Monday, August 11, 2008

tasty (but fleeting) hummus

Isn't that a lovely bowl of hummus? Or rather, wasn't it a lovely bowl of hummus? You see, I made this big load of hummus Saturday and intended for it to last several days. We took some Saturday for our hike to Boston Lot Lake, where we had a nice little picnic by the water. Then I had some for lunch yesterday. There should have been plenty left for lunches this week. But the bowl slipped out of my hand and shattered into a dozen pieces, held together somewhat by the glue of the hummus, which was spread over the floor and studded with glazed pottery chips. What a waste!

My whole life, my mother and grandmother have told me that I'm like a bull in a china shop, and I'm afraid it's true. In the past month, I've burned myself five times, hit my head more times than I can count, and stubbed my big toe so bad that the nail split horizontally and vertically and will probably fall off soon. I've got half a dozen bruises of unknown origin, since I'm so used to bumping into things I barely even notice when it happens.

The shards are now drying, having been rinsed of their hummus, and I should be able to glue them back together, though the reassembled bowl won't be any good for liquids. The hummus, however, was unsalvageable. At least I can share this recipe with you; hopefully you can avoid my clumsy fate.

1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned okay, but it's so much cheaper to cook your own!)
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TSP cumin
1 TSP salt
a small bunch of fresh parsley

Put the first six ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. You will probably need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. Add water as necessary to facilitate blending, but don't go overboard! Depending on how soft your chickpeas are and how you like your hummus, the amount of water can range from a couple of teaspoons to a quarter of a cup. Adjust seasonings to taste. When the hummus is as smooth as you want it, add the parsley and pulse a few times. Keeps well for several days in a covered dish in the refrigerator. Serve with crackers, crispbread, or crudites.

Feel free to experiment with the seasonings. This is my preferred mix, but you can also add chili powder, finely chopped red peppers, scallions, or other herbs or spices. You can also use lemon juice in place of water.

For extra-smooth hummus, you need to remove the chickpea skins. Traditional hummus is very smooth and thin; personally, I like a more substantial, hearty dip, so I leave the skins on and make it pretty thick.

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