Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WDW - Homemade Hummus


If you love hummus, you need to try homemade hummus. It is one of those things that is just far superior to store-bought. It is so easy and so inexpensive to make, you will wonder why you never made it before. Hummus is great to have on hand as a healthy dip for vegetables and pita chips. You can make your own pita chips by cutting pita bread into wedges, drizzling with olive oil, salt and herbs, and baking in a 400 degree oven 7-10 minutes.

Hummus is traditionally made from garbanzo beans, but I like to make mine with white beans, like cannelini. White beans give it a more delicate flavor. I got this recipe from Emeril Lagasse many years ago, and it's the best I've come across. I use a two-step process to make it: first, I use my mini food processor to chop everything as finely as I can, then I move the mixture to the blender for perfect smoothness. If you desire, you can also add some roasted bell peppers or fresh herbs to the blender. I'm a purist though- I like my hummus perfectly plain.

All the ingredients are ordinary, except there is one ingredient that you may not have on hand: tahini. Tahini is basically ground up sesame seeds. It has the texture of a runny nut butter, and is really good for you. You can find it in the "ethnic" section of your market. Be sure to keep it refrigerated, as you would natural peanut butter. This is another recipe to pull out the best olive oil you have (see Monday's post). If your olive oil isn't good, you will taste the bitterness in this for sure. I personally like the full three cloves garlic (and a full three Tums after), but you may want to start with only two.

Emeril Lagasse, modified

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 can (15 oz) white beans, or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp. tahini
2-3 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil
Salt to taste

In a food processor, combine beans, lemon, tahini, and garlic. Process until smooth. Add oil, a little at a time, until well incorporated. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to blender and process until smooth.

To serve, spread hummus in a shallow serving dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with pita chips, fresh pita bread wedges, or vegetables.

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