Friday, May 18, 2007

Ho Hum for Hummus

Fresh pita with grilled chicken, cucumber and hummus.

The very first time I ever had hummus I was probably crazy about it, but then came the whole hummus-dipped 90’s where EVery SINgle party you went to there was enough hummus around to stucco a ceiling. My sister and I still laugh about a pot luck/wine tasting we did where 8 of the 9 couples brought hummus and pita. Try paring that with wine.

But seriously, don’t people go a little overboard with the whole hummus thing? Is it some kind of unspoken entertaining lore that if you serve a mountain of hummus, you hold the key to a great party? I mean, people really devote themselves to this chick-pea puree: I’ve seen the hummus blog (where people are called hummus brothers), recipes for hummus lasagna, and there’s even a restaurant called the Hummus Place in New York City. Are there that many unemployed pitas out there that we need all this hummus??

It also bugs me that everyone has the BEST hummus recipe and they, only they, hold the key to great hummus. These people think they are saving the world one carrot stick at a time. Of course having tasted store bought hummus, anyone can throw some chickpeas, lemon juice and olive oil in a blender and it’s going to taste a heck of a lot better. One could even add the shrivelled up scrapings from the bottom of the vegetable drawer and it would still probably taste better. Just go nuts with the lemon juice.

But all that said, I found myself with a nice basket of fresh pitas last week and decided to whip up a batch of hummus!( I never said I disliked it, I just don’t consider it a necessary condiment for day to day life.) I like the recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook, but am puzzled as to why it is listed in the ‘Basics” chapter among such recipes as ‘Chicken Stock’ and ‘Pie Crust’. Since when is hummus is a basic? A staple? Are they teaching hummus making in Home-Ec class now?
I guess that proves my point that people take their hummus a little too seriously.

Toast and grind your own cumin seed for this hummus and I guarantee you will have a dip to rival the other 1.3 million recipes. Who’s to say?

Hummus Bi Tahini

4 cups (about 2 ½ cans) chick-peas, drained
½ cup tahini
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 3 lemons
4 or more garlic cloves, peeled and germ removed
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine chick-peas, tahini, warm water, olive oil, and juice of 1 lemon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth and creamy.

Add garlic, salt, cumin, and pepper to taste, and process to blend. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Add more lemon juice to taste. Scrape into storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.


Freya and Paul said...

I like to be a real heathen about hummus and dip chips (french fries) in it. But I do agree that it's a little over-rated, sort of like this sour cream and dill dip that we have some friends in America who ALWAYS rave about it. It's just sour cream with green flecks in it and lots of salt!! Get over it!

Aimée said...

Hi Freya- I'm glad you get my drift! I'll have to try hummus and fries, sounds good!

Welcome! said...

Just came across your blog and this post, and found it very funny, because here, in Israel, hummus seems to be our national food. There are (and have been for years) hummus restaurants, and almost everyone always has hummus at home, it is to us as PB is to Americans - it's served at almost every meal :)

Daniel Saraga said...

Found your site through Pinterest.

I enojyed your post and your food photos - you're correct about the 90s. I only made my hummus when I was specifically asked. It is funny how much attention is showered on this one dish.

Re: your comment "Since when is hummus is a basic? A staple?"

I wouldn't have expected that comment from a chef in Montreal. It's certainly is a staple in many, many homes. If this post was seen in other forums, you could've stepped on a landmine and started another hummus war!

I always like looking up different hummus recipes just to see how they distribute the ingredients and if they use any special methods and my own recipe has evolved as a result.


subhiyah huggi said...

Thank you so much for this recipe! This is a very healthy yummy dip! My absolute favorite to snack on! I've been looking all over for a nice recipe. Quick fact ;) Hummus means chickpeas in Arabic and is a very popular middle eastern dish!

Stephanie Liebert said...

Hello from Auckland, New Zealand. I enjoy making hummus at home and quite often make a double batch to freeze. I have a couple of secret ingredients, which I am happy to share. The first is sundries tomatoes - they add a lovely colour. My other secret ? Instead of using tahini ( which I never have and is quite expensive) I just grind toasted sesame seeds in my mini food processor. Toasting them first gives a lovely cooked flavour which raw seeds ( and tahini) simply don't have. Cheers to all , Steph L

Anonymous said...

I always make me own tahink. Any extra will keep in the fridge. Our favorite hummus is Cooking Light's Black Bean Hummus. You can find it online.

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