Spring Summer Snacks
(Inspired by Fine Cooking, Feb./Mar. 2016)
Makes: 2 1/2 cups/ serves 8-10
Once you taste this creamy, whipped texture, you'll never buy store-brand hummus again! Easy to execute, but a few important flavor tips to keep in mind.
The main attractions...
Chickpeas: you can use canned or dried. Just be certain to soak dried in 8 cups of cold water in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (I do this overnight) but up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse either form before starting.
Garlic: Cooking the garlic in tandem with the chickpeas tames the pungent dominance and adds a welcomed, sweeter note.
Tahini: Choice of brand is the biggest contribution to your hummus being a winner (or not)! I prefer Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Organic Tahini (which is basically ground sesame seeds).
Lemon: Balances and brightens the overall composition.
Olive Oil: This is best when drizzled over top of the near-final presentation. Other recipes call for the olive oil to be run through the feed tube of the food processor in the last minutes of prep. This just breaks down the flavors and can leave it tasting a little bitter.
Now we hold the knowledge...here we go!
15oz. Chickpeas (see note above)
1 ½-3/4tsp. Baking soda
2-3 medium cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
2/3 cup tahini (see note above)
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
1 tsp. fine sea salt; more to taste
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
Paprika for garnish (optional)
In a large, heavy-duty pot, cook the chickpeas and the baking soda over medium heat, stirring often for 3 minutes. Add 6 cups of fresh, cold water and the garlic and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the chickpeas are very tender throughout, about 45 min to 1 hour. Reserve ¼ cup-1/2 cup of the chickpea cooking liquid and drain the chickpeas.
Transfer the chickpeas to a large bowl, and cover with cold water. Gently agitate the chickpeas with your fingers to help dislodge the skins (still a necessary step for canned chickpeas). Stir with a skimmer or slotted spoon and remove the skins as they rise to the surface (this is the part of the recipe that requires the most attention of time...but well worth the efforts). Drain well. Reserve 2 Tbs. of the whole chickpeas, and transfer the reset, including the garlic, to a food processor. Purée until the mixture balls up.
With the machine running, add the tahini, lemon juice, salt and the chickpea reserved cooking liquid through the feed tube. Scrape down the sides, and purée until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. The hummus thickens and the flavors develop as it sits.
Just before serving, season to taste with more salt and fresh lemon juice, if necessary. Using the back of the spoon, create a well on the surface of the hummus and drizzle the olive oil, filling the well. Scatter the reserved whole chickpeas, parsley, and paprika, if desire, over the top and serve.
Best devoured with baked pita chips (see recipe below), cucumbers, peppers, carrots or just a spoon!
Here are some 'add-in' hummus-enhancements that might appeal to your palate...
Roasted and seasoned Chickpeas (see recipe at right)
Mint, feta and orange zest
Artichoke, olives and toasted pine nuts
Cilantro, pepita seeds and smoked paprika
Toasted cumin and coriander
Or get creative in your homemade humus base and add half the Chickpeas and the half could be…
Edamame, carrots or beets for an additional zing of nutrients and flavor.
Baked Pita Chips
4 whole, soft pitas (white or whole wheat)
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
ZA’ATAR blend seasoning (Middle Eastern flavors)
Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Brush tops of pitas with divided olive oil.
Sprinkle a healthy shake across each pita, oiled top
Bake for 6-8min.
Cut into triangles
Can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container
Roasted- Seasoned Chickpeas
Ideal for snacking on their own as they are addictive to munch or toppings to soups, salads, chili or hummus
15 oz can of Chickpeas (strained and rinsed in cold water)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Seasonings to sprinkle and toss (pick one, a few or several for an aromatic infusion: cumin, paprika, chili powder, rosemary, lemon zest,
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min. (keep watchful as a few may pop in the oven)
Floral Spring/Summer Rolls
Rice paper wraps (plan 2 rolls a person for an appetizer)
Fresh edible flowers (optional) found in specialty markets with the spice
Fresh herbs (basil, mint, cilantro)
Romaine lettuce leaves (2 per roll)
Fresh veggies of your liking (peeled & julienne cut): carrots, cucumber, peppers, radishes, scallions, red onion, avocado
Soak each rice paper wrap, on at a time of assembly, in a pie plate or skillet of cold water. Gently massage wrap in the water till it become gelatinous and transparent.
Lay wrap on dry surface and first arrange edible flowers in center middle
Next, layer selected herbs or infuse them in your julienne veggie layer in step 5
Then, layer is romaine leaf
Follow with julienne veggies of your desire
Last, layer with final romaine leaf
Roll tightly up burrito style with bottom up to middle, left and right sides tucked in and continue to roll up sealing and securing the back and side seams.
Cut in half diagonally when ready to eat.
Rolls are delicious on their own or accompanied with Hearts of Pesto Herbaceous Dip (recipe below), peanut or soy sauce.
These Floral Rolls are able to be assembled a day in advance and stored in an airtight container with a slightly damp paper towel
Hearts of Pesto Herbaceous Dip
I package (2/3 oz.) of fresh basil
1-14oz. can of Hearts of Palm
¼ c of extra virgin olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
2 pinches of salt
Pulse all in blender or food processor till all is pureed and well combined to a paste-like texture.
Accompany with Floral Spring/Summer Rolls or traditional crudité.