June 25, 2010
Right now is an off time for me. I’m getting through an emotional mess, looking for job, trying to focus on my school work, and doing LOTS of cooking and working out. So far, those have been great therapy. My mother has a subscription to a great magazine called Clean Eating with all kinds of great recipes, and right now there are especially great ideas for summer fruits and veggies. And since summer time is the perfect time for parties, I am spending my off time honing my culinary skills for the time when I do get to have some dinner parties.
One of my favorite items to serve is hummus. I have been trying diligently to perfect a homemade hummus recipe for a few years now. I think I might just have it! The secret: using fresh, not canned chick peas! I wanted to try fresh because most canned beans are saturated in sodium, which is not good for the heart and makes your body bloat. Once I met a personal trainer who cautioned me to stay away from what he called “sodium bombs,” and trust me, I notice a difference.
Here is what I do – it is a bit time consuming, but that creamy, delicious, nutty hummus is always worth it to me! I take 1 CUP of fresh chick peas – the hard ones in the bag and I soak them over night in 3 CUPS of water. (N.B., for every 1 cup chick peas, use 3 cups water). In the morning, I just take the sauce pan and bring the water to a boil, then simmer on low heat for one hour and make sure your saucepan is covered.
Next, I drain the water and cool the chick peas. Because I have the time, I usually cool mine in the fridge over night, but you don’t have to do that. But do let them cool down. NOW, here’s the kicker.
Next step: Place the chick peas in a bowl and cover with water. There is a tough skin around these little beans that needs to come off in order to get the smooth, creamy consistency. The moisture from the water makes the skin slide right off the chick peas. Peel them. Trust me – it makes all the difference. It will take a while, so if you can, sanction someone to help you.
When you finish peeling them, place your peeled chick peas into your food processor and add two tablespoons TAHINI, the juice of 2 SMALL LEMONS (fresh is a much better flavor), a nice drizzle of EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, 1 or 2 cloves of GARLIC (two if you like a strong garlic flavor, one if you don’t), a little salt, and a little paprika and pulse on your processor to get the desired consistency.
Once you are finished, taste a bit. If you want more garlic, add more. Too much garlic? Add more lemon juice. More tahini, go ahead! Tahini gives it a rich, nutty flavor. The great thing about hummus is that you can add whatever amount of flavor you like. When I serve it, I like to make a little dip in the middle, drizzle with olive oil, paprika, black olives, and feta cheese. Hummus serves great with cucumbers from your garden or luscious colored bell peppers from the farmers market. And a great salty option for us gluten free Magdalenes is blue corn chips –
or better yet – make your own by slicing up some corn tortillas and throwing them in your oven for a while. Perfect party platter! Enjoy! Store leftovers in the fridge – hummus keeps great.