Damn you, Mark Bittman.
I already can barely take the artificial taste of store-bought hummus – and now, it’ll be hard to go back to the homemade kind I used to be quite happy with…you know, the kind made with canned chickpeas.
This is what hummus is supposed to taste like. If you’re a hummus-lover, which I bet many of you are, you’ll be blown away by the difference in both flavor and texture that happens when you go that extra mile and cook your own chickpeas.
Only you don’t have to go an extra mile, really – as Mark proves in his instructions for cooking dried beans. To soak, or not to soak…that is the question. Most people, including myself, are turned off by the fact that dried beans require an overnight soak prior to cooking. Not because it’s hard to fill a bowl with water and beans, but because it requires planning ahead. Well, you’ll be thrilled to know that Mark says he’s done it every which way, and he doesn’t find the soaking to make a difference. Boom!
Let’s call it an extra couple of yards you’ve gotta go to do hummus the right way. No soaking overnight, just simmering a pot of beans for an hour or so. Next time, I might try this in my slow cooker – I’ve heard that’s a thing people do.
Totally. Worth. It.
You can find the recipe on Erin’s gorgeous blog, Naturally Ella. I’m going to take this opportunity to thank you, Erin, again for offering to help out with The Food Matters Project behind-the-scenes. Erin is in incredibly talented and creative blogger, and if you haven’t been to her blog, do it now!
So, what did I do to the recipe? Doubled the garlic – as per usual, used probably double the bean cooking liquid to thin the hummus, and I definitely used more olive oil – especially with the heavy drizzling I like to do before serving.
The other interesting part about this recipe is that it’s actually meant to be served hot. You can serve it anyway you like, of course, but I’d never eaten it warmed before, and so I tried it. I must say, I’m a fan. It’s a nice contrast if you’re dipping cool, crisp veggies like red peppers or cucumbers, and I feel like it sort of elevates the garlic flavor – kind of reminds me of why I like eating white bean dip warm.
I served the hummus in a happy little trio along with a moroccan-spiced yogurt dip and a super-simple olive and feta tapenade. I love olives and therefore I’m obsessed with tapenade; all it takes is a little purée with whatever you’re feeling like – maybe a little garlic, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon…this time I kept it simple and went with olive oil and feta.
For the yogurt dip, I just added some spices from this Moroccan mix I’ve used in the past for crispy roasted chickpeas, to taste, with fresh herbs like mint, parsley, cilantro – whatever you’ve got on hand, and a squeeze of lemon to a bowl of Greek yogurt. You could also do a tzatziki sauce if you’ve got some cucumbers lying around. I liked that each dip brought something different in flavor, texture, and temperature. My favorite bite consisted of a lot of hummus with a little tapenade on top. Yum.
I couldn’t leave my dip trio high and dry, so I served it up with semi-homemade pita chips (whole wheat pita cut into triangles, sprayed or brushed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and into the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, turning the chips halfway through), roasted eggplant chips, and roasted cauliflower. To make the eggplant, you’ll want to slice the eggplant pretty thin – about 1/4-inch or thinner, and then salt the slices and let them sit for about 20 minutes. This will draw out the moisture and make them less greasy and more crispy when you roast them. You’ll see the moisture pool, just wipe it away and place them on a sheet pan, brush or spray with olive oil on both sides, add some pepper if you like (you won’t need salt since you already salted them), and roast them for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees, turning them over halfway through.
I like to roast the cauliflower a little higher, at 450 (same deal, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and onto a baking sheet – only here, you’ll want to shake the pan every so often to ensure even browning rather than flipping the eggplant slices once) and because I was cooking both veggies for the same dish, I put them both in at this temperature. No worries, just check the eggplant and remove it a few minutes earlier if you need to.
You could, alternatively, call it a day and grab a bag of Stacy’s … Just do yourself a favor, if you’re a hummus-lover, and try the real deal!
Click here to see how the rest of the group got down with this one!