Spicy Black Bean & Red Pepper Hummus

Spicy Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

So a friend of mine had a housewarming party recently, and I wanted to make something fun for the guests to nosh on while in attendance. So I decided to make something homemade to take.

I love hummus and I love to experiment with it. Typically, I prefer making mine with cannelloni beans. But this time I wanted something new and exciting.

Hummus is quite easy to make (and even easier to buy). But it’s about having fun making and experimenting with it. So I can’t refuse making it.

I started with a 15.5 oz can of black beans. I find that throughly rinsing the beans makes the freshest tasting hummus. I emptied the beans into a colander and ran cold water over the beans until the water ran clear.

I have made tahini paste by hand before, but this time I decided to purchase the pre-made tahini from the grocery store. And rather than roasting my own peppers, I used pre-roasted red peppers.

Typically hummus calls for the use of a lemon. But I decided that I’d give this hummus a Caribbean flare. So I substituted a lime for the lemon. And I added one jalapeño for a spicy kick. I cut off each end of the pepper and completely removed the seeds and membranes. I diced the pepper into very small pieces.

Garlic is a MUST in any hummus I make. But since hummus isn’t cooked, I decided to use garlic paste. Fresh garlic is so yummy but the paste is just as yummy.

A food processor makes the creamiest hummus but this recipe can also be done in a blender. If using a blender, I suggest adding the beans in two separate transactions. This time I only had access to a blender, so this is how I assembled the hummus:

Half of the beans into the blender, followed by 1-2 tbsp of garlic paste, the finely diced jalapeño and 2 tbsp of cold water. I give this part a good whirl and once combined, I stop the blender and then add 1/3 cup of tahini paste and the juice of one lime and then blend well for a minute or so. Once this is combined, I add the remaining black beans and blend for 1 to 2 more minutes to assure that everything is thoroughly combined. (If the hummus is thicker than you desire add another tbsp of water and blend again. Repeat if you want it even thinner.)

Combine with zesty crackers or carrots. The taste is spicy* and heavenly.

Recipe Items

  • 15.5 oz can of Black Beans
  • 1/3 cup of Tahini Paste
  • Couple of Red Roasted peppers diced
  • 1 Jalapeno seeded and diced finely
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1-2 tbsp on Garlic Paste
  • Juice of 1 Lime

OhMyYum! Enjoy

Spicy Black Bean & Red Pepper Hummus
  • *While this recipe is NOT a five alarm chili, for those friends who don’t like spicy, suggest the carrots and chips without this yummy hummus.

Berry Patch

My good friend George challenged me to make a Blueberry drink.  So I took up that challenge.  I decided I wanted to make an after-dinner drink, a dessert type drink.

I tried to make a drink with fresh blueberries as a base.  I love blueberries; however, they’re really not that sweet.  I tried several different ways, but none suited me.  But my frustration only spurred me on.

I then set out in a different direction.  I decided to try a Blueberry flavored Liqueur.  I went in search of one. At my “happy place” in Knoxville – McScrooges, I found Vergnano’s Mirtillo Liqueur.  Honestly I thought Mirtillo was such a cute name.  It means Blueberry in Italian.  “Old Dog Learns New Trick” moment.   Once I brought it home, I had to have a little taste.  I wanted to know if I’d like it on its on, and would I think it would mix well.  And the answer to both questions is Yes!

On its own, the Mirtillo isn’t very sweet.  I has a wondrous hint of blueberry.  And it’s smooth.  Very smooth.  So it makes for a great sipping drink all on its own.

  It’s #OhMyYum

Now I felt I was on the right track.  As with my Lucky Black Cherry, I love to use Chambord.  (See my earlier yummy recipe.). Chambord is such a yummy Black Raspberry liqueur.  And it makes such a great addition to drinks and also as a stand-alone bit of yumminess.

Now that I was sold on two major ingredients, I needed a base.  I have a few go-to’s to that I love.  For an after dinner drink, I find Vodka works best.  Recently I have discovered Effen Vodka.  Not only does Effen make great vodka, they make really great flavored vodkas.  I chose the Black Cherry version for this recipe.  (The Blood Orange will be featured soon.  Stay tuned!). But for now, the Black Cherry is the star of the show.

And here is my recipe for Berry Patch:

Pour the first three ingredients over a few cubes of ice and shake vigorously.  Pour into a punch cup and fill the with the desired amount of Half & Half.  Garnish with a Black Cherry, a Raspberry and a Blueberry.

Enjoy responsibly.  And often!  I drank mine while I enjoyed a bowl of berries.


Peace & Love!!

PS:  I love “fancy skewers and glasses”.  And Crate And Barrel makes some really cute, cool and affordable barware.  Elevate your drink each chance you get!

Seafood Salad

Today’s post comes about because I get the “Munchie Mondays” blues.  Somedays I want something simple and tasty, easy to make, and not too filing.

One thing that I like to make fresh is a simple seafood salad.  You can easily buy one of these at the grocery store, but I prefer to make my own.  It’s super fresh and oh so easy.  And I know how long it’s been on the shelf because I made it myself.

I started with 3/4 of a pound each of Cooked and Deveined Shrimp and Imitation Crab Meat.

My biggest task is not to eat all of the ingredients before completing the salad.  (You can also use other types of seafood, but it must be cooked and cooled beforehand.)  Even though the shrimp is cooked, after I pinch off the tails, I give them a rinse in a colander.  Once washed I add crab to the colander.  I also added some chopped up celery to give the salad a bit of a crunch.

Next I add some seasoning.  Today I used  Dill Weed and a little Orange Zest and notched it up a bit with Tony Chachere’s It’s Spicy More Spice Seasoning.  I love Dill Weed.  I add it to lots of egg dishes and almost all seafood creations.  Adding the Orange Zest gives this seafood salad an extra nice fresh touch.  You can use lime or lemon zest too.  But today I wanted the smoothness of the Orange.  And the Tony Chachere Seasoning adds a whallop of zing and wow.  This seasoning isn’t for the faint at heart.  So I use it a compliment, not as a cover-up.

As usual I create my wet or binding in a separate bowl so I can fold it into the main ingredients.  Today I used 1 heaping tablespoon of Duke’s Mayonnaise and one teaspoon of Woeber’s Reserve Champagne Dill Mustard.

Once I have all of the ingredients combined, I put it in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavors settle and marinate.  If I’m making this for a party, I usually spread some on Pepperidge Farms Dark Pumpernickel squares or on a lettuce leaf.  I garnish it with a little extra Dill Weed and Parsley.  Since I am my only guest today,  I’m eating it just as it is.


OhMyYum.  This is so Tasty and Easy.



Peace and Love


Yankee Pimento Cheese

So we Southerners have surely had our share of pimento cheese.  It’s available in small and large tubs in the grocery store.  It’s at every church homecoming. And it’s delivered to many wakes.  It’s a Staple!

A few years ago,  my sweet friend Charlene Crandall sent me a yummy recipe by Sean Brock that appeared in Gun & Garden magazine.  I have made Sean’s version more than one time to the delight of many friends and guests.  Click for Sean’s Version.

Typically, a big component of Pimento Cheese is sharp cheddar cheese.  I like sharp cheddar cheese as a hint or sidekick, but not so much as a star.  With each batch I make, I try to incorporate something a little less pungent.  Also most recipes are for party size.  I wanted to make “my” version for one or two servings only.

There is probably some really great advantage to grating the cheese. Perhaps it releases dolphins or bluebirds. But for me I gravitate towards pre-shredded cheese.  (Side note:  I’m positive it was a lazy man who invented the remote and not some super athlete.). You may call me lazy, but I bet you will call me to get another helping of my Yankee Pimento Cheese!

Here is my recipe:

  • 2 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • Pimentos (4 oz jar)
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (I heart Duke’s)
  • 3 dashes of hot vinegar sauce (Texas Pete is delish)
  • 2 teaspoons of Mt Olive Simply Relish (Deli Style)
  • 2 tablespoons of Mt Olive Simply Vidalia bread & butter garden salad. (Chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Shake or two of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 oz of “Northern” cheddars (NY, Vermont & Wisconsin) combo
  • 4 oz of Mozzarella & Provolone blend

Refrigerate one at least one hour prior to serving.

This makes enough for two full sandwiches.  It is less bitter and cheddar forward, but to my taste, a wonderful combination of cheeses and pickles.  This Yankee Pimento Cheese please this Southerner and I bet it will please you too.  Enjoy!

( PS. The cheeses were pre-shredded and in the sliced cheese and cold cuts section of my local grocery store.  As for the pickles, I’m for NC and Mt Olive Pickles is “THE” producer of pickles.  I’ve lived in Miami and LA and I’ve eaten 100s of pickles and for me there is only ONE: Mt. Olive Pickles! )

OhMyYum.  This is delish!  Here’s a picture of my batch.

Pimento Cheese


Erwin & Elephants

OhMyYum, yesterday I had lunch with my besties at The Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Chuckey, TN.  No, you (probably) do not know where it is.  It’s literally in the middle of nowhere in the country.  But oh my goodness is it delicious.  And trust me, I made an absolute pig of myself.  I was in such a hurry I only managed to pop off one picture of my dessert.  Otherwise, I ate all of the evidence.

Coconut Cream Pie

And since Coconut is my favorite, I managed to shove one more thing in my “PieHole”.

Afterwards, I rode through the county in a food coma. Along the way I encountered a Skunk Cow.  This cow was so cute with it’s white stripe running from its head all the way along the center of it’s body.


It was either go home and take a nap (not a good idea) or to go somewhere to walk around. I chose to go over to Erwin.  I got out and walked for an hour or more.  My digestive system was so happy.

I’m glad I randomly chose  Erwin.  There is an Elephant Installation in it’s downtown.  From the Facebook link I can see this isn’t the first time.  But, it was my first time.  These elephants are so cute and will be up for auction later in the year.  One might look really cute on my porch.

I LOVE Public Art.  It adds so much to the character of a town.  Los Angeles has its Angels, Chicago has its Cows, Goldsboro NC has its Pigs, Fullerton CA has it’s sheep and Erwin TN has its Elephants.  Fun times indeed.  #CelebrateArt