homemade hummus

hummus

lest i lose myself completely in a bout of navel-gazing and reminiscing, let’s take a break to talk about hummus, shall we?
 
i think it’s currently my definition of the perfect snack. bright, flavorful, not entirely unhealthy — and if you drag a freshly toasted corner of warm flatbread through a creamy mound of it like i do: a wonderful play of textures. i can be a crunchy hot cheetos girl on any day, but when i’m my best self, i whir up a batch of homemade hummus, run a pita through the toaster oven, and sit down for a cup of tea.
 
this recipe requires two things: a food processor and an extra 10 to 15 minutes of your time. it is completely worth it to spend those meditative moments popping the chickpeas out of their translucent skin one by one. it’s the secret to getting that impossibly smooth, almost whipped texture that so mimics my favorite store-bought hummus at trader joe’s.
 
speaking of which, making hummus at home won’t save you much more than a dollar or so, compared to buying a tub at the store. but i do it for the satisfaction. out of the handful of feats that make me feel like i can handle this adulthood thing, most of mine are kitchen-related. and spooning out soft gobs of my own delicious homemade dip out of the food processor and into its perfectly-sized tupperware container to place in a well-stocked refrigerator, ready for whatever needs may arise, snacking or social or otherwise — that is a priceless feeling.
 
Homemade Hummus
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Makes 1 ¾ cups hummus

15 oz. can cooked, drained chickpeas 
½ cup tahini paste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste

2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¾ teaspoon table salt, or more to taste

Approximately ¼ cup water
Olive oil, paprika, Mediterranean flatbread and/or carrot sticks to serve

  1. Peel your chickpeas: Take a chickpea between your thumb and next two fingers, arranging the pointy end in towards your palm, and “pop!” the naked chickpea out. Discard the skin.
  2. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas until powdery clumps form, a full minute, scraping down the sides. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and blend until pureed. With the machine running, drizzle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get very smooth, light and creamy mixture (about 4 tablespoons).
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or lemon if needed.
  4. Transfer the hummus to a bowl and rest it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, longer if you can. To serve, drizzle it with a little olive oil, and sprinkle it with paprika. Serve it with toasted flatbread wedges or carrot sticks.

cheater’s pizza

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i don’t have much tolerance for pizzas that replace the crust with some non-crust material. english muffins, split and smattered with sauce and cheese and given a run through the toaster oven – they were fun as a kid. but a good yeast dough will bake up to be crispy, tender, and chewy in the oven – a perfect platform for whatever you decide to strew on top – and you really shouldn’t mess with it.

however.

there may come a time in life when you welcome a meal that can be toasty and tasty in five minutes flat. and so you realize you’ve got to swap out the yeast packets and floured hands and rising time for something a bit more efficient. when you’re ready to make such a compromise, back up from the english muffins; grab a package of flatbread instead. after a short time in a hot oven, each round gets browned and crisp around the edges and – with enough choice ingredients layered on top – you forget to be a snob about it and just bite, chew, and enjoy.

i got to eat this gourmet-ish dinner nearly every evening this week thanks to a friend who, instead of showing up to dinner with a bottle of wine for the hostess, handed me a printout of this recipe.


note: while getting all the ingredients from trader joe’s may not be wholly necessary, it sure adds to the whole “easy” part of it.

also: you will end up with some extra prosciutto and cheese after you make the pizzas, but i’m sure you can find a way to “take care” of the leftovers.

and: there will be sauce left too. that’s just annoying. i apologize.


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Easy Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Pizza
Makes 8 small pizzas


1 package Trader Joe’s Middle Eastern flatbread
1 jar Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
1 package Trader Joe’s string cheese (For real.)
1 package prosciutto (about 5 oz.)
5 oz. goat cheese with herbs
balsamic caramelized onions*
several leaves of fresh basil, sliced in chiffonade (for pretty!) or torn into small pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On one flatbread, thinly spread 1 ½ teaspoons of pizza sauce. Distribute one string cheese on pizza, crisscrossing shreds for even coverage. Tear half a slice of prosciutto into small bits and distribute on pizza, followed by small chunks of goat cheese and caramelized onions. Repeat process for each flatbread.

Bake for 6 to 7 minutes (closer to 5 if using a toaster oven), until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Sprinkle with basil and serve.

*To make the balsamic caramelized onions: Melt a few tablespoons of butter (2 to 4 depending on the size of your onion) in a pan over high heat. Cut an onion in half, remove skin, and slice into half-moons. Throw onion slices into pan and let them brown over high heat, stirring or shaking the pan only occasionally. When the onions have gotten soft, brown, and caramelized (about 10 minutes), pour in a few glugs of balsamic vinegar (about 2 tablespoons, or to taste). Continue to cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the vinegar has reduced and coats the onions (a few seconds more). Remove from heat.