Sunday, August 18, 2013

Homemade hummus and Vegetable Literacy

I have needed to eat extra protein this summer for health reasons and steak is sure getting a bit old.  Among my favorite non-meat sources is chickpeas, as you might gather from this post and the last.  I'm enjoying them in all sorts of forms - the secret, as mentioned in the previous post, is to avoid canned chickpeas and use dried ones for better control over texture and flavor.

I'm refreshing my cookbook collection and have lately picked up books on canning and cooking vegetables to help me make best use of the garden harvest.  Deborah Madison's new book, Vegetable Literacy, grabbed me right away with its simple, graphic-organic cover and thick, glossy pages full of interesting vegetarian recipes.  It's such a pretty book that I've already gifted one.  One recipe that caught my attention right away is for hummus.  It's true, there's not much variation and originality in hummus recipes but perhaps something about the way it was photographed or the simplicity of the preparation caught my attention and I made note to buy tahini and make a batch.

In country, where we spend weekends, specialty food stores are far and few between.  The large supermarket had a tahini whose "sell by" date was one day after we purchased it.  Perhaps it was meant to be?

Hummus (adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison)
(makes 3 cups)

1 cup dried chickpeas, cooked and drained, some cooking liquid reserved
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 to 1/2 cup tahini
3 cloves garlic, pounded in a mortar with several pinches of salt (Spoonful note: Next time I'll try roasting a head of garlic and using that instead)
Sea salt

Finishing touches

Sumac or paprika
Olive oil
Reserved whole chickpeas
Chopped parsley
Toasted pine nuts
Pita or other bread, for serving

Puree chickpeas and lemon juice in a blender or food processor, slowly adding enough cooking liquid to create a creamy consistency.  Add tahini and garlic and process to combine.  Add salt to taste and adjust salt and lemon juice as necessary.

Turn hummus out onto a plate or into a wide-rim bowl.  Make tracks in the chickpeas with a knife to create wells for olive oil to pool into.  Garnish with olive oil, and additional finishing touches as desired.