10.29.2009

superhero hummus.

Hi. I promise I'm in a much better, much happier, much less emotionally-sapped place than I was the last time we talked. That's not to say I didn't come at life like a tornado for a while there, swirling through with leaves in my hair like a bat out of Oz, taking out chicken coops and Uncle Henry along the way. But hey, even that story has a happy ending so I figured if Dorothy can do it then so can I. I think the edginess can be chalked up to excessive sweets consumption, it's not the best idea to overdo anything, sugar included. Now I know I will slap myself silly for even suggesting that, and by this time tomorrow a craving for cinnamon walnut mud pie will hit and I'll chuckle at myself for even thinking it. But tomorrow has enough worries of its own.



So to remedy this sugary situation, I made some hummus. I've always been a devoted fan of that creamy chickpea based-good-for-slathering-on-carrot-sticks-or-crackers-or-pita-bread dip, but I cringed at the idea that I had to hug trees while I ate it. Now hummus has a cult-like following, and people who adore it can tell the difference between a good hummus and an ehhh hummus. I actually spent a good twenty five minutes of my life reading an article on how Israel shames all other countries when it comes to hummus. I even asked Mike what he thought about it and he replied : I mean, I like it, but I don't worship it like some people do. It's sad to think that someone might actually do so, but that only proves it's dedicated following.

 

You can experiment with lot of different flavors - chickpeas are a good blank canvas for roasted red peppers, garlic and a plethora of other seasonings. But I think true hummus, the sort Israel would boast, should be simple. A slurry of garlic, tahini, lemon juice salt and garbanzo beans come together into a smooth and creamy blend that tastes toasty in the back of your throat and begs to be slathered onto warm pita bread, preferably right when you get home from work and take your high heels off. Or work boots. Or galoshes. Or whatever. Hummus is for everyone.

 

Spy Girls
Jeannine Hall Gailey

always get their fianc├ęs killed
in the very first scene.
A femme fatale can't also be
a loving wife and mother.
So she becomes a workaholic
to get over Steve, Jeff, or Lance,
sliding down elevator chutes
cutting through plate glass windows
carefully cracking the codes of illegal governments
dressed in formfitting rubber suits and blue wigs,
Temporarily blinded with acid spray
and shot through a shoulder and thigh,
she still manages to somersault over the wall
to grab the bars of the helicopter
just as it lifts off
secrets of nuclear fission in a disk
tucked in her lace-up boots,
keeping the world safe
from people just like her.
At night, she dreams of rescue,
of blending in with the crowd
of being one more girl
who eats ice cream for dinner
whose purse is not full of explosives.

 

Paula Wolfert’s Hummus

Makes 4 cups

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup sesame seed paste
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and more to taste
Cayenne, hot Hungarian paprika or za’atar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Rinse the soaked chickpeas well and drain them before putting them in a saucepan and covering them with plenty of fresh water. Bring to a boil; skim, add one-half teaspoon salt, cover and cook over medium heat, about 1 1/2 hours, until the chickpeas are very soft (you might need to add more water).

2. Meanwhile, crush the garlic and one-half teaspoon salt in a mortar until pureed. Transfer the puree to the work bowl of a food processor, add the sesame seed paste and lemon juice and process until white and contracted. Add one-half cup water and process until completely smooth.

3. Drain the chickpeas, reserving their cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas to the sesame paste mixture and process until well-blended. For a smoother texture, press the mixture through the fine blade of a food mill. Thin to desired consistency with reserved chickpea liquid. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. The hummus can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.) Serve, sprinkled with paprika (or za’atar) and parsley and drizzled with oil.

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