The other day the Fishmonger brought home a fish we had never eaten before. As you might imagine, this doesn't happen very often. I asked him to tell me about it, and he said he didn't know much. Anything? I asked. Not enough for the Local Food Report. He knows me well.

He sent me instead to his fisherman, Eric Hess. Eric is the captain of the Tenacious II, and he's been groundfishing on the Cape for close to thirty years. He told me that cusk is bycatch. It's a groundfish, just like haddock and cod, and fishermen like him catch it accidentally when they're looking for species that get a higher price. Off the boat, cusk sells for $0.80, maybe $1 a pound. Haddock and cod get $2 a pound, maybe more.

The thing is, cusk is aggressive. If a hook and line fisherman sets hooks in an area where there are cusk, he's likely to get some. Eric says he usually catches them in areas with rocky bottoms, anywhere from 200 to 600 feet down. If there's an area of a few miles where they're fishing for cod, Eric says, he'll avoid setting gear in the rocky spots, and stick to the sandier spots where they're less likely to find cusk, and more likely to find cod. 

This, of course, is all about consumer demand. We don't know cusk, so we don't want it. Alex and I thought it was delicious—we cut it up into small pieces and packed it with parsley and cilantro into fishcakes. It had a different consistency than haddock or cod—it was more like lump crab meat—which is probably why most people aren't screaming for cusk. 

But despite the fact that consumers aren't demanding cusk and fishermen aren't trying to catch it, the population is in trouble. Cusk populations have declined by 90 percent since the 1970s—not because of direct overfishing, but because of bycatch. Because they have similar habitats, cusk populations are tied to the fates of haddock and cod. 

In this way, cusk seems like kind of a sad discovery. We loved it! It's gone! But in another way, it seems important. The only way overfished species are going to recover is if we take a break from them, start to eat some of the other fish in the sea. And while cusk alone might not be the answer, it's a step in the right direction. We need to learn to appreciate other species besides haddock and cod. We need to embrace what we've got. It might not be cusk, at least not right now, but it's good to start branching out. 

Have you ever tried cusk? What did you think? What other unusual species have you eaten?


This recipe comes from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Alex has eaten a lot of fish cakes, and he said it might just be his favorite. Ever.

for the tomato sauce:
2 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pint crushed tomatoes
a pinch of red chili flakes
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint
salt and freshly cracked black pepper

for the fish cakes:
3 slices bread, crusts removed
1 and 1/3 pounds white fish (for a sustainable local choice, try pollock or hake)
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil

Make the tomato sauce first. Warm up the olive oil in a very large frying pan (make sure you have a lid). Add the spices and onion and sauté for 8-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the wine and simmer another 3 minutes. Then stir in the tomatoes, chile, garlic, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until thick. (If you're using homemade canned tomatoes, this will probably take longer.)

Meanwhile, make the fish cakes. Pulse the bread in a food processor or crumble it with your hands to make crumbs. Chop the fish very finely and put it in a bowl with everything else besides the olive oil. Mix well with your hands, and then form cakes about 3/4 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. There should be about 8 cakes. If they feel soft, put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up. 

Warm up the olive oil in another frying pan over medium-high heat. Add as many cakes as fit and sear for three minutes on each side, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining cakes. Now gently place the seared cakes in the frying pan with the tomato sauce—you may have to squeeze them a bit to make sure they all fit. Add just enough water to partially cover the cakes. Then cover the pan with a lid and simmer on very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the cakes rest for about 10 minutes. Then serve hot, sprinkled with mint.



So. Where were we? Mutabbaq? Right.

I'm not going to say too much about it, because I think the pictures tell you most of what you need to know. If you like ricotta and Vermont chevre and local honey and a squeeze of lemon juice and flakey layers of butter-poached filo dough, well, Mutabbaq is for you. Sold.

You start by layering seven pieces of filo dough on a shallow-rimmed baking sheet, brushing each one heavily with melted butter as you go. Then you make a mixture of ricotta and chevre—sweet cow's milk with a little goat for tang—and you spread this over the center of the seven layers of buttery dough. Then you add another seven layers on top, with more butter, and as you brush it on, it sort of forms a seal. You trim the edges and tuck them in, and suddenly, you have a very rich package wrapped in filo dough.

Then you cut it into slices—letting the knife go down but not through the bottom layer—and put the whole thing in the oven. The crust gets gold. It turns all flakey and crisp, and the cheese melts together into something warm and comforting and wonderful. While this is going on you melt together honey and lemon juice in a pot on the stove until they form a thick, bubbling syrup. Then you pull the pastry out and douse it all over with the syrup while they're both hot. The syrup soaks down through the layers (think baklava) and infuses the cheeses and pastry with a subtle sweetness. 

As soon as it cools enough to spare your tongue, you cut a piece. You take a bite. It's something of a cross between baklava and cheesecake, a not-too-sweet pillow of tangy-goaty-ricotta-honey-lemon-pastry heaven. Moving your fork through the crust makes you feel the same way you do when you crack the top of creme brulee. It's delicious.


This recipe comes from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The nice thing about mutabbaq is that you can get it ready before you bake it, which makes it perfect for entertaining (not to mention life with a toddler). It's also very simple to make but looks incredibly elegant. 

2/3 cup melted butter
14 sheets filo dough
2 cups ricotta cheese (there's an easy tutorial on how to make your own here)
1 cup (8 ounces) plain chevre
2/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons water
juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Brush a shallow rimmed baking sheet roughly 11 by 14 and 1/2 inches in size (if you don't have this size, you can fudge it, like I did up there) with some of the melted butter. Spread a filo sheet on top and let the edges hang over. Brush this sheet with butter, top with another sheet, and keep layering and buttering until you have 7 sheets evenly stacked.

Mix the ricotta and chevre in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over the filo sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch clear around the edge. Brush the surface of the cheese mixture with butter and top with the remaining 7 sheets of filo dough, buttering each layer as you go. You'll notice the butter and pastry start to sort of seal the cheese layer in. 

Use kitchen scissors to trim any large overhangs of filo dough, then gently tuck the edges in so that you have a neatly wrapped cheese package. Brush with butter all over. Finally, use a large knife to cut the pastry into squares roughly 2 and 1/2 inches square—cut through the top layer and cheese, but not through the bottom pastry. You don't want the cheese to ooze out!

Bake the pastry for about 25 minutes, until it's golden and crisp. Meanwhile, make the syrup by melting the honey, water, and lemon juice together in a small pot. Bring them to a boil, then simmer gently for two minutes and take it off the heat.

Slowly pour the syrup over the pastry the second you take it out of the oven, giving it time to soak in evenly. A little will spill out over the edge if you've used a too-big pan; that's okay. (You can always sop it up later.) Leave the pastry to cool for about 10 minutes, then serve. It's also excellent reheated or at room temperature the next day.



On Monday, I planted my peas, along with a row of spinach and lettuce. Tuesday, it snowed. It must be March! 

Still, there's hope. That up there is what Tessa Gifford and Drake Cook of Pure Joy Farm in Truro call lasagna gardening. They say ideally you start it in the fall, but that if you're itching to get out there and you haven't done any soil preparation, it's not too late to start now. The basic idea is a ratio: one part cardboard to two parts manure to one part marsh hay or leaves or straw to one part seaweed.

The term was coined by a lady named Patricia Lanza in 1998. She wrote a whole book about it, called Lasagna Gardening, and Drake's mom passed it along at some point. Drake and Tessa thought it was pretty smart: let the cardboard block the weeds as it decomposes and adds carbon to the soil, let the manure give you nitrogen, add another layer of some sort of carbon-heavy substance, and top it all with seaweed, which is an excellent mulch. When planting time comes, all you have to do is spread apart the seaweed, sow your seeds, and move the seaweed back into place. You have good topsoil and good mulch, all ready to go!

If you've already done your soil preparation, there are other things you can do to get started in the garden right now, despite the snow. Here's what Tessa and Drake suggest:

1. Start planting! Cold hardy things like peas, kale, collard greens, chard, parsnips, carrots, beets, and potatoes are ready to go in the ground. Lettuce, arugula, and more tender greens can be planted under row covers or inside a hoophouse, coldframe, or greenhouse. And inside, you can start those 80-plus day seeds: tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, melons, squash...you know the drill.

2. Start planning. This winter, Drake put a lot of work into developing a month-by-month plan for the orchard. The fruit trees were getting neglected because there's always so much other, more urgent work to do, and they started getting infested with pests. Starting with pruning, Drake's put together an amazing guide to holistic month-by-month orchard care, which she agreed to share. Here goes:


Surprisingly, maintaining an orchard is a year-round project!  Here are a few things to do each month to help make your orchard (whether that is two trees or twenty trees) produce delicious fruit!  At Pure Joy Farm in Truro, we have a small orchard—only nine trees!  We use a more expanded version of this calendar to help us fight pests, feed the soil, and produce fruit in an organic and more holistic way.  Keep track of what you do, problems you have and production in a notebook!
  • Stake trees that have been growing crooked.
  • Prune dead wood on Pome fruits. 
  • Research trees you may want to add and take inventory of supplies you have or will need. 
  • Second small prune of Pome fruits.  Focus on removing crisscrossing and vertical branches, but don’t go over board!  Both these type of growth will impede equal light filtration to your fruits once the leaves come in!
  • Don’t forget that ground fruits like currants, gooseberries and blueberries also need yearly pruning!
  • Apply a dormancy spray before the leaves begin growing.
  • Plant new trees!
  • Unwrap any cold intolerant fruits.
  • Prune your stone fruits!
  • To add some helpful biology to your trees, you can make your own microbial spray which you can apply to your orchard floor.  The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips has great recipes for homemade teas and sprays you can use year round in your orchard.
  • Mulch around the base of trees to add more nutrients to soil and help maintain soil moisture.  Look into “Haphazard Mulching”! It is great!!
  • Start checking for pests, you can hang pheromone pest traps and vinegar jug traps in your orchard and apply neem oil sprays, refined kaolin clay, whey sprays and dormancy sprays.   
  • Apply homemade herbal teas to your orchard using horsetail and comfrey. Again, Michael Phillips has a lot of resources available online for orchard teas. 
  • Watch out for disease or pests!  They will show through in your bark and leaves.  The earlier you catch a problem, the more likely you will be able to save your harvest.  Remove any deformed leaves as they appear, squish eggs, and pick off pests if you have to.  We rely heavily on neem oil as a fighter of pests, applying a spray every two weeks until the fall.
  • Thin your fruit trees, if there are too many fruits growing at once, the tree is putting a lot of energy into too much. You want to make sure the tree isn’t working too hard because the fruit produced will not be as good.  Really!
  • June and July are about keeping up with whatever pest management practices you have set up and keeping the soil rich in nutrients using liquid kelp, fish emulsion and monitoring the break-down of the mulch applied in March. 
  • In case of drought—prune trees back. Removing ½ to 1/3 of the tree will decrease the tree’s need for water.  If you only prune a little, this will actually encourage new growth and not help your tree.
  • You can add companion plants to your orchard—chives, lemon balm, strawberries, comfrey are all great and can also help with pest management as well as attracting bees!
  • Post-harvest pruning.
  • Continue the regiment of holistic sprays.
  • Fall application of liquid fish to the orchard floor.
  • Continue applying herbal teas.
  • Brew a fall microbial spray.
  • It is time to prepare for next year!!
  • Mulch your orchard using Haphazard Mulching.  This will allow everything to decompose and mix together through the winter, helping the soil around the base of your tree to be dense in nutrients!
  • Think about your over-wintering protection plan—do you have trees which are intolerant to the cold?  We cover our fig tree up in the winter with a lightweight row cover cloth. You may want to wrap some plants in a reflective bubble insulation cover once it gets very cold. 
  • If you have been having trouble with winter sunburn (splitting bark, mostly on the south or west sides due to sudden rises and falls in temperature) in the past, you can wrap the trunks in a trunk wrap or even paint them with a diluted latex interior paint.
  • Apply a bit of compost, fish spray and lime to the soil.
  • Remove “suckers” (little sproutlings at the roots of your trees).
  • Rake and burn fallen leaves for pest and disease control.
  • Pull back mulch from the base of trees.  Let them breeeeeeeathe.
  • Review your notes taken over the year and make a list of things you want to for your next year!!



Way back when Sally was about six months old, my editor Viki and I were joking about Baby Brain. She told me it was actually a whole phase, and that she couldn't predict when it would lift, but that it would. Around eight or nine months, probably. Suddenly, she said, I would be able to THINK ! again. 

It didn't occur to me until today, but I think it's finally started happening. Most recently, the fog has lifted off the kitchen.

I haven't felt this inspired to cook in a long time. I have been focused on getting food on the table—literally, putting something out there for the three of us to eat. I have not slipped in health or quality—if anything, I've gotten better about those things—but there has been a  noticeable lack of inspired cooking. When I get creative, I like to have hours. Ha! That's come to an end. I've been sticking to what's easy, what I know. We have eaten Krispy Kale and Easy Little Bread over and over and over again. 

But then, last week, my mom brought over a cookbook called Jerusalem. Have you seen it? It's by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, both from the city originally and now very successful restauranteurs in London. The book is full of beautiful pictures and totally inspired recipes. Some of the ingredients are unusual, but most are things like butternut squash and arugula and yogurt and eggs. My mom got it from her friend Julie as a gift, I ordered it online the very next day, and I have already made six recipes. In short, it is a godsend.


I'm sharing the meatballs with shallots and figs in this week's Banner, but here, I want to share a salad recipe. We still have so ! much ! arugula ! and I knew I wanted to make  the arugula, artichoke & herb salad the moment I saw it. You toss fresh greens with cilantro and mint, then layer on artichoke hearts and grated pecorino. The whole thing gets drizzled with lemon juice and top quality olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, and that's it. It tastes very much like spring. And it's a new way to eat arugula in a house that is, for the first time ever, starting to tire of that all-American green. You know it's bad when you're excited that the arugula is bolting.

At any rate, I think we'll be talking about this book a lot in the next few weeks. I want to tell you about the puréed beets with yogurt & za'atar, and the shakshuka we had for breakfast, and the amazing mutabbaq made with ricotta and goat cheese and pastry and honey. What I really wish is that we all could sit down together and feast. But in lieu of that, I'll see you back here. Same time, same place, next week.


All the flavors in this salad are just right. The arugula is spicy and bitter, the mint and cilantro taste clean, the lemon's tart, the cheese and the oil are rich, and the artichoke hearts are a bit sweet. If you grow your own artichokes, they'd be great here!

2 cups arugula
1/2 cup torn mint
1/2 cup torn cilantro leaves
1 ounce pecorino or romano cheese, shaved into ribbons
1 can artichoke hearts
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Toss the arugula, mint, and cilantro together in a salad bowl. Layer on the cheese and artichoke hearts, then drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Finally, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. 



Farm to table restaurants are incredibly popular right now. You've probably heard of Oleana, Blue Hill, Manresa—places that have their own dedicated farmers and farms. And there are plenty of restaurants on the Cape partnering with local growers to get as much fresh food as possible onto their plates. But here's a new one: last summer, Chatham Bars Inn bought its own farm.

It cost $1.7 million. You might recognize the place as the old Fran's Farm. It's on Route 6a in Brewster—they did u-pick berries in season. The berry plants are still there, and the little pasture and the barn, not to mention two 25' by 50' hoophouses and two 35' by 100' heated greenhouses. But this year, the farm will be growing food for the chefs at the Inn's two restaurants.

What you see up there are micro-sunflower shoots. Farm supervisor Lucas Dinwiddie and farm manager Jaime Fuqua started growing micros in January in one of the greenhouses—they're the first crop moving from the farm to the kitchens. This summer (outside!) they plan to plant fava beans and other legumes as specialty crops and to help improve soil quality, along with one hoophouse full of tomatoes and basil and another with tight, Eliot Coleman-style beds. Later on, those plantings will be replaced with winter greens. 

The farm is 7.7 acres, but right now only about 3 acres are cleared. The farm has its work cut out for it. The plan is to eventually fully supply the restaurants, have a farm stand at the farm itself, maybe do a few farmers' markets, have a children's garden, and do some community outreach dinners and events. 

It's an expensive plan—both in terms of labor and time. I asked Dinwiddie and Fuqua if they thought the farm could become self-sustaining economically, and they had an interesting answer. They said they knew the farm wouldn't make money in the first few years. It's for profit, they explained, but not in the sense of a net cash gain in your pocket. If you're a resort and you're already paying top dollar for top quality food, your dollar goes a lot further when you're spending it at your own farm. It's about traceability, and it's about quality.

I know a lot of restaurants and chefs who are buying locally on a smaller and more diversified scale. They're buying farm fresh veggies, meats, cheeses—you name it. But they're not buying the farm. 

What do you all think? Does this model work here, with our sandy soil and pricey land? Are there other challenges? Or are there particular reasons it works? I'd love to hear.

And finally, a recipe from Joseph Ellia of the Chatham Bars Inn Tavern for goat cheese pizza with sunflower sprouts. Enjoy...


If you've never had a micro-green, you should try them. The flavors are incredibly intense, and a little goes a long way. The sunflower micros I tried at the farm were very fresh, but also nutty. They pair well with goat cheese, and the truffle honey adds a little earthiness.

1 12-inch pizza dough

1 ounce olive oil
1/4 cup grated mozzarella
9 thin slices pear
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
2 ounces sunflower sprouts
1/2 ounce truffle honey

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Roll out the pizza dough and place it on a baking sheet. Brush the dough with olive oil, then sprinkle on the grated mozzarella. Place the pear slices evenly around the pizza, then top with the goat cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is nicely melted. Take the pizza out of the oven and let if rest for five minutes. Finally, sprinkle it with the pine nuts, sunflower sprouts, and a drizzle of honey. Serve hot.



Happy one-day-late Big Decade Birthday ! to my beautiful Mama. 

Here's that recipe for the cake. I'm glad you liked it, even if it did keep Susie up til four in the morning. Tell her I'll be over soon to polish off another slice. It takes a community to keep a caffeine-sensitive chocolate lover safe! And for all the rest of you friends, if you're looking for a special occasion keeper, this one is great.

and Happy Spring!
(I think)


This is just the cake you need for a birthday, when there’s so much else to do. It creates hardly any dishes, bakes up in a flash, and truly is worthy of any important day. It’s from Martha Stewart Living, April 2010. If you want to see a picture, and you do, because it's beautiful and actually looks just like this when you make it! click on over here.

for the cake:
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
¾ cup buttermilk or yogurt
¾ cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

for the frosting:
6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 and ½ sticks butter, softened
2 and ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
¾ cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, buttermilk, water, oil, and vanilla, and mix for another 2-3 minutes, or until smooth. Pour the batter into 2 greased 8-inch cake pans (if you don’t have these, you can also use a Bundt pan). Bake for 35 minutes, or until just set.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a serving plate or cake stand. Let it cool to room temperature before frosting.

To make the frosting, cream the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat in the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt, then slowly beat in the melted chocolate. Finally, beat in the sour cream until you get a smooth frosting.

You should have four cups of frosting.* Frost the top of one layer with 2 cups, then place the second layer on top and frost the top and sides with the remaining 2 cups. If you aren’t going to serve the cake in the next few hours, refrigerate it until you’re ready.

*Note: If you don’t like too much frosting or you make only a single layer cake, you can easily halve the frosting recipe.



The plastic is rattling, but inside it's dry. The arugula we've been eating all winter—planted either 9.13 or 9.19—I can't tell from my notes which was in and which was out—is finally starting to bolt.  

If I seed the lettuce this weekend, we should make it through the year without a greens gap for the first time. Here's to that!


So here's the setup:

We're talking about salt again. Specifically, we're talking about how salt was made here, locally, in the 19th century. We already talked about why people were so invested in making it, and how the design evolved. But today we're going to talk about the nitty gritty—how the water got into the rooms, why there were three of them, and what they each produced—not just sea salt! 

Both physically and chemically, the process is a bit more complicated than I'd imagined. First of all, there are three rooms—basically walled wooden platforms. As you see up there, water is pumped into the first room, called the water room or the slime room, by a canvas and wood windmill. This nickname "slime room" came from the fact that all sorts of sea life was pumped in—there was no filter—instead, the water was left in this room to settle. Once the debris was comfortably settled the saltmakers would pull a plug, and the water would flow via gravity through a hollowed out pine log into the second room. Here a lot of interesting things happened.

This room was called the pickle room, or the brine room. In warm weather, this is where evaporation would start, and calcium salts like lime and gypsum would precipitate out of the water. When the saltmakers noticed the first edible sea salt crystals starting to form (sodium chloride), they would pull the plug and let the thick, sludgy brine flow again via gravity and through a hollowed out pine log into the third room. This is where the final evaporation took place, and about three weeks from when the water entered the first room, crystals of very dry sea salt were raked up, put into barrels, and moved to a warehouse for storage.

But in cold weather, something different happened. Seawater is full of chemical elements: magnesium, sulfur, calcium, chlorine, etc. Depending on temperature and conditions, these elements react differently and come together to form different bonds. What might give you lime and gypsum and sea salt on a warm day gives you something else completely on a cool day.

That's where Glauber's salts come in. In cold weather as the seawater started to evaporate, a form of sodium sulfate formed in the brine room—called Glauber's salt for the Dutch chemist who discovered it in 1625. Initially this frustrated saltmakers, because what they wanted was edible sea salt to preserve cod. But they quickly realized they could sell Glauber's salt to industrial producers—it was used to make washing soda for detergents, tanning leather, and dying cloth. What's more, the cold brine leftover from harvesting Glauber's salts could be used to make Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate. People used these for medicinal purposes—they put them in baths to relax or sooth muscle aches or reduce stress—any number of things. 

I had no idea salt could be so complicated! But it's pretty cool to see how Cape Codders turned what seemed initially like kind of a bummer into a winter enterprise. If you check out the production stats from last week, you'll see that in 1837 for example, Dennis produced 500 barrels of Epsom salts. Pretty cool!

All you modern day saltmakers...have you run into any issues of different chemical combinations precipitating out in cold weather? Or have you been able to avoid that with the greenhouse setup or another method? I'd love to hear.

P.S. A very interesting document from the Woods Hole Historical Collection on saltmaking in the 19th century.



On Saturday, two exciting things happened. The first is that I harvested the last of the carrots I planted on July 27th. They were still crisp and sweeter than ever, and they weren't even in the greenhouse. Instead they were outside in the big garden, buried in the fall by oak leaves and more recently by two foot snow drifts. They are survivors. 

The second came in the form of a small box from Fedco. Seeds! I'm going to hook up the hose and get planting in the greenhouse as soon as the sun comes back. Butter lettuce is first on the agenda.

In the meantime, we're eating carrots. I don't mind them plain—in fact, for the most part, I prefer them that way. (The notable exception being if there is a good chunky blue cheese dressing around.) But yesterday at lunch Alex asked for hummus, and so I pulled out an old recipe of my mom's. It's a crowd pleaser—olive oil laced with garlic and cumin and curry  and then whipped up with salt, fresh lemon juice, and chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, as my mom always calls them. 

I'd forgotten how good it was, and simple too.


My mom found this is Cooking Light sometime before 2005. She sometimes adds a bit more lemon juice, salt, and curry to taste. 

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
32 ounces cooked garbanzo beans

Heat up the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add curry and cumin seeds, cook another 30 seconds. Turn the heat off and quickly transfer this mixture to a food processor along with the water, lemon juice, salt, and garbanzo beans. Process until smooth. 

This recipe yields 3 cups.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.