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Things We Take for Granted

I think I was first introduced to Hummus as a young adult. At that time I thought of it as a somewhat exotic dip. It's newness was exciting. As a child I never ate it or even heard of it, but as I grew older my culinary horizons broadened and I eagerly sampled and savored the flavors of places far from home. Hummus was one of my favorite discoveries.

Over time hummus became a part of my life, a healthy staple that I came to take for granted. Though it is easy to make I no longer always make my own. These days hummus is easy to find ready-made at almost every grocery and some brands are quite good. Whether I make it myself or not I love knowing it is there, in the fridge, a healthy, nurturing spread of chickpeas and sesame that on a piece of pita or naan will sustain me when I am distracted by other things and can’t stop to focus on properly appreciating a meal.

But then, not long ago, my son called from college to tell me that he had just made some amazing hummus with a friend from the Middle East. He described the process as I took notes. His sense of excitement in his discovery helped me to realize that I had come to take hummus for granted, and that it was time I became mindful of the blessing of making it at home. So I recreated the recipe from his description and in the process became reacquainted with what I have loved about hummus all along.

Becoming Reacquainted

You start with chickpeas. These lovely little beans have a dense texture and a lovely nutty taste. They have always been one of my favorite legumes. Add to that the sharp flavor of garlic mellowed by roasting into a thick paste and a good splash of fragrant olive oil. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the mixture. Process these into a paste, add a pinch of salt and you are almost there.

Next add the tahini, something I never heard of until I began to browse through health food stores after I had children. It is a paste, or butter, made from sesame seeds, a flavor I think of as rich, fragrant and exotic. The seeds and legumes together form a whole protein. Stir this in along with a little cumin and perhaps a splash of tabasco. The result is a wholesome and delicious spread, one of life's simple pleasures.

"Shirley Valentine"

This little story about hummus seemed just right for this month’s Dinner and a Movie round-up. For May, Susan from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy chose the movie "Shirley Valentine." It is a fun movie that I had never seen before. Shirley is a housewife in her 40’s. Though she and her husband were once in love their marriage has gotten stale and she feels she is taken for granted. Since no one else is listening she has begun to talk to the kitchen wall. She realizes her life has become rather small.

When she is invited to accompany a friend to Greece she takes the opportunity to fulfill her dream of travel. While she is there she becomes reacquainted with life and has to decide whether or not she really wants to go home? Can her marriage be reignited by getting back to the basics the relationship was founded on?

I won’t spoil the ending but pour a glass of wine and serve some hummus with triangles of toasted pita bread and watch it for yourself. I think you’ll be glad you did.


1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
A splash of tabasco (if desired)

Reserve a few chickpeas for garnish. Place the rest of the chickpeas along with the roasted garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.

Add tahini, ground cumin and tabasco (if desired) to the chickpea mixture. Process just until incorporated.

Scoop the mixture into a small serving bowl. Garnish with reserved chickpeas and a dash of ground cumin or paprika if desired.

Serve with triangles of pita bread, pita chips or pieces of flatbread.



Mary Bergfeld said...

I saw Shirley Valentine years - I mean years - ago! What a small world.

noble pig said...

I love hummus too and I love how you showed this dish with the chickpeas on top, very creative.

Cathy said...

Yum, hummus and pita bread, one of my favorite combos. And Shirley Valentine is one of my favorite movies. I've watched it many times over the years. I sat at the same table in the same cafe on Mykonos just a couple of years ago. Wonderful.

grace said...

i could eat hummus every day and i don't think i'd ever tire of it. i think the idea of tossing in some whole chickpeas for some textural contrast is a wonderful idea. great post, lisa!

Elyse said...

I adore hummus. It's smooth and creamy, healthy, and delicious! I haven't made it in way too long, but I just happen to have tahini and chick peas in my pantry! Good thing, too, because you've given me quite the craving.

theUngourmet said...

I love Hummus! I tried to make it once and I hated the way it came out. It had way too much bite to it. I noticed in your recipe the garlic is roasted. Much better!