Modern’s take on Mustarda and Chimichurri

Spicy Mustarda by Modern Day Forager

This cherished (Sicilian) Italian condiment has many faces, made with fruit, (fresh, dried or candied) sugary syrup, wine and the essence of mustard, it is quite versatile.  The specialty dish, Bollito Mistro in northern Italy, traditionally served mustarda along side this hearty stew (similar to the French Pot-au-feu) as a celebration dish in the fall and winter.  It has gained popularity and made its way as an accompaniment on charcuterie, crusty breads, cheese boards, spooned over creamy polenta and it is equally delicious, crowned on poultry, game and fish.  It even adds a depth of savory piquancy and sweet flavor as a quick pan sauce or poured over ice cream.  Our favorite way to enjoy mostarda is to add it to a grilled salami and gruyere cheese sandwich, the mostarda just adds a richness and a spicy-sugary balance to the saltiness of the cheese and salami.  Yum!

 Spicy Mostarda

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup dried apricots
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup dried figs
• 1/2 cup dried cherries
• 1 shallot, minced
• 1 1/2 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2  firm Bartlett pears, cubed
• 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds
• 1 tablespoon mustard powder
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1.  Place the dried fruits, shallot, ginger, wine and honey in a medium saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.  Add pears, mustard seed and mustard powder and continue simmering for another 10 minutes.  (pears should soften but still hold shape)
3.  Season with red pepper flake, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4.  We like our mustarda chunky here at MDF but if you prefer a thinner consistency you can puree part half the mixture and then mix for a medium chunk or puree the entire batch for a jam like consistency.
5.  Let the mustarda cool, place in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator.

Chimichurri Sauce by Modern Day Forager

This acclaimed quintessential Argentinean sauce, chimichurri compliments grilled meats perfectly and is a crowd pleaser you should try for your next summertime gathering.  This fairly spicy sauce is bright, fresh and herbaceous with a garlicky, tangy punch.  Made of parsley, oregano,  garlic, shallots, vinegar, fresh lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and olive oil, this sauce really needs time to meld all of the flavors together, so make a day or two ahead of time, before you serve it.  Not only can you present this table side but if you don’t have the extra time to make it ahead, it also makes a easy and quick (that day) marinade for vegetable kabobs, beef, lamb, poultry,  fish and will really pop and heighten the flavor.

 Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients:

• 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
• 5 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
• 1 shallot
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Place all chimichurri sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed.
2.   Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Plus it makes an incredible cheeseburger topping.  Try adding it to soups, stews and rice dishes, as well.

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

MODERN DAY FORAGER

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An ode to ketchup and mustard…

We all know that ketchup and mustard are the king and queen reigning the condiment world, while we know there is something nostalgic about commercial brands, don’t leave it in the hands of Heinz and French’s.  Embrace making your own handcrafted customized concoctions.
Ketchup by Modern Day Forager


Making ketchup is really quiet simple, and the flavor combinations are endless.  So why not?  If you have an abundance of tomatoes from your garden this summer, why not use these juicy orbs of goodness and build a better ketchup?

MDF FARM FRESH KETCHUP

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 small bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds fresh tomatoes (experiment with your favorites)
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar (3/4 cup if you don’t want ketchup tangy)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Place the first 12 ingredients in a large pot over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes stirring often.
  2. Add the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water.  Turn heat to medium-high stirring often, until liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Pour mixture into a food processor and process until smooth, then pour mixture through a mesh sieve into a clean pot.
  4. Over medium heat stir in red wine vinegar and brown sugar, and reduce to the thickness you desire.
  5. Cool and then store in refrigerator.

If you prefer a chunky style, just omit the sieve step.

Stout Mustard by Modern Day Forager

Don’t hold the mustard or cut the mustard, make mustard!  This top dog condiment is surprisingly a cinch to make.  However, there are a few basics you need to understand about the process for making really good quality mustard.  First, the seeds need a good crushing and grind, and the key here is to add cold liquid (cold stout in this recipe) to add moisture to the mustard seeds.  Mustard gets its bite when the cracked seeds release volatile oils, much like capsaicin, the “hot” in chile peppers and when mixed with the liquid, the result is pungent and spicy.

Second, heat will temper the chemical reaction (much like cutting a onion) so, hot mustard, cold liquid, warmer liquid a more mellow mustard.  Also, in addition of the cold liquid remember that adding an acid is crucial to the recipe.  If you don’t add the acid, the mustard will lose its bite over time.  Adding vinegar, for instance, will stop and set the chemical reaction in place.

Mustard is extremely versatile, with many variations, it livens up and pairs well with sandwiches, cold meats, cheese, greens, burgers and hotdogs.  Rj and I are from Chicago and the only way to eat a dog is with mustard, sorry ketchup.  It also is a great emulsifying agent/stablizer for salad dressings, marinades, dips, sauces and spreads.  By making your own, you avoid all the goop of artificial flavors, fillers, colors and homemade just tastes better. 

MDF Extra Stout Mustard

 Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds, crushed
  • 1/3 cup Cold Guinness Extra Stout
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mason jar, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until the seeds are broken down and you reach your desired consistency, it will thicken the more you process. (You may also use an immersion blender right in jar)
  3. Store in your refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.
Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography
Modern Day Forager

Strawberry Shortcake

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh strawberries – tops cut off and sliced thinly (remove 1/2 cup and mash)

1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup crushed strawberries.  They will be syrupy.  Add this to the remaining sliced strawberries.  Serve over biscuits and top with fresh whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

· 1 cup heavy cream

· 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

· 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Make sure not to over-beat, or you will have butter.

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We used the biscuits from yesterdays post.  In case you didn’t catch it here is the recipe again.

Gran’s biscuits are all gussied up with macerated strawberries and old fashion whipped cream.  Change up the ingredients and embellish with 1/2 cup of crumbled bacon and 1 cup of buttermilk to the dough and now you have a rich and creamy savory biscuit

Grandma’s Biscuits

Ingredients:

1/2 cup leaf lard, cold and coarsely chopped plus more to grease pan

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup of warm water (105F-110F)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarse pepper

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup yogurt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Grease baking sheet with lard and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand until it becomes foamy (5-10 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, cream of tartar and baking soda.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the lard into the flour mixture until pea sized coarse crumbs form.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add yogurt and yeast all at once and carefully toss with a fork until just moistened, careful to not over mix.
  5. Flour your work surface; roll out the dough to 3/4 of an inch thickness using a rolling pin.
  6. Cut the biscuits using a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter.  Gather trimmings re-roll and cut.
  7. Place biscuits 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes on wire rack, serve warm.*** For a MDF take on Grandma’s Classic ***Replace vanilla extract with balsamic vinegar or any of your favorite extracts and/or bitters, then for an urban table twist try a chiffonade of basil.

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Modern Day Forager

Grandma’s Biscuits

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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Here is a tried and true recipe from my dear grandma who made these by the dozens for my family and boy did we feel special when she made them and  we ate them.  If you master these biscuits and know your biscuit basics you will be on your way to making a mouth-watering golden brown biscuit with a soft and tender interior.

My Grandma’s Biscuits

1/2 cup leaf lard, cold and coarsely chopped plus more to grease pan

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup of warm water (105F-110F)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarse pepper

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup yogurt

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Grease baking sheet with lard and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand until it becomes foamy (5-10 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, cream of tartar and baking soda.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the lard into the flour mixture until pea sized coarse crumbs form.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add yogurt and yeast all at once and carefully toss with a fork until just moistened, careful not to over mix.
  5. Flour your work surface; roll out the dough to 3/4 of an inch thickness using a rolling pin.
  6. Cut the biscuits using a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter.  Gather trimmings, re-roll and cut.
  7. Place the biscuits 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack, serve warm.

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Modern Day Forager

Peach Cardamom Crumble

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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We are pretty sure that you have had crumbles and cobblers before but we are guessing that you haven’t had anything like this!  We have added basil, balsamic vinegar and cardamomnot your grandma’s summertime crumble!

Peach Cardamom Crumble

Ingredients:

Base

6 white peaches, pealed and diced

2 Tablespoons loosely packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon cardamom extract (we used lc finn’s cardamom extract)

1 teaspoon fresh chiffonade of basil

Crumble

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/2  teaspoon citric acid

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place peaches in a greased 9 X 13 baking dish or 6 greased ramekins. (If using ramekins place on a baking sheet) Sprinkle with brown sugar, white balsamic, cardamom extract, salt, pepper and basil. Toss to coat, set aside.

In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, citric acid, salt and pepper then mix until combined. Now add softened butter and mash with a fork until crumble is formed then sprinkle over peaches.

Bake 15 minutes then rotate and bake an additional 15 minutes or until crumble is nicely browned.

You can serve immediately or at room temperature.

We love it with ice cream or a dollop of crème fraiche.

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Modern Day Forager

Fried Green Tomatoes

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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Fried Green Tomatoes

4 medium sized green tomatoes

kosher salt

1 quart buttermilk

1 teaspoon hot sauce (we used Tabasco sauce)

2 1/2  cups all-purpose flour

 1 cup cornmeal

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper

5 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons lard (you can use a vegetable oil if you are averse to lard)

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and refrigerate for 1 hour. Wash off salt in cold water.
  2. Lay tomatoes out in a container and cover with buttermilk and hot sauce.  Soak for about 8 hours.
  3. Combine flour, cornmeal, black pepper and salt in a shallow dish. (We use a pie plate)
  4. Heat lard in a cast iron skillet.
  5. Dredge tomato slices in flour mixture then back in buttermilk mixture then again in flour, shake off excess and place in hot oil.
  6. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and then drain on a paper towel.

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Simple Remoulade Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Creole whole-grain mustard

1 tablespoon horseradish

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, flavor will get better the longer it sits.

Another simple classic sauce for Fried Green Tomatoes

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup ketchup

1 minced clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, flavor will get better with time.

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Classic Remoulade

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

3 tablespoons Creole whole-grain mustard

3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process for about 30 seconds.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, flavor gets better with time and can be made ahead of time.

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Modern Day Forager

Coddled Eggs with Bacon and Chevre

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

We are always looking for different ways to cook eggs.  While preparing for this post, I was reminded of an old legend I learned while in culinary school.

The folds in a chef’s toque represented the number of ways to prepare an egg.  This 100-pleat white hat was only reserved for the heads of the most knowledgeable and regarded chefs who had mastered their craft.

While attending school you are taught to be the best, hone and ply your skills, master every method of cooking and honor your craft.  A pledge of sorts, that defines you.  So for me, it starts with eggs.

Today we chose coddled eggs.  The egg is slowly and gently immersed into the water just below boiling point.  This recipe will also allow you to add just about anything from your pantry or garden to the ramekin or jar you use for the process.

Thomas Keller who is big muckety muck around here at Modern, he does a version at Bouchon with potato puree, earthy mushrooms and fresh baby spinach that would blow your mind.

Doing this week on breakfast cookery took me back to my strong commitment to my profession and why I am honored to be a chef today.  Hats off to eggs!

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Coddled Eggs with Bacon & Chevre

2 Tbl. plus 2 tsp. unsalted, room temperature butter

4 eggs

4 tsp. heavy cream

¼ cup cooked, diced bacon

¼ cup crumbled goat cheese (we like Vermont  Butter and Cheese Company, Chevre)

4 tsp. scallions thinly sliced (we like sliced on the bias)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil a pot of water. (We used a teapot)
  3. Butter bottoms and sides of 4 ramekins (5 to 6 oz.) with 2 tablespoons of butter.
  4. Put ½ teaspoon piece of butter in bottom of each ramekin.
  5. To each ramekin add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of cream, one fourth of the bacon, one fourth of the cheese, 1 teaspoon of scallions, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover each ramekin with foil.  Place each in a baking dish and then fill dish with boiling water half way up the ramekins.

Bake until whites set and yolks are runny, about 20 minutes.  Garnish with additional scallions.

Serve immediately.

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Modern Day Forager

Glazed Grapefruit with Ruby Red Grapefruit & Hibiscus Sugar

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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From perk up to pucker up this is a great start for any morning ritual.  Turn on the broiler if you want a break from the ordinary.  Grapefruit halves are a busy morning classic, but take a few extra minutes and broiling will caramelize the fruit itself and the sugars you choose will compliment the fruits inherent bitterness and bring a unique sweet-smoky flavor to your morning…Hello Sunshine!

Glazed Grapefruit with Ruby Red Grapefruit & Hibiscus Sugar

3 grapefruit

6 teaspoons honey

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Ruby Pink Grapefruit and Hibiscus Sugar (we used La Bella Terre sugar)

Preheat the broiler

  1. Cut each grapefruit in half and loosen sections from the membrane with a small paring knife.
  2. Place the grapefruit halves cut side up on a baking sheet or a muffin pan.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon of honey over each half and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar and grapefruit hibiscus sugar.
  3. Place grapefruit under broiler and brown well, about 3 minutes.  Remove grapefruit and serve warm.

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Modern Day Forager

Sweet & Salty Nuts

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Food Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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So we have a second recipe for you today.  We thought you might need something to eat with all the cocktails we are giving you.  So how about some fancy nuts!  Okay so they aren’t super fancy but they are super easy.

Sweet & Salty Nuts

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 cups of nuts – unsalted & raw, we used cashews, pistachios, pecans, almonds and walnuts

4 tablespoons butter – unsalted as well

5 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  1. In a large skillet pan, on medium high heat, dry roast the nuts.  Stir frequently so they don’t burn, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add butter and continue cooking until the nuts start to darken, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar.  Add a tablespoon of water and continue stirring to coat all the nuts with sugar and spices.
  4. Remove from heat and transfer to a parchment lined pan.  Spread them out in a single layer and allow them to cool and harden, about 10-12 minutes.
  5. When cool transfer to an airtight container.

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Modern Day Forager

 

 

Zucchini Hummus

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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Did you know you can make hummus out of almost anything?  Well here is our take on zucchini hummus and its delightful!  With a little prep you can have this ready to go for a party days ahead of time.  For the zucchini, choose medium to small ones.  If once you slice them open, you see the seeds are large and watery, use a melon baller or spoon to scrape out.  Don’t dig too deep, you don’t have to get them all.  If they appear firm and the seeds are small you don’t need this step. Enjoy!

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Grilled Zucchini Hummus

Makes approximately 2 cups

1 large zucchini (about 1 pound total)

1/4 cup tahini

3 to 4 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat grill to high.  Use an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs to lightly oil the grill grates. We also tried with a grill pan and it worked very well.
  2. Remove the ends of zucchini, then slice in half, lengthwise.
  3. If you find the seeds are large and watery, use a melon baller or spoon to scrape out.  Don’t dig too deep, you don’t have to get them all.  If they appear firm and the seeds are small you don’t need this step.
  4. Place the zucchini on the grill, cut side up, then reduce heat to low.  Cook for 10 minutes, just until browned and starting to get tender.  Set aside to cool.
  5. When zucchini has cooled enough to handle, place in a food processor.  Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, smoked paprika and salt.  Process for 1 minute or until smooth.

The hummus can be served immediately or you can chill it for up to a week.  The hummus will thicken slightly as it chills.

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We enjoyed this with red and white radishes.  You can also serve with fresh pita, carrots or other vegetables for a new summer favorite side dish.

We would love to hear if you tried this recipe.  You can connect with us in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Modern Day Forager