Tag Archives: cumin

Roasted Garlic Hummus

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I’ve been craving hummus since we returned from our recent trip to Turkey. Before we set off for a second visit to Istanbul I had created a list of foods that I really wanted to eat while I was there. Hummus was at the top of the list but for some reason I never managed to eat any. So upon returning home I set out to find both dried garbanzo beans and tahini, two items I could never manage to locate while we were in Albania but are readily available in Belgium.

I always use dried garbanzo beans; I think they have a better flavor and texture than their canned counterparts. If you decide to go this route be sure to soak the beans overnight before cooking them. If dried beans aren’t available or you are pressed for time, canned ones will work as well. Just be sure to rinse them before using and adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly. I also love to use roasted garlic instead of fresh raw cloves. The roasting mellows the pungency of the garlic and gives the hummus a mild smokey flavor.

Now if you do how to eat hummus, the answer is any way you want. It is great as a dip for crudite or crackers and I love to spread on a whole grain wrap or flatbread, top it with fresh vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots and sprouts are particularly good) and roll it up and eat it as a sandwich. The wrap will keep well making it a perfect on the go lunch item. Of course, I’ve also been known to eat hummus by the spoonful right out of the container. Yes, I like it that much.


3 cups cooked garbanzo beans

1 large bulb garlic

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

6 tablespoons tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

To cook the garbanzo beans:

  • Pick over the dried beans and place them in a large stock pot and fill the pot with water.  The beans will expand as they soak so make sure there is room in the pot. Allow the beans to sit overnight.
  • The next day, drain the beans and cover them with fresh water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and to simmer until tender, 60-90 minutes. occasionally skim off any scum that forms at the surface of the water.
  • Remove the beans from the heat, drain, and set aside to allow to cool until ready to use.

To roast the garlic:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place a piece of aluminum foil on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Slice off the top 1/4 inch of the garlic bulb. Place in the center of the foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  • Wrap the garlic completely in the foil and place in the oven, baking for 30 to 35 minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
  • Allow the garlic to cool slightly before proceeding.

To make the hummus:

  • Place the garbanzo beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  • Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh out of each clove and add them to the food processor.
  • Add the tahini, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, salt and cumin.
  • Process until the ingredients are well blended and form a thick paste. You may need to add additional olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until the hummus has reached a consistency you like.
  • Refrigerate the hummus in a tightly sealed container until ready to use.


Serves 6-8

Moroccan Beef Tagine


I feel like we are in the calm lull between back to school craziness and the madness of the holiday season. The cooler weather has been inspiring my cooking and has me wanting to spend more time in the kitchen putting together satisfying and comforting dishes. And because some of the best dishes are those that take time to make, this is the season to make them.  While the dishes take time to prepare much of the time is spent on the cooking rather than the preparations. And as these dishes cook their aroma fills the house with wonderful scents that give you a hint of the meal that is to come.

I’ve adapted this dish from a Jamie Oliver recipe and like so many of his recipes, it doesn’t disappoint. It is rich, flavorful and thoroughly satisfying. If you don’t have a tagine, or have one but also have a very small European sized oven that can’t accommodate a tagine, make this dish is a heavy, ovenproof Dutch oven. The slow cooked results will be the same. And if you want to make a fancy presentation like I do for company, I transfer the cooked stew into my tangine and serve it at the table.


For the spice rub:


1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper


1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix


1 tablespoon ground cumin


1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


1 tablespoon ground ginger


1 tablespoon sweet paprika

For the tagine:

1 pound stew beer

  • To make the spice mix, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Place the beef into a large bowl, sprinkle with the spice mix and use your hands to massage it into the meat.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  • When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the meat and cook, tossing to ensure it is seared on all sides for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion and coriander stalks to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and stock to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add the squash, prunes and additional stock if the mixture looks too dry. Cover the pot and continue to cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours until the meat is fork tender.

Adjust the seasonings and serve alongside couscous and topped with the slivered almonds.

Serves 4

Tandoori Chicken


This recipe is a family favorite and one my husband grew up eating. It is so simple and flavorful that it has become one of my go-to grilled chicken recipes. The marinade is quite simple–yogurt and lemon juice with a touch of spice and freshly ground ginger. Don’t substitute dried ginger because the results simply won’t be the same. And do make sure you allow plenty of time for the chicken to marinade–the longer it sits in its yogurt bath the better. I often make up a batch of marinade for the chicken the night before I want to serve it and let it sit overnight and all day. The results are amazing. And while the chicken is good right off the grill, it tastes just as yummy cold the next day. Enjoy!


1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 small onion, grated

3 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root

3 pounds chicken

  • Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, onion, garlic, spices and ginger in a large non-reactive container or large ziploc bag.
  • Add the chicken ensuring that it is coated with the marinade and allow to sit for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  • Coat a grill with non-stick cooking spray and preheat it to medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning ever 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending upon the heat of the grill and the cut of the chicken. Baste with additional marinade if desired.
  • When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and serve immediately.

Serves 4


Chicken Tamale Pie


How do you make a pot of chili even more comforting? Top it with cornbread then bake it until bubbling! This recipe, from Food 52, does just that, turning a warm and spicy stew into a one dish casserole that is sure to please everyone. And unlike many chilies, it doesn’t require long hours of slow cooking. The entire dish is actually quite simple with chicken, beans and corn simmering along with spices in a tomato broth. I’ve used all black beans in my version but you can use different beans or even a combination of beans. Use whatever you like or have on hand. The cornmeal topping is essentially polenta and this simple topping makes the dish feel like a complete meal.

This is so good and so satisfying. And as I discovered, it tastes even better when reheated the next day for lunch. You might even want to double the recipe!


For the filling:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can sweet corn, drained

1 4-ounce can green chilies

1 12-ounce can diced tomatoes

For the topping:3/4 cup yellow cornmeal1/2 teaspoon saltcups watertablespoon unsalted butter

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • In a large heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers.
  • Add the cubed chicken, garlic, coriander, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Cook until chicken is browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Add chopped onion to the pot and cook down until soft and fragrant.
  • Add beans, corn, chilies, and tomatoes.
  • Bring mix to a boil and allow to cook and thicken. After the mixture has thickened, stir in the chicken and cook until heated through.
  • Remove chili from heat.
  • In a small pot, heat water and salt over medium high heat to almost boiling.
  • Stir in the cornmeal and continue whisking while it incorporates the water and thickens, about 5 minutes.
  • When it is thick, add the butter and mix in to melt. Remove from heat.
  • Pour the chili into a deep casserole dish then spread the cornmeal mixture evenly over the top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is firm and slightly browned.
  •  Allow to cool briefly, and then scoop into bowls to serve.

 Serves 6

Cuban Pork Roast


For me, winter weekends call for long lazy days of hanging around the house with families. And when the house is filled with the aromas of roasting meats it makes being housebound all the better. And this roast pork from All Recipes is the perfect answer to what’s for dinner this weekend. It does, however, take some planning ahead.

When preparing this roast I start my Sunday dinner on Saturday by making the marinade and allowing the meat to sit for a full 24 hours before putting it in the oven. This ensures that all of the delicious citrus, garlic and herb flavors have a chance to be infused in the meat. And don’t skip the toasting of the cumin seeds and peppercorns. This simple steps makes the spices that more aromatic.


2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup dry sherry

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed

  • Place the cumin seeds and peppercorns in a small heavy skillet set over medium heat. Stir constantly until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Cool.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, crush the toasted spices with the garlic, salt and oregano until a paste forms.
  • Transfer the mixture into the small bowl of a food processor and add the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, sherry and oil. Puree the mixture until smooth.
  • Place the pork in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the citrus marinade over the meat and seal.
  • Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning the bag over occasionally.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Transfer the pork and the marinade into a foil lined roasting pan and place in the oven.
  • Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, basting with the pan juices occasionally, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 145 degrees.
  • Transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Carve and serve.

Yields: 10 servings

Spicy Black Beans



Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. And when they are also fast and delicious, they are even better. Thus is the case with these tangy black beans. And while I love the flavor and texture of black beans when I have soaked, cooked and rehydrated them myself, sometimes using canned ones is a life saver. You know; when you have carefully planned out the protein and vegetable portion of your dinner yet need to add something else to the plate. Well on those nights I turn to my stash of canned black beans and make this dish. It is easy, tasty and the entire family digs right in.


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 lime

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and shallot and saute until lightly golden and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the drained black beans to the skillet then stir in the cumin, salt and pepper.
  • Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally but taking care not to crush the beans.
  • Off the heat, squeeze the lime juice over the beans and stir to combine.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Spicy Black Bean Soup


I love black beans. In Albania they were virtually impossible to come by and when I could find them they were always dried. I have nothing against dried beans, in fact I prefer them on most occasions. However, some times it is nice to have canned ones on hand since they are just so easy to use. Case in point this spicy black bean soup adapted from Epicurious. If you have the time and plan ahead, by all means soak and cook your own dried beans. If not, open a few cans and you can have this warm and comforting black bean soup on the table in no time. Serve it with double corn and thyme cornbread or thick slices of roasted red pepper bread and dinner is served.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 4-ounce can diced green chilies

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 jalapeno chilies, chopped with seeds

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 15-ounce cans black beans, undrained

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

8 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, green chilies, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and salt. Saute until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the beans with their juices and the broth. Bring the soup to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until the flavors are blended, about 15 minutes. At this point you can reduce the heat to low and allow to sit for up to 1 hour.
  • Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth. Alternatively, if you prefer more texture, you can puree up to 3 cups of the soup and allow the rest to remain chunky.
  • Adjust the seasoning in the soup if needed and serve topped with the chopped cilantro.

Serves 4

Cumin Dusted Pork w/ Apple Chutney

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For me, this dish screams fall and is a perfect way to use up some of those less than perfect apples. Chutney is incredibly versatile and so easy to make. You can make it with just about any fruit combination  and adjust the spices and seasonings accordingly. It also keeps well so you can make it ahead of time and keep stored in the refrigerator for up to one week, using it for this dish as well as other meats, as a dip or even a sandwich spread. Or you preserve it and it will keep on a cool shelf for much longer.

This chutney is more tart than sweet but if you prefer a sweeter version simply substitute a sweeter apple. And although it is served at room temperature, the spices have a warming quality to them making them the perfect accompaniment for the pork loin. (Of course, the chutney would also be good served alongside chicken). And the pork? The cumin and garlic powder add flavor without being overpowering leaving your taste buds ready for the chutney. Yum!


For the chutney:

1 pound tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

3/4 cup golden raisins

1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

5 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced

5 whole cloves

1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Place the cider vinegar, brown sugar, white sugar and lemon juice in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and allow to cook until the sugars are completely dissolved.
  • Add the apples, raisins, ginger, garlic, cloves, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes and salt and stir well to combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and cook uncovered for 30-45 minutes until the apples are soft and the flavors have melded.
  • Remove from the heat, place in a bowl and allow to cool before serving at room temperature.
  • The chutney can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. For best flavor, allow to return to room temperature before serving.

Yields: 2 cups

For the pork:

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed

  • Lightly oil a grill and preheat it  to medium-high heat.
  • Combine the cumin and garlic powders, ground coriander, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Using your fingers, massage the spice rub into the pork tenderloin.
  • Place the pork in the center of the grill and cook, turning every 3-4 minutes for 16 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. (Cooking times may vary depending upon the grill).
  • Remove the pork from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Serve with the apple chutney.

Serves 4

Cumin Chicken w/ Peach-Lime Salsa


It’s peach season and I couldn’t be more excited. Here’s an easy way to celebrate the bounty of fresh peaches that are flooding the markets. I’ve tweaked the original recipe from Cooking Light , adding additional spices to create a fiery yet sweet salsa to accompany the juicy chicken thighs. Use the ripest peaches you can find since their sweetness will be countered by the tang of lime and the heat of the jalapenos. Marinate the chicken for at least one hour but for more flavorful meat let it is in the cumin and oil bath for up to 8 hours. Leaving the skin on the chicken is optional but the skin grills up crisp and leaves the chicken super moist. In the words of both boys in my family, this is the best chicken ever.


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

8 garlic cloves, minced

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

4 tablespoons red onion, finely minced

2 tablespoons basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 jalapeno, minced (and seeded if you prefer less heat)

3 ripe peaches, pitted and diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Place the olive oil, cumin and garlic in a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken thighs, distributing the marinade onto all sides of the chicken.
  • Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but up to 8 hours.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the onion, basil, mint, lime juice, sugar and jalapeno. Add the peaches and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Stir well and allow to sit for 1 hour.
  • Half an hour before grilling, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and allow to sit.
  • Coat a grill with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 6-7 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  • Remove from the grill and serve alongside the salsa.

Serves 6

Cumin Scented Roasted Cauliflower

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2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons cumin powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 large head cauliflower cut into bit sized florets

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and drizzle with the olive oil.
  • Combine the cumin powder and salt in a small bowl.
  • Place the cauliflower in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cumin mixture. Toss well to coat the cauliflower.
  • Move the cauliflower to the oiled baking sheet, taking care to evenly distribute the vegetable on the pan.
  • Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is done to your likeness, stirring every 10 minutes or so. I prefer mine on the crisp side so cook it for only 20 minutes.
  • Serve immediately hot from the oven.

Serves 4


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