I promised a post dedicated to hummus and I couldn't wait any longer! My love affair with hummus began as a teenager way back before my Whole Foods in Little Rock, AR was a Wild Oats and a Beans and Grains and Things before that! I can't remember if the hummus that got me hooked was a Beans, etc. creation or Wild Oats, but it was black bean hummus that got me started. It was an easy transition from the black bean dip I loved as a tot and it was healthy and herby (I don't need to justify my love). Hummus became my snack of choice from then on out. The standard Tahini, Roasted Red Pepper, and Black Bean varieties ruled my snack world for most of high school. Until I started frequenting Boulevard Bread Company in the Upper Kavanaugh neighborhood in Little Rock, I thought hummus had to be somewhat paste-like and coarse-textured. Boulevard changed the hummus-scape. Their hummus was smooth and had a creamy tahini-ness with a slow-creeping cayenne heat that won me over. At least twice a week I went after school with friends for a coffee, a sliced baguette and a package of hummus. When I left for college I was slightly distraught because my campus was a million miles from acceptable hummus and McClurg (the dining hall) had the most unexciting if slightly edible "plain" variety. Then I discovered the Trader Joe's in Nashville an hour away. It blew my mind the first time I struggled to choose between their unprecedented 500 kinds of hummus (exaggeration). Edamame Hummus? Unconventional, but addictive.
Fast forward to the summer after graduating college: I’m trying to watch my spending seeing as I am an unpaid intern living in Washington, DC. How can I cut my grocery costs? I found a little food processor for $15 and bought my hummus fixings. You would not believe my complete disappointment in my first batch of the homemade stuff. It was bland, watery yet chunky, a total disaster. I searched cookbooks, websites, everything and told myself each new product was better than the last but I remained unsatisfied. Finally one day I was bragging that I might have found a hummus I could live with. Everyone agreed that hummus was a hard thing to perfect at home and I was beginning to gain some confidence. I even brought some for people to try! My supervisor swooped in to try it and said, “Nope. I’ve got a recipe for you. Don’t even bother with this one.” Shock and curiosity consumed me! I bugged that woman for the recipe for weeks until she finally e-mailed it to me (I now know she must have been guarding this). I went home and whipped it up immediately- it was the spicy, fragrant, standard hummus I’d been looking for! Before I divulge this recipe let me just preface with the fact that people may not like this version because it isn’t pure tahini, garbanzo, lemon and olive oil. I don’t claim that this IS the best out there; I just know that I think so.
1 Can Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans, with ¼ C. juice reserved
¼ C. Tahini
¼ Cup Olive Oil
Juice of one medium lemon, or more to taste
1 Garlic Clove
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Ground Coriander
1 tsp. Salt
Couple of dashes of cayenne
As I stated before I have a bunk food processor, so I can’t stream in olive oil as I blend the other ingredients. But try it if you can. Just throw all of this in the FP and go to town. Drew, the boyfriend, likes his a little coarse in texture, and he has to because my food processor can’t make it very smooth because it’s a piece of CRAP. In my experience making this with other people’s blenders and processors, it comes out as smooth as you want it.
The thing I love about this recipe is it also supports variety, such as Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus, Drew’s favorite (I’m really not trying to sound like Ina Garten here). All you do is throw in a fistful or less, your preference, of cilantro, stems and leafy bits and a jalapeno or spicy pepper of your choice. I LOVE getting the super spicy peppers from the farmers market and substituting that for the jalapeno. Quick note on adding the cilantro stems- Jamie Oliver uses the stems in one of his curry dishes that I made and the flavor was so much crisper and brighter. See if you like it as much as I do- it adds crunch, always a good thing.
Let me know about some other variations out there- I’m always looking for more hummus!