Israeli-Style Hummus

Israeli Style Hummus

Hummus is one of those go to appetizers that everyone loves.  It is great with vegetables and crackers, and much healthier than the traditional “onion dip” which is why it has such a great reputation, and you can pretty much find it anywhere.  But how many of you have actually tried to make it from scratch?  I am not just talking about making it with canned chickpeas, I am talking the real deal – nothing from a can.

Last year my dear friend and colleague from Israel brought me some real Israeli tahini during one of her visits to the states.  At that point, I thought about making hummus, but the canned chickpeas where dragging me down.  I just didn’t want to ruin that authentic tahini with something canned.  Then something happened.  A pound of dried chickpeas showed up in my weekly market basket.  I had never even seen them before – but they had hummus written all over them.  Again though – they sat in my pantry for months – until the last and final sign came.  It was this recipe printed in Bon Appetit.  Seriously, the universe was somehow telling me that I had to make this.  So this time I listened – and wow.  This is no ordinary hummus – this is silky smooth, and packed with a nutty fresh flavor.  I could eat it with a spoon.  And it was so good, I made another batch two weeks later.  I know, I have no time to cook, bake, or post on this blog anymore, but somehow I carved out enough time to make this hummus twice in a month.  That’s saying something right there…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • cup (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • cup tahini
  • ¼ teaspoon (or more) ground cumin
  • Olive oil (for serving)

Preparation

Place chickpeas and 1 tsp. baking soda in a medium bowl and add cold water to cover by 2″. Cover and let sit at room temperature until chickpeas have doubled in size, 8–12 hours. Drain and rinse.

Combine soaked chickpeas and remaining 1 tsp. baking soda in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover by at least 2″. Bring to a boil, skimming surface as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until chickpeas are tender and really falling apart, 45–60 minutes. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, process garlic, lemon juice, and 1 tsp. salt in a food processor until coarsely puréed; let sit 10 minutes to allow garlic to mellow.

Strain garlic mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing on solids to release as much liquid as possible. Return liquid to food processor; discard solids. Add tahini and pulse to combine. With motor running, add ¼ cup ice water by the tablespoonful and process (it may seize up at first) until mixture is very smooth, pale, and thick. Add chickpeas and cumin and process, occasionally scraping down sides, until mixture is extremely smooth, about 4 minutes. Thin with more water if you prefer a looser consistency; taste and season with salt, more lemon juice, and more cumin as desired.

Spoon hummus into a shallow bowl, making a well in the center, and drizzle liberally with oil. Top as desired.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Israeli Style Hummus

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Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps

Cheese is on my short list.  The short list of things I must consume as much as possible of while in France. Fortunately for me, what I was hoping for actually happened.  In the US, I can’t really eat dairy without taking a lactaid pill – and even then, it doesn’t always work.  So, for the most part, I stay away from dairy as best as I can – but as you can tell from my blog, it doesn’t always stop me.  Then I just suffer the consequences – if the handy pill decides not to work.

Here, it is a different story…whatever it is, dairy agrees with me just fine.  It definitely begs the question of what is done to our dairy in the US.  I can eat all the cheese I want here, and I am fine.  I can even drink a nice glass of milk – what a bonus.  My husband thinks it is the fact that I am under no stress here – I think it is the quality of the food.  Whatever it is, I am enjoying every minute of it.  One more reason why this is the place for me.

The other night we were out at one of the cutest places ever – Buvette – where I am absolutely in love with everything there, the boxes filled with fresh fruit just waiting to be made into a tart, the adorable bar with top quality liquors, and the food that is exceptionally fresh and delicious.  The girls each got a Croque Monsieur, and the cheese on the top was so crusty, it was amazing.  It reminded me of these parmesan crisps I made before I left – recipe from Cooking Light.  They were the perfect accompaniment to the tomato fennel soup we were enjoying.  Although they are just as good on their own.  Now if you could excuse me, I have some more cheese to eat…truffle cheese from the farmer’s market.  Yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread 2 teaspoons cheese evenly into a 2-inch circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet; repeat 5 times, leaving 1 inch between circles. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until golden. Remove pan from oven; carefully lift crisps from pan with a spatula, and place on a wire rack. Cool cheese crisps completely.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:Parmesan Crisps

 

 

Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

I don’t deal with this much anymore, but when my children were younger, I felt like I should change their name to Sam.  And for those of you who have made the connection, you are correct, they did not like green eggs and ham. Now if they were just eggs and ham, move out of the way.  But anything green just turned them off.  It was funny, when they were babies, they LOVED their green peas, avocados, and pretty much anything I put in front of them.  It was such a treat to have anything other than milk, that they could actually touch and play with, and more often than not find a way into their mouth.

When I hear from new parents that say their baby is not a picky eater, I congratulate them – and then tell them not to freak out when that ends.  It will come back – particularly if you don’t make a big deal about it.  We never forced our kids to eat anything, and always asked that they took a “no thank-you bite.”  If they ended up liking it, they could have more.  No pressure.  I actually thought I was a genius and was the only one to have it all figured out – and then I read this book.  It was seriously one of the best parenting books I have ever read (ok, maybe I have only read a couple, but still).  I felt like he had written this book about me.  And it just so happens that he is the father of a parent at my daughter’s school.  Still, affirmation feels good.

So, when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, it actually made me laugh.  Then after I finished laughing, I ran to the kitchen to try them out.  I have been hanging on to this post for quite a while, waiting for the perfect opportunity – and I decided that now was the time.  When you are trying to figure out what to bring to that holiday potluck, or what to bring to that party you were invited to – look no further.  These were amazing.  They were polished off instantly – and my children helped out.  Fortunately they are over their green fetish now.  These are good for any season, but I have to admit, the red and green is just a little festive.  So just like the book, give them a try, and I am sure that you will eat these little babies just about anywhere…

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 3/4 cup diced avocado
  • 2 tablespoons grated red onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ounce prosciutto slices, crisped and crumbled

Preparation

Steam eggs in a vegetable steamer 16 minutes; cool slightly, and peel. Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and remove yolks; mash yolks.

Stir avocado, onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and salt into yolks. Divide among whites; top with prosciutto.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Green Eggs and Ham