Easy, spicy low-calorie hummus

We get a lot of requests for this classic easy-to-make recipe. 
Hummus may seem old hat, but make it yourself in minutes, and you will be surprised how fresh and tasty it is. Store-bought hummus, even organic, can be full of extra fat, salt, and calories. 
 
Hummus is a perfect quick appetizer. My guests always love it, even the ones who do
not love hummus. Use any leftovers in sandwiches or for a healthful snack.
It’s low-calorie, only 50 calories for a generous 2 tbsp. serving, so enjoy!
 
This lighter recipe that includes a bit of chicken stock to reduce the amount
of oil needed.
 
Add to a food processor, blender, or container for a stick blender:
 
1 can well-rinsed garbanzo beans or chick peas – preferably organic
1 tbsp. Kadoya Hot Sesame Oil (with chili or cayenne, or use regular plus ½ tsp. cayenne pepper or to taste)
1½ tbsp. plain sesame oil
2 tbsp. plain chicken stock
1½ tsp. salt
1-2 cloves of crushed garlic to taste (must be crushed or minced)
Juice of two lemons (squeeze over a sieve to avoid seeds in hummus)
1 handful of washed flat parsley leaves, about 2 tbsp.
Puree until smooth or slightly chunk as you prefer
 
You may have to stop and stir or shake the container. Chick beans are thick. Taste as you go. You may wish to adjust the lemon or the salt, but do not over-salt.
 
Serve with raw vegetables such as sliced cucumbers. I like to add addictive Lebanese pickled turnips from the Middle Eastern shop. Serve lightly-toasted warm mini pitas cut in half with small individual knives and plates. No one nice dips these days.
 
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Easy, cold red pepper soup

  Cool and spicy, this easy to make soup is perfect for summer!This richly-flavoured, lightly-spiced soup served cold is perfect as a starter for a summer dinner party, or as a tasty light lunch with a salad. Top it with dollop of crème fraiche and serve it in beautiful china cups or fancy soup plates. 
 
It’s dead easy to make cold red pepper soup. It gets a jolt of flavour from a touch of cumin and a hint of garlic. I use bottled red peppers. This avoids the tedious job of roasting and peeling them. I also use chicken stock, but vegetarians may substitute a good vegetable stock. Make sure you do not buy vinegared or pickled peppers.
 
If you have fresh red peppers, roast them under a hot broiler or on a grill until the skin chars black. Turn them to char them evenly. Drop the charred peppers in a paper bag and close it, or place them in bowl and seal it with plastic wrap. Steam the peppers in the containers for five to six minutes. Then rub the charred skin off with an old, clean dish towel.
 
You may also use fresh tomatoes in place of canned. Simply wash, cut, and stew the amount you need. Season the tomatoes to taste with salt, and then puree them.
 
Ingredients:
1box (quart or liter) of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cups /500 ml. tomato juice
2 jars / 335 ml. each of red peppers
1 peeled large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
 1 tsp. of ground cumin
1½  tsp. sugar or Stevia
½ – 1  tsp. chili flakes, optional
Crème fraiche or sour cream (optional)
 
Sauté the chopped vegetables, but do not brown them. Drain the peppers and blot dry. Chop.
 
Add cumin to the vegetables and chili, if you wish. Stir. Add peppers and sugar.
Add the three cups of stock and simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Purée until smooth, and thin with a bit more stock, if necessary.
 
If you wish it to be very elegant, pass the soup through a fine sieve. I do not often bother to do this, as I like the texture. I puree it very well in a blender. I use a Magic Bullet Platinum Pro, which I and our staff member Karin Pacione really like. Chill.
 
Taste to correct the seasoning before serving. It may taste blander when cold, and you may wish to add a bit of hot sauce, a dash of cayenne, and a bit more salt. Serve garnished with a dollop of crème fraiche or lemon slices.
 
Guests will love the tangy sweetness of the pepper contrasted with the smoky cumin. I like to add a bit of chili, too. The colour shouts sunshine. You can taste how healthful it is! 
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Linda McCartney’s recipes

Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Home Cooking: 308 Quick, Easy, and Economical Vegetarian Dishes is full of family recipes, illustrated with lovely full-colour photos. There are also homey notes from the late author and wife of Beatle Paul McCartney that make this newly-republished volume very personal and special. 

Linda McCartney shares tips as well as the knowledge and enthusiasm she gained as a homemaker, feeding her family and friends. It is neither a vegetarian screed, nor does it demand veganism. The meals include dairy and eggs, are easy to make, and will appeal to most families.
 
Linda McCartney published this book in 1990. Eight years later she died following a long battle with breast cancer. Her introduction to the book is upbeat, but poignant. She says she and her family had an epiphany when they looked at the leg of lamb on their plates, and realized it was from the same animal they had seen “gamboling” in a field. So, she wrote the book to encourage people who want to cook without using meat. She also wanted to hand down her recipes to her family. “I’m a real peasant cook,” she wrote, “… I spend a lot of time in our kitchen. I find it the cosiest, friendliest place in the house.”
 
This beautifully-illustrated book would make a great holiday gift for any beginning or committed vegetarian cook.
 
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Easy, succulent, sweet, and spicy ribs

Sweet, spiced and falling off the boneMaking barbecue and ribs has become almost a cult activity, with complicated recipes, smokers, and other gear. If it appeals to you, go for it. But, if you want tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs with little effort or mess, try it my way.

A simple dry rib flavours the meat, and then long slow-cooking does the rest. The sauce is done separately and put on after cooking so it doesn’t burn.
 
Don’t worry about the sugar; most of it stays in the pan.
 
Darlings, ribs are not health food. I do not make this more than twice a year, and I suggest restraint. But it is good served with a vinegar-based slaw.
 
1 to 3 rack of ribs (pork or beef)
Rub
Mix well
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp of salt
3 tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 tbsp smoky paprika
1 tsp cayenne or chili powder (to taste)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp time
2tsp fresh ground pepper
 
Wash and dry the meat.
At least 1 hour before cooking rub and coat meat with rub.
Cover baking tray with foil — the rub will caramelize and make a mess of your pan.
Place ribs on a rack on a tray.
Place in a 300 f /148c
Cook for three-and-a-half hours, for tender fall-off-the-bone ribs.
 
Sauce
Simmer together for 6 minutes:
1 cup ketchup
½ sweetener or sugar
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbsp wine or cider vinegar
1 crushed rosemary
1 pinch of thyme
2 tsp black pepper
 
Spread sauce on cooked ribs or serve on side.
 
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Easy, elegant low-cal cod

Moist white fish, sundried tomatoes and crunchy pankoHow do you diet when you love to eat and you have a husband or family to feed?

What I do is get a lot of flavour out of a few calories. Here’s one of my favourite recipes. It is fast, easy, and tasty.
 
Defrost or use one fresh white fish fillet per person. Any type of fish will do. I like black Norwegian Cod. It has firm, tasty flesh and is not endangered. It is also low on the mercury list.
 
Place the fish (it may still be frozen) in a covered container just large enough to hold it. Add one clove of crushed garlic, ¼ cup of white wine, 1 tsp dried organeo, and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Use any dry white wine, even vermouth. Shake together and marinate the fish for 10 minutes. The fish can defrost in the marinade, if that’s convenient.
 
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 F/180C.
 
For the topping:
1½ tbsp. per person of drained sun-dried tomatoes. Drain well on kitchen towels.
Put in mini food processor or blender to grind into a coarse paste.   Add peeled crushed garlic clove and 2-3 large green pr black olives person ,optional if you dislike them omit them).
Reserve covered.
 
 
Drain the fish from the marinade, towel it dry, and season it with salt and pepper. Then place the fish in a shallow, oiled dish.
 
Top with the sun-dried tomato puree and one fresh leaf of basil (optional). Divide the puree evenly between the fillets.
 
Mix 1½ tbsp. Panko or Japanese bread crumbs, or plain bread crumbs per fillet, with ¼ tsp salt and paprika (use sweet, hot or smoked as you prefer) and mix.
Use this to top the puree-covered fillets. Top with bread crumbs with fresh ground pepper. Place in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until cooked. Thinner fillets may take only 20 minutes; cod is a thick fillet.
 
Spicy and savory, the fish does not get overcooked and the topping is crunchy. It looks remarkably elegant for very little effort. It is also very low cal, coming in at about 260 calories per serving.
 
 
 
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An elegant, rustic bowl of healthful goodness

Spicy red pepper soup with smoky cuminI adore cold soup. This one is perfect as the weather turns warm. It’s also versatile. It makes an elegant starter when served in beautiful china cups or fancy soup plates, topped with a dollop of crème fraiche. Or, it is a perfect light lunch or supper with a salad, or just a bit of grilled fish or chicken.

 
It’s dead easy to make cold red pepper soup. It gets a jolt of flavour from a touch of cumin and a hint of garlic. I use bottled red peppers. This avoids the tedious job of roasting and peeling the peppers. There is also chicken stock, but vegetarians can substitute vegetable stock of good quality. Make sure you do not buy vinegared or pickled peppers.
 
1box (quart or liter) of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cups /500 ml. tomato juice
2 jars / 335 ml. each of red peppers
1 peeled large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 tsp -1 tsp of ground cumin
1and 1/2 tsp sugar or 1 pkg. Splenda
1 and 1/2 tsp chili flakes, optional
Creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)
 
Sauté the chopped vegetables. Do not brown. Drain the peppers and blot dry. Chop.
Add cumin to the vegetables and chili, if you wish. Stir. Add peppers and sugar.
Add the 3 cups of stick and simmer. Add salt and peeper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Purée until smooth, and thin with a bit more stock, if necessary. If you wish it to be very elegant, pass the soup through a fine a sieve. I do not often bother to do this as I like the texture. I puree it very well in a blender. I use a Magic Bullet Platinum Pro, which I and our staff member Karin Pacione both really like. Chill.
 
Taste to correct seasoning before serving. It may taste blander when cold, and you may wish to add a bit of hot sauce, a dash of cayenne, and a bit more salt. Serve garnished with a dollop of crème fraiche or lemon slices.
 
Guests will love the tangy sweetness of the pepper contrasted with smoky cumin. I like to add a bit of chili too. The colour shouts sunshine. You can taste how healthful it is!
  
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