Hummus (or “hommus”) is a rising star. Salsa overtook ketchup and hummus looks to be closing in on salsa as an American condiment. The homemade version is so inexpensive to make that the convenience of the pre-packaged stuff gets minimized when you make your own. The stuff is hardly a diet food, the tahini (tahina) runs about 100cal/TBS.
Hummus is a food of Antiquity. Long before there were food processors, a mortar and pestle was used to grind the stuff into a paste.
Enough of the History Channel stuff.
Here is a very basic hummus recipe that lends itself to experimentation. Traditional hummus uses dried chickpeas (and sometimes fava beans) that are reconstituted by cooking. This recipe uses canned chickpeas, since the goal is speed over purism here.
1 14oz can of chickpeas (garbanzos) – RESERVE the liquid
juice of 1-2 lemons (about 1/3 to ½ cup) depending on taste
¼ to ½ C tahini (tahina) (I like a LOT in my hummus)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
Drain the chickpeas, reserving at least ½ cup of it. You may add water to the liquid to bring it to volume if needed. Pick the lemon seeds out of the juice, but leave the pulp. Toss all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
Variation One: For a creamier, dairy version, use ¼ C tahini and ¼ cup sour cream.
Variation Two: Add ½ tsp hot (sharp) paprika, ¼ tsp turmeric, and ¼ tsp cayenne.
Variation Three: Add 1-2 jalapeno peppers (seeded) minced, to Version Two (omit cayenne).
Experiment with small amounts in a saucer and add whatever spices or herbs you like.
Spread on a plate or platter. Drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of paprika and 1 tsp finely chopped parsley.
Serve with just about any crisp chip, cracker, or pita portions.
“Fast” and easy pita!
This recipe will make 8-12 pita loaves. I make them and freeze them for later use. After I made these while my friends visited with their children, there were many subsequent requests from them for “that ‘sploding bread”. The recipe makes for a very dense and chewy pita. I have another that is less dense that is fried. But this is the one I like best.
2 C white flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1-2 tsp salt
3 tsp dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1 1/3 to 1 ½ C warm water
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the pinch of sugar. I have had variable “luck” getting my pita to puff up nicely until I started “priming” the yeast with a bit of sugar. Purists can add a bit of flour instead of the sugar. Allow the yeast/water to stand 5-10 minutes. Dump the flours into a mixing bowl with the salt and stir thoroughly. The point here, is to mix in the salt so it does not remain concentrated in one spot and kill off your yeast when you add it. Add in the yeast mixture and knead for about 10 minutes. A stand mixer with a dough hook is nice. But if you want arms like Popeye, knead the stuff by hand. The dough should be smooth, but quite stiff. Lightly oil a large bowl. Form the dough into a large ball, dump in the dough, cover with a damp towel, and place in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours (until it doubles in size). Some folks form the dough into balls (golf ball to Clementine-size) and cover it with waxed paper or plastic film and allow it to rise again. I really like chewy pita, so I omit the second rise.
Pre-heat oven to AT LEAST 450F. I use a pizza stone when I bake pita. If you use a pizza stone, pre-heat it in the oven as well. Form dough balls (golf ball to Clementine-size) using well floured hands. Be sure to make the surface of the balls as smooth as possible. Roll out each ball to about ¼” thickness. Toss onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet. Close the oven door and be amazed…well, if you have a window in the door. These babies blow up like puffer fish. When dark brown spots form on the surface, the pita is “done”. Cool on a wire rack.
Any number of these hot, fresh pitot fall casualty to me every time I bake them. TRY to save some for later.