March 12th, 2011

Since St. Patrick’s Day is soon approaching, I thought it only appropriate to dedicate this week’s post to the holiday. Even though I’m part Irish, I’m not a big fan of corned beef or potatoes. So, I decided to go with an all green food theme (mostly green, anyway).

I thought I would try a recipe I came across for edamame hummus since hummus, which is typically made from garbanzo beans, is one of my favorite dips. Edamame, which is really just boiled green soybeans, is a great food choice (especially for vegetarians) because of its high protein content. As a plant-based food, edamame is surprisingly high in iron, a mineral that is necessary for storing and using oxygen. Not only that, it is also high in fiber with eight times as much fiber as steamed zucchini. And who doesn’t love a food product that’s low in calories and fat?

Unfortunately, I was not a fan of this recipe. Following the original recipe created a rather bland dip, so I played around with it a bit. I should have played around with it a little more, though, as I still wasn’t satisfied with the final flavor. I will say that this recipe makes a good base for you to experiment with by adding your own favorite spices or herbs. I decided to direct my creative energy towards a good dip chip instead.

If I must say so myself, the homemade pita chip recipe I came up with was amazing. You would never know that they were made out of whole wheat pita bread rounds. While the texture is not entirely crispy, the semi-crispy/semi-soft pita chip texture seemed even better. These flavorful baked chips are good enough to eat all by themselves. In fact, the make up for the lack of flavor in the edamame dip if you choose to serve them with it.

Because I like to use a holiday as an excuse to treat myself with a goody or two, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make an Irish version of one of my favorites: a milkshake. McDonald’s has its ever-popular seasonal Shamrock Shake, so now wikiKitchen has its own (healthier) version. Fresh mint takes center stage in this version. Mint’s aromatic qualities activate glands that secrete digestive enzymes, thereby promoting digestion to help sooth the stomach for those with indigestion, inflammation, or irritable bowel syndrome. Although mint is usually consumed in small quantities, it delivers high amounts of nutrients and minerals: vitamins A and C, manganese, copper, iron, calcium, and potassium, to name a few. Studies on animals have also suggested that mint could be an anticancer food as its phytonutrient, perillyl alcohol, has been shown to prevent the onset of colon, skin, and lung cancers.

I guess I can’t really call it a milkshake since there is no milk in it (yep, you read that correctly). Instead of using milk, I used Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze, which is a brand of almond milk that is readily available at Trader Joe’s and most large grocery stores. As a non-dairy drink, it is perfect for vegans and people suffering from lactose-intolerance. It’s also free of cholesterol and gluten, and has the same calcium and vitamin content as milk. Looks and taste are virtually the same, too, so you really can’t go wrong with this drink. One thing, though. Don’t bother buying the sweetened version. Unsweetened almond milk is sweet enough.  Warning: This shake recipe is extremely addictive!

Happy St. Patty’s Day from wikiKitchen!

Edamame Hummus
Adapted from Half Assed Kitchen

2 cups fresh TJ’s shelled edamame
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp black pepper
Salt, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp water (you may need more)

Place edamame into a food process or blender and process until mostly smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and continue processing until desired consistency is achieved. For a thinner dip, add more water. Note: Feel free to play with this recipe by adding more spices or fresh herbs.

Homemade Pita Chips
Makes 16 chips

2 rounds TJ’s 100% Whole Wheat Middle Eastern Flatbread
2 tbsp Olive oil
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp onion powder
1 garlic clove, smashed
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut each pita round into 8 slices. Combine olive oil, Parmesan, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush pita slice with the mixture. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

St. Patty’s Shake
Makes 1 drink

1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, minced
½ cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
2 cups TJ’s mint chip ice cream
Optional: 5 squirts green food coloring

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Serve immediately & enjoy!

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