Saturday, February 26, 2011

And the Rest

If I were part of a small group, say, a small group stranded on a deserted island, I think I’m the type that might be offended if referred to as “and the rest.” When I have a small group of leftover ingredients, however, and want to figure out what to do with “the rest,” I actually get a little excited about the challenge. (Unless one of those ingredients is beets. Then, I cry.)

Having tahini and cooked chickpeas leftover from making this salad really doesn’t pose much of a challenge, but it does still make me excited. That’s because I love hummus. Pureed chickpeas with thick and rich sesame paste, lemon juice and olive oil? Simple but oh so flavorful. Definitely a promotion for “the rest” of those chickpeas and that tahini.

It’s easy to find prepared hummus in supermarkets these days, and some of them are even pretty good, but homemade hummus is actually quite easy to prepare, as long as you have a food processor. I must have made it in a blender at one time, because I found some notes to “be patient when processing in a blender.” I’m guessing it took some extra time and some extra stirring.

Freshly made hummus is also, well, fresher-tasting. The lemon juice (there’s a lot of it in this recipe) brightens and lifts the heavier tahini and you can make it as creamy as you want. (I often find store-bought hummus to be a little grainy.) You can even take a cue from some of the flavors in which the store-bought stuff is available and add things like sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives, especially if you have “the rest” of a package of them left from other recipes.

Hummus is a great dip for pita chips or tortilla chips. I cut up some of “the rest” of these tortillas and baked them until crisp to serve with my hummus. Carrot sticks (I’ve got enough carrots from our winter CSA share to qualify for a name much more massive than “and the rest”) and bell pepper strips are good dippers, too, and they have fewer calories, which might be something to consider after you look at the nutritional information on the side of a jar of tahini. I suppose you could get on the treadmill to take care of “the rest” of those calories if you’re so inclined. Okay, okay, I’ll give “and the rest” a rest.

This is a very lemony recipe, with not much added spice. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (about 1 15-ounce can), drained
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin

1. Place the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, pepper and cumin in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well-pureed.

2. While the processor is running, slowly pour the olive oil in through the opening in the top of the lid. Process until very smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes about 2 cups. Leftovers can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Other recipes like this one: Winter Squash and Chickpea Salad with Apricots and Tahini Dressing, other Dips and Spreads

One year ago: Naan with Whole Wheat Flour

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