Friday, February 28, 2014

Roasted tomato hummus

I've only recently jumped on the homemade hummus train, but oh man, am I ever glad I did. Aside from the fact that it's sooo much cheaper to make my own than to buy it at the grocery, I'm also having a ton of fun experimenting with different flavor combinations. Most recently, I made a tomato-basil hummus - but instead of just using freshly-chopped tomatoes, I first slow-roasted the tomatoes and then marinated them in olive oil and herbs for almost three weeks. Talk about flavor!

To marinate your tomatoes
Slice cherry tomatoes in half and spread them out on a baking sheet (use a sheet of parchment paper for easy clean-up later). I used about half a pint of tomatoes, simply because I needed to use up my tomatoes before going out of town. You can marinate as many as you'd like (they'll keep for weeks), but you'll use about half a pint for the hummus. Sprinkle salt over the tomatoes, and bake at 250 degrees for two hours, making sure to rotate the pan after an hour. The tomatoes should be slightly shriveled and wrinkly; cool completely, then transfer them to a Mason jar. Gently toss the tomatoes with herbs and spices of your choice - I used a healthy amount of dried Italian seasoning, but any combination of your favorite savory flavors (fresh or dried) will work. Cover the tomatoes completely with extra virgin olive oil, give the whole thing a little stir, and then cover and store in a cool, dry place for at least three days. The longer you marinate the tomatoes, the stronger the flavor will be.

Hummus - Ingredients
1 can (15 oz.) of garbanzo beans, drained - but reserve the liquid form the can
2 tbsp. tahini sauce
1 clove of garlic, diced
1/2 pint of dried and marinated cherry tomatoes
~ 1/4 cup garbanzo bean liquid (less if you like a thicker hummus, more if you like it thin)
Spices to taste - I used about one teaspoon each of salt, Italian seasonings, and Trader Joe's Everyday Seasonings

Hummus - How to
First of all, you're going to want to shuck the garbanzo beans. Seriously, you'll thank me for this! Removing the beans' casings is going to create the creamiest hummus you'll have ever tasted. I find that pinching the pointed end of each bean between your thumb and forefinger helps to shoot the bean out of it's skin; you can discard the casings once you've shucked all the beans. Next, place all your ingredients in a blender, and puree on low until everything is mixed together. I tend to be a bit conservative with the tomatoes and spices at first, and add to taste as I go along (it's easy to add an ingredient, but hard to take it out). Serve with carrots, pita chips, or (my personal favorite), pretzels!

Monday, February 24, 2014

52 photos/weeks 5-8

5.) The weather turned slightly warmer for like three minutes one weekend, and I treated myself to a walk through the greenmarket. The pickings were slim, but the garlic looked beautiful
6.) Snowstorm #572 blanketed a nearby park/basketball court 
7.) A warm and quiet morning on the couch
8.) I popped over to Chicago for the weekend to see friends and family and was treated to a private concert by my ukelele-playing parents

52 photos is my personal challenge to take one awesome picture per week in 2014. All photos were taken by me and my iPhone 5s and if edited, with Snapseed and/or Instagram. Follow me - @maspad - to see these and many more pics!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

weekend link love 01

As the old saying goes, if you can't take the cold, get out of the north! (or something like that). I'm headed out on a most (MOST) needed vacay, but in the mean time, here are some rockin' links to keep you smiling. xoxo, Mary

*My old-man-crush Anthony Bourdain is reported to be opening an Asian-styled food market here in New York. I will be there. With bells on.

*Don't laugh - I bought this plastic banana holder on Amazon a while back, and it's seriously the best thing I've ever purchased. No more bruised bananas!!

*I love some good armchair psychology - James Clear writes how some simple environmental changes can help you eat healthier, increase your willpower, and reverse some bad habits.

*Still battling those pesky winter blues? Here are 100 tips for happiness. You don't have to follow all of them, but a few might spark a good idea or be the nudge you need to get over this week's hump.

*I must have spirals on the brain - I finally saw the Richard Serra exhibit at the Gagosian, then I fell in love with the floating spiral staircase in this house, and then I fell in even more love with the Serra-inspired shower in this apartment.

*I'm Etsy-obsessing over bracelets this week - I just think thesethese, and this one are just so pretty!

*Wise words on creativity from Ira Glass.

*I'm probably a little late to the game on this one, but here is a fascinating report on the State of the Blog Union.

*And for this week's daily dose of pie, this is an amazingly sweet blend of baking and design.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Well, here we are. The cold and slushy slog that was January has ended, only to welcome another round of Polar Vortex-inspired ice storms turned more slushy nastiness. It seems like it's never going to end, that we'll be knee deep in snow until next winter and never again get to feel the warm sun on our bare shoulders as we lay out in a verdant park as puppies and children frolic nearby.

For a while, I thought I was alone in my winter blues. I assumed that everyone else was doing just fine, prancing along on snow-covered streets and not minding at all that we were immersed in yet another single-digit-day. So I did what any self-respecting almost-30-something female would do - I took my frustrations out on my boyfriend by yelling about something completely silly and unrelated, cooked a "won't you please forgive me?" dinner, then finally got my act together and realized that the best way to beat cabin fever is to just get out of the cabin. I put thumb to phone and asked to hang out with my friends. And you know what? It worked. Really well. I learned that we're all having a heck of a time this month - no one ever really likes an icy blast of arctic chill to the face, not even those tis-the-season-winter-wonderland-let's-go-skiing-type people. Over cups of hot tea, giant bowls of steamy ramen, and $1 lattes, my friends and I did what we humans do best - commiserate over the weather.

In doing this simple act of gathering and conversing, I slowly started to break through my funk. Nothing magical or life-changing happened while hanging out with my friends - but I came to understand that like most things in life, this weather is temporary. Before you know it, we'll be complaining of the heat wave/massive subway rats/omnipresent garbage smell and dreaming of cooler days. So in the meantime, we soldier on. We put on extra layers. We drag ourselves over the ice and into the bagel shop for freshly baked breakfasts. We put on more layers. We appreciate the beauty of an ice-covered tree in a snowy park. We simmer winter vegetables for hours on the stove, relishing in the comforting tastes and smells that come from a homemade soup. We snuggle under the covers, using the cold as an excuse. We add that final layer that turns us into a cross between a burnt marshmallow and the brother from A Christmas Story. And we take comfort in knowing that every person on the street wearing two hats, four sweaters, and three pairs of socks looks as ridiculous as you feel.

Stay warm, my friends.