Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Good Week and Hummus

My new favorite snack

Everyone had a nice holiday, I trust. So very sorry I haven’t written in a bit. I try a couple of entries a week but with the holiday and family in town, time just escaped me. I feel compelled to tell everyone about my little snack. Frankly it wasn’t very difficult and almost unworthy of mentioning. Still, I found this to be such a silky and rich snack, I have to share.

It all started as I was digging about in the pantry for something “different”. Does anyone else do that? I mean, rummage through what you know you have just looking for that new concoction. Well I do. So, I stumbled across a bag of dried Chickpeas. I remembered picking those up a while ago for that “different” quality. I’d never worked with them before. I know they are the base for Hummus but I’ve never made that. Well… OK… off to the internet then for a little research. Like many recipes, there’s a fairly standard base to Hummus but then the cook’s taste shapes the dish.

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip often eaten with flat bread. It’s a buttery paste in most preparations with a garlicky, herby uniqueness. There’s a Lebanese deli in Tarpon Springs about 10 minutes from here that makes a beautiful and flavorful Hummus. In our old house, it was on the way home from Lisa’s work and it was not uncommon for a small container of Hummus and some Pita bread to appear. Their home made soups were delicious as well but that’s the subject of another writing.

Well OK then. Hummus it is. The internet recipes all called for canned Chickpeas, also called Garbanzo beans. Making my own was probably overkill so I’ll suggest canned for your home recipe. To make your own Hummus, a good recipe can be found here. There is one ingredient that I didn’t recognize. Tahini ($8 for a 16oz jar) is a Sesame paste in the consistency of peanut butter. Honestly, it killed the inexpensive nature of the rest of the components but it’s one of the base ingredients so it was a must. To go along with the yellow and green stained spread that came smoothly out of the food processor, I bought a still warm loaf of bread from a local bakery and Lisa and I were both in heaven.

One might think the story should end there but as with all of my stories, there’s more. You see, I used the Hummus the next day to create a NEW snack. And not just a new snack, mind you, but my new favorite snack. The simplicity is almost embarrassing. Do you want to know what it is? Oh good! I was hoping you’d say yes. OK… I bought another fresh loaf of the bread and then used the Hummus again and added a roasted red pepper from a jar. That’s it. Warm fresh yeast smelling bread, spread generously with lemony pillows of Hummus and topped with a perfectly sweet red pepper (I used a little sea salt too… shhhh, don’t tell). I could eat this every day. Now maybe to some of you, there is nothing exciting about what I just posed. To me though, I have opened a whole new door. There are many Hummus variations and this tasty little treat was so good that I’m intrigued to explore some more. I’ll keep you posted.

As an aside, I have to gloat a bit. Now before I do, I should preface by saying I have many kitchen flops. Using my kitchen as a laboratory, I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone from “pan to can”. Not this week. I’ve been really lucky. I’ve gotten the whole smoking thing down fairly well with my new grill and the 4th of July smoked chicken was superb. The next morning I made a homemade BBQ sauce, added leftover smoked chicken meat and went on to create smoked chicken breakfast burritos. Yum. Those were 2 big wins for me. I’ll work on this some more and get a recipe together. I also came up with the recipe that I want to enter in the National Chicken Cooking Contest. It’s a spicy chicken croquette in the theme of a crab cake served over a chipotle and jicama slaw with cayenne plantains. I’d be happy to share the recipe but it may be against the contest rules so I’ll wait for now. I can certainly share a photo though.

A winning chicken recipe? Maybe

And lastly, what a great visit with the kids. Johnathan was missing but he’ll be here in a couple of weeks. Here they are watching fireworks.

My kids. Left to right, Evan, josh, Brit, Matt and Olivia

Well… thanks for checking back and I’m sorry it’s been so long. I’ll get back into the swing of things this week.


1 comment:

Lou'sMom said... the picture of my you.