Harissa Hummus

If you are a Hungry Ali fan, chances are you are already supes familar with one of my new favorite ingredients, harissa. It makes a stunning appearance in my fan favorite lemon harissa chicken. Not only is it a sheet pan miracle, but the smoky, spicy flavors of the harissa paired with bright, zesty lemon steal the show. 

But this super ingredient that stays stocked in my fridge at all times is not just a one-dish pony. As I started to think through other uses for this North African condiment, only one thing came to mind: hummus. 

I have been a hummus fanatic for as long as I can remember. Can you blame me though? It's creamy, savory and healthy(ish), making for one of the most perfect snacks. I will eat hummus just about any way it comes, but my favorite hummus varieties are those that stand out from your classic combination. So when I thought about adding harissa to a classic hummus recipe, it was really a no brainer! 

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Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

I love a good happy hour. I mean, what's not to like? It's an "hour" of the day that's devoted to eating delicious appies while drinking adult beverages and enjoying good company so, yeah, it's kind of my favorite thing to do! But even though happy hour typically means more affordable prices, sometimes it's hard to justify going out for happy hour, especially if you have an appetite for tasty appetizers and adult beverages like I do. 

Which is why I find myself these days embracing and, quite honestly, preferring the "home happy hour." Let me just name all the ways the "home happy hour" wins the happy hour game: 

  1. Sweats and slippers are involved.
  2. Forget uncomfortable bar stools or those uncomfortable metal chairs, you can enjoy your appies and beverage while lounging on your own couch.
  3. Say "bubyeeee" to noisy, overcrowded restaurants and "hello, lover" to your warm, cozy home.
  4. Your bank account will thank you. Trust me. 
  5. You get the joy and satisfaction of entertaining your friends by putting that Pinterest-y bar cart to use (for once) and showing off your cooking skills.

So now that we're clear on the home happy hour totally winning on many levels, it's time to bring your A-game with an appetizer that is easy to make, completely affordable and downright delicious. Introducing the star of your next home happy hour menu, prosciutto wrapped asparagus. 

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Charred Corn Crostini with Chili Salt

When I'm not blogging, cuddling my sweet pup Neville or bopping around my beloved Fremont, I'm working as an event coordinator at Seattle University. There's just something about my super Type A, organized personality that makes me a pretty decent event planner, if I do say so myself!

Not surprisingly, one of my favorite parts of working events is having control over the menu. Word around the office is that I not only thoroughly enjoy selecting menus but I'm rather good at picking a great spread for a party. I'm pretty much the go-to girl for taste testing and finalizing menus because, you know, quality control. It's real hard work! 

Like most of my eating endeavors, I use this recipe scouting as a prime opportunity to research future recipes of my own. One of the last things I tasted from a menu I helped to create was a charred corn crostini with jalapeno aioli and chili salt. It was so good, I may have popped no less than eight of them into my mouth when nobody was looking, so you know that upon first bite I was already scheming a way to recreate these beauties at home. 

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Sausage Stuffed Mini Peppers

This whole entertaining business is something I've fantasized about for awhile now (yes, I really do fantasize about such things). There's nothing I love more than gathering people especially around food and drink. It's the basis for everything that is good in my world! 

But entertaining in our tiny 650 square foot apartment wasn't exactly ideal.  So now that we're living like royalty with luxurious extra 250 square feet in the new digs, I've been taking a crack at entertaining menus on the reg. I'm so into it that I may or may not have even gone as far as starting to map out our holiday menus….gotta stay prepared! 

In all seriousness, there's something so energizing about strategically planning out a menu to impress your friends and family. A good menu isn't just something that will keep people happy and satiated while you're partying the night away, but it's the blank canvas for you to tell your story as a cook. Whether you're wanting to showcase your socialities or just highlight the season's best, creating a killer entertaining menu is your chance to shine! 

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