Tuesday, June 1, 2010
EDU: How to make Hummus
I made hummus yesterday. Usually I buy it from TJ's and never think twice*, but with a long weekend, the apartment to myself and the claws of boredom tightening their grip around my neck Monday afternoon, I hopped onto old reliable (allrecipes.com) and found a winner. It was called "Hummus III" and was submitted by RC2STEP, who claims to have pilfered the secret formula from a Boston restaurant. I don't consider Boston to be the peak in Middle Eastern dining, but the 815 people who voted it 5 stars probably know better than I. Note: the picture above is the World Record largest batch of hummus. No pita in sight. Poor saps.
Here is what you will need:
Before I go on any further, a few notes on these ingredients.
1. Chickpeas are Garbanzo beans, and Garbanzo beans are chickpeas. You're welcome. Now you won't have to spend 15 minutes poring over the canned vegetables and getting THIS close to buying regular hummus and going home.
2. Tahini is not as common as you think. I got most of my ingredients from Stop n' Shop, and while they had Tahini, it was enveloped in an disconcerting layer of dust and no expiration date to speak of. It was also $7. Cocksure**, I said "I'm sure Trader Joe's has it" and left it on the shelf. Well, allow me to spare you the suspense. Trader Joe's did not have it, and in fact they directed me to Whole Foods like a lost child. I am aware Whole Foods has everything under the sun, I just want some damn tahini. Well I biked to Whole Foods (sans HELMET, don't tell JL) and bought some $4 organic tahini and patted myself on the back for saving 3 dollars but wasting 2 hours. My time is valuable.
This is a picture of the monstrosity that was the Stop n' Shop garlic. The lemon is there for scale. It was a large lemon. The recipe called for 2-3 cloves of garlic, but people suggested more. I THOUGHT 3 of the uber cloves was a good compromise. Note: the preceding literary device is called foreshadowing. It is often used by authors to bring attention to a seemingly innocuous plot point which will play a large role later in the narrative.
Forgive the lack of photos here, but it was messy and there really wasn't much to see. I strained two cans of Garbanzo beans and saved the juice (we'll return to this), halved the garlic cloves and tossed them into the blender, along with the beans, 3T of Tahini (which is delicious by the way in a nutty, bitter way***), 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice, most of a jar of roasted red peppers, and some red pepper flakes. Here is a view from the side of the blender:
Note the layers. Another friendly tip; make sure the bottom of the blender is firmly secured to the body of the blender. It sounds like a no brainer, but it isn't (SS). Also, lemons aren't as juicy as you would expect. Perhaps if we owned one of these, I would be whistling a different tune, but 1/4 cup is a tall order to churn out of a lemon. I'm glad there was no one around to see me fight with it. I'm a pretty burly guy, so I took solace in the fact that if I can't do it, it probably can't be done.
When you begin blending the hummus, it will look like baby food peanut butter. Do not panic. Scrape the unblended peas and other bits down into the vortex and repeat. Also do not be alarmed that the blender pictured here appears "hot-wired". It was not stolen, and JL is a professional.
Once you have achieved a uniform consistency, you can start fiddling with flavors and textures. This is where the bean juice comes in. Use it to thin things out. It works wonders. It was around this time when I took my first bite of it and was pretty much knocked into next week. The garlic was SERIOUS. So serious that I added another can of garbanzo beans and the rest of the peppers to try and mellow things out. It seemed to do the trick.
Here's the finished product. Some toasted pita with parmesan, a little parsley garnish. Voila. Nice snack. Also good with veggies.
*SOME PEOPLE know a guy whose uncle owns Sagra and get 7 "free hummus" coupons and share not a one.