In the Kitchen with Sigona’s: Freshly Made Local Hummus and Sliced Crimini Mushrooms

Fresh-Baked Pita Chips & Hummus

You can make your own pita chips in about 15 minutes, did you know? It’s true! The outside is crisp and the inside is tender. Plus, you can add any seasoning you wish. The choice is yours.

Fresh-baked Pita Chips & Hummus IMG_2127_e_smWhat you need:

  • Pita bread, such as locally made pitas from Oren’s Hummus in Palo Alto
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press Mild California Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Any seasonings you’d like (one or more): such as oregano, chili powder, cumin, garlic, rosemary or even cinnamon (if you’re looking for something on the sweet side)
  • Plain hummus, such as locally made Yamba Hummus from Palo Alto

Directions: With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice each pita into 8 wedges. Spread out the wedges on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you choose, if desired. Bake at 400F for about 10 minutes or until pita wedges are toasted and golden.

Serve with hummus.

Crimini Mushrooms & Pearl Onions over Chicken Cutlets with a Fresh Herb & Wine Sauce

With a tip of the hat to chicken piccata, this dish employs lightly breaded chicken cutlets topped in a lovely wine sauce, complete with pretty, petite pearl onions and those woodsy baby bellas we also know as crimini mushrooms. Inspired by Cooking Light. Serves 4.

Crimini Mushrooms & Pearl Onions over Chicken Cutlets with a Fresh Herb & Wine Sauce  IMG_2045_e_smIngredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 TBL all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Mild California Arbequina extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. butter, divided
  • 1 heaping cup sliced or quartered crimini mushrooms, ends trimmed if necessary
  • About 15 pearl onions
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 TBL chopped fresh basil or tarragon

Directions: In a saucepan, bring the stock, shallot, bay leaf and garlic to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes or until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Remove solids with a slotted spoon; discard.

Meanwhile, prepare the pearl onions by bringing a couple inches of water to boil in a small saucepan. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute. Drain and then place in an ice bath. Once cooled, drain and then remove the skins (Tip: slice a bit off the root end then squeeze the onion from the bottom. If you’re lucky, it’ll slip right out of its skin.)

Heat 1 TBL olive oil a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms; cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon and lightly tent with foil. Set aside.

Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally to form 8 thin cutlets. Sprinkle each side of the cutlets with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour.

To the same skillet used for the mushrooms, over medium-high heat, add 1 TBL olive oil and 1 tsp. butter; swirl until butter melts. Add 4 cutlets to pan; cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from pan to a serving dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 1 TBL olive oil, 1 tsp. butter and 4 cutlets. Transfer cooked chicken to a serving dish and tent with foil.

To the same skillet, over add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. When bubbling, add the stock mixture. Bring to a boil, stir in salt, pepper and basil or tarragon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until the sauce has thickened a bit.

To serve, spoon sauce over chicken. Enjoy immediately.

Fresh Veggie & Hummus Stuffed Pita Pockets

Looking for tips to maintaining or improving your waistline trim in 2014? Keep prepped veggies in your fridge so you can quickly spread a little hummus in a pita pocket and stuff it with fresh, crisp veggies that will satisfy your craving for a sandwich. If you’re looking for a little more protein, add in some grilled chicken strips.

Fresh Veggie & Hummus Stuffed Pita Pockets IMG_2105_e_smWhat you need:

  • Pita bread, such as locally made pitas from Oren’s Hummus in Palo Alto
  • Plain hummus, such as locally made Yamba Hummus from Palo Alto

May we suggest:

  • Spinach or arugula
  • Bean sprouts
  • Matchstick carrots
  • Julienned bell pepper
  • Sliced red onion
  • Cucumber or zucchini, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • Sliced crimini mushrooms

Directions: Wrap the pitas in a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Slice the pitas in half. Carefully spread 1-2 TBL of hummus on the inside of the pocket. Stuff with assorted veggies then…take a bite.

Hummus-Crusted Chicken Roasted with Seasoned Fresh Vegetables

Aside from joining the clean-plate club after enjoying this dish, the best thing about it is the aroma that fills your house while it’s in the oven. Delicious! Change up the vegetables or use the mixture we suggest below to make it your own. Inspired by Pinterest. Serves 2-4.

Hummus-Crusted Chicken Roasted with Seasoned Fresh Vegetables IMG_2065_e_smIngredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally in half to make for 4 thinner cutlets
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise then cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 heaping cup sliced or quartered crimini mushrooms, ends trimmed if needed
  • 1/2 a large bell pepper (red, for color, is nice), chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup plain hummus, such as locally made Yamba Hummus from Palo Alto
  • 1 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Mild California Arbequina extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the baking dish
  • 1 TBL Sigona’s oregano white balsamic
  • 2 TBL fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika

Directions: Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Season both sides of the chicken breast cutlets with salt and pepper.

Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil. Add in the shallot, zucchini, criminis and bell pepper. Drizzle on 1 TBL olive oil and oregano white balsamic; season with salt and pepper. Toss the veggies well to coat evenly.

Lay the chicken cutlets in a single layer atop the veggies. Generously coat the top of each cutlet with hummus. Drizzle the entire dish with the Meyer lemon juice and sprinkle the top of the chicken with paprika.

Bake the dish for about 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the veggies are crisp-tender.

Polenta Cakes with Savory Crimini Mushrooms

This dish is impressive, yet supremely easy, thanks impart by the quick-cooking Bartolini polenta. It’s packed with flavor and can be served warm or at room temperature. Adapted from Tasty Guides Vegan magazine. Serves 4.

Polenta Cakes with Savory Crimini Mushrooms  IMG_2151_e_smIngredients:

  • 24 oz. vegetable stock
  • 1 cup Bartolini pre-cooked corn meal (polenta cooks in 5 minutes!)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Mild California Arbequina extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the ramekins.
  • 6-8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 7 TBL vegetable stock
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric or saffron
  • 2 TBL chopped chives
  • 1-2 stems fresh rosemary, for garnish

Directions: Mix together the stock and 1/2 tsp. salt in a pan and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes until very thick and just about pulling away from the sides of the pan. Stir in the rosemary and pepper to taste.

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease 4 deep ramekins with olive oil.

Spoon the polenta into the ramekins and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.

Heat 2 TBL olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cook steadily until reduced, about 4-5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chives and turmeric or saffron, stir well to combine. Remove from heat.

Turn out the cakes onto serving plates and spoon the mushroom mixture on top.

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