Adjustable hummus

This hummus is the best I’ve had, especially if made with fresh cilantro. And it’s healthy, too, although probably not for Keto-istas because of the garbanzo beans. Your call. I suggest spreading the hummus on toasted pita bread or Indian naan cut into triangular “chips” as a better choice than potato or corn chips. But for Keto-ishness, spread it on cucumber or zucchini slices. The recipe is “adjustable” because you can have it as hot or as boringly bland as you want it. No judgement here!

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Adjustable Hummus

A delicious and infinitely variable hummus as a veggie dip or spread.
Prep Time15 mins
Chill time1 hr
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: chickpeas, hummus
Servings: 16 servings, more or less
Calories: 79.12kcal
Author: dad

Equipment

  • food processor
  • rubber spatula

Ingredients

  • 15.5 oz garbanzo beans (chickpeas) from the can, drained and rinsed.
  • 5-6 oz roasted red peppers About 1/3 of a jar (Dad prefers Mezzetta brand) with the olive oil they're packed in, or make your own from fresh.
  • 1 each jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced Include the seeds and ribs to increase the heat significantly, or not.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced Use as little as one teaspoon of minced garlic to tone it down.
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped Fresh cilantro adds a clean overtone that can't be beat.
  • 3 tablespoons onion, diced As with the garlic, you can adjust the quantity, the punch, or the onion variety to taste.
  • 1 teaspoon favorite salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce A Mexican specialty that can be found in most grocery stores. Remove a pepper from the can or jar and a teaspoon of the Adobo sauce. Chop, retaining seeds or not. We like Embasa brand in the small can. Buy prudently. I didn't use mine fast enough in this and other dishes, so they went bad in the fridge.
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika For garnish. Or, non-smoked, but smoked complements the Adobo sauce well.

Instructions

  • Place everything but the olive oil in a food processor.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil as you chop and mix the other ingredients until the mixture is very smooth. This will take at least a minute. Stop periodically and scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
  • Remove to bowl. Chill the fresh hummus in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy spreading your hummus on pita chips, crackers, or fresh veggies. If serving from a bowl, garnish with paprika.

Nutrition

Serving: 2oz | Calories: 79.12kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.49g | Protein: 2.58g | Fat: 4.13g | Saturated Fat: 0.55g | Sodium: 280.75mg | Potassium: 95.59mg | Fiber: 2.37g | Sugar: 1.48g | Vitamin A: 136.2IU | Vitamin C: 4.85mg | Calcium: 17.99mg | Iron: 0.93mg
Nutrition Facts
Adjustable Hummus
Amount Per Serving (2 oz)
Calories 79.12 Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value*
Fat 4.13g6%
Saturated Fat 0.55g3%
Sodium 280.75mg12%
Potassium 95.59mg3%
Carbohydrates 8.49g3%
Fiber 2.37g10%
Sugar 1.48g2%
Protein 2.58g5%
Vitamin A 136.2IU3%
Vitamin C 4.85mg6%
Calcium 17.99mg2%
Iron 0.93mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Crumbleburgers

In my little suburban, growing-up neighborhood in the 1950s, there was a food fad called “crumbleburgers” that was a favorite sandwich (besides PB&J) during my Boy Scout and “church kid” years. All the moms made them—my mom’s version was really great.

I don’t know if crumbleburgers are exactly the same thing as “sloppy joes” or not. As I remember, they were simplicity itself: ground beef and Heinz Chili Sauce. I don’t remember if my mom added fresh onion and bell pepper like I have. It doesn’t matter. It’s the memory that counts.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chuck (80-85% fat content)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 bottle (1/2 cups) Heinz Chili Sauce
  • salt and pepper

How to

  1. Heat the skillet to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Add ground beef and break it up into crumbles as you cook for 8-10 minutes until thoroughly browned with no pink remaining.
  3. While the beef is cooking, create 1/4″-1/2″ dice from the onion and green pepper.
  4. Lower heat to medium, stir in diced onion and pepper and cook 8-10 minutes until vegetables are very soft and golden.
  5. Lower heat, add Chili Sauce, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, covered.
  6. Spoon over hamburger bun(s) to create an open-face sandwich. Nutrition info below doesn’t include a bun.

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Crumbleburgers

Simple, delicious "sloppy joes" from the 60's.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground beef, sandwich
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Calories: 396.61kcal
Author: dad

Equipment

  • 12" skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp fat for browning olive oil, canola, butter, etc.
  • 1 lb ground beef 80-85% fat content
  • 1 medium onion 1/4" dice
  • 1 medium green pepper 1/4" dice
  • 12 oz Heinz® Chili Sauce
  • 1 each hamburger bun

Instructions

  • Heat fat over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper for 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in chili sauce, bring to boil, lower heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove cover, add salt and pepper to taste. At this point, you must decide how sloppy you want your joes. If necessary, cook off some of the liquid over low-medium heat until desired thickness happens.
  • Serve on or over your favorite hamburger buns and pretend you're on a picnic.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 396.61kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.07g | Protein: 20.08g | Fat: 26.29g | Saturated Fat: 8.99g | Cholesterol: 80.54mg | Sodium: 769.22mg | Potassium: 398.39mg | Fiber: 0.97g | Sugar: 1.89g | Vitamin A: 110.08IU | Vitamin C: 25.96mg | Calcium: 29.71mg | Iron: 2.36mg
Nutrition Facts
Crumbleburgers
Amount Per Serving (1 sandwich)
Calories 396.61 Calories from Fat 237
% Daily Value*
Fat 26.29g40%
Saturated Fat 8.99g56%
Cholesterol 80.54mg27%
Sodium 769.22mg33%
Potassium 398.39mg11%
Carbohydrates 19.07g6%
Fiber 0.97g4%
Sugar 1.89g2%
Protein 20.08g40%
Vitamin A 110.08IU2%
Vitamin C 25.96mg31%
Calcium 29.71mg3%
Iron 2.36mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Chili as you like it

I’ve made a lot of chili and written about it here on DRB. I never make it the same way twice, usually because some ingredient or other is not in the pantry this time. Chili is an any time, any season food. It can be made in an hour or a day. Eaten fresh or from frozen, in a coffee mug or a fancy bowl. It can be endlessly customized from the get-go or just before eating. And it keeps getting better in the fridge for several days.

For Dads: Kids can help gathering ingredients, stirring, setting the timer and checking when it goes off, even slicing veggies if you dare. Can be a longer project that builds lots of good memories.

I’m no chili purist, as will become obvious. I know that for the pure in heart, chili is meat and, well, chilies. I don’t think I’ve ever had it that way, but keep thinking I will.

So, get out the Dutch oven and let’s go….

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Dad’s Chili As You Like It

A flavorful, straightforward approach for chili to personalize to your heart's content.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili, Keto, meat, vegetables
Servings: 8 hungry people
Author: dad

Equipment

  • Dutch oven
  • chef's knife

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp fat To sauté the meat and vegetables. Use bacon fat, EVOO, butter, or combination.
  • 2 lbs meat Ground beef, ground pork, ground lamb, ground Italian sausage even. Mix and match.
  • 1 large onion 1/4" dice
  • 2 stalks celery Thinly sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper 1/4" dice. Any color bell pepper is fine.
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced I get mine out of a squeeze bottle—great invention.
  • 1/4 cup Dad's Spice Mix Shameless plug. Since American chili has its origins in Western Americana, use chili powder, taco spice mix, or similar. Dad's mix is mighty good, though.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste Really enriches your sauce.
  • 16 oz salsa Use your fav. We like Rick Bayless's Frontera Roasted Tomato, but I also think Old El Paso brand is really good.
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes with juice I use canned unless I have some summertime fresh off the vine.
  • 12 oz beer If you need more liquid to cover, use water or broth (beef or chicken). Homemade is always best.
  • salt and pepper As you like them, to finish before serving.
  • sour cream Optional garnish when serving.
  • cheddar cheese, grated Optional garnish when serving.
  • green onions, chopped Optional garnish when serving.
  • cornbread or crushed tortilla chips Optional, except a no-no for low-carb folks. Serve the chili over any of these.

Instructions

  • Sauté meat in oil or fat in a pre-heated skillet over medium heat. Take your time. The idea is to cook off the water in the meat—yes, water in the meat—and develop lots of browning, aka flavor. I've made chili with ground turkey and chicken, back before we starting maxing out the fat, and these meats especially contain lots of water.
  • Reserve the meat in a bowl and sauté the veggies, adding more fat/oil if needed. Give this at least 5 minutes. I call for the onion-celery-green pepper "trinity" here, but have also used onion-celery-carrot (a mirepoix) and have subbed red pepper for green…even roasted reds out of the jar. I am particular to Mezzetta, being a longtime California guy. All good.
  • Add garlic to the sauté, stir in, and cook for a minute.
  • Add the spices and tomato paste, stir in well, and cook for two minutes.
  • Add the salsa, diced tomatoes, and beer. Up the heat to high and stir well.
  • Add back the cooked meat and stir in thoroughly.
  • Lower heat. Cover the pot and simmer for two hours, checking and stirring every 30 minutes or so, just to drink in the aroma.
  • After two hours, remove cover. If there's too much liquid, continue cooking at a bubble until the sauce is thickened to your liking. If this seems to be going too slowly, up the heat, or if there's just way too much liquid—or you just can't wait—remove some with a big spoon. You won't be sorry later.
  • Taste for richness. Add salt and pepper and sample until you're satisfied, starting with a teaspoon each. Careful with the salt—folks can always add more if they like.
  • Finally, serve in bowls with your favorite garnish(es) and starchy additions.

Notes

Make a big batch with two pounds of meat and freeze what you can’t finish in a day or two. Freezes well and also tastes better after sitting a day.
If you use Dad’s Spice Mix, you’ll get some heat at the back of your throat, but not too much, we don’t think. To spice things up, add diced jalapeños to the veggie mix or add you favorite hot sauce as you consume. 
The garnishing is very important to the eating. If you’re Keto-conscious, sour cream, green onions, bacon bits, and/or grated cheddar are all great. I used to love serving chili over crumbled cornbread or crushed tortilla chips, but don’t do this now as we’re low-carb’ers. And, of course, that’s why there are no beans in this recipe. I am getting along just fine without them…I suppose.
Hope you’ll enjoy crafting your own version of this favorite. Make it; enjoy it; freeze it. enjoy it later. It’s one of those dishes that gets better for several days after making.

Sliced bread

On July 7, 1928, the first loaf of sliced bread was sold in a grocery store in Ohio. The sale and the event were the result of the invention of the bread slicing machine. At the time, it was hailed as the greatest thing since packaged bread.

This just reminds us that our food lives, like every other part of life, are driven by invention and creativity. From the invention (discovery?) of controlled fire, to sliced bread to oleo (some things don’t work out), we are caught up in and are the beneficiaries, or victims, of endless cyclical innovations.

Most new developments are mergers of other inventions. Butcher Box merges organically-grown, grass-fed meat-o-culture with internet marketing and dry ice. My recipes are more and more the result of mergings, experimentation, and a pinch of creation.

What are your favorites among the dishes you’ve invented?

Thanks to The Writer’s Almanac for the background on sliced bread.

Farms don’t talk, do they?

Chicago’s The Talking Farm is a nonprofit educational venture that teaches and provides experiences in farming for local kids, interns, and us general public types. We attended a TF “Farm Dinner” last evening to check them out and get educated. We came away impressed, edified, and with a new idea about how to help out in the fight against the urban food desert.

On two-and-a-half acres in a close-in Chicago suburb, The Talking Farm grows a wide variety of veggies, herbs, and fruit to bring the realities and benefits of local, sustainable agriculture to us all. Operating since 2006, The Talking Farm is a community-based sustainability gem, producing 6,000+ lbs of organic produce for local restaurants, a CSA, and food-for-the needy programs. Ten percent of output goes to help provision food banks.

The “talking” part of the farm’s work happens when their “farmer-educators” teach about the significance of locally and sustainably-grown food on the environmental, social justice, and health issues facing our communities. They teach how to take a personal part in a more sustainable, ecologically-balanced, and healthy future.

Talking Farm Manager Matt shows off a beet.

I hope you have a talking farm near you.

Where do little shallots come from?

“Are those onions…or…shallots?” The 50-something grocery store clerk examined the small vegetable carefully. “Shallots,” I said. “Same family as onions, they say.” In fact, shallots are a type of onion, according to Wikipedia.

This interchange in our local grocery made me think immediately of a story on NPR or the Food Channel some years ago about how some kids growing up in innercity “food deserts,” so-called, have no idea that strange looking items their elders call food, like carrots, actually grow in the ground and are meant to be eaten. Not so odd, actually, when you think about it, for people from another planet.

But the fact of this makes the point that if we never learn what actual, natural, healthy food is and how we get it, we should expect the food we get—from fast food joints and processed food purveyors.

I’m all for vegetable gardening, in any form: window-sill pots to corporation megafields to seaweed farms. And even if over time we figure out to provide healthy vegetables to everyone, everywhere, even if 98% of the world’s English peas come from Peru, kids in every generation should get the chance to grow a carrot or a shallot or at least see and touch how it’s done. Grocery clerks should know when a shallot is not a yellow onion or anything else.

Dad’s classic cook-off chili

The Queen gave me a great cookbook for Christmas some years ago that was full of the Best Recipes of 1999, according to someone. About the only thing I’ve made more than once is a chili recipe, although I’ve played with it to the point where it’s now a classic item in Dad’s Recipe Box. You, too, can play with it to your heart’s content. Just make sure to include the most special ingredients and techniques, and you’ll have everyone ooohing and ahhing for more. This recipe is meant for you to con­fig­ure to your palate’s con­tent. There are all kinds of ways you can tweak it to make it your very own. Maybe we can spawn a whole new gen­eration of great Chili Cook-off recipes. Have at it!

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