Monday, January 10, 2011

Homemade Hummus and Pita Chips - an easy snack

When I was going to law school in Concord New Hampshire, one of the bars there had the best hummus.  It was super garlicky and just delicious.  Since then, I have bought all sorts of hummus in an effort to find one that came close to what I remembered, but nothing did... 

This Christmas, Nick got the new Ina Garten cookbook, How Easy is That and it had a hummus recipe we decided to make yesterday.  Turns out, hummus is actually easy to only need chickpeas, lemon, garlic, Tabasco, salt and tahini past.  For those of you who went, huh? to tahini paste (like I did), it is a sesame paste that can be found in the peanut butter aisle - it really does look like peanut butter!

the ingredients
Another thing this recipe allowed me to use was a food processor.  This is another one of those mythical kitchen machines that I never had growing up so I never used one.  However, when Nick moved in, in addition to the Kitchen Aid mixer, he brought his Cuisinart food processor as well (his is very similar to this one). 

To get started, I first measure out 2 cups of chickpeas and put them into the food processor.  I had some leftover in my fridge so I added probably about a quarter cup extra to finish them off.  Then I added 1/3 of a cup of the tahini paste.  The paste definitely settles overtime and the oil separates from the paste so be sure to stir it all together so that it is smooth (more like peanut butter) before using it.

chickpeas and tahini in the food processor
I am a garlic lover so I went a bit overboard in the garlic department.  While the recipe calls for about 4 chopped cloves of garlic, I chopped about 6 or 7 cloves of varying sizes and added them to the food processor.

loads of chopped garlic
Next I used a micro plane (another Nick gadget) and added the zest of an entire lemon to the food processor.  You only need to do a few swipes in each area as you only want the nice yellow skin, not the white part below, which I guess is called the "pith."

ingredients with the pretty zest
After adding the lemon zest, I cut it in half so that I could add all the juice.  Rather than using a fork, which is what I used in the past, I used a lemon reamer.

reamer in action
This is a handy little device as it made quick work of juicing the entire lemon!  I then added about 10 dashes of Tabasco sauce.  I think Ina likes about 8, but since Nick loves spice I added a few more.  Next, I added about teaspoon of salt and some olive oil as well.  The oil just helps the consistency a bit.  So the smoother you want the hummus, the more you can add.  Then I just hit the mix button and let the food procesor motor on!

mixing it all up!
Again, these machines are pretty impressive.  As I had not made this by hand before, I was not constantly thinking about how much effort this was saving me like I was with the Kitchen Aid and the butter cookies.  I always think I am going to break these things - I have a bad track record with blenders.  There was a point where the processor seemed to be working pretty hard so I turned it off to check on it, but Nick said it was fine.  With only about 30 seconds of mixing, you were left with well mixed and smooth hummus! 

I found these mini pitas at the store to dip in the hummus.  A bit more fun than chips.  I cut them in half and spread them over a cookie sheet. 

halved pitas

Then I dribbled olive oil and sprinkled some salt over them and put them in a 400 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes, enough so that they were lightly toasted.

Finished Snack!
I am definitely of the opinion now that homemade hummus is way better than store bought.  Considering how easy it is to make, it is totally worth it!  This was much closer to the hummus I remember in Concord.  It was VERY garlicky, so you may want to cut back it you are making this for a party.  But it you don't need to go anywhere, have at it!  The only change I would make would be to roast the garlic the next time.  I think that might give the hummus a great flavor - the difference between this and my favorite hummus.

Great experiment, and totally worth repeating so that you have a homemade hummus on hand all the time.

1 comment:

  1. I'm totally going to make this because of you! yummy!


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