Thursday, August 06, 2015

An Understated Hummus

There's a little notebook I've been filling with lists and recipes for the past three years. It's got pages like "Questions for the Midwives," "Virginia Packing List," and a 24-hour record of nursing sessions for a baby who now can now recite all the Frog & Toad books verbatim. It has an hourly schedule for a moving day last fall, which happens to include items like "pick up the pig" and "make a dozen pies" because we were supposed to move well in advance of the housewarming party, but remodeling projects don't work like that. And it has enough lists--grocery lists, camping lists, cleaning lists, reverse packing lists--to paint a full & nuanced portrait of my neuroticism. It even has a list of blog posts I should have written. In case it wasn't clear, I'm definitely a Toad who wishes she were Frog.

But now the notebook is completely full, and I need to upload some of these recipes before moving on to the next book, and while I still remember them well enough to read them through the dense tangle of my son's drawings. Most of these notebook recipes are neither fancy nor particularly involved. They're just basic workhorse recipes, ones of my own, or ones I get tired of looking up in cookbooks and blogs.

So here, we'll start with one I've been making for years, and which has rated high on my preggo-round-two craving list: hummus. Soon after college, I worked as a line cook at Vios, a fantastic Greek restaurant in Seattle. It was 2007, I finally started noticing all the skinny jeans, and it had only been a few years since my family bought its first ever bottle of olive oil. I'd only experienced hummus from the health-food hippie side of things. So I was totally blown away by Vios' perfect, careful, understated hummus. 

I should clarify that this is not Vios' hummus recipe--I wasn't involved in making the hummus there, apart from soaking the garbanzos for the morning crew. But I took my old pasty garlic-bomb hummus recipe and made it more Vios-like. For a while I was stuck trying to use as little water as possible--figuring it would only dilute precious flavors--but that was just silly. Hummus is an emulsion, so liquid lightens it--and you can only use so much lemon juice. Also this recipe is gentle with the garlic, not because I dislike garlic in the slightest, but because too much raw garlic overpowers itself.


Makes 3 cups of hummus.

Soak 1 cup dry chickpeas in several cups of water overnight. In the morning, drain the chickpeas, add several cups of fresh water, and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for an hour or two, until the chickpeas are quite tender. In general, older dry beans take longer to cook than fresh ones. Drain off the cooking liquid and let the chickpeas cool for a bit. (I don't save soaking or cooking liquid because it tends to contain extra FODMAPs I don't need, see neuroticism, above.)


the cooled chickpeas
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large or 2 small lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 medium clove garlic
1.5 teaspoons sea salt

Puree with an immersion or regular blender. Add more water as necessary to get a nice fluffy creamy consistency (the amount needed varies from batch to batch depending on how much water the chickpeas absorb). Chill for an hour or so to let the flavors meld.

Try serving it sprinkled with ground sumac and a drizzle of olive oil.

Hummus keeps for a week in the refrigerator.

1 comment:

Jennifer Jo said...

I'm so glad you're blogging again!!!!!

I, too, have a similar notebook: wines I like, books I've read, food I've served guests, party notes, etc. I feel super-savvy every time I record things in it.

And now I'm wanting hummus. I have canned chickpeas on hand, not dried. So would one cup dry be the equivalent of 1 or 2 cans?