Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Junior League and Hummus

Last night I had a meeting with a small group of girls from The Junior League. I debated what to bring, and eventually I decided that most people were probably going to bring a dessert item, so I should go in a different direction. Hummus! At some point in college I realized that hummus is actually good for you, and when something that delicious is also healthy then I think I need to eat as much of it as possible. So I do!

When I brought hummus to the meeting last night, I learned that it's a common joke that everyone brings hummus to Junior League meetings. Whoops! Good to know for next time. Lucky for me, last night I was the only one who brought it!

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus

1 red pepper
1 bulb of garlic
15 oz can chickpeas
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup tahini
½ cup water
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Quarter the red pepper and drizzle with1 ½ tablespoons olive oil. Toss and lay the pepper on a baking sheet. (I usually line my baking sheets with nonstick aluminum foil to protect them when I'm cooking.)
  3. Cut the top off of your bulb of garlic to expose each clove. You may have to do some extra trimming on the sides to ensure that each clove is exposed from the outer layers, drizzle the top with ½ tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Place the bulb on a sheet of aluminum foil and fold the sides up together to seal the bulb inside the foil. Put your foil bulb next to the peppers on the baking sheet. 
  5. Bake peppers and garlic at 400F for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  7. To remove garlic from the bulb, wait until the garlic is cool enough to handle comfortably and then squeeze each clove out of the bulb. They should be a little mushy and pasty. Kind of gross- but they taste good! If you feel the same way about garlic that I do (which is really good) take a taste!
  8. Add the cloves of garlic directly into your food processor along with the roasted peppers, chickpeas, ¼ cup olive oil, tahini, water and lemon juice.
  9. Blend!
  10. You may need to add more water to achieve your preferred consistency. I like my hummus to be pretty smooth, so I added almost ¼ cup more water at this point.
  11. Begin tasting! I use pita for this because I taste the hummus at least three times at this stage and I don't want to double dip a spoon, or use up three separate spoons. I think pita is the best food vehicle for tasting because the flavor is pretty neutral, but feel free to use baby carrots, celery etc. 
  12. Based on your tasting process, begin to add salt and pepper until you're happy!

I find that this hummus keeps well in the fridge for 3-5 days. The red pepper and garlic add a lot of flavor and I loved eating this flavor with cucumbers. I'm also planning a cucumber/ hummus pita sandwich.

Pita bread isn't to hard to find in 'real food' form. At both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods I've found pita that contains only water, whole wheat flour, oil, yeast and salt which are all actual real foods. I am going to be testing a recipe for homemade pita bread.

Tahini is sesame paste and, in my opinion, it does not taste good on it's own (just a warning!), but it's a pretty typical ingredient in hummus. I have found tahini in the peanut butter section, the aisle with oils and the international foods area, so it might be helpful to ask someone at the grocery store before you start your search.

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