Sunday, January 23, 2011


My husband and I recently visited a new Mediterranean restaurant after reading outstanding reviews online. We were really excited to go there but were hugely disappointed in the food. It's rare that you get bad hummus in a Mediterranean restaurant. So to make up for the bad experience, I decided to cook my own Mediterranean Dinner! So here I'm presenting you with two recipes.

I've made hummus many times before but never with roasted garlic. And I must say, I made a pretty kick-ass hummus compared to the one we had in the restaurant. Now, there's a story as to why I am mentioning that restaurant but I won't get into it now. Let's just say, I had to please my own ego! Nevertheless, I love hummus and this one came out pretty well.

Roasted Garlic & Sun-dried Tomatoes Hummus

1 Can (~16 oz.) garbanzo beans – cooked
2 Tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2-2 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
1 Garlic head (whole bulb)
Sundried tomatoes (I used about 15 dried tomato halves)
Paprika or red chili powder per taste
Splash of lemon juice
Salt to taste
Water as necessary
  • Roast 1 small to medium sized garlic head. You can use a traditional oven to roast the garlic, but I just used one of those lean meat grills instead and it did a great job. To roast, peal the outer layer of the garlic leaving a thin layer of skin on. Cut the top off the garlic so the cloves are exposed. Brush a little bit of oil and roast the garlic until brown and soft. The roasted garlic is very aromatic and not as pungent as the raw one. Once cooled down, peel the cloves.
  • Drain the garbanzo beans from the can. I always wash the canned beans to get rid of all the extra sodium.
  • Toss all the ingredients except for lemon juice in a blender/food processor. Add about ¼ cup of water and blend until you have a smooth paste. I left it a bit grainy because that’s how my husband likes it. You may need to add a little more water if the paste is too thick and difficult to blend.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice, just enough to bring out the sourness of the tomatoes, and mix well.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of paprika for presentation and serve with your favorite pita bread. 

I made my own version of couscous taking inspiration from some classic recipes I've tried before.

Lemon-Spinach Couscous

1 Cups original(plain) couscous
1 Cup fresh chopped spinach
3 Cloves of crushed garlic
¼ Cup finely chopped onion
1 ½ - 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Cup finely chopped cucumber
Red chili powder to taste
Salt to taste
  • Cook couscous according to the instructions on the box. It cooks pretty quickly.
  • In a pan, heat oil and sauté chopped onion and garlic cloves until golden brown.
  • Add spinach and sauté for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
  • Season with some red chili powder and salt. It helps to season before adding the couscous so the seasoning is distributed evenly.
  • Add couscous, sprinkle lemon juice, mix and cook together for 3-4 minutes on low heat.
  • Turn off the heat and add cucumber to the dish. The cucumber should not cook but the heat from the couscous will soften it just a bit. Cucumber was a random addition because I had a small piece I wanted to finish. It tasted amazing! It paired well with the refreshing lemon juice and added a nice crunchy bite.
This dinner turned out well. We ended up eating more than we needed might have had something to do with one whole bottle of wine we finished but that’s another story :D.

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