Thursday, March 12, 2015

Eureka!

I've found it!!!

I suppose this would be way more exciting if it were a cure for cancer or the solution to the US monetary crisis but you should realize that finding the perfect hummus recipe is, to me, roughly the equivalent to finding the secret of life.

Huggos on the Beach - with Hummus, of course!
I really love hummus.  Considering that I practically avoided the dreaded garbanzo (aka chickpea) for the first nearly five decades of my life, you wouldn't think it would be possible for me to learn to really LOVE hummus.  In a former life I used to scan the dessert portion of the menu first but now I find myself seeking the appetizer section instead to see if maybe, just maybe, they've got a hummus platter for me to try.  Seriously folks - I've had it on the beach in Hawaii, at the Hit It Here Caf√© at Safeco, and even our local Red Robin (served with tortilla chips - so wrong!).  I've had it everywhere man!

And given that it's only got a few ingredients, I knew I should/could be able to make it at home.  After some research, some questionable starts, the perfect blender (a Vitamix) and more than a few pitas (you've got to have pitas!), I can safely say without reservation (and very little bragging!) that I have discovered the perfect *BASE* Hummus Recipe:

Terri's Most Excellent Hummus Recipe
 
  • 2 - 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. (heaping) tahini (peanut butter is NOT a substitute here!  My daughter, Jenny, subs some sesame oil since her family doesn't really groove on tahini.  I did try that as well - in one of the many versions - but I prefer the tahini version)
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice (preferably fresh squeezed but you use what you gotta use)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
 
I put all of this into my fabulous Vitamix blender - it really is a thing of wonder.  I originally got it intending to make incredible smoothies from all my produce.  Thing is I don't really like drinking green sludge and couldn't get the hubby too interested in it either.  But this blender, only 18" tall so it fits on the counter under the cupboard (well it does now that we've remodeled the kitchen and made things a bit more "standard" rather than the random 16" height they were before!") is the only appliance that sits out permanently in the new kitchen (even my beloved KitchenAid mixer sits in a cupboard - it's own, very special cupboard to be sure, but still out of sight unless in use).  It is amazing (indeed essential!) for making hummus.
 
But even the powerful and mighty Vitamix has some trouble managing two cans of chickpeas so I add about one can of water as well (little by little thru the cap) until the blender will...you know...blend!  I like my hummus fairly smooth so adding the water really is a personal thing.  I've tried the suggestion of removing the "skins" from the chickpeas but that is really a boring task and with the Vitamix totally unnecessary.  If you've got some other blender, then I would suggest: a) putting some water into your blender first (because the weight of the chickpeas will stall your blender and might burn up the motor - not a good thing); b) try removing the skins of the chickpeas but get a friend to help because it takes forever!: and c) start saving your pennies for a Vitamix.

 
I like to serve my hummus with a drizzle of most excellent olive oil (not the stuff I cook with - the stuff that is actually meant to be eaten as is) and just a few red pepper flakes (doesn't add any heat but sure does make it look "presentacious").  There are many things to accompany this hummus but my personal favorites are pretty much what you see here: wedges of fresh pitas, cubed feta cheese, Kalamata olives, sliced carrots and sliced cucumbers (celery or jicama is lovely too - I just didn't have any on hand). 
 
Something else to try are "add ins."  This recipe is really just a *BASE* so you can add other things to increase the yumminess.  I've tried it with sun-dried tomatoes with success and next time I make it I going to add some marinated artichokes I've got lurking in the refrigerator.  I don't know if I'm brave enough to try one person's suggestion of replacing one of the cans of chickpeas with a can of black beans, but you never know!
 
Pitas are an absolute must and everyone I know swears by this recipe:
 
by Sandy at allrecipes.com
 
I did make a batch of these to accompany my hummus.  You can only imagine my surprise when these turned out exactly as they were supposed to - pocket and all!
 
~later, totally enjoying my Mediterranean meal nirvana, tw
 
 



3 comments:

  1. You can make your own Tahini its pretty easy just toast some sesame seeds then throw them in to cuisinart TADA :) I make a LOT of hummus and personally prefer roasted garlic to raw and put a bit of chili paste in for kick.

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  2. I'm glad that I have access to many ethnic food stores here and don't have to make my own Tahini (I hate that those little seeds tend to fly everywhere because of the static electricity :) but I am going to definitely take your suggestion of roasted garlic!

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  3. Oh we have Tahini in our stores but it is so expensive and for some reason I don't have that problem with static electricity. I always keep a supply of sesame seeds in my freezer. I also found an awesome recipe for roasting garlic in the microwave if you don't want to wait for the oven. I have it pinned on my pinterest page.

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