March 30, 2010

Hi Ho Hummus

As we continue our journey through Moroccan cuisine, there is one Mediterranean staple that cannot be left off the menu: hummus and pita bread. Lucky for my blogger friends and I, the ladies from Farm & A Frying Pan whipped up a mean batch of both.

Now, if you are anything like me, you have tried to make hummus many times.  Whether you decide to eat it as dip or slather on a sandwich, hummus is the perfect quick fix for a lunch or pot luck party. And with five simple ingredients – chickpeas, lemon, tahini, garlic, and parsley – how can you go wrong?  But oh man, can you go wrong.

Whether it is the pungency of fresh garlic or the bitterness of blended herbs, I can never achieve the right balance of flavors.  I have tried roasting garlic and peppers, adding sun-dried tomatoes, dousing the dip in smoked paprika – all in the hopes of covering up my culinary mistakes – but, nothing ever did the trick.

Then, last week, I dipped my spoon into a nutty, bright, perfectly smooth container of homemade dip. Apparently, Jillian had the magic touch (and a neat trick to boot) to making perfectly harmonious hummus. And for a first go-around with low sodium cooking, she hit it out of the ballpark.  Here are her instructions:

For your hummus, I kind of winged it a bit. My boss told me the secret to good hummus is blending the tahini with water before you add in the other ingredients so that it is really liguidy.

Blend/process these together for a minute:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon water

Add and blend/process:

  • half a can of no salt added garbanzo beans, rinsed (30 mg for 1/2 cup)
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • small handful of Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoonish of cumin

I also added a dash or two of turmeric because I knew you were a fan!

And there you have it.  Perfect hummus, ready in minutes.

As an added bonus (Happy Tuesday, Everyone!)let me show you one more unusual way you can use this recipe in your daily life.

There are two things I love about writing this blog: (1) I have complete permission to be creative in my cooking and (2) I hear from readers who are doing the same in their own kitchens.

Reader Roberta recently contacted me about her personal remix of the Beet Burgers I posted a few weeks ago. Because her family does not eat dairy, the ricotta cheese topping had to go.  So she put on her thinking cap and in place of the cheese, she topped her patties with some homemade hummus.

“An interesting taste alternative.  Very good,” according to her report.

Just another lesson in how options are endless and how cooking without a particular ingredient can lead to more impressive results.

More Morocco tomorrow.  Until then, chow on.

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