A couple of weekends ago, Gabe and I were doing a little home improvement project. Those of you who know us know how unusual this is. Neither of us spends the weekends roaming around the house with a toolbelt looking for something to fix. Pause. Giggle. Sorry, I was just picturing myself in a tool belt.
Throw a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, and a whisk in those pockets, though, and we might have something.
I do aspire to be more handy, but my brain just doesn't seem to take to those fix it projects. I am missing the intuition -- or maybe it's just brainpower -- that it takes to figure them out. And Gabe is only slightly better. Instead of two left feet, we both have two left thumbs. That's four left thumbs in all.
We are more home enjoyment people than home improvement people.
I hope you will understand, then, when I tell you that Gabe and I were giving our full attention to hanging some art that we had bought years ago and finally decided to hang properly. The children were left to their own devices. Chloe drifted over to the art table to draw. Oscar parked himself on the couch to watch his dad and me struggle through this project. And, after reading for a while, Olivia went to the kitchen.
Whirled red peppers, with their skins.
I had told Olivia that I thought we should use the grilled peppers that were sitting in the refrigerator to make a hummus. Now that the children have been back in school for a month, the rotation of lunch food is wearing a bit thin. The children love their sandwiches and quesadillas, but variety is the spice of life, right? Whoever coined that expression must not have cooked for children.
Sometimes to get them to try something new I just deviate one step from something that I know they like. Because all three of our children love Basil Hummus, I thought another flavor might win them over. With grilled peppers and hummus in the refrigerator, a Saturday lunch seemed like the perfect time to try a new lunch box idea. So while Gabe and I were muddling through our project in the other room, Olivia began making the hummus.
After the storm.
She seeded the peppers and removed the stems, but left the skins on and chopped them up in the food processor before I knew what had happened. Normally I would peel the peppers first, but by the time I made it into the kitchen, it was too late for that. The resulting hummus was delicious, though. Because the skin was still on, more of the smokiness of the grill flavor came through.
I was a bit afraid that Oscar wouldn't like it because he isn't always a fan of hummus, so I just put a dollop on his plate and didn't say a word. A few minutes later, I sneaked a peek and it was gone, eaten by the pickiest of the hummus eaters. He didn't like it nearly as much as he enjoyed watching his parents work, though. After observing us miss-measure, drill a whole in the wrong place, make a trip to the hardware store (two if you count coming home to get the wallet), and finally get the darn thing in place, he announced, "This was way more entertaining than I thought it would be. Even one curse word." Very restrained of us, I thought.
Second Helping: Edamame Rice Balls
3 medium sweet peppers
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
approximately 1/4 cup feta
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
smoked paprika or pimenton (optional)
Grill the peppers, turning them frequently until they are black and blistered on the outside. Set them aside to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and seeds, but not the skins.
Whirl the peppers in a food processor with the remaining ingredients except the paprika. Taste. Adjust seasonings if you like. Serve in a bowl with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
Jobs for children: Children of almost any age can pull the tops off the cooled peppers and take out the seeds inside. Other easy tasks include squeezing the lemon and measuring all of the ingredients. The more mechanically inclined can open the can of chick peas and run the food processor.