kickin’ homemade hummus.

kickin’ homemade hummus.

I have been promising this one for a while.

Mostly because I cannot tell you the number of times I have watched someone sidle up to a table of potluck munchies, select his or her preferred scooping mechanism – pita chip, carrot stick, extended finger – load it up and then, upon chomping down on a crunchy bite, proceed to light up (hyperbole)*, exclaim in ecstasy (gross exaggeration), and, head-spinning cartoonishly (now I’m just being silly), demand to know what mere mortal summoned from the heavens such a sanctimonious mouth-pleaser.

*Definitely snagged that paranthetical aside (and the use of an asterisk for an asinine comment mid-buildup) from Tina Fey’s Bossypants, in which I’ve been so immersed that I missed my stop on my way home today. (If I tell you that my commute currently averages an hour-fifteen and that I compulsively count down the last few stops unless thoroughly distracted, this may mean more to you.)

Okay, so about that hummus descended from heaven. It’s not really. Descended from heaven, that is. But I am constantly amused at how oddly dumbfounded many of my friends are by the idea that, rather than running into [insert health-food store of choice] to buy some overpriced pre-prepared hummus in an easy-to-transport disposable container, I would instead whip up a batch myself. “WHAT?! Seriously, YOU MADE THIS???”

As flattering as this response always is, I can’t help but reply with a sheepish grin before explaining in earnest that it’s actually super easy and that you, too, can totally make your own hummus! Depending on who I’m talking to, this tends to get one of two reactions: over-enthusiasm in the form of vigorous head nods, bulging eyeballs, both lips and eyebrows that arch creepily skyward (presumably followed by heavy eye rolls once I turn around) OR enthusiastic suggestions that I should post the recipe to my blog.

Oh yeah. I did say I wrote one of those, didn’t I?

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asian turkey balls.

asian turkey balls.

A shameless perk of writing your own food blog is that you can post your favorite recipes to the Interweb to refer back to in a snap.

Earlier this week, I opened the ol’ blog to reference the Spicy Tortellini with Eggplant and Peppers recipe and was hit pretty hard by the fact that it was the last thing I’d posted. I’m not one to make the same thing week after week because, frankly, it bores me. (Also because I’m constantly tearing out new recipes and sticking them to the fridge, which results in a revolving collage of culinary inspiration.)

Thus, my circling back to the tortellini not once but TWICE was speaking loudly to my absence from the blogging arena. To make it up to you, I shall deliver upon my return a most wondrous dish: Asian Turkey Balls. Erm, Meatballs.

The name may not activate your salivary glands or get your tumbly rumbling, but let me be perfectly clear: These Asian Turkey Balls are so savory and succulent that once you’ve tried them, you won’t care what they’re called. ‘Nuff said.

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garlicky sautéed shrimp, arugula and tomatoes.

garlicky sautéed shrimp, arugula and tomatoes.

I love shrimp. They’re heart-healthy, quick to defrost and great with endless flavor combos, so I always keep a bag of them in the freezer.

This fall, I also fell in love with arugula and its peppery taste and crisp, yet tender bite. I pick it up in bulk, rather than pre-bagged and keep it in a sealed Ziplock with a paper towel, which helps it stay fresh longer. It’s great for salads and on sandwiches, but as I’ve noted the abundance of recipes incorporating it into warm dishes, I recently tried one out to great satisfaction.

I actually found this recipe in the pages of Everyday Food’s June issue, as I had recalled a feature on arugula, but it was a light and tasty dish for a weeknight and literally took 15 minutes to make, as promised. Plus, arugula and tomato are both sources of Vitamin C to help stave off seasonal colds.

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not your ma’s brussels sprouts.

not your ma’s brussels sprouts.

When I was about ten, my younger brother and I sat at the dinner table alongside my dad with grimaces on our faces as we peered at the foul-smelling, mushy green spheres taking up real estate on our plates. As smelly steam rudely crept into our nostrils, my mother grabbed her purse, kissed us on the heads and scooted off to her monthly neighborhood Bunko night.  Before the door closed, she promised over her shoulder, “Just eat ’em, they taste like lettuce.”

A bigger lie has never been uttered.

Brussels sprouts, unarguably, have a bad rap. Especially among clans of playground-dwellers. Before I’d ever laid eyes on one, I knew the ominous veggie was no good and that I should do everything in my power to steer clear. They were the butt of jokes and the focus of books in which kids were forced to sit at the table until they choked them down. (Those books also tried to convince you how tasty and nutritious Brussels sprouts are for you, but we knew better.) I considered myself immensely lucky for never having personally experienced such a torment.

Lucky, that is, until that fateful dinner.

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scallion-ginger broth with shrimp.

scallion-ginger broth with shrimp.

Alas, this post I found in a dusty back corner of my blog’s draft storage room, piled beneath several other incomplete ideas. I thought of it because a lovely fellow blogger requested recipes with fresh ginger, but upon digging into storage to get her a link to this recipe, I discovered I had completed all but the last sentence or two. Ugh.

Nevertheless, I tell myself, as this was a savory treat made early this summer, it’s likely to be a more appealing experience now that the season is tempering and giving way to cooler, breezy nights (at least in New York, anyway).

Note: I’ve left the rest of the post intact to maintain its original integrity… and because I’m lazy.

Despite the steamy weather, I’ve been on a soup kick. My subscription to Everyday Food Magazine was one of the best $10 investments I’ve made in a while. Each issue is chock full of useful tips and practical recipes… and because the issues are pint-sized, you can easily tote one in your purse or back pocket on a grocery run, keep it handy without taking up valuable counter space as you cook and stash it with your cookbooks for future referencing.

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chilled cucumber-mint soup.

chilled cucumber-mint soup.

As promised, the souping ensues…

Many moons ago, when there was still a chill in the air and scarves were wrapped snuggly around necks, I stumbled upon a recipe that I thought would interest my mint-loving man. I mentioned it to him. Actual globules of drool could be heard dropping onto his iPhone. (Good call on the screen protector.) He’s been bugging me to make it ever since. However, when it’s 45 degrees outside, a cool-as-a-cucumber meal isn’t what I call comfort food.

But now it’s May. And it’s Texas. So it’s already danged hot. Oh, I know. This is nothing to where we’ll be in a couple months, but I’d say it’s certainly warm enough for a summertime treat. Tuck this recipe in the pocket of your cut-offs, and you’ll welcome the face-melting heat as an excuse to cool off with this refreshingly breezy blend of good-for-you ingredients. (Also a great excuse to hit up your local farmers market.)

To whip together this Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup, brought to you by the Martha Stewart Empire, you’ll need:

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