Welcome to the Chic-Peas Kitchen!



We're two best friends, Kelly and Suanne, who love to cook! We have a passion for fresh food, complex flavors, and saving time. We'll share with you what's for dinner (really!) as well as how we made it and how we can make it better.

Jump in and learn with us!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Green California Hummus

A friend introduced me to "California hummus" at a local restaurant called Pita Grill, which is a small NYC chain with California Mediterranean flavors. The California hummus is so good, I haven't bothered to check out the rest of the menu. I'm hooked on it. And I decided the only way to cure myself was to try making it on my own!

California hummus is green, herby, but also has that warm nourishment that comes from chickpeas. It doesn't feel as heavy as a typical hummus, but it still carries its weight as a tasty dip at your next event, or mixed with chicken salad. Nom nom!

California Hummus
Serves 4 as a side dish

1 16 oz can chickpeas (garbanzos)
2/3 cup chopped cilantro (stems okay)
1/3 cup chopped parsley (stems okay)
1 jalapeno, chopped (seeds optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste


  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and spices.
  3. Using a hand blender or food processor, add half the olive oil and pulse to blend. continue adding olive oil as needed to get the desired consistency.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  5. Serve with carrot chips, celery, pita chips, over grilled chicken, with falafel, wrapped in an omelette...
  6. Optional add ins can include red pepper, spinach, cheeses - go crazy.

July 4th Menu - Summer Indoor Birthday!

Summer picnics are a lot of fun - but they're also prone to finicky weather, bugs, noise, humidity, and not enough ice, ever. I wanted to combine a way to celebrate our country, summers, and birthdays all together - but indoors. After all, a hurricane was coming and I happen to love air conditioning and fully functional bathrooms.

I wanted an easy picky menu - something that guests could enjoy eating off a plate, but with one utensil. It had to be something they could pick up and eat over and over, going back for seconds or thirds as desired. Dishes should be happy at room temperature and made in advance. The ingredients also needed to be affordable - we were expecting 20-30 people over several hours!!

Here's what we served:
Pulled Pork Tacos (Pork Tinga)
Meatballs
Herbed Ricotta Pasta Salad
Green Bean Almondine with Sesame Ginger Dressing
California Hummus
Bruschetta
Salsa and Chips
Homemade Ginger Ale
Cold Chai




Thursday, January 2, 2014

Winter Entertaining Menus


Feeding large groups is always an endeavor. To usher in the new year, Perry and I decided to go big - we would host two back to back parties. Different groups of friends. December 31 and January 1. And like the overachiever I am, dinner would be homemade, tasty, and hearty.

December 31 was our old church friends, a ladies "cookie party", which was really an excuse for me to bake like it was going out of style (new year's resolutions, anyone?). We had eight ladies and one husband at the table.

Menu:
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles (vegan)
Soft Ginger Cookies (made small, not giant)
Sausage and Pea Tomato Cream Pasta
Sautéed Broccoli
Affogato


In day two of the entertaining extraordinaire, we serve seven guests a hearty winter meal, rich on flavor, but low on kitchen time. This meal does require a good amount of advance planning and prep, but its totally worth it. Then you can spend more time being with people important to you!

Menu:
Miso chicken wings
Seaweed, mushroom, and tofu soup
Slow Cooker Asian Short Ribs - which I would TOTALLY make again
Garlic string beans
White rice
Cookies and ice cream


Sausage and Pea Pasta in Tomato Cream

Feeding large groups is always an endeavor. To usher in the new year, Perry and I decided to go big - we would host two back to back parties. Different groups of friends. December 31 and January 1. And like the overachiever I am, dinner would be homemade, balanced, and hearty.

December 31 was our old church friends, a ladies "cookie party", which was really an excuse for me to bake like it was going out of style (new year's resolutions, anyone?). The number of diners was flexible, so I needed a dish that could be made quickly to accommodate more or less people. Pasta is always a great option here - add more or less pasta to accommodate the group, it cooks quickly, and can be eaten with a gazillion sauces and toppings. This version relies on Italian sausage for the flavor punch. It's flavorful, but you don't need a lot, tastes rich, and mediates me having to salt my own dish. I served the pasta with a side of blanched broccoli and everyone ate until satisfied! (But keep in mind that we also had four different types of cookies around, which will be separate posts!)

Sausage and Pea Pasta in Tomato Cream
Serves 8

6 italian sausage links, squeezed out of casing
2 medium onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 pound of elbow macaroni
12 oz of frozen peas
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 pint heavy cream
cornstarch for thickening

  1. Heat a nonstick tall pan or a pot. If you are using a pot that may stick, add olive oil.
  2. Brown the sausage, breaking apart the meat into small bite sized pieces. Cook until there is no more pink, then drain any excess oil.
  3. Simultaneously, heat a pot of salted water and prepare the macaroni as directed, until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. Reduce the pot to medium high. Add the onions to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove the suc.
  5. When the onions are browned, lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, and oregano, frying together for a few minutes.
  6. Add the peas and stir to incorporate. If the pan is getting too dry, add a half cup of the hot pasta water to the pan.
  7. Add the mushrooms and cook through.
  8. A few minutes before serving, add the heavy cream. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
  9. Make a cornstarch slurry with two tablespoons cornstarch and four tablespoons pasta water. stir until thick yet runny. Pour two teaspoons into the pan at a time, vigorously stirring in the cornstarch before it cooks. Repeat in different parts of the pan until the sauce has desired thickness.
  10. Add the cooked pasta to the pan, stirring to incorporate flavors and allowing the sauce to stick to the pasta.
  11. Serve! Actually tastes better the day after if you have leftovers.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Stuffed Pork Chops (Mushroom Celery Ricotta)

Stuffed pork chops sound difficult to prepare, but they're really not and totally worth it! Its a fun way to spice up a pork chop without marinating and took me about 20 minutes to whip together tonight. In addition, it uses up potential leftovers in your fridge. Tonight, I served the chops with a complementary kale and apple salad with a mustard dressing.



Mushroom Ricotta Stuffed Pork Chops
Serves 2

2 thick cut pork chops (bone in, about 1 inch thick)
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 stalks celery hearts (or 1/2 stalk of regular celery)
1 Shitake mushroom
Salt
Pepper
Parsley (optional)
Cumin
Garlic powder
Toothpicks (the round ones are sturdier than the flat ones)




  1. Mince the celery and mushroom until fine. 
  2. Mix with the ricotta, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and (any other herbs you like).
  3. With a sharp paring knife, cut a slit in the no-bone-side of the pork chops. The slit needs to be about 1.5 inches long, and cut out a large pocket in the inside of the chop. The bone will help you not cut too far in, but allow you to get a large enough pocket to stuff. 
  4. Stuff the cheese mixture into the pocket. I managed to get all the stuffing into both chops, but don't be surprised if you have a little extra. The chop will end up being about an inch and a half thick.
  5. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. 
  6. Using a toothpick, seal the slit in the chop. Basically you want to stick the chop closed in one side and out the other, then back, making a U shaped seam. If your slit ended up being too big, you will need two toothpicks. Try to seal the chop well - the ricotta will melt!
  7. Season the outside of the chops with 1/4 tsp cumin and garlic and a pinch of salt. Pay close mind to the parts of the chop without the pocket - you want to make sure they're salted even though they don't have salty stuffing in those bites. 
  8. Heat a saute pan with two tablespoons olive oil. 
  9. Sear the chops until browned on either side. 
  10. Put in the oven for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. 
  11. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving (don't want anyone getting burned with nuclear cheese)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Maple Brown Sugar Soy Glazed Pork Chops

Spontaneous dinner parties lead to spontaneous meal planning! I had several pork chops in the fridge and guests coming over in an hour. The chops wouldn't have a lot of time to marinate, so how best to make them delectable? Brainstorming with ingredients at hand, I decided that our menu could use a sweet touch and whipped up a quick glaze to spoon over the chops. The result was tasty, sweet yet savory, and yielded a tender broiled chop that was easy to make and tasty to eat.

Maple Brown Sugar Soy Glazed Pork Chops
Makes enough glaze for 5 chops

2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, until sugar is incorporated.
  2. Place the chops on a broiling rack and tray, bone side facing the outer perimeter of the tray
  3. Spoon a teaspoon of the glaze over the meat of the chops, spreading the glaze to the edges. Try not to spill any into the tray, as it could burn easily.
  4. Let the chops sit for a few minutes, until you have to put the in the oven.
  5. Broil for 10 minutes. When you remove the chops, tops should be caramelized.
  6. Turn the chops over, dripping any excess liquid into the tray.
  7. Spoon another teaspoon over the pork chops, spreading to the edges, just like the first time.
  8. Broil chops for another 10 minutes.
  9. Check that the chops are cooked through. Allow to sit for a few minutes and settle. Then serve. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Quick Dry Rub Pork Chops

Perry surprised me last week by coming over for dinner. I had nothing in my fridge and stopped at the grocery store to see what was good. Pork chops looked great, but when Perry saw them, he lamented, "but now I have to wait for them to marinate!"

Fear not, hungry one.

Quick Dry-Rub Pork Chops
Makes 5 chops

1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Mix.
  2. Rub on both sides of chop
  3. Pan fry or grill per usual until rub caramelizes and chop is cooked through.
  4. Eat.

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