Spring Flowers and Bees

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Perfect Marriage ~ Lemon and Cilantro

Due to my procrastinating nature, this posting has been delayed over and over again until I can't help it anymore. Insipired by CreamPuffsInVenice's posting of perfect combination of two ingredients, I'd like to share my view of this perfect blending of two of the kitchen essentials, Lemon and Cilantro. I'm gonna treat them as if they were people's names, hence the use of capitals.

In my slow-cooking adventure last week, I made an Old Fashioned Chili with Kidney Beans and Black Beans. I was so into the process that I neglected other things I was supposed to do (
as usual!). The night before was spent on searching for the best chili recipe. I couldn't find a specific one that I really favour over another. So, I decided to modify the recipe here and there and let myself be insipired by other recipes.

However, none of the recipes recommended the use of
Lemon nor Cilantro. It was all my idea! Wait a sec, aren't you suspicious of where the idea of adding Lemon and Cilantro started? It doesn't matter, I'm going to tell y'all anyway.

The week before last week, I contemplated in making hummus. The Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean chickpea dip which I think is really scrumptious! At the same time, I have loads of dried chickpeas, kidney beans, and black beans. So why don't I start right away?! Well, not literally right away because I have to soak the beans overnight before I can start.

I got the recipe from Periplus Mini Cookbooks series titled Meze. In the introduction, the term
"Meze" was explained. The literal translation from Greek is "tasty morsels" that are designed to whet your appetite before main mail. It's the combination of flavours from Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East that is savoured with good friends, cool drinks and dappled in sunshine.

Again, this recipe only recommended Lemon and not Cilantro. My experience as a kitchen staff back then at my school's restaurant, Bluff's, taught me that Cilantro would be a delightful addition. Besides, I have this undying love for Cilantro.

The most exciting part of food is the preparation stage, before any cooking begins. Cutting up onions, getting the spices ready, and most of all cutting my Lemon in halves and chopping my bunch of Cilantro. The aroma of Lemon and Cilantro immediately flew in the air... They are so perfect for each other and were meant for one another =p

Check the recipe out for yourself. It's the basic recipe, straight from the book.


125 g dried chickpeas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
a pinch of cayenne
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
salt, for seasoning
bunch of cilantro, chopped

1) Soak the dried chickpea overnight in plenty of water. Drain and transfer to a pot of boiling water. Cook uncovered over medium heat until tender, around 1 hour. Drain.
2) Heat the pot, add olive oil and chopped onion. Sautee for two minutes. Add the cumin, cayenne and chickpeas. Cook until it's aromatic, around 2 minutes.

1 teaspoon of cumin goes in...

3) Place in a food processor or a blender and add the Lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and the garlic cloves. Process while pouring the rest of the olive oil until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt.
4) This is where I add Cilantro and more Lemon juice. Pulse the mixture three times.
5) Transfer to a ramekin and serve! Can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Here are my variations of how to enjoy this versatile chickpea-dip...

Hummus Island

Plain Hummus, Hummus with Red Shepard Pepper and Homemade Pita Bread

Now back to the Chili. I enjoyed preparing it as much as I enjoyed waiting for all of the liquid to be reduced. Right you'd expect that I'd provide the recipe for the chili as well. I would LOVE to, but I am so exhausted. And as I mentioned before, this post has been long overdued. So, I'm just gonna post what I have right now and continue with my dazzling experience of a week with Chili later on =)

to be continued.....


Anonymous Aeons said...

Nice picture lemon and cilantro =p

6:44 AM  

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