One of the easiest, cheapest and healthiest snacks I make my kids is dried banana chips. My son absolutely loves them! We buy a couple of bunches of bananas at Costco for $1.39, slice them up and put them into the dehydrator and at the […]
Hello, Mr. Oscoey here. If you don’t love garlic, you should probably just move on to the next post. If you love garlic as much as my family does, or you have a vampire problem, read on.
I don’t remember when I first ran across a recipe for a Lebanese garlic sauce called toum, but it has become a staple condiment in our refrigerator. The traditional Catalan aioli is a similar egg-less, mayonnaise-like sauce. There is some food science and a little bit of food magic which turns five simple ingredients into a fluffy, garlicy spread that is good on nearly everything (and also happens to be vegan).
Toum starts with garlic, water, and salt blitzed up in a food processor. This is where the food science comes in. Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats has written about the science of garlic flavor but the tl;dr is that the compound that we associate with the harsh, hot flavor of garlic (alliinase) become deactivated at low pH (more acidic). This means that the longer you wait to add the lemon juice, the more pungent, garlicy flavor will come through. Want garlic without the punch? Add some lemon juice at the same time as the water, before everything is whizzed up.
Once you get a smooth paste, oil is slowly drizzled in, alternating with splashes of water and lemon juice. In addition to making sure you add oil slowly, it helps to hold your breath and say a prayer to the food gods because in rare occasions the entire mixture breaks, leaving you with an oily mess. It’s pretty hard to recover once broken unless you start adding egg yolks.
When all the oil, water, and lemon juice has been incorporated, let the food processor whip up the mixture until you get a mayonnaise-like consistency.
This makes about two and a half pints of sauce, and halving the recipe isn’t recommended unless you have a smaller food processor. It should last a month in the fridge, but ours never makes it beyond a couple weeks.
Toum (Garlic Sauce)
- 1/2 cup garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 3 cups canola oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Step 1 Add garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of the water, and salt to the food processor. If you want to minimize the pungent garlic flavor add 1/4 cup of lemon juice as well.
- Step 2 Turn on the food processor run until a smooth paste is formed. If you did not add the lemon juice in step one, wait a few minutes then add (the longer you wait, the more pungent the garlic flavor will be). Process until everything is mixed together.
- Step 3 Add oil in a slow, steady stream while the food processor is running.
- Step 4 After about a cup of oil, add a tablespoon of lemon juice, and a tablespoon of water.
- Step 5 Continue drizzling in oil, alternating with lemon juice and water.
- Step 6 Once all the oil, lemon juice, and water has been incorporated, run the food processor until the sauce has a mayonnaise-like consistency.
We have always been big fans of hummus. For a long time we bought organic canned garbanzo beans and made hummus from those but we have been trying to make as much of our food from scratch as we can so about a year ago we switched to this recipe from Serious Eats and it is honestly the best hummus I have ever eaten! In a pinch you could still use canned garbanzo beans after the cooking step but the fresh ones are really much better tasting. We buy our garbanzo beans in bulk off of Amazon from a local company called Palouse Brand . They are made in Washington, non-GMO, organic and the best tasting garbanzo beans we have tried so far. We also order our Tahini in bulk from Amazon as well but I think you can find it in any grocery store. We just eat a lot of hummus so buying in bulk is much cheaper.
A few months ago we decided to both eat healthier and try to cut back on our grocery expenses so we could spend more money fixing up the house. One of the ways we have tried to accomplish this is to add beans to our diet. We tried refried beans, baked beans, adding canned beans to our dishes and hummus. Although we love all of the bean options we tried, making a batch of hummus every week was the easiest way for us to be consistent about it. We just soak the beans overnight on Saturday night and then my husband cooks them when we have time on Sunday. It doesn’t take long to cook and you can have it on another burner while you are cooking dinner to save time. I eat a hummus wrap for lunch most days with leftovers on the inside (to reduce food waste) and the kids love eating it with a spoon for an afternoon treat. You can also put it on crackers, toast with a runny fried egg for breakfast, dip vegetables in it or even add a little hot sauce and use it as a healthier dip for chips. We love hummus!
Put your beans into a bowl with double the volume of water and let soak overnight.
Soaked beans looking a little fluffier!
Drain your beans and place them into a pot with the baking soda. Cook for a few minutes then add your water and bring to a boil.
Skim off any foam or skins that pop up and cook for about 20-40 minutes until the beans are very tender but not mushy.
Drain your chickpeas and put into the food processor. Run it until you get a stiff paste.
While it is still running add your lemon, tahini, garlic and salt. Then slowly add your ice water and run for another 5 minutes until the hummus is smooth and creamy.
And there you have it! Super smooth hummus ready to eat! This week when we made it the kids ate a bunch of it still warm from the food processor with spoons. It was great to see them enjoying such a healthy snack!
Hummus by Serious Eats
Make delicious hummus from scratch!
- 1.5 cups dried chickpeas
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 6.5 cups water
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp light tahini sauce
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 1/2 tablespoons/100 ml ice-cold water
- Step 1 The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
- Step 2 The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
- Step 3 Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups/600 g now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
- Step 4 Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
My oldest daughter and I love these sweet potato fries. I make them every couple of weeks and they are usually gone by the end of the night. The younger two kids either really love sweet potatoes or they can’t stand them so I usually make them as an extra dish. They are so easy to make it doesn’t make it seem like I am doing extra work for dinner. Some nights I start them when the younger kids are eating and then eat them as an after dinner snack instead of dessert. It was yummy and way healthier than ice cream or cookies.
Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly with a vegetable scrubber.
I used three lovely sweet potatoes today. We buy a gigantic bag from Costco every month or two and store them in a cool dry place.
Cut the ends off and then cut the sweet potatoes in half. Stand each half upright on the wider end and cut it in half again. Then slice each quarter into roughly the same thickness.
Spread your sweet potatoes on a standard cookie sheet. I used a Silpat under mine but you can also use parchment paper. The sweet potatoes don’t have to be evenly spread and they can be touching since they will shrink as they cook.
Lightly coat your sweet potatoes with olive oil. Ha ha! There is no actual olive oil on my brush because I didn’t want it to glop on there unevenly while I took a picture but you get the idea. I love our silicone brush because I can just toss it in the dishwasher afterwards. Don’t ask me where we got it. My husband bought it many years ago and I have no idea where but they have similar ones on Amazon.
Sprinkle your salt and pepper. I don’t use a lot of salt in my cooking and if I add a bunch of pepper to these it is guaranteed that the little kids won’t eat them so I do a very light coat. They do taste wonderful though if you add lots of pepper and a decent amount of salt so sometimes if I am feeling extra inspired I will make another tray for the grownups with more seasoning. Turn your sweet potatoes over and repeat the olive oil, salt and pepper. I may forget to repeat the second side if my kids are extra distracting so you can skip this step but they taste way better with coating on both sides. Put them in the oven for about 20 min, flip them with a fork to check tenderness and put them back into the oven for another 15-20 min. Check them a second time. There should be a little carmelization on them but if you are feeding them to little ones it is better to leave them soft.
I made these for kids to eat tomorrow so I pulled them a little early to keep them soft You can see some carmelization on the smaller pieces.
Yummy sweet potato juice coating the cooked fries. Let the fries cool for a few minutes and enjoy! You could also add a pre-mixed seasoning salt to the fries or just do salt and have them be more like french fries.
I hope your family enjoys these as much as we do! Happy cooking!
Easy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Baked sweet potatoes make a great snack or side to any dinner.
- 3-4 Sweet Potatoes
- 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Step 1 Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and wash your sweet potatoes thoroughly.
- Step 2 Cut off the ends of the sweet potatoes and slice them in half twice. Cut them into roughly the same width (usually 1/4″ or so) to make them fry size. The actual width doesn’t matter, just remember the thicker they are the longer they will need to cook and the softer the fries will be. I usually cut each 1/4 of a sweet potato into 4-5 slices depending on how big it is.
- Step 3 Spread your fries evenly over a standard cookie sheet. I use a Silpat under them so they do not stick.
- Step 4 Lightly coat fries with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
- Step 5 Flip your fries and repeat olive oil, salt and pepper on the other side.
- Step 6 Bake sweet potatoes for 20 minutes.
- Step 7 Flip the fries with a fork and put them back into the oven for another 20-30 minutes depending on how done they are. If they are already soft put them in for 15 minutes and check them again. If some of them are still a little firm it will probably be closer to 25 or 30 minutes but check every few minutes to make sure.
- Step 8 Fries should be soft on the inside and have a little bit of carmelization on the outside. When I make them for the baby I leave them softer on the outside so he can chew them. Enjoy!
We recently had to switch to a dairy-free lifestyle in an effort to see if our younger kids have a sensitivity that is causing them some serious sinus problems. I was having a hard time finding granola bars for our kids that were dairy free, […]