Roasted Pumpkin Hummus

I get a stupid amount of the warm and fuzzies when I get to cook for people. There is something about the thought process that goes into creating a meal for someone that is the ultimate display of friendship and caring to me. As we’ve explored the world, I’ve discovered that this communion, which I had always considered inherently Southern, is actually the most universal kind of thing. {duh!}

This weekend one of our close friends here in Munich celebrated the big 3-0. Since food is obviously my love language, I volunteered to do some cooking for her little get together. Since another friend was whipping up dessert, I was got to work on the savories. Wanting to keep it simple and fresh, I made two whole wheat pizza bases and topped one with pesto and roasted heirloom tomatoes and the other with caramelized onions, figs, and gorgonzola cheese. {recipes for both coming soon!}

I also really wanted to whip up something for us to munch on before dinner. I was leaning toward making hummus, and when I spotted pumpkins at the market, it was sold. I love fall!

I’ll go more in depth on how to make your own pumpkin puree next week, but suffice it to say that it is incredibly easy and is so much more flavorful than the canned stuff. {Plus we got pepitas!}

What about you? How do you show people they are loved? What gives you the warm fuzzies?

Roasted Pumpkin Hummus | kiwi+peach

Roasted Pumpkin Hummus with Veggies

The Hummus
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chick peas
1 clove of roasted garlic {non-roasted will work too, it’s just spicier}
1/3 cup olive oil
juice from 1/2 of a lemon {1-2 tbsp}
1 tbsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

The Presentation
pumpkin seeds
bell peppers of various colors
cucumber

Combine all of the hummus ingredients in your food processor and process the heck out of it. {By that I mean let it go for a couple of minutes until you’re happy with the consistency.}

Prep your veggies for dipping. When you dish it up for serving, sprinkle a few salted pumpkin seeds on top and enjoy!

The White

Remember last week when I told y’all all about my awful luck with restaurants staying in business and I shared one of my favorite places to eat in Athens {Georgia not Greece}? Well wouldn’t you know it…

Just kidding. They didn’t close. {Freaked you out there didn’t I, Mama?}

Oh man, now I’ve really jinxed it.

But really how could they with all the delicious things that have going on. Today’s recipe was inspired by my Mama’s favorite, the White Pizza. Being the queen of neutrals that she is, it really isn’t surprising that she’d go for the most monochromatic option, but what is surprising is how flavorful that sucker is! It’s strong on the garlic and has the perfect blend of melty cheeses and crisp, buttery focaccia.

Kiwi+Peach: The White

The White

The Mix
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1-2 cloves of roasted garlic
1/2 tsp salt

The Assembly
2 large wedges of focaccia
4-5 fresh basil leaves, sliced
1/2 ball fresh buffalo mozzarella

In a medium sized bowl, mix the cheese, garlic, and salt together well.

Split your focaccia wedges down the middle to make two slices. {You know like for a sandwich.} Liberally spread the mix on both slices. Sprinkle the bottom slice with the basil strips and then cover with chunks of your mozzarella.

Pop everything in the oven on broil {or grill for y’all Kiwis} for about 5 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted. When its finished top it off and enjoy!

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Having spent pretty much my entire life in the world of education either as the daughter of a teacher, a student, or a teacher myself, August has always meant one thing–back to school. I know that lots of folks in other parts of the country don’t start back until September {or, you know, February if you’re in NZ}, but in Georgia, we go back in August.

Maybe y’all that go back in September have the right idea though. August is still summer! The weather is still beautiful and there are lots of beautiful summery fruits and veggies in season and just asking to be carefully crafted into the most perfect summer dinner.

But once we go back to school… there just isn’t time! Especially in those first couple of weeks. The trick, I’ve found, is to have a few super quick weeknight meals up your sleeve that you can make on auto pilot. So for all my teacher friends who are back in school here is one of those recipes. It’s a super quick and healthy alternative to eating out multiple nights a week and, let’s face it, much cheaper. If the carnivore in your house really needs some meat, you can always stir in some shredded rotisserie chicken.

Are you back in school yet? What are some of your go-to week night meals? Some of our other favorite quickies are the cashew chicken noodles, Greek couscous with zucchini, and of course, my summer favorite.

Kiwi+Peach: Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes

{adapted for two from Martha Stewart}

The Pasta
6 oz whole wheat rigatoni {or some other kind of tube pasta}
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
pinch of salt

The Sauce
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. pine nuts {or sliced almonds}
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled {plus a bit more for the top}
8 or so fresh basil leaves
fresh ground black pepper

To get started prepping, heat a large pot on medium high heat and boil your jug. Slice your sun-dried tomatoes into thin strips.

Pour the boiled water into your pot and when it has returned to a boil, add the pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, and salt. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, according to the package directions {usually 8-10 minutes for the tube pasta}. When its finished, drain the water then return the pot to the heat. {Just leave the pasta and sun-dried tomatoes in the strainer for a minute. We’ll get back to that in a quick minute.}

Drizzle the olive oil in the pot and then add your minced garlic, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes. Mix well and stir continuously until the pine nuts have toasted a bit. Add the wine and let it cook until the wine has reduced by half. Grab your pasta and sun-dried tomatoes and pop it back to the pot. Add the goat cheese and basil then stir very well.

Plate up and then sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese, a few grinds of black pepper, and a couple basil leaves.

Tuscan Salad with Homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons

Happy Friday friends! Sorry for the blog silence yesterday. It was a holiday here in Bavaria {these wonderful Catholics seem to have a holiday for everything!} and, while it was not my intention to take the day off, sometimes spending quality time with the Kiwi just trumps.

During our day off yesterday, I started reading Inferno. While the Kiwi has some strange hatred for Dan Brown books {despite having never picked up a singe one}, I quite like them, so I’m pretty excited to read this new one. I knew it was set in Florence, but man, its like I’m there again, except for the whole being on the run from an assassin. {That’s not a spoiler it’s on like page 2. Plus what else is Robert Langdon going to be doing? Sightseeing?} Really though, its making me miss Florence, Italian food, and wine. Mostly the wine…and the truffles.

Obviously this Tuscan salad was happening. I was inspired by a recipe one of my absolute favorite bloggers {seriously, Emily’s blog was what introduced me to this wonderful world of blogging} posted a long time ago.  We tweaked it a bit based on what we had on hand and some of the salads we had in Florence, but either way it is a phenomenal salad.

Kiwi+Peach: Tuscan Salad with Homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons

Tuscan Salad with Homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons

{inspired by Emily from Jones Design Company}

The Prep
10-12 cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
1 bulb of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

The Salad
150-200 grams {2 cups or so} of mixed greens, washed
8-10 fresh basil leaves, sliced
10 fresh black olives, pitted
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, crumbled
1/4 of a small red onion, sliced

The Croutons
4 thick slices of ciabatta bread
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of roasted garlic, pureed
1/4 cup pine nuts

The Dressing
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. spicy dijon mustard
1/4 of a small red onion
1 clove of roasted garlic
3-4 leaves of fresh oregano
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil

First thing we have to do is put the tomatoes and the garlic on to roast. Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C. For the roasted tomatoes, slice the tomatoes in half and in a large mixing bowl combine with olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix well and then put them on a lined baking tray.  For the roasted garlic, cut the garlic bulb straight across on the stem end. Set it root side down on a piece of tin foil and pour the olive over the top. Wrap it up in  the tin foil and place on the tray with the tomatoes. Pop them in the oven for an hour.

Go chill out for 45 minutes. Read Inferno, or I guess you could be productive. Anyway…

About 15 minutes before the tomatoes and garlic are finished, come on back to the kitchen and combine all of the salad ingredients in that large bowl you were using before. Also, go ahead and slice your ciabatta bread and brush on the olive oil.

When the tomatoes and garlic are finished take them out and put the oven on broil {or grill for y’all Kiwis}. Toss the roasted tomatoes in with your salad mix.

Pop out 2 cloves from the garlic bulb and puree them in the food processor. Then spread the puree on your ciabatta bread. Place the slices on the baking sheet along with your pine nuts and put it in the oven for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the pine nuts. You just want them to be a bit toasted, not charred. If they are toasted before the bread, just take them out, add it to the salad mix, and put the bread back in the oven.

While the bread is a toasting, let’s make that dressing. Put all of your dressing ingredients in the food processor and pulse until you’re happy with the consistency.

When the bread is toasted, take it out, chop into bite sized cubes, and add it to your salad mix. Pour the dressing over to whole thing and toss well.

Kiwi+Peach: Tuscan Salad with Homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

We have found that, as a general rule, Germans are not huge fans of the spicy stuff.  German extra hot salsa is what we in the States would call mild. At our favorite Mexican take away, Condesa, which recently closed {sob}, they always asked what level of spicy sauce we want: 1 {German spicy, no not spicy at all}, 2 {American spicy}, 3 {Mexican spicy}, or a 4 which had the chilies spilling out the top of the bottle {I’m going to go ahead and assume that was English spicy}. That is why I laughed out loud at the shop the other day when I saw some habaneros. It took me a year and a half to find a jalapeño in this city, but they have habaneros, something that even I am not going to touch. Go figure.

Anyway.

I’ve been craving jalapeño poppers ever since we got back from our trip to the States last summer. There is just something about a crispy, spicy pepper filled with cheese that does me in. But, as previously stated, I couldn’t find a jalapeño in this whole city. I checked farmer’s markets, the special grocery stores that are in basements of department stores, and lots of Bio {organic} grocery stores other than my local. Nothing. Until last week, that is. I walk in the store and there, looking me square in the face is a huge basket of lovely, green jalapeños. And I only got a few dirty looks from other shoppers as I shoved handfuls of peppers into my shopping bag.

Naturally, the first thing I did when I got home was to whip up some jalapeño poppers.  Just a warning, these are not for the faint of heart. They are incredibly flavorful, but also really spicy. I’d say they’re a Mexican spicy on the Condesa scale. Unless of course, you miss a few seeds. Then it’s definitely a 4.

Kiwi+Peach: Baked Jalapeño Poppers

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

{inspired by In Fine Balance}

The Stuffing 
1/3 cup cream cheese
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

The Breading 
whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano

The Wichtige Sachen
6 jalapeños
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat your oven on high broil. {Grill for all y’all Kiwis.}

Slice your jalapeños down the middle. Remove the seeds and membranes, but leave the stem. It’s a great handle! As always when dealing with spicy peppers, be sure not to touch your eyes, nose, mouth, face, etc. until you’ve washed your hands really well. It makes for an unpleasant experience.

In a bowl, combine your cream cheese with all of the spices and mix well. Spoon a dollop into each pepper. Using the back of the spoon make sure the whole pepper is full of cheese.

On a small plate, mix the breading ingredients. Press each pepper, cheese side down, into the breading and then place on a grill rack. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the tops of the peppers and pop them in the oven towards the top.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the breading has browned a bit and it’s appropriately crispy.

Serve with some salsa and sour cream. Lots of sour cream.

Dig in! I may or may not have eaten an entire batch for lunch yesterday. True story.

Quinoa Stir Fry

My first experience with quinoa was back in college in one of my food science labs. My teacher presented its as this wonder food that was a grain AND a complete protein {meaning that it contains all 9 essential amino acids which are usually only available in animal products}. We then proceeded to make one of the most delicious casseroles I’ve ever had with it, so naturally I was hooked.

But quinoa really is the wonder grain now. I can understand why its been a fave for vegans, but I’m loving that all us omnivores have jumped on the bandwagon too. In theory, and for a while there it did make it easier to get. A few weeks ago I posted an article about the economics of quinoa, and I understand that it’s not always an easy or cheap grain alternative. We are so lucky that a 500g bag is still just 5 euro here which, compared to a lot of places is a steal.

If quinoa is scarce in your area right now, then go ahead and try it with some brown rice. However, I would throw in a chicken breast or and extra egg just to get that extra protein!

Kiwi+Peach: Quinoa Stir Fry

Quinoa Stir Fry

{adapted for two from DamnDelicious}

The Quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 tsp salt

The Egg
olive oil
1 egg
1 green onion {optional}

The Veg
olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 small white onion {or 1/2 of a large one}
1 cup fresh mushrooms
2 cups of broccoli {or 1/2 a head}
1/2 of a zucchini
1 ear of corn, cooked

The Juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp. ginger

Start heating a medium sized pot and a large pan with deep sides on medium high heat. Go ahead an boil your jug. In a sieve, rinse your quinoa under hot water for a couple of minutes to rinse off the powdery saponin on the grain that has a really bitter taste. Very important step!

Once the jug has boiled, measure your water and add it to the pot along with the salt. Once it comes to a boil, add the quinoa and reduce the temperature to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft.

While the quinoa is cooking away, pour a bit of olive oil in the pan {just enough for the egg not to stick} and add the egg. Scramble and cook until done then put it in a bowl and set to the side. Return the pan to the heat. {If you have a green onion, slice it up and scramble it in with the egg.}

Now get to chopping. This is all about timing. Mince your garlic and onion first. Then get to work on the mushrooms, broccoli, and zucchini. Wash the mushrooms, remove their stems, and then slice ’em up. Cut the florets off the head of broccoli and give them a rinse. Wash your zucchini, slice into half inch-ish sized slices, and then quarter those slices. Cut the kernels of corn off the ear and break them up into individual kernels.

Add the olive oil to the hot pan and toss in the minced garlic and onions. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Toss in the mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, and corn and cook until the broccoli and zucchini are soft enough for your liking. {Usually 5-7 minutes for us.}

The quinoa should be finishing up by now, so use a fork to fluff it up a bit and remove it from the heat.

When your veggies are appropriately soft, add the quinoa to the pan. {I push all the veggies to the side, add a little bit more olive oil to the empty part of the pan and then add the quinoa a little at a time so that the quinoa can get a little bit crispy.} Go ahead and throw that scrambled egg back in there too and mix well.

Season with a little soy sauce and ginger and cook for a couple more minutes. Serve it up and enjoy. I always use a little sriracha sauce on mine for an extra little kick, but it’s just as delicious without.

The Caprese

Yesterday, around lunch time, I realized we had no bread and then I commenced with the panicking. Most of y’all in the States are thinking ‘So what? Go to the store you lazy bum.’ Not so fast my friends. Three words that really make you pay for any lapse in meal planning preparedness. Sunday. Shopping. Hours. As in, there are none. Grocery stores, retail stores, some restaurants. All closed. Coming from the land of 24 everything, it’s not my favorite thing about living in Germany. I mean, I understand the wonderful things it means about their society {kudos Deutschland} but sometimes I just really need some bread on Sunday.

So what is a girl to do? Naturally I scoured Pinterest for a quick bread recipe because the Kiwi was getting kind of hungry. I found this quick focaccia recipe and immediately started remembering all of the amazing focaccia with olive oil and balsamic we had in Italy. I was sold. You can’t really go wrong with olive oil and balsamic on fresh focaccia bread that is still warm. You know what else goes really well with that? Tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil from the garden.

Again, kind of like the fried egg and tomatoes, this isn’t as much a recipe as just a simple sandwich you an throw together in no time flat. {That is of course unless you’re making the focaccia too in which case it’s going to take about an hour.} In the end we were pretty pleased with our meal planning fail.

Kiwi+Peach: The Caprese

The Caprese

2 large slices of focaccia bread {or half a loaf of your own}
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 smallish tomatoes {or 1 large one}
1/2 of a ball of buffalo mozzarella
5-6 leaves of fresh basil
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar {depending on your taste}

Slice the focaccia and pour the olive oil over the bottom slice. Then slice your tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Layer the tomatoes and mozzarella until the bread is covered and then sprinkle on the basil. Pour the balsamic over the top and close her up.


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