Food for Thought – November 10, 2015

By NANCY ZAMBELL

For The Vista

I just love living in the Glade! If I didn’t work, I could be busy doing fun things all the time—like the exotic cooking class I just took.

Jessica Schutz shared three Moroccan recipes at the Plateau Creative Arts Center, and her hummus recipe was spectacular.

She kindly agreed that I could publish it here—and it is tops on my list for my cookie exchange next month.

Eggplant Hummus

1 large eggplant (about 1 1⁄4 lbs)

3 T olive oil, divided

1⁄2 c drained canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 1 1⁄2 T fresh lemon juice

2 tsp (generous) tahini (sesame seed paste)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350o. Cut eggplant in half, lengthwise, then score flesh in crisscross pattern at 1” intervals, 1/2” deep (you don’t need to remove the seeds).

Rub cut sides with 1 1⁄2 T oil; sprinkle with salt. Place eggplant on rimmed baking sheet, cut side down; bake until tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Cool slightly, then scoop flesh into food processor (discard skins).

Add garbanzo beans, remaining 1 1⁄2 T oil, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic; puree until mixture is almost smooth. Transfer to bowl; stir in parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The Hummus is great with toasted pita chips. There are several variations on this dish, but I like this one:

Toasted Pita Chips

Preheat oven to 375o. Cut each pita bread into quarters and each quarter in half to make 8 triangles. Place them in a single layer on a sheet pan and sprinkle lightly with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp, turning once.

Tip of the Week

A friend asked me if baking soda and baking powder are interchangeable. The answer is not exactly. Here’s why:

While both are leaveners for baking, they are chemically diverse. Baking soda is an alkaline.

When you mix it with an acid, such as vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, honey, or yogurt, bubbles of carbon dioxide are formed, creating the leavening in your dough or batter.

Since the reaction is immediate, you must bake items with baking soda at once, or they will fall flat. Baking soda is often used in cookie recipes.

Baking powder, on the other hand, is a combination of baking soda and a dry acid, such as cream of tartar, and maybe some corn starch to help separate the two and keep them dry.

Most baking powders sold today are “double acting”, so some leavening occurs the minute the baking powder gets wet, and the rest of the leavening occurs when it is heated. Baking powder is often used in cakes and biscuits.

I’ve never tried this, but the resources I’ve consulted say that you can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda, but you’ll have to use more baking powder, which may affect the taste. But you can’t use baking soda as a replacement for baking powder.

And lastly, pay attention to shelf life. Both baking soda and powder should be replaced every 3-6 months for optimal usage.