The Great California Taste in your own Kitchen

I love California dining!  And I know I’m not the only one.  Many people, no matter what city they live in, have their favorite restaurants, their favorite meals and dishes, and may even have a regular restaurant they dine at every week.  The food is a major part of loving the city you live in.  You have to like the food!  Most of us who love living in California, love California dining.  And at Long Beach, there is no shortage of great restaurants to choose from.  Long Beach, California, has literally hundreds of different restaurants to dine at, with a huge range of cuisines.  There must be a restaurant suited to every taste.  But what about when you are away from home?  You miss your favorite restaurants and those delicious meals you have become so accustomed to, it really makes you homesick!  That is why we have shown you how you can get that great California taste cooking in your own kitchen.

The California Pizza Kitchen

California dining would not be the same with the famous California Pizza Kitchen.  The California Pizza Kitchen, known as the CPK, is a very popular restaurant chain with many restaurants not only across California, but right across The United States as well as several in international locations.  There are 2 restaurants currently in Long Beach, CA: one at the Pike at Rainbow Harbor on S. Pine Avenue, and another at the Marketplace on East Pacific Coast Highway.

Known and loved for its California style pizzas, with their tasty and interesting toppings.  Popular pizzas include BBQ Chicken, California Club, Wild Mushroom, California Veggie, and The Works.  The California Pizza Kitchen is also known for its specialty pastas, including Kung Pao Spaghetti and Jambalaya Fettuccine.  Yummy!  Delicious appetizers include spinach artichoke dip, tortilla spring rolls, and avocado egg rolls.  One of the most popular appetizers is their famous Tuscan Hummus, which is a great tasting hummus, topped with a tomato Checca and served with pita triangles, topped with parsley.  We love this recipe so much; we have a home version of it here below for you to cook yourself!

Other menu items include tacos: including Chicken Caesar, Grilled Veggie and Italian Deli; as well as a nice variety of different sandwiches, salads, and soups. And you can finish of your spicy meal with a dish from their sweet dessert range, which includes a variety of cakes, puddings and pies.  The California Pizza Kitchen also offers a children’s menu, a vegetarian and vegan menu, as well as a gluten free menu and allergen menu.

Recipe and photo provided by Maxie G. Thanks Maxie! Visit her website here.

How to get the Great California Taste in your own Kitchen

If you are travelling, can’t get to a restaurant, or do not live close to a CPK restaurant, you will be happy to know that you can still get that great California taste in your own home.  There are many home recipes from the California Pizza Kitchen as well as many other much loved Californian restaurants available online for anyone to use.  These are great for those wanting to make restaurant quality meals in their own home, and for when you are away from home, and missing your favorite restaurants.

A Home Recipe for California Pizza Kitchen’s Tuscan Hummus

As restaurant recipes constantly change, the recipe below is probably not the exact recipe the CPK is using at the moment.  It is however, a recipe designed to give you that great California pizza kitchen taste in your own home.

If you are an adventurous sort, you can change the ingredients up a bit.  Some variations to consider are:

– Add or remove the number of garlic cloves to the level of garlic taste you prefer.
– Use chickpeas instead of beans in the hummus.
– Make less Checca, to make the hummus more prominent in the dish.
– Use sesame oil or garlic olive oil instead of the olive oil in the hummus.

Ingredients for California Pizza Kitchen’s Tuscan Hummus:

  • 3 cups (approximately 2, 15 ounce cans) of canned cannellini or great northern beans – drained
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice – freshly squeezed
  • ½ a cup of tahini sesame paste
  • 1/3 – ½ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ – ½ of a cup of cold water, if necessary
  • 10 garlic cloves – medium
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • An extra ½ teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 1/8 of a teaspoon of ground coriander
  • ½ a teaspoon of cayeene pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • California Pizza Kitchen’s Checca – see below

Tuscan Hummus Cooking Instructions:

  1. Using a food processor equipped with a steel blade, finely mince the garlic cloves.  Stop processor a few times during processing to scrape down the interior sides of the bowl.
  2. Add in the cups of beans and pulse in processor till they are all coarsely chopped.
  3. While processor is going, puree the beans whilst pouring the sesame paste into the feed tube gently.
  4. Continue to run the processor as you add in the soy sauce, lemon juice and olive oil into the feed tube.  Stop processor a few times to scrape down bowl.
  5. You can now stop the processor.  Open it up and add in the coriander, salt, cayenne pepper and cumin.  Put the lid back on and run machine until the mixture is blended thoroughly.
  6. Now it’s time to check the puree consistency.  If it appears much too thick to use as a spread or dip, add in the ¼ – ½ cup of cold water whilst pulsing machine.
  7. When you are happy with the consistency, stop processor and move the puree into a bowl.
  8. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in refrigerate to cool it.

Ingredients for California Pizza Kitchen’s Checca:

  • 2 pounds (cut into ½ inch dices) of Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil – minced
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic – minced
  • ½ a cup of olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt

Checca Cooking Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix well together until mixture looks even.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Place in refrigerator until it time to serve.

Ingredients for Serving:

  • Pita breads (go for whole-wheat if looking for a healthier option)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh Italian parsley – minced

Serving Instructions:

  1. When Hummus and Checca have been well chilled, and it is almost time to serve the dish, preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Pop the pita breads into the oven and heat for approximately 6-8 minutes, until they have been heated thoroughly.
  3. Remove from oven carefully, and cut breads into triangles.
  4. On a serving plate or serving bowl, pour the chilled hummus into the middle of the dish.
  5. Then pour the Checca on top of the hummus.
  6. Arrange the pita triangles around the hummus on the serving dish.
  7. And then garnish with the minced fresh Italian parsley.
  8. Ready to serve and eat.

The Great California Taste in your own Kitchen

And there you have it!  You can now make the very tasty California Pizza Kitchen’s Tuscan Hummus in your own home.  Enjoy it on your own, with your family, or be a big hit by bringing it with you to parties, or serve it as an appetizer at your next dinner party.  And you can bring a little California taste to your kitchen with this tasty dish.