May 28, 2009

The Stinking Rose

It has to be said that Garlic is one of my most favorite ingredients. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I recently came across a restaurant in San Francisco called ' The Stinking Rose.'
The restaurant that, "seasons their garlic with food!" "We have to go in there", I said eagerly to my husband, who was equally enthused. So, in we went.
The waiter recommended their signature dish, an appetizer called 'Bagna Calda'. Lots of wonderfully caramelized garlic cloves roasted in olive oil, served in an iron skillet with freshly baked focaccia bread. The warm nutty cloves spread beautifully on the focaccia, like soft butter. My husband and I were in heaven! From that moment on I was intrigued as to what other uses I could put Roasted Garlic. Yesterday, I made a big batch to stick in the fridge which should last for up to two weeks! It is fantastically yummy in all sorts of things from hummus to mashed potatoes, pasta sauces to soups, on top of pizza or just on its own.

I found Roasted Garlic to compliment homemade hummus extremely well. So today I have added it to my recipe. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Garlic

I large head of garlic
1 Tbls of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F

Remove outer skin from the garlic bulb, break into cloves (leaving the skin on) and place in a small ovenproof dish with a lid. (I use my mini cocotte). Toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and bake until the skins are golden brown and the cloves are tender, about 50 minutes.


Makes about 3 cups

2 -15oz cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed
50ml olive oil
50ml vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbls tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
all but 3 of the roasted garlic cloves
salt and pepper

Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out of their skins and place into a food processor. Add the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and process until well combined. Add the vegetable/chicken stock and process again until nice and smooth.

Roughly chop two of the reserved garlic cloves and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tbls of olive oil and mix well. Drizzle mixture over the hummus. Garnish with thinly sliced red onion, corriander and the leftover garlic clove. Enjoy with toasted pita bread and crudites.

May 23, 2009

Balsamic Marinated Steak Kebabs With Greek Salad

This is one yummy way to spice up a boring bit of sirloin. The longer you marinate the meat the more tender and flavourful it will be. For best results, marinate overnight, if not then for at least 4 hours. I love to serve these kebabs with a big fresh Greek salad. The two compliment each other beautifully. If you feel like pushing the boat out, serve with some warm pita bread and Roasted Garlic Hummus. (Next post!)

Serves 4

2lbs boneless top sirloin steak, 1 1/4 inch thick, cut into bite size chunks.
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
3 Tbls of olive oil
1-1/2 Tbls soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
Black pepper
1 large red onion quartered
4-8 bamboo skewers

8-10 ounces of fresh mixed salad greens
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 English cucumber, halved and sliced diagonally
Kalamata olives, as many as you like
50z good quality crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbls of olive oil mixed with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a bit of salt and pepper
8 lemon wedges for garnishing

4 round pita breads

24 hours prior to cooking
Mix all marinade ingredients together thoroughly with a generous sprinkling of black pepper
Add steak and place in refrigerator until ready to use

24 hours later
Soak Bamboo skewers in warm water for 30 minutes
Remove steak from the fridge and bring to room temperature
Now is a good time to prepare the salad
Mix all salad ingredients together, remember to reserve a bit of each ingredient to place on top of your salad for decoration. Sprinkle with feta cheese and place in the fridge until ready to serve

By now your steak should be ready for the skewers, or vice versa :)
Thread steak onto skewers alternating with a quartered slice of red onion
Drizzle your griddle with 1 Tbls of olive oil, let it get nice and hot and then gently place your kebabs into the pan. Turn down to a medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, turning

While the steaks are on, lightly toast your pita breads, cut into wedges and place 3 pieces onto a serving plate

When the kebabs are cooked to your liking, place one or two on top of the pita bread wedges
Serve with the Greek salad and Hummus and garnish with lemon wedges.