Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Never go against a Sicilian, and don't try this at home

Yesterday was not a good day in the kitchen.

It started off well. I made this ginormous sourdough bread, which some of you may have seen, and took pictures and bragged on facebook. Then the cat licked it. Then I spritzed it with water and put it back in the oven (to burn off the cat-lick) and then I burned it.

This is the 'before' picture.
Then I put a last piece of challah in the oven to make toast before it went stale, and I burned that, too.

Then, finally, I made one of the classic blunders. I decided to trust some random British blogger.

No offense to my British friends and readers, but that was a bad idea.

Have you guys seen this meme going around? The one where celebrities list all the things they eat in a day, and that is why they are super-thin, or super-rich, or just have super-powers? (I should really do that meme, it sounds like fun.) So, I saw this random blog linked somewhere, and she or he started off their post about how stupid and time-consuming and ridiculous all those super-foods that celebrities eat are (like such as the quails eggs that have been harvested under a full moon by a virgin), and how unattainable they are by normal people. I thought, great! This blogger is my peeps!

Then they went on to list all the super-foods *they* eat every day...just no virgins had been harmed.

Yay. Not. 

But one recipe caught my eye - a beetroot-(aka beet)-chickpea dip. In other words, hummus. And that's how they got me. In my mind - beets - yum! Chickpea dip - yum! A little bit of cumin - yum! Three seconds to put it together - sounds great! Let's try it.

No fingers were harmed in the making of this recipe.
The recipe basically read: "take a tin of chickpeas and a tin of beetroot and blend with a bit of cumin. Done."

And here, dear readers, is where I should have chashadti.

I disregarded the fact that beets and chickpeas don't come in tins in my home, for pete's sake, and that it's the easiest and cheapest thing in the world to put beets and chickpeas in a pot and boil them.

I forgot that boiling things to death is the classic British way.

And, most damningly, I forgot that I live in the Mediterranean, where beet salad is gorgeously flavored with vinegar or, in my home, in classic Russian manner - fried and refried into patties with sour cream. I forgot that hummus is made with fresh garlic and fresh lemon juice and oodles of herbs and spices, and that we are on the spice route, after all.

And I forgot that Brits AIN'T GOT NOTHING ON THE MEDITERRANEAN, FOOD-WISE (which is probably why they colonized it), and I shouldn't trust this recipe with a ten-food pole.

Hey look it's red hummus.
My bad.

I boiled, and blended, and wouldn't you know it, it tasted bland and kinda blech. It had that initial sweetness of the beets...followed by a dryness of chickpeas. Not good.

So I applied the Mediterranean way to it, and added more cumin. And more salt. Some chili. Some vinegar. Some sumac. Finally some coriander seeds, roasted in olive oil and a kinda failed attempt to blend them in a spice blender.

They were still bleh.

Now I have them in the oven. I have added matza meal, and am pretending they are felafel balls - just a little more red than usual. We shall see.

Never go up against a Sicilian if death is on the line, and don't trust random British bloggers unless they are Jamie Oliver. Or putting clotted cream in something.

Hmm, I wonder if I should add clotted cream...

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