from the cooked food, adding to flavor and taste, and the essential nutrients and vitamins are retained. You can cook nearly all types of foods without adding any fat.

Before each time you use the Romertopf®, rinse the inside of both the base and the lid under cold tap water. Pour off the excess liquid. After adding all the ingredients, place your Romertopf® in the center of a cold oven. Do not add cold liquids once the Romertopf® is hot. Convert regular recipes for use with clay pots by usually increasing the cooking temperature by 100° F., and deducting one-half hour of cooking time.

This recipe is a great one-pan meal, and made some of the best pot roast we’ve ever had. The source of this recipe is from the manufacturer’s website, We used the 3.1 quart-size Romertopf® for this recipe.


1 3-4 lb. English, rump or chuck roast

2 medium carrots, cut into 1″ chunks

1 celery stalk, cut into 1″ chunks

1 large onion, quartered

3 large Russet or Gold potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tbsp tomato paste

2 large fresh bay leaves or 4 dried

2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 fresh rosemary sprig

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup dry red wine, such as burgundy, cabernet sauvignon, merlot or pinot noir

1 Tbsp cornstarch


Place celery, onion, garlic, 1 bay leaf ( 2 if dried) in the bottom of clay pot. Place beef on top and surround with carrots & potatoes.  Sprinkle top of beef with salt, pepper, parsley and thyme, add rosemary sprig and remaining bay leaves.  Mix tomato paste with red wine and pour over beef.

Place lid on top of baker.  Put the clay baker in a cold oven and heat to 425°F. Cook for 1 1/2 to­ 2 1/4 hours (depending on desired internal temperature).  Remove from oven and test meat with a fine skewer, it should enter easily.  When beef is tender, remove beef, carrots and potatoes, keep warm.  Drain off sauce and place in saucepan.

Bring sauce to a boil over low-medium heat.  Meanwhile whisk cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water.  Reduce heat to low on saucepan, slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture.  Let sauce return to a gentle simmer to thicken. Check seasoning. Serve over beef.

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Herb Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

We debated going out for Sunday dinner versus staying home. If we stayed home, it meant devoting much of the afternoon to meal preparation. Neither choice seemed satisfactory. Fortunately, we found this recipe that allowed us a home-cooked meal with minimal preparation and clean-up. Here was the entire meal in one fell swoop. Our choice for the white wine was a California Chardonnay. When we decided to roast two chickens at once, there was the added bonus of roasted chicken leftovers for a weeknight dinner.

Thank you to Martha Stewart for this easy, delicious gem. You can find the link here. Placing the potatoes around the edges of the pan is smart; the potatoes cooked through nicely and yet were neither mushy nor soggy. In our research, we also came across Thomas Keller’s tip to use an entire tablespoon of salt on the skin of each chicken. This makes the skin crisp up nicely in the oven. Bon appetit!


1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed and patted dry

Coarse salt and pepper

1/2 bunch thyme

1/2 bunch parsley

2 leeks (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, then crosswise, and rinsed well

3 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch lengths

1 lb. small red potatoes, any large ones halved

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine


Preheat oven to 450º F. Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Stuff thyme and parsley in cavity. In a large bowl, toss leeks, carrots, and potatoes with oil; season with salt and pepper. Scatter vegetables around chicken, arranging potatoes at edges of pan; pour wine into pan. Roast until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear when pierced between breast and leg (an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh, avoiding bone, should read 165º F.), about 1 hour.

Serves 4.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes

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