Sunday, February 27, 2011

Recipe: Academy Award-winning Hummus

Om nom nom.
A few days ago, I was flipping through one of those nice glossy magazines my mom buys with giant pictures of food that always look superb and far more presentable than anything I ever make. I came across a recipe that said, simply, "Hummus". And it looked delicious. And not too hard, either. So I decided to make some for tonight, when I join my friends to watch the Oscars.

Well, actually what happened is that when I ransacked Trader Joe's yesterday in search of ingredients for white chili, I managed in a fit of incredible ineptitude to grab Garbanzo beans instead of Great Northern. It even says GARBANZO! in really big letters on the can. So I decided to make lemonade out of lemons.... or, in this case, hummus out of garbanzo beans.*

It wasn't hard. It took me longer than it probably should have, since I had trouble with the blender and I insisted on squeezing actual lemons instead of just using lemon juice, because I have issues like that. But it tastes good. Too bad mine doesn't really look anything like the picture... isn't there somewhere I could take a class on making my food look like it does in the glossy magazine pictures?**

I bet my hummus will look exactly like this.
So here's the recipe. I made a couple changes, mostly due to my lack of sambal oelek, a bright red chili sauce that the magazine rather unappetizingly descripes as a "chunky condement". Maybe I don't want it in my hummus after all.

The original recipe can be found in Mother's Best Comfort Food: Wholesome dishes that take you back home. (And don't tell my mom, but I spilled tea all over its glossy innards while writing this. Whoops.)


2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold water
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2/3 cup lemon juice (about 3-4 medium lemons)
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/3 cups tahini (sesame paste - check the international aisle of your store)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

Half an hour before making the hummus, set the sundried tomatoes to soak in the cold water for at least 30 minutes. 
Note: I added some extra water that I froze for later- soaking the tomatoes makes the water all nice and flavorful, which is good for making soups down the road.

Drain sundried tomatoes and set aside, reserving water. Place the garbanzo beans, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt, tahini and cumin in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, at least 3 minutes. (Or, if you're me..... maybe 20 minutes, because you fail at using blenders.) You may have to stop to scrape down the sides and stir the mixture. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if desired.

To serve, spoon hummus into bowl or platter. Sprinkle the sundried tomatoes in the middle of the hummus. Let it come to room temperature, and eat with warm pita bread or raw vegetables.

What do you mean, it doesn't look like the magazine picture?
As I mentioned, the original recipe calls for sambal oelek and chopped olives for garnish, but hummus is one of those recipes that is perfect for creating endless variations. Hence, the sundried tomatoes, which I love to snack on and therefore have hanging around in droves. For future recipes, I'm going to look up some versions that don't require as much tahini, since that stuff is pricey.

I think it turned out well, but I will have to see what the judges think.

*I sent my brother to the store to get the appropriate white beans, and the day (and my chili) was saved. I know how worried you were about that.
**It's called culinary school.

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