Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Melissa's Super Garlic Hummus

For years I tried to make hummus and could never get it right. I finally mastered it and then I went to Nicaragua for a year and didn’t cook. After coming back, its taken me a while to get the hang of it again. A lot of people have asked me for the recipe and I hesitate not because it is a secret, but because there isn’t really a recipe; I never measure anything and its always a mystery as to whether its going to turn out alright. But I thought it was time for me to at least try to describe the hummus-making process.

Melissa’s Super Garlic Hummus
Chickpeas (aka, garbanzo beans). Though most things are better when made from scratch, I find that this my hummus is actually better when I use canned chickpeas. Still, I sometimes do buy dry beans, soak them, boil them, cool them, etc. It just requires a lot more planning ahead. If I use canned chickpeas, I opt for the Full Circle Organics brand. They are reasonably priced and low in sodium. If I’m making a big batch of hummus, I’ll use 2 cans (or around ½ bag of dried beans). For a small batch, 1 can is fine.
Tahini. Its sesame paste. I use maybe 2 tablespoons per can of chickpeas. For a big batch, I’ll use more. But keep in mind, I don’t actually measure this stuff. You may prefer more or less.
Garlic. At minimum, 4 cloves. This hummus isn’t called “Melissa’s Super Garlic Hummus” for nothing. Okay, you can use less than 4 cloves if you really want (especially if your cloves are particularly large). But keep in mind the astounding health benefits of raw garlic (a more powerful antibiotic than penicillin… it will cure what ails you!)
Green onions. I use about 2 (both white and green parts) for a small batch. 3 or 4 for a large batch.
Red onion. Maybe about ¼ of a small onion. Somewhat more for a large batch.
Lemon juice. One small lemon. For a larger batch, that will also suffice, but it will turn out better if you can use a bit more. I just have trouble keeping lemons on hand. Oh, lime juice will also work too.
Cumin, ground. I never measure this, so I have no clue how much I put in. Kind of a lot. Probably 2 or 3 teaspoons? You can start with a little and adjust to taste.
Cayenne pepper. A generous “pinch.” Okay maybe about ½ tsp. More if you can handle it.
Sea salt. It should be the kind that comes in large grains. I think Kosher salt would also work. If you are using canned chickpeas, be very careful with the salt. In fact, you might not even need it. With the low sodium organic canned chick peas, I do add salt. But regular canned chickpeas tend to be loaded with sodium, so just check the label.
Cilantro, fresh. This is optional. Actually, it used to be a key ingredient in my hummus. I would put as much as a cup of it in. But it tends to give the hummus a green tinge, which is kind of weird. If I have some on hand I will use it. Lately I’ve just put in a few sprigs and I’ve really liked how it turned out.

Place all of these ingredients into a food processor. Add some cold water. I don’t know how much. Start small… maybe a few tablespoons? Blend up all the ingredients in the food processor. If it seems too thick, add a little bit more water. Continue blending for a minute or two until everything is nice and pasty. Taste it to see if it is okay. If it seems too bland, this generally means it needs more lemon juice or salt. Or cumin.

Mmmm, hummus. It is great on raw carrots and broccoli. It is sublime on pita bread, especially if you heat up the pita just a tiny bit. This is the one food I missed while I was in Nicaragua. Especially during the summer, it is a staple at our house. It makes for a great dinner and lunch when you don’t want to heat the house up by cooking something in the oven. Its a great snack too, and its usually a hit at parties. As long as you have some well-sealing Tupperware, it is highly transportable by bike.

I’m not sure how long it keeps; I usually eat it long before it would go bad. One thing I have noticed though is that I manage to not eat it all at once and it sits in the refrigerator overnight or for a day or two, it actually gets better. Maybe there’s more mixing of the flavors or something, I don’t know.

At any rate, I suppose I’ve got lunch on the brain. Too bad I didn’t make any hummus this morning before I left the house. I did manage to run for the first time after Sunday’s 20-miler. The blister on my foot isn’t quite so bad anymore, but I have another blister on my toe—that I didn’t even notice while I was running—that is much, much worse. I managed about 2 miles today, but it wasn’t so great. I may have mentioned that the other runners in the group were going really fast; my legs are reminding me today that I ran the 20-miler more as a “race” than a training run. Seriously, my muscles should not be so fatigued. Hopefully this does not spell disaster for the marathon. It does take an insanely long amount of time to recover from an effort like that. Well, at least for me.

Anyway, I’ve to go and possibly make some hummus for lunch. Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

LOVED reading your recipe for Hummus......... You should write a RECIPE book, along with all the other books you're going to write!!!!!! Someday I shall 'try ' to make it... but first it would require stocking up with the necessary ingredients------- none of which are on hand!!!!!!!! Hope you HEAL before the marathon!!!!!!! Maybe the NEW SHOES aren't so SUPER after all!!!!!!!! Your feet sound in as bad shape , as they used to be when you were doing POINTE!!!!!!! Better take it easy... luv you , take care, foxy mama, MANANA, is the LAST DAY>>>>> WAAA HOOOO, who will be more excited , the students or the teacher/???

amypfan said...

I can vouch for the yumminess of this hummus. Thanks for the recipe; as I mentioned, I have tried various ones and never found one I like once it's made. Enjoy the end of the semester!

Melissa said...

P.S. You can use Soy Nut Butter instead of the tahini (for people allergic to sesame seeds).