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Tag Archives | Hummus

How to host a Meze party

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 


MezeArab music, lots of pillows spread around the room, a few chairs and stools, friends invited, and of course, prepare some eastern Mediterranean Meze. The dishes are easy to assemble and you can buy up the ingredients at any supermarket. These rustic dishes are seasoned with a mild warmth of spices and textures from countries nestled around the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea; Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Greece.

Hummus – Chick pea bean dip mixed with tahini, green onions, cumin and pureed until smooth and creamy. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter a few whole chick peas on top. Serve with torn pita bread.

Baba GhannoujBaba Ghannouj – A Middle Eastern eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, fresh lemon juice and regional spices, it’s a smoky, creamy vegetable dish scooped up with toasted pita bread wedges or crisp pita chips.

Falafel – Golden brown chick pea balls made with tahini, onion and spices served with tzatziki cucumber sauce.

Souvlaki – Pork chunks or strips laced on skewers after marinating in mint, oregano, red wine vinegar and olive oil, then grilled and served with Tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Tzatziki – Mint, oregano, garlic, lemon, red wine vinegar and yogurt for dipping Falafel and Souvlaki.

Dip Pita in LabnehLabneh – Thickened yogurt dip with a hint of lemon; it’s seasoned with za’atar and drizzled with olive oil.

Pita Bread – Home baked then grilled, torn pieces of this Middle Eastern flat bread are dipping vehicles for Hummus, Baba Ghonnouj and Labneh. Or you can roll up some Falafel or fill them with Souvlaki and Tzatziki sauce.

Mixed Olives and Pickled Peppers – Find mixed olives at your local olive bar and serve with pickled or stuffed peppers.

Garnishes – Assemble lemon slices, mint leaves, parsley, chick peas, sliced scallions, drizzled olive oil, and radishes or other crisp vegetables.

Also choose from Tzatziki Feta Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti, Crispy Chickpeas, Cannellini Hummus.
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Recipe Tester for the Washington Post
Photographs and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: June 1, 2014

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Cannellini Hummus

Creamy, smooth Cannellini Hummus with spices to dunk pita chips.

The Sauce: Hummus – A healthy bean dip made with fresh lime juice, spices and tahini that’s creamy and mild.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Silky Dip

This time, skip garbanzo beans and try silky white, Italian kidney beans for your hummus. Cannellini beans puree into a creamy smooth dip or spread. They take on the fresh lime, Cannellini Hummustahini and Middle Eastern spices with ease. Dunk crispy pita chips or grilled pita bread for an appetizer feast or serve with a meze platter.

You may also enjoy Hummus, Hot Crab Artichoke Dip, Labneh, Baba Ghannouj, Tapenade and Middle Eastern Pita Bread, Crispy Chick Peas, Tzatziki Feta Dip and Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti.

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Recipe: Cannellini Hummus

Active Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 10 Minutes | Yield: 1 1/2 Cups

1 15-oz can cannellini beans
2 green onion, rough chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp tahini
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
olive oil
chopped cilantro, garnish
pita chips or torn pita bread

Special Equipment – food processor

Cannellini Bean Hummus1 Drain liquid from the beans into a bowl plus save a few beans for garnish. Combine remaining beans, green onion, garlic, lime juice, tahini, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth.  Add some of the bean liquid if the hummus is too thick.

2 Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with a few reserved cannellini beans and chopped cilantro. Serve with pita chips or torn pita bread.

Hummus is a healthy dip compared with sour cream or mayonnaise based dips.

Serve as a spread on sandwiches or burgers, dip vegetables, mix with chicken or tuna and chopped celery for a sandwich filling, mix with cooked egg yolk for deviled egg filling or spread on a toasted bagel.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange cannillini for garbanzo beans.
  • Exchange lime for lemon juice.
  • Exchange cilantro for parsley.

Inspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Cannellini Hummus
Written by
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: March 1, 2014

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Labneh is a thick yogurt dip seasoned wtih za’atar and eaten with torn pita.

The Sauce: Labneh – Thickened yogurt dip with a hint of lemon; it’s seasoned with za’atar and drizzled with olive oil.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Clamp lid jars

Maybe you’ve savored meze bites of stuffed grape leaves, roasted olives and ground lamb pastries. Then you’ve dunked torn pieces of fresh grilled pita bread into hummus, baba ghannouj and Labneh.

Dip Pita in LabnehNow you can make Labneh at home. It’s a thickened yogurt dip garnished with olive oil and za’atar. All you need is a 12” square of cheesecloth to strain the liquid away from Greek yogurt. It makes yogurt extra thick and concentrated for dipping. I love my tall clamp lid jars that hold the cheesecloth suspended and securely sealed overnight in the fridge. The verticality of air tight jars conserves fridge space. You must start the day before but it’s way easier than baba ghannouj and even hummus.

You may also enjoy Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Middle Eastern Pita Bread, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti, Feta Tzatziki Dip, Tapenade and Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce.

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Recipe: Labneh

Active Time: 8 Minutes | Total Time: 24 Hours | Yield: 3/4 Cup

Greek YogurtIngredients
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
pinch salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Za’atar

Special Equipment – cheesecloth plus clamp lid jar or bowl with mesh strainer

Strain in Clamp Top Jar1 Combine yogurt, salt and lemon juice.

2 Scoop on a 12” square piece of cheesecloth (use a double layer if it’s thin). Gather the ends together.

Strain in Clamp Top Jar3 Suspend in a tall clamp lid jar or over a bowl with a mesh strainer so the liquid can drain away. Place in the fridge for 24 hours.

4 Spoon into a bowl or plate. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinke with Za’atar. Dip with torn grilled pita bread or pita chips.

I like to buy Greek yogurt from a Middle Eastern market because it usually has the characteristic tartness. If not I prefer Fage from the supermarket.

Add a little more lemon juice for more tartness especially if you’re not using Middle Eastern yogurt.

I bought a couple clamp lid jars at my local Good Will or check out a garage sale.

Left a couple extra days it becomes thick like farmers cheese. Roll it into small balls and place in a jar of olive oil to preserve. Keeps for about a week.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange Greek for regular yogurt but strained for 48 hours.

Inspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: February 1, 2014

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Middle Eastern Pita Bread

Home baked then grilled, Middle Eastern pita bread.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Binge baking

Kneading over and

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over again until the dough was elastic and smooth. Baking each batch in an extremely hot oven, approaching 500 degrees. I’m finally well satisfied with the result. It all started when I got fed up with pita bread purchased at grocery stores. Honestly it’s not the real deal, not even close.

I’d recently eaten at Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda, Maryland and loved tearing off pieces of their grilled pita and scooping up hummus. Then a few weeks later I had a delicious, more textured pita at Mazza in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had a Pita on Cooling Rackcraving to make warm pita in my home kitchen that became my charter. What texture and taste will my final version become?

Audrey, my daughter, speaks Arabic so she hunted down some Middle Eastern food websites and translated several pita recipes. These were Arab Egyptian and Palestinian recipes in their native tongue.

I made many editions of pita bread. One week I turned out 4 batches in 6 days. Some were thicker and spongier like Greek pita, some almost cracker like. Each one had a slightly different balance of ingredients; flour, salt, yeast, sugar, water, oil, reaching for the right texture. Adjusting, tweaking, testing quantities. Working on nuances I experimented; all-purpose or bread flour, active or instant yeast, olive or vegetable oil, sugar or honey.

Rising and resting time is another variable. Recipes greatly varied. I tried rising after kneading, resting after portioning, and rising after rolling. By the time I arrived at this recipe I discovered my favorite was 30 minute dough rise, then roll and bake. Happily it cut the start to finish time almost in half.

Stacked Pita BreadMy taste testers were troopers through the thick and thin of it, literally. We tested them plain on their own merit, then with accompaniments like hummus, falafel with tzatziki sauce and feta cheese dip. They shared feedback, concerns and celebrated successes. I arrived at a version that is a little chewy, thin enough to tear and dip, but still pliable enough to wrap around fresh falafel. To make the absolute perfect, puffy, golden brown pita rounds, crank the oven to 475 degrees, bake on a heated baking sheet on the bottom oven rack, and then flash grill for striped char flavor.

You might also enjoy Hummus, Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce, Baba Ghannouj, Feta Tzatziki Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti, and Creamy Italian Feta.

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Recipe: Middle Eastern Pita Bread

Prep Time: 20 Min | Inactive Time: 30 Min | Cook Time: 30 Min | Yield: 12 Pitas | Level: Moderate

flour, yeast, sugar, salt

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm water

Special Equipment – baking sheet

1 Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, water and stir into flour mixture until mostly together.

Rising Dough2 Dump onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes working in the balance of the flour and creating a smooth elastic dough. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

3 Meanwhile half way through the rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven on the bottom rack set at the lowest position.

4 Divide dough into 12 small balls. Cover with a cloth. One at a time roll them into 1/8-inch thick circles. Take the

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hot baking sheet out of the Divide Doughoven and spray with cooking spray. Once you have 3 dough circles, lay them on the hot baking sheet and place in the oven on the bottom rack. Bake for 5 minutes until golden and puffy. Remove from the oven and place on a rack. Repeat until all the dough is baked.

5 Heat a grill pan on high heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Grill both sides of the pitas just until they sustain char strips, about 30-60 Cutting Pita Breadseconds. Serve warm.

Bake pita bread earlier in the day for dinner or a party. Grill pita just before serving.

Try baking pita bread on a pizza stone.

Cut in 6 wedges and serve with Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Tzatziki Feta Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti and Creamy Italian Feta Dip.

Wrap around falafel with diced tomatoes, cucumber raita and shredded lettuce.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange sugar for honey.
  • Exchange vegetable oil for 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Inspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: June 9, 2013

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The Skinny on Dipping

The skinny on dipping

Take the plunge!! Grace your tables and delight your family and friends with one or more of these three dips. Each makes up in 7 minutes or less so they’re perfect for the busy holidays.

  • Rockamole—the ultimate guacamole with bleu cheese. Try this green chunky dip with red and white corn tortillas for a holiday combination. Think wreath on a platter.

  • Hummus—a Middle Eastern dip served with pita triangles. Made with garbanzo beans, it’s delicious but healthy to counterbalance all the rich, sweet holiday cuisine.

Pick one or all three. Dunking allowed

sauces over under and through

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