Simple Hummus

Talk about cheap and easy!

Drain and rinse 3 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and dump them in your food processor. Add 2 cloves pealed garlic,  the juice of one lemon, a few shakes of Tabasco sauce, 1-2 teaspoons dried basil, salt & pepper and olive oil. Process until smooth, drizzling in olive oil as needed until the hummus is smooth. Adjust ingredients to taste.

I’m serving this tonight (with a big bowl of sliced carrots) for dinner alongside sausage sandwiches.


The best & easiest bread ever


It really is!  This recipe has transformed making homemade bread from a once-in-a-blue-moon event (that I really wanted to do more often) into a multiple-times-per-week-without-blinking-an-eye phenomenon. 🙂

You can find the original recipe and helpful video here, but below is a simplified version:


3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups warm water


Mix together the flour, yeast and salt with a fork in a medium bowl.  Pour in the warm water and mix together until combined.  The dough will be sticky or sometimes even soggy.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, set your oven to 450 degrees and place a high-sided, oven-proof dish or dutch oven (preferably that has a lid) into the oven to heat up.  I use this.  Dump out the dough onto a well-floured surface and fold in the edges until your dough has something of a shape…but don’t worry if it doesn’t.  Most of the time mine is so soft it’s hard to handle, but it doesn’t matter!  Let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes while your dish and oven heat.

After the rest time, remove your dish from the oven and spray it with cooking spray or butter it (I use butter, but be careful as the dish is extremely hot).  Place your dough in the greased dish, cover the dish and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking for anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes.  This will depend on your particular oven.  The recipe says 10-15 minutes but I have to leave mine in for 20.  It will be crackly on top and browned.  Move the bread to a cooling rack and let it sit for 15 minutes or more before slicing.


Chocolate Cream Pie

Again from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book.  I made this for Easter and it was absolutely delicious.  I used my regular butter pie crust but the recipe uses a chocolate cookie crust.


2 1/2 cups half-and-half

1/3 cup sugar

pinch salt

6 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons cornstarch

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine (I omitted this and simply used chocolate chips for all the chocolate)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

Bring half-and-half, 3 tablespoons sugar, and salt to simmer in medium saucepan, stirring occasionally.

As half-and-half mixture begins to simmer, whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining sugar in medium bowl until smooth.  Slowly whisk 1 cup of simmering half-and-half mixture into yolk mixture to temper, then slowly whisk tempered yolk mixture back into remaining half-and-half mixture.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until mixture is thickened and few bubbles burst on surface, about 30 seconds.  Off heat, whisk in butter, semisweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate until completely smooth and melted, then stir in vanilla.

Pour warm filling into baked and cooled pie crust.  Lay sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of filling and refrigerate pie until filling is chilled and set, about 4 hours.

For the topping:

Once pie is chilled, use stand mixer fitted with whisk to whip cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.  Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes.  Spread whipped cream attractively over pie and serve immediately.