Friday, February 3, 2012

Hummus ♥

You may be familiar with hummus, you may not. It's a spread made from puree'd chick peas (or garbonzo beans if your prefer). It is very yummy and healthy, and a great protien alternative for a vegetarian. There are many varieties of prepared hummus you can buy from the grocery store, including red pepper, lemon, eggplant, cilantro, or spicy. In my opinion a good hummus needs no "flavors" -  but it's all a matter of taste.

If you've ever tried homemade hummus you will notice the difference from store-bought immediately. I don't like store-bought, mostly because I don't like the tahini and think it is unnecessary. Greek restaurants usually serve it as a pre-cursor to your meal, sort of like getting a bread basket at other places, or at the very least will be available somewhere on the menu.

Back in my single days I worked as a waitress in several Greek restaurants, one of which I learned their hummus recipe. It was my job to come in each morning and prepare enough hummus for the entire day. At this restaurant we gave each table small ramekins of hummus with toasted pita points as soon as they were seated. Back in those days I was opening huge, industrial sized cans of chick peas. These days I make my hummus one 15 oz. can at a time. As usual I have no measurements, but I promise you will never look at that store-bought hummus the same again.

15 oz. can of garbanzo beans
lemon juice
garlic, diced or chopped fine
salt & pepper
Food processor

Drain the beans and put into the processor. As you add ingredients you will need to taste the mixture. The hummus should be yellowish-beige in color and smoothish when done. The lemon, salt, pepper, and garlic are all flavorings. I like mine very garlicky, so you will be adding and tasting to your liking. The oil is the primary ingredient for that creaminess.

My food processor is a mini one, perfect for making hummus one can at a time. After putting in the beans, I'll add about a T. of prepared crushed garlic, and a  teaspoon each of salt and pepper. The lemon juice is trickier. I'll start out with maybe a teaspoon. If you're using juice from a plastic lemon then squirt for 5 seconds (how's that for a measurement?) Basically you want each ingredient to have it's stamp but not to over power the overall flavor of the hummus. Then I pour in about an inch of oil, turn on the processor and start to puree the mixture. Use a scraper to get all the beans pureed and then taste. If it's not creamy enough then you need to add more oil, which you almost always do (maybe a teaspoon or two, that's all) .

Hummus is best when refrigerated for a bit so that it can chill and the flavors can blend. Also it will have an oily taste at first and chilling it will remove that. So don't judge it right out of the food processor. Among pita bread, veggies dipped in hummus is healthy and yummy. It's also great to add to quesadillas, turkey wraps, or as the main protien in a sandwich.

Fresh pita points taste amazing with this dip. I use flatbread (wheat), brush a little olive oil over the top, and put under 350* for just a few minutes until warmed through and slightly toasted around the edges. Cut into wedges and enjoy!

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