50 Shades of Hummus (and a kinky Israeli Salad)

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If you would’ve asked me a month ago if making hummus was an art, well, I probably would’ve said yes because the definition of art is very debatable and personally, I believe art is a direct derivative of passion and if you have passion for making hummus, then it is an art.

But, I digress.

In Israel, hummus is served everywhere. If it’s an Italian restaurant, there’s hummus. If it’s a corner deli, there’s hummus. If it’s an empty fridge, miraculously, there’s hummus. But for all the hummus that you can consume in Israel, there seem to be a miraculous variety in the simple chickpea recipe. Most are secretive and elusive in their goodness, with such reputations that people come seeking them from throughout Israel.

During my eating tour through Israel, I was able to discover one of these gems. Like an intimidating sister, the hummus from Humus Said (pronounced Saeed) will forever lure over me, reminding me that all other hummus’ are inadequate.

It was with that hummus in mind that I began scouring the internet for the perfect hummus recipe. I surveyed far too many, foolishly believing that reading a million hummus recipes would equate to thousands (seriously) years of crafting. It didn’t, but I am excited none-the-less to divulge this better than any store bought hummus recipe. My hopes are that you will comment with your personal family touches, and that eventually, one day when I’m ridiculously old, my hummus will have the divine consistency and melting quality of Humus Said.

In the meantime, I share what I have learned thus far in my hummus education.

50 Shades of Ridiculous Hummus

1/2 pound dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon baking soda
7 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup tahini, at room temperature (see Note)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt, Paprika, for garnish
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Pita bread
Onion, Tomato, Cucumber – for serving

In a medium bowl or a seal-able bag, cover the dried chickpeas with 2 inches of water and stir in the baking soda. Refrigerate the chickpeas overnight, they will double in size! If you can, change the water once during this process. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them under cold water.

In a medium saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of fresh water.

Add the garlic cloves (UNPEELED, ya, this is weird, but I know nothing about hummus so I just did as I was told) and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the chickpeas are tender, around an hr. They will have again expanded, looking like so:

Drain, reserving 10 tablespoons of the cooking water and 2 tablespoons of the chickpeas. Rinse the chickpeas under cold water. Peel the garlic cloves. Mmm, garlicky.

Next, I added the chickpeas to my teeny, tiny, sad food processor and pureed the chickpeas with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 6 of the garlic cloves. Add the cumin along with 1/4 cup each of the tahini and lemon juice and process until creamy.
***Hummus Rumor: Rumor has it that truly renown hummus is made by hand, so if you have the mental energy and a mortar and pestal (or, like, a basic masher & a sturdy bowl?) opt for that route!

Season the hummus with salt and transfer to a serving bowl.

Wipe out the food processor. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of tahini, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of reserved cooking water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and garlic clove and puree.

Using a ladle, make an indent in the center of the hummus. Spoon in the tahini-lemon mixture. Sprinkle the hummus with the cumin and paprika. Garnish with the reserved whole chickpeas and the parsley, and serve with pita bread and a plate of chopped veggies for dipping! I also served mine with a yummy Israeli Salad (recipe follows) !

Israeli Salad

Confession, this Israeli Salad is not actually that kinky. It’s simple, delectable, and as prevalent as hummus is in Israel. But despite the lack of kink, it’s quick and easy, with bright refreshing flavors so throw it together to accompany your hummus!

2 medium roma tomatoes, cubed (key to the Israeli salad is the small cubes in which you cut the veggies. I don’t know why this is, but again, I don’t argue with tradition)
1 1-pound cucumber, cubed
1/2 medium red onion, cubed (I will keep reiterating the term cubed until you understand the importance)
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh, flat-leaf parsley
Juice of half a lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cubed all veggies. Place in a bowl. Seperately mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper. Season more according to taste. Pour over veggies.

Told you it was easy!

Kink it up w these additions: feta, bell pepper, chickpeas, quinoa or chopped olives!

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