hummus

Best Hummus

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Despite the fact that hummus is the most popular snack and you can buy dozens of different kinds in every supermarket, I still make my own. And every time, a different recipe, always trying for perfection.

I served a version seasoned with zatar and garnished with toasted pine nuts once for an election night get-together.

I've made hummus using dried chick peas and canned.

One year the guests at my annual Break-the-Fast declared that year's hummus the best they ever tasted.

But apparently last year's Break-the-Fast version topped even that! 

So here is the recipe: easy to make, terrific for entertaining, for snacks, as a sandwich spread. Perfect all year, perfect for break-the-fast.

 

Lemony-Garlic Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas (about one pound)

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 2 large cloves garlic

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon zatar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • cayenne pepper to taste (I use 1/8 teaspoon)

  • chopped parsley, optional, about 2-3 tablespoons

  • zatar, optional

  • pita bread or chips

Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Place the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, paprika, zatar, salt and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Process until you reach the texture you like, adding 3-4 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid if you prefer it smoother and softer. Spoon into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with optional parsley and zatar. Serve with pita bread or chips.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Modern Jewish Baker by Shannon Sarna

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When I got Shannon Sarna’s new book, Modern Jewish Baker, I wanted to run into the kitchen and start baking. It’s that kind of book – based on a few beloved, classic, Jewish bakery basics (challah, bagels, babka and so on) plus an amazing number of inventive variations that sound too seriously compelling to miss.

Exactly my kind of cooking.

One problem. I have to lose weight and get my glucose at normal levels before my doctor’s appointment next month.

OY! Which of these fabulous bakery items should I make and still be on the straight and narrow path until the doctor thing is over?

Challah was out because, ok, I had tasted Shannon’s pull-apart spinach-cheese version at the book launch party and had to stop myself from eating more only because it would have been rude and gluttonous not to leave some for the other guests.

Bagels? No way, because then I’d eat a couple of those fat, crispy-crusted, puffy-inside things, load them with cream cheese and lox and then have to promise to start my diet “tomorrow.”

Rugelach or babka? Tell me the truth -- could you eat just one piece?

Me either. I had several samples at that launch party and – see above for thoughts on my ability to control myself if I had this stuff in my kitchen.

So it was down to either matzo or pita.

I chose pita because matzo means butter. Lots of it, or matzo brei loaded with sour cream, so, no.

Pita it was, because then I could have it with the hummus I could make with the recipe from the book and that’s healthy, right? Also, how much pita can one person eat? It's plain old bread, no chocolate or cheese or other extras.

Believe it or not, one person can actually eat quite a bit of plain old pita when it’s this good. Plus, it is really a thrill to see those yeasty rounds come out of the oven and actually look like packaged pita! (But taste much fresher and better). I felt like a triumphant teenager who had baked her first cake. Who knew you can make pita at home?! I’ve been at this cooking thing for years and years and never did it before.

But I will again! This stuff is not only tasty, but fun to make.

And the hummus was quite good too!

I’ll start the diet tomorrow.

This book is a winner.

Bonus recipe from the book -- Classic Hummus (Modern Jewish Baker):

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and shells removed
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus additional for serving
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • Paprika (optional), for garnish
  • Za'atar (optional), for garnish

Place chickpeas, tahini, cumin, salt and garlic cloves in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Puree for 30 seconds. Add olive oil and process until smooth. Add water one tablespoon at a time until desired smoothness. Spoon onto plate or into a bowl. Top with paprika or za'atar and an extra drizzle of olive oil for serving.

Can be kept in an airtight container for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

 

Hummus with Dried Chick Peas and Tahini

My dad, who was in the fabric business, always had to be thinking six months ahead. In June, for example, he asked himself what sort of material women would want to buy to sew a dress or skirt the following December.   It’s the same in my business, food writing. I’m already testing recipes for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, even though the sun is brilliant, the leaves are still green and it’s 90 degrees outside.  All this means that I decided on my Break-the-fast menu several weeks ago, even though Yom Yippur doesn’t end until sunset October 4, 2014.  I always serve a new hummus version for this occasion. Hummus is usually the first bite that people eat when they come to my house. And because I work ahead, I’ve already completed all my hummus experiments for the year.  The recipe below, made with dried chick peas, is the winner for this year’s get-together. Dried chick peas give hummus a rounder, richer, nuttier flavor than the kind made with canned beans. The hummus tends to be drier too, so I keep some of the cooking liquid available to stir in at the last minute, just in case.  Don’t be surprised by the addition of a tiny amount of baking soda. It helps soften the chick peas and make the hummus smooth and creamy.        And by the way, you don’t have to wait until October to make this. Hummus is a treat any old time as a snack, sandwich spread, party dip.  You know.                                                                                                                                        Hummus with Dried Chick Peas and Tahini   1 cup dried chick peas  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1/3 cup tahini  6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice  2 tablespoons olive oil  3 cloves garlic  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin  1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste  1/2 teaspoon salt  1/2 cup cooking liquid from chick peas, approximately  zatar  cut up pita wedges  Place the chick peas in a bowl, cover them with water and let soak overnight or about 10 hours. Or, place the chick peas in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the peas for 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pot and let the chick peas soak for 1 hour. Drain the chick peas. Place them in a pot, cover with water (by about one inch), stir in the baking soda, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about one hour or until the chick peas are tender. Drain the chick peas but reserve some of the water. Place the chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt in a food processor. Add about 1/4 cup reserved bean liquid and process until well blended. Add more bean liquid depending on desired consistency. Place the hummus in a serving dish and sprinkle with zatar. Serve with cut up pita wedges.  Makes about 1-1/2 cups      

My dad, who was in the fabric business, always had to be thinking six months ahead. In June, for example, he asked himself what sort of material women would want to buy to sew a dress or skirt the following December. 

It’s the same in my business, food writing. I’m already testing recipes for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, even though the sun is brilliant, the leaves are still green and it’s 90 degrees outside.

All this means that I decided on my Break-the-fast menu several weeks ago, even though Yom Yippur doesn’t end until sunset October 4, 2014.

I always serve a new hummus version for this occasion. Hummus is usually the first bite that people eat when they come to my house. And because I work ahead, I’ve already completed all my hummus experiments for the year.

The recipe below, made with dried chick peas, is the winner for this year’s get-together. Dried chick peas give hummus a rounder, richer, nuttier flavor than the kind made with canned beans. The hummus tends to be drier too, so I keep some of the cooking liquid available to stir in at the last minute, just in case.

Don’t be surprised by the addition of a tiny amount of baking soda. It helps soften the chick peas and make the hummus smooth and creamy.      

And by the way, you don’t have to wait until October to make this. Hummus is a treat any old time as a snack, sandwich spread, party dip.

You know.                                                                                                                                  

 

Hummus with Dried Chick Peas and Tahini

1 cup dried chick peas

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup tahini

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cooking liquid from chick peas, approximately

zatar

cut up pita wedges

Place the chick peas in a bowl, cover them with water and let soak overnight or about 10 hours. Or, place the chick peas in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the peas for 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pot and let the chick peas soak for 1 hour. Drain the chick peas. Place them in a pot, cover with water (by about one inch), stir in the baking soda, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about one hour or until the chick peas are tender. Drain the chick peas but reserve some of the water. Place the chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt in a food processor. Add about 1/4 cup reserved bean liquid and process until well blended. Add more bean liquid depending on desired consistency. Place the hummus in a serving dish and sprinkle with zatar. Serve with cut up pita wedges.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

 

 

Hummus with Zatar

I come from a talkative and political family, a family who discussed lots of different stuff at the table over dinner. I was the youngest child, but was still included, encouraged to have my say.  I remember that we yakked about all sorts of things from what happened at school to when we were going shopping for new socks to why we had to take polio vaccinations to whether the government should put fluoride in the drinking water.  On the drive back from college one year my parents, brother and I discussed the merits of Medicare.  On that same trip — during the 1960s — we drove through Tennessee to visit my father’s sister and we were all aghast at the signs in the restaurants saying “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” We knew what that meant and found it horrifying.  It prompted a family discussion about civil rights.  We were a lively bunch and, thinking back, a thinking bunch too. We actually cared about issues and people and what kind of country we were living in.  My parents and brothers always talked about the importance of voting. Not just because we were people who were passionate about issues, but because it is so important to exercise a right that so many people don’t have. And to voice your opinion.  Every vote counts. My one vote among the millions makes a difference. To the total tally and also to me, because if my candidates win I can feel proud to be part of the victory. And if they lose, well, it won’t be because of me.  Please vote everyone. You are too important not to.  I will be hosting an election night get-together, something I do every four years. My guests are friends and family who feel the commitment to vote as strongly as I do (including one of my brothers).  We’ll be having sandwiches (smoked fish, cream cheese, bagels) for dinner so we can eat in the family room and watch TV for hours.  But we’ll start with a few hors d’oeuvre. Including hummus.  I like zatar, the Middle Eastern spice blend, so I’ll make this easy hummus recipe and sprinkle the seasoning on top.  There will be popcorn for sure and leftover Halloween candy.  Plus a pie.  It’s always a comfort to share this evening with other people. I recommend it highly.  Please vote.   HUMMUS WITH ZATAR      1/3 cup pine nuts  1 15-ounce can chickpeas  1/4 cup fresh lemon juice  1/4 cup tahini  1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil  1 clove garlic  1/2 teaspoon salt  1/4 teaspoon ground cumin  2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley  zatar  pita chips     Toast the pine nuts until lightly browned. Set aside. Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Place the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, garlic, salt, cumin, parsley and pine nuts in a food processor. Add 4 tablespoons to 2/3 cup reserved bean liquid, depending on desired texture (start with the minimum). Process until blended to the desired texture. Place the hummus in a serving dish. Sprinkle with zatar. Serve with cut up pita wedges or pita chips.  Makes 1-1/2 cups

I come from a talkative and political family, a family who discussed lots of different stuff at the table over dinner. I was the youngest child, but was still included, encouraged to have my say.

I remember that we yakked about all sorts of things from what happened at school to when we were going shopping for new socks to why we had to take polio vaccinations to whether the government should put fluoride in the drinking water.

On the drive back from college one year my parents, brother and I discussed the merits of Medicare.

On that same trip — during the 1960s — we drove through Tennessee to visit my father’s sister and we were all aghast at the signs in the restaurants saying “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” We knew what that meant and found it horrifying.

It prompted a family discussion about civil rights.

We were a lively bunch and, thinking back, a thinking bunch too. We actually cared about issues and people and what kind of country we were living in.

My parents and brothers always talked about the importance of voting. Not just because we were people who were passionate about issues, but because it is so important to exercise a right that so many people don’t have. And to voice your opinion.

Every vote counts. My one vote among the millions makes a difference. To the total tally and also to me, because if my candidates win I can feel proud to be part of the victory. And if they lose, well, it won’t be because of me.

Please vote everyone. You are too important not to.

I will be hosting an election night get-together, something I do every four years. My guests are friends and family who feel the commitment to vote as strongly as I do (including one of my brothers).

We’ll be having sandwiches (smoked fish, cream cheese, bagels) for dinner so we can eat in the family room and watch TV for hours.

But we’ll start with a few hors d’oeuvre. Including hummus.

I like zatar, the Middle Eastern spice blend, so I’ll make this easy hummus recipe and sprinkle the seasoning on top.

There will be popcorn for sure and leftover Halloween candy.

Plus a pie.

It’s always a comfort to share this evening with other people. I recommend it highly.

Please vote.

HUMMUS WITH ZATAR

 

1/3 cup pine nuts

1 15-ounce can chickpeas

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup tahini

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

zatar

pita chips

 

Toast the pine nuts until lightly browned. Set aside. Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Place the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, garlic, salt, cumin, parsley and pine nuts in a food processor. Add 4 tablespoons to 2/3 cup reserved bean liquid, depending on desired texture (start with the minimum). Process until blended to the desired texture. Place the hummus in a serving dish. Sprinkle with zatar. Serve with cut up pita wedges or pita chips.

Makes 1-1/2 cups

Best Hummus Ever

Best hummus ever?  That’s what everyone told me Wednesday night at our Break-the-fast. They said it was the best hummus they ever tasted. Also the best texture; smooth but with some graininess; moist but not pasty.  Maybe they were all just hungry? And hummus is the first nibble of food they consumed in 24 hours, the initial tidbit to prepare the stomach before eating dinner?  But I kept it out even during dinner and by the end of the night it was gone, gone gone. Several people took a bit more to eat with the  Mujadarah ,  Spinach Pie ,  Kugel , chopped salad and  egg salad .  So, here’s the recipe. Try it yourself and let me know what you think.   Btw, hummus stuffed cherry tomatoes is a good treat for Sukkot.       HUMMUS WITH ZATAR      15 ounce can chickpeas  2 large cloves garlic  1/4 cup tahini  1/4 cup lemon juice  2 tablespoons olive oil  2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley  1 teaspoon paprika  1/2 teaspoon salt  1/2 teaspoon zatar  Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Place the chickpeas in a food processor. Cut the garlic into smaller chunks and add to the food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice,   olive oil, parsley, paprika, salt and zatar. Process to combine ingredients into a rough puree. Continue to process while adding some of the reserved liquid though the feed tube until the mixture reaches the desired consistency (approximately 3-6 tablespoons).  Makes about 1-1/2 cups

Best hummus ever?

That’s what everyone told me Wednesday night at our Break-the-fast. They said it was the best hummus they ever tasted. Also the best texture; smooth but with some graininess; moist but not pasty.

Maybe they were all just hungry? And hummus is the first nibble of food they consumed in 24 hours, the initial tidbit to prepare the stomach before eating dinner?

But I kept it out even during dinner and by the end of the night it was gone, gone gone. Several people took a bit more to eat with the Mujadarah, Spinach Pie, Kugel, chopped salad and egg salad.

So, here’s the recipe. Try it yourself and let me know what you think. 

Btw, hummus stuffed cherry tomatoes is a good treat for Sukkot. 

 

HUMMUS WITH ZATAR

 

15 ounce can chickpeas

2 large cloves garlic

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon zatar

Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Place the chickpeas in a food processor. Cut the garlic into smaller chunks and add to the food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice,   olive oil, parsley, paprika, salt and zatar. Process to combine ingredients into a rough puree. Continue to process while adding some of the reserved liquid though the feed tube until the mixture reaches the desired consistency (approximately 3-6 tablespoons).

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

Egyptian Hummus with Tahini

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What’s the most popular hors d’oeuvre?

I think it has to be hummus. I don’t have any scientific proof but I once counted the kinds of hummus sold at one of my local supermarkets and stopped when I reached 38.

Thirty-eight kinds of hummus? That’s almost as many varieties as potato chips!

Of course there aren’t actually 38 different flavors. There are several brands and some of them are the same flavor, brand to brand — like garlic flavored or spicy, olive, tahini.

But there are also some that I will call post-modern versions because I can’t think of another word for it. Like Sabra’s chipotle or Buffalo style hummus or Tribe’s hummus topped with Cilantro Chimichurri. Wow, that’s what I call fusion cuisine!

Sorry, but when it comes to certain foods, I am a purist. Like with hummus.

In Egypt, hummus is still blessedly kind of pure and simple, so I’ve been eating it every day with breakfast and dinner. It’s basic stuff: pureed chickpeas mixed with spices, olive oil and lots of tahini. Mix it all up in a food processor, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a few cooked chickpeas and it’s yummy enough. You don’t need to make it more complex or add any sauce or topping. That way you can actually taste the hummus.

Try this version — it’s easy to make, cheaper than store-bought and you won’t have to make a decision about which of the 38 (or more) flavors to buy.

Egyptian Hummus with Tahini

  • 1 pound can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • pita bread

Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Set aside a tablespoon of chickpeas. Place the remaining chickpeas in a food processor with the tahini, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and 1/4 cup of the reserved bean liquid. Process until the ingredients form a smooth puree (turn the machine off and scrape the sides of the work bowl once or twice). If you prefer a thinner hummus, add some more of the bean liquid. Spoon the hummus into a serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and the reserved chick peas.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

Hummus and the Hound

My daughter’s dog Ziggy ate my breakfast yesterday. !@#$%^^&&*

It was yogurt and strawberries and I accidentally left the bowl on a chair outside on the deck while I got up for a few seconds to get something a few feet away. That’s all it takes for this dog. She has a nose for food and will zero in on it in seconds.

Okay, I was almost finished anyway.

Later in the day Ziggy got to the homemade hummus —!@#$%^&* — which unfortunately was in an antique sandwich glass bowl. Not an expensive thing, but it was a good shape and size bowl for hummus, which I make often. Okay, okay, it’s just a thing. But the hummus was really good and it was gone, gone, along with its container.

I had a dog named Rocky when I was about 8. That dog also ate everything in sight and one day it leaped up onto the table and made off with the roast beef my mother just put there for my father to slice.

That was it for my mother who never wanted the dog in the first place. She said we children wouldn’t take care of it (she was right) and that she would wind up with all the work (she was right about that too). The next week Rocky was “living with a nice family on a farm upstate.”

Anyway, if you want a recipe for easy, homemade hummus, here it is. It was good while it lasted:

Lemony Hummus

1 can chickpeas (about one pound)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup tahini

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

cayenne pepper to taste (I use 1/4 teaspoon)

chopped parsley, optional, about 2-3 tablespoons

zatar, optional

pita bread

Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Place the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Process until you reach the texture you like, adding 3-4 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid if you like it smooth. Spoon into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with optional parsley and zatar. Serve with pita bread. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.