Shades of Gray | Spiced Cranberry + Ginger Spritzer | Lemony Swiss Chard Hummus
I can’t quite explain why I thought a pink-hued hummus would be fun, but for exactly one & a half days I couldn’t get it off my mind, and so I attempted it.
Other rosy-minded folk were using roasted beets to turn their dips pink, but try as I might, beets are just not my favorite thing. I imagine Marie Kondo asking if they bring me joy and I would make a face because I think they taste like dirt and she would smile sweetly and I would not feel the shame.
But I digress.
Instead of beets, I opted for the brightly colored stems of swiss chard. Gem-toned stalks of deep pinks, reds, and golds. A quick saute on the stove with a clove of garlic and into the food processor they went with the already pureed chickpea/tahini/cumin mixture.
. . .
January weather is dragging me down, as if I’m in a long distance relationship with the outdoors. More ambitious humans are taking weekend road-trips into the mountains or hiking 20 miles in the rain, ice, and snow. More ambitious humans are doing their best to not succumb to the grayness of it all. I am mostly just cooking and eating, cooking and eating. Sometimes I’m soaking in a salty bath while eating oranges, which is a tad less depressing.
I staged my own mini-intervention this weekend and forced myself out of the kitchen and into the gym (3 days in a row, in fact, and now I’m dead.)
And when the blood moon was being eclipsed, I pulled on my boots and toque and stood outside at midnight, watching my breath fog on the winter air. It felt like an awakening.
. . .
We started the year with our standing ritual of tarot readings. Four of us, gathered around a kitchen table, taking turns interpreting the messages of swords & wands & cups. Some of us didn’t feel like imbibing, which is how these things are usually fueled. A friend concocted a heady mocktail of spiced cranberry and fizzy ginger, and it may have been one of the sweetest ways (figuratively + literally) I have ever crossed over into a new year.
Hangover free is my new motto.
. . .
The food processor whirled but the hummus did not turn pink. Those beet-loving folk knew better than I did. Instead, I squeezed a lemon and threw in some fresh parsley and ended up with a flavorful hummus that also feels healthfully hedonistic.
Which is just as well, because a pink-dip kinda person I am not.
Spiced Cranberry & Ginger Spritzer
Makes about 5 - 6 servings when using tall glasses
This recipe is courtesy of my friend Anastasia Beaverhausen (not her real name). As the recipe is written, it is a refreshing, taste-bud awakening beverage that I’m happy to drink even in the middle of winter. Alternatively, you could leave out the ginger spritz and serve the spiced cranberry warm, mellowing out the tartness with a splash of orange juice or filtered water.
A splash of gin would also not be frowned upon here.
For the spiced cranberry, combine the following and simmer (1-2 hours):
32 oz unsweetened cranberry juice
2-3 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
zest and juice of 1 orange
sugar or honey to taste (unsweetened cranberry juice can be tart and this will intensify as the liquid cooks down. To balance the tartness, start with ~1/2 cup white sugar)
Let cool and steep mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
Pour contents through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids.
ginger soda (I like this one)
*lime or orange slices for garnish (preferably organic)
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add spiced cranberry juice halfway and top with ginger soda.
Garnish with lime/citrus wedge.
*If you plan to serve the mocktail warm, try replacing the citrus garnish with a cinnamon stick instead.
Lemony Swiss Chard Hummus
Makes about 2 cups
This recipe was one of those happy accidents that can sometimes happen in the kitchen. In my woeful attempt at something whimsical, I ended up creating a basic hummus that is elevated in nutritional value with the addition of swiss chard stalks and parsley. The swiss chard does not come through, but you can feel smug knowing you just tricked yourself into eating more veggies.
4-5 stalks of swiss chard
1 clove of garlic (peeled, left whole)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14.5 oz can of chickpeas (drained + rinsed well)
3 tablespoons tahini
1/4 olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 lemon, juiced (see recipe for quantities)
small bunch of flat-leaf parsley (about 8 sprigs, leafy tops only)
salt + pepper to taste
Remove stems from swiss chard with a knife. Reserve leafy tops for another use. Chop stems into 1/2 inch pieces.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, swiss chard pieces, and a whole clove of garlic. Saute till tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.
Meanwhile, place chickpeas, tahini, 1/4 cup olive oil, cumin, paprika, half of lemon juice, and parsley into a food processor. Blitz on high until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
Add the swiss chard. (Remove the garlic clove if low FODMAP.)
Blitz again, taste for seasonings (I added a fairly generous amount of salt and pepper and the rest of the lemon juice, but this will vary for you). Add water for a thinner consistency, in tablespoon increments. Blitz one final time.
Serve with plantain chips, tortilla chips, raw veggies, pita, or use as a sandwich spread.
(If following a low FODMAP diet, keep serving sizes to a 1/4 cup or less.)