Heavenly Hummus - Absolutely Divine

In our household, hummus is king. It’s the one and only legitimately “healthy” food that my picky child will eat. Our other munchkin doesn’t care much for the stuff – sometimes he’ll eat it and sometimes he won’t but he’s an otherwise excellent eater so I don’t fuss myself much over his food consumption. I’ve even been known to try and “hide” stuff from my picky eater but I must not be very good at it because he almost always sorts out my attempts at subterfuge.

My hummus (and this is the spelling that I prefer, for no particular reason) is non-traditional in the sense that I don’t use tahini (a sesame seed paste). Sesame has a bitter taste to me and I just don’t care for it at all. It also makes the hummus a runnier consistency which translates to hummus dripped all over the table by the aforementioned picky child. No, thanks!

The first time I remember being exposed to hummus was when my sister, who’s been mostly vegetarian since she was a small child, made some at my house around 2002. This was before I’d really started experimenting with food and the amount of garlic she piled into my blender seemed obscene. I had to evacuate from the room at one point because the odor was so strong and I worried that I might have to purchase a new blender to replace my hummus-ruined one. At no point could she convince me to even try it, uh-uh, no way Jose!

So it was, years later, that I finally tried making some hummus on my own. My impetus is lost to time but I can tell you with a certain amount of chagrin that I didn’t try any of it. My husband said it was good and that sufficed. Later, some friends tried it and gave favorable feedback so I eventually caved. It was alright, I thought, but not something I’d eat much of in one sitting. Fast forward to the present, evolutionary processes having been at work in my psyche regarding my attitudes toward food, and I can honestly say that I love the stuff! I have to make large containers of it or it’s gone too soon and I have hungry boys with nekkid crackers in hand staring me down. [Eek!]

Mama Hummus

1 c. dried garbanzo beans (or more for larger batches)
Minced garlic
Lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil 

Wait a tick – why aren’t there quantities listed for anything other than the garbanzos? That’s so not cool. What the heck is going on here?!?

The simple truth is this: I have no idea how much of the last three that I use from batch to batch. I probably use no less than one tablespoon of minced garlic from a jar (packed in olive oil). Does that help? I often prepare a whole pound of dried beans at a time because even that much only lasts our household for about a week, but ensures there won’t be any leftover to throw out.

The beans need to soak for about eight (8) hours, covered with something that will allow them to breathe. Make sure you cover them with plenty of cool water – these suckers swell! After that, rinse them well and put them in a large pot with enough fresh, cool water to cover them by about two inches. Bring to a boil then turn down to medium simmer for about an hour or so. Check on them periodically and add more water as needed. I’ve practically burnt a whole batch to bits because I let all the water evaporate. When they squish easily, they’re done. Drain the cook water and allow the beans to cool a bit before adding to your food processor.

Here’s my cheat: I usually use bottled lemon juice. Yes, I do. I’m not proud of it, but I don’t mince the garlic myself either, so meh. I don’t include salt at all in my recipe because we almost always eat it as a dip with Triscuit Thin Crisps. I have slathered it on lavash bread, topped with homemade tzatziki sauce, shredded carrots, and thinly slivered red onions (yup, that’s the pretty photo at the top of this post). Do forgive me if you think I’m nuts, but in that context, it just doesn’t need any salt!

With your beans in the food processor, add some minced garlic and some lemon juice (maybe start with a tablespoon of each). Pour in a bit of olive oil but not much. Turn your food processor on and start pouring a slow stream of olive oil in through the little hole in the top. Watch the consistency of the hummus as you add the olive oil. I prefer a very thick hummus but I probably still use a good half-cup of oil at minimum. Stop the processor (please – we don’t want any fingers in our hummus) and give it a taste. Add more garlic, lemon juice or olive oil as needed but know that the flavors take about a day to fully develop.

Here’s the most difficult instruction of all: When you have the flavor the way you want it, put it in a glass bowl with a tight-fitting lid and stick it in the refrigerator. For several hours. Until the following day if you can manage. I promise you, it’s totally worth the wait.

Can I quick soak the dried beans?

Yup, though I can tell a difference and I prefer the long soak method.

Can I use canned beans?

Oh, for heaven’s sake, I suppose so, but really, it’s much, much better made from scratch. You still have to cook the canned beans for a while – I’ve never made it that way so I don’t know for how long. And do please be sure to rinse off the blech they’re packed in. [Shudder]

So it’s just those four little ingredients total, but I wholeheartedly encourage other additions: avocado, pureed cauliflower, hempseed, ground flax or chia seed, black bean puree, seasonings of your choice. Go wild, have fun and manga!

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