Monday, February 2, 2009

Cucumber cream cheese spread (benedictine) (p. 179), Half moon hummus (p. 74), and Marinated mozzarella (p. 77)

First off, I have updated a couple blog posts to show the edits that the TJOC editors have published. Both the pancake and the white bread recipes have corrections that are rather important and could easily have led to the problems that I experienced (rather than my incompetent cooking).

This is the first of seven blogs that I need to post (I don't know how I let myself get COMPLETELY behind on the month of February). Make sure to keep checking if you don't have a blog reader!

I decided to stock the refrigerator with food for the week and decided that appetizers would be a great choice.

My stepmother makes a terrific cucumber/cream cheese spread. It is amazingly delicious and it's one of my favorite things that she makes. I was really hoping that Cucumber cream cheese spread (benedictine) (p. 179) was going to be similar (or the same!). You might ask why I don't ask her for the recipe--I have. And she's given it to me. It's just not as good when I make it myself.

The first step is to grate a seeded cucumber and part of an onion on the large holes of a box grater. Does anyone else hate grating? I always seem to catch my knuckles before I'm finished.

The grated cucumber is then wrapped in a cheesecloth. I had cheesecloth on hand but the recipe says you can use a kitchen towel. I never know what to do with cheesecloth after I use it--do you try to wash it? Do you throw it away? I threw it away but it seems like such a waste...

The cheesecloth was then squeezed to remove excess moisture. There is a lot of moisture in a cucumber!

The squeezed cucumber resembled a little glassy ball. A quarter cup is supposed to be measured out but that's about all I had.

The cucumber ball was then combined with cream cheese, a bit of red pepper, a little salt, and a few drops of green food coloring. The green food coloring turned it a strange grassy color.

I smeared the spread on some dark rye bread and hoped for the best.

How was it? Eh. It was okay. It wouldn't blow anyone away at a dinner party and I probably won't make it again but it was edible. Josh was confused on how it was that such a strange color (he didn't know about the food coloring).

I then decided to make Half moon hummus (p. 74). I really like hummus and thought it would be great to have around as a snack. The recipe seemed easy. Mix chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice (a LOT of lemon juice--3/4 of a cup), garlic, black olives, and salt. Unfortunately that filled up the tiny food processor.

Process until smooth--or mostly smooth (see why I said unfortunately it almost filled up the food processor? It was making a huge mess):

It was good but WAY too lemony--and I didn't include the entire amount of lemon juice. I think if I made it again I would use a lot more black olives and a lot less lemon juice. Or an entirely different recipe.

Finally, I made Marinated mozzarella (p. 77), which was on my randomly generated list. I like marinated mozzarella and I think it's particularly good in salads, but it's so expensive at the store.

The first step is to heat some olive oil, add garlic, peppercorn, rosemary, and salt to the pan, and remove it from the heat.

I don't have a rosemary bush so I used dry rather than fresh. Mozzarella was cubed and then the cooled olive oil mixture was poured over the top.

It was really good but every time it goes in the refrigerator it needs to be brought back to room temperature before you can eat it (not terrific if you are in a hurry). I used cheap mozzarella but it would be a much better recipe with better cheese.

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