December 03, 2005

Hummus - Season To Taste

This week's recipe carnival has appetizers as a theme. I've never understood the concept. Other than certain brownies I've never eaten anything which made me more hungry. I just read yesterday that heating hot spicy food before a meal actually leads you to eat somewhat less; the claimed waking up of the tastebuds means it takes less to satisfy you.

Be that as it may, I do enjoy the various nibbles commonly served at an entertainment. My favorite is hummus. At its most basic it is easy to eat because of texture and mouth feel, it is highly nourishing because of protien balance, and best of all it is a wonderful basis for flavor experimentation.

The basic recipe consists of

2 cans (15 oz) garbanzo beans - not drained
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil

Smoosh them all together till smooth (once upon a time this was done by hand) and serve with wedges cut from pita bread bread warmed in the oven (or even crackers).

Garlic (most recipes call for a piddling two cloves) and lemon juice are a basic addition, along with a sprinkle of parsley or the like for garnish, but you can go much farther.

The simplest variant we've made resulted from careless shopping on my part. The wee wifey put garbanzos on the shoping list, and I bought the Goya brand, with a Mexican style seasoning to the canning liquid. The unplanned flavor worked out quite nicely. One can similarly substitute other canned beans. Of the ones I've seen suggested, black beans would be far more interesting than Great Northern beans.

Then you can start getting exotic.

2 cans garbanzo beans
1 cup Artichoke hearts
6 cloves garlic
Juice of 2 Lemons
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon White pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients but the oil in the bowl of a food processor, turn on, and slowly drizzle in olive oil as the ingredients are being processed to a creamy consistency. Thing is that altho I consider fresh artichokes worth the effort, canned artichoke hearts don't do much for me. They might impress your guests.

Other recipes suggest cumin, coriander and other seasonings, or jalepeno or habenero peppers. You can add them a little at a time, tasting until it suits you or you think it will suit your guests. If you are expecting my son, just go ahead and add the whole handful of hot peppers.

Most unusual is a recipe I found labeled as hummus pesto. actually, it falls somewhere between the two.

15 ounces garbanzo beans, drained -- reserve liquid
1 cup chopped basil -- packed
juice of 1/2 Lemon

Put garbanzos, basil, and some of the lemon into bowl. Puree using blender.
Add lemon juice until consistency and taste are pleasing. If too thick, you
can add some of the reserved juice. You could substitute cilantro, or depending on the people, occasion, and local laws, the extra ingredient in the above mentioned brownies, for the basil.

Because hummus is such a perfect seasoning substrate, you could go in any other direction. Cake spice, Chinese 5 spice, rogan josh, or whatever you think might stimulate people's appetites. Have fun with it

Posted by triticale at December 3, 2005 10:52 AM | TrackBack
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