Greetings Friends! Today I went over to see my daughter- in-law Sam and the beautiful grandkids. We made hummus and pita bread together! What fun! What deliciousness!
My love affair with hummus began many years ago, before I had any of my children. Their father and I had gone to a Middle Eastern restaurant, a first for us. I had never heard of most of the food, so we asked the waiter to bring us whatever he thought was best. The whole meal was amazing, but the appetizer… Oh. My. Goodness.
The platter had a large dish of hummus in the middle, surrounded by carrot sticks, sliced cucumber, and triangles of warm soft pita bread.
I fell in love with it. I didn’t have it again for some time, because it wasn’t available in grocery stores back then. It never occurred to me to try and make it myself. I imagined the ingredients and the process to be just too exotic for me and my humble kitchen.
I started buying it in the store some years later, and it was very good, but nothing like we had at that restaurant.
So, one day at work several years ago, my friend and co-worker Allan (who was really getting into cooking and would years later have his own Food Truck) brought in a bowl of homemade hummus and all kinds of yummy things to dip in it: carrots, cucumber slices, and of course, pita bread. It was fabulous! It put store bought to absolute shame, and beat what I’d had in most restaurants hands down. I pestered him for days for the recipe. I think he finally gave in so I would leave him alone!
I really believe the key to how good this recipe turns out is the tasting and adjusting at the end. You can fix the consistency and spices and just about everything else until it is exactly the way you like it. Even if you’ve never had it before, you can adjust things like the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt to whatever makes you dance. You can even fix too much of something. Now that’s a cool recipe.
A good blender or food processor is pretty much essential to the making of outstanding hummus. There is no other way to pulverize the chick peas and thoroughly incorporate all the other stuff to achieve the result you are going for. Here is my first published recommendation: If you are going to purchase a small kitchen appliance, spend a bit more and get a Kitchen Aid brand! I have owned many, many small appliances over the years. If you go cheap, or with a lesser brand, it just won’t function as well for the results you want, and you end up replacing them because they wear out. A lot. So go big or go home: Kitchen Aid all the way!
Now: The Hummus! As I said, Sam & the kids and I made a delightful batch today. We ate ourselves silly. We also made homemade pita bread to go with it. I had never made it before, and after a few false starts we ended up with soft, puffy, beautiful rounds of pita. So good!
First, you are going to open 3 cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), and dump them in a colander. Rinse and drain well. Put them in the food processor and pulse several times to chop them up. You may have to open the machine and scrape the sides, pushing everything towards the blade. Pour in 1/2C Tahini. (Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is usually found in the International Food aisle at the store, in a jar or can. It separates into oils and solids, so shake vigorously, open, and stir really well.) Add the juice of one lemon, 1t kosher salt, 1/2t ground cumin, and 3 cloves of garlic, chopped, all to the bowl of the processor. Put the lid back on and pulse until it is chopped, combined, then working it’s way toward smooth. Open and scrape everything down. Replace the lid, and turn processor on continuous and leave running. Through the small spout in the top, pour 1/2C cold water in a slow constant stream into the hummus. It should now be very thick and mostly smooth. Leave running and slowly drizzle in 2T olive oil. When well combined, turn off and remove the lid.
Get a teaspoon and taste it. I mean, really taste it. Too thick? Add more cold water 1T at a time until it’s right. Too thin? Add more Tahini, 1T at a time to it’s right. Need more garlic? Add 1 chopped clove at a time, tasting after each addition. Kind of blah? Add more cumin and salt by the 1/2t til it’s right. You must thoroughly blend it, and taste it again, after each addition. Need a bit more bite? Squeeze in another half of a lemon. Following me here? You can’t screw it up because you can keep fixing it! I have honestly never had this happen, but if it is too garlicky, (is there any such thing??) or lemony, or spicy, you can add more chick peas by the tablespoonful. Just remember you will likely have to thin it after that with water or olive oil, just a drizzle at a time til it is perfect to your liking.
Now, (if there is any left after all that tasting!) scoop it carefully (looking out for that sharp blade at the bottom) into a bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill. When ready to serve, let stand at room temp about 30 min. Swirl 1 – 2 T olive oil over the top, and serve with the usual suspects: cut up veggies, especially carrots and cucumbers, pita bread, and pretzel twists. Hummus Heaven I tell you! Thank you Allan! Best hummus I have ever tasted. And really, you will love how you can personalize it to your tastes.
The pita bread making today was an adventure! But we learned a lot. I’m going to make some more in the morning, and if all goes well I will share it with you. It’s really not hard. It’s fun to watch it puff up, and the taste and texture are out of this world! Enjoy!