Monday, May 7, 2012


Parties have gotten hard.  When I ate anything and everything, I loved going to parties because there would be all of these new foods to try.  I’d go to parties hungry and take a little bite of everything, just to sample it all.  Then I’d compare notes with my husband on what we each liked best and go back for selective seconds (and thirds).

But now that I can’t eat gluten or dairy, parties are much harder than they used to be.  I don’t want to annoy the host with my mewling “Do you know if that dip has any dairy in it?” or “Can I see the package for those rice crackers?”   I wouldn’t mind if someone had those questions for me because I’ve been there, I understand.  But it’s hard to be the finicky guest.  Who wants to be high maintenance?

Enter hummus.  Hummus is my little personal party savior because hummus almost never has gluten or dairy in it.  As long as there’s a plate of fresh veggies nearby, I can stand happily by the hummus at the buffet table and enjoy it to my heart’s content.

I also like to take hummus to dinner parties.  It’s true that you can buy great prepared hummus at most grocery stores, but there is something special about fresh hummus.  Served the same day it’s made, fresh hummus is amazing.  Bright and lemony, deep and dark with sesame, it’s a zingy fascination for your mouth.  My husband and I made a batch yesterday and snuck it into a movie with full-size carrots.  We tried to crunch the carrots quietly but the movie was loud enough I don’t think anyone noticed.  (We went on a date and saw “Avengers.”  Awesome, even without contraband hummus). 

So this is the second recipe from Greg Atkinson’s West Coast Cooking (2006).  There are plenty of online hummus recipes out there, but if you’re looking for a great one, you’ve found it.  Not too garlicky, a smidge of cumin, it’s perfect hummus.  If you have a helper squeezing the lemons (or if you use bottled lemon juice), it takes about 5 minutes to make, so even if you’re in a hurry for a party, you can whip this together.  Of course, you need to have tahini on hand, but once you buy some, you can make this dip every few weeks. 

Adapting the Recipe
No gluten or dairy in the original recipe, but in an effort to streamline the recipe for the hurried party-goer, I did use garlic powder instead chopped garlic.  I also increased the cumin slightly and reduced the amount of olive oil.  I’ve also cut his recipe in half, making a more convenient 1¼ C. hummus.

Creamy, salty, lemon-y, and slightly rich.  Delicious.  And you can dress this recipe up or dress it down.  Served with raw carrots cut on the bias and blanched asparagus tips, it’s elegant enough for a dressy cocktail party.   With a plate of Frito-s, it’s football goodness.

1 (14.5 oz.) can garbanzo beans (or chick peas, same thing)
¼ C. tahini
¼ C. lemon juice
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ T. olive oil
½ T. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
Chopped parsley, chopped tomatoes, or paprika, for garnish

Drain the garbanzo beans and save at least ¼ C. of the liquid. 

Put the beans, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic powder in a food processor.  Pulse the motor on and off several times, until the mixture is mostly chopped.  Scrape down the sides.  Add the olive oil and sesame oil and run the processor until the oil is incorporated and beans are pureed.  If the paste seems too thick, add the reserved liquid from the beans, 1 T. at a time, pulsing for a few seconds after each addition, until you have the consistency you like.  Add the salt and cumin, processing for just a few seconds to combine.

Transfer to a serving bowl and top with parsley, tomatoes or paprika. 

Let the hummus sit at least 15 minutes for the flavor to develop before serving.

Makes about 1 ¼ C.

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