Look! A recipe! I know you all were getting hungry for another one.
Today’s recipe: Hummus. If you’ve never had hummus then you had better have an allergy to chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), olive oil, sesame seeds (tahini), or garlic, otherwise you have no excuse.
Or you live no where near a grocery store. In which case, I’m very sorry.
I’ve had hummus from several sources. Grocery stores, friend recipes, Greek restaurants, Mediterranean restaurants, other.. restaurants..
Anyways, all hummus recipes revolve around pretty much the same ingredients:
Number 1: Garbanzo beans or Chickpeas. These are the same thing! Please don’t stand there for 20 minutes in the grocery store trying to figure out which one you need. If you’re pressed for time or just want to have the ingredients on hand, go with a canned variety. Make sure you look for one that has low sodium though, because the manufacturers can really pile it in there. We’ll talk more about the sodium thing later. If you’re going for fancy 100% homemade, look for a dried fresh variety that you can boil up on your own. I have yet to try this, but it is on my to-do list. Dried beans do last a veryveryvery long time, but may also require a lot of soaking and prep time before they’re ready to use.
Number 2: Tahini. This is a paste made of white sesame seeds and tastes a bit like an ever-so-slightly bitter peanut butter. You can find it at most big grocery stores (e.g. Wal-mart) and it generally comes in a tin. It will cost you $5-7 and may be the most expensive part of this whole recipe; but it will last you a very long time and, so long as it is refrigerated and closed, it doesn’t spoil easily. My can lasted well over a year. You’ll notice that it usually has a layer of oil on top. DON’T POUR THIS OFF!!! You want to C.A.R.E.F.U.L.L.Y. stir this into the paste. If you get rid of it, your paste is so thick that it’s hard to work with. An alternate to stirring is to look for a glass jar of tahini (I have found this at a local ethnic market) and heat it for about 30 seconds in the microwave (without the lid!) then close it tight and shake it, it should mix in a bit easier. Make sure it’s not too hot to handle first!
Number 3: Olive oil. This almost goes without saying.. you know.. since it’s a Mediterranean recipe and all. If you find an olive oil that tastes good, go with it. I use Wal-mart brand and have no qualms about its flavor. BUT —> ( | ) (heh heh hem.. sorry..) If it’s been sitting in direct sunlight at all or in your pantry since the time of the mastodon, give it a sniff and taste test. If it smells rank or rancid, toss it. If it tastes bleh, toss it and go get a new bottle.
That’s pretty much it. So why do I have balsamic vinegar, garlic, and capers in the photo? Flavor, my friend, flavor. While you can make hummus using just chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini, it’s going to have a very bland or mild flavor; but this also makes it a great base for some really yummy combinations, so have fun! I’ll give you a list of some different add-ins later, ‘Kay?
So, onward to preparation!!
Dust off this baby. If you don’t have one, find one, it makes life happy.
Open your can of chickpeas (if you’re using canned) and drain them into a colander. Rinse them well with water. Remember that sodium thing I mentioned earlier? This helps to reduce it down since the salt is mostly in the liquid around the beans. Dump them into the food processor. Pulse a few times until they look like this:
Add in the chopped garlic (if you’re using it. I recommend it.), and pulse a few more times. I cheat and just break up the garlic a bit before dropping it in and then let the blades do the rest, but if you want to be 100% positive there are no BAM! GARLIC! areas, go ahead and mince it up before you add it in.
Add in your tahini, about 1/4 cup.
Down the chute! Yes, the tahini and garlic are in there already..
With the food processor running, drizzle in about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (if you’re using) and start drizzling in the olive oil. How much depends on how you want the hummus to look when it’s done. The more oil, the smoother the consistence, but also the more calories. I used about 1/2 cup oil and then added about 1/8 cup water. You can also add in any other flavorings at this time. I added capers for a brine-y taste.
Other good add-ins: lemon zest and juice, pitted Greek olives, roasted red peppers, jalapenos, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, Parmesan cheese, or any other savory flavor that you like. Amounts of each will vary depending on personal taste.
After you’ve blended properly, it should look something like this:
And I’m not going to lie, you could sit down with a spoon right there and start eating it, but I recommend putting it into a bowl with a lid and letting it sit overnight. It’s better the next day. However, I did not take this advice and went ahead and chopped up some carrot and celery sticks and sat down to a mid-morning post-workout snack!
And dont’ forget about this..
Yeah.. Don’t forget to clean up your mess! It’ll make your spouse/significant other/roommate/parents happy later. And if you live by yourself, you don’t want to invite unwelcome critters into your home by leaving delicious food leftovers in the sink.
I hope you all enjoy!