Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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My Big Fat Can of Chickpeas.

So I'm off to a good start with 2 posts in less than a week! I foresee more in the future as the fresh produce becomes more readily available. I'm anxiously waiting to start my garden, but the recent bounty of rain has kept me from stepping foot outside, let alone planting any seeds. Anyway, this post is not really a redesigned recipe, but rather my play on one of my favorite condiment/dip/spread, whatever you call Hommus/Hummus (Not really sure on the "official" spelling, but seen both ways). Although it is not of Greek origin, I feel a lot of people associate Hummus with Greek food, hence the title. I thought it was clever and appropriate, due to the rather large can of chickpeas used in the recipe. I love to get the 3 layer Hummus from Trader Joe's, which includes roasted red pepper, original, and cilantro hummus. My unexpected favorite is the cilantro layer, which has inspired this post, and also the fact that cilantro was on sale at the supermarket! So if you enjoy hummus, but often find it over priced, or just want to give making your own a try, I recommend it. I didn't follow any recipe, and it was one of the easiest things I have made. Here are some estimated ingredient amounts (I didn't really measure, and adding more as I went), but the process is all the same.

Cilantro Hummus:
1 Bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 large (30 oz) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 Tablespoon canola oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Onion Powder, to taste

First off, you will need a food processor for this, but I would think a blender would work as well.

Then you will need to drain and rinse the can of chickpeas under cold water for a good 30 seconds. Add them to the bowl of your food processor.
Next, I chopped the garlic and cilantro, and added them to the food processor. 3 cloves may seem like a lot of garlic, but for the amount of chickpeas used, it is not the least bit overpowering. I would have actually used more, but refrained for the enjoyment of others consuming the hummus.

Then I zested the lemon, and added that as well as the juice to the mixture. Now I would suggest using a whole lemon, since I couldn't really taste it, but half a lemon was all I had on hand.

Next, I added the oil to the water in a measuring cup. I left out how much water I used for two reasons: 1.) I didn't really measure it when I made mine, so I'm not even sure how much I would suggest, but for recipe sake I would say about 1/4 to 1/3 cup. 2.) It depends on the consistency you like your hummus. I like mine a bit on the "chunkier"side, for lack of a better word, but if you like yours a bit smoother, or thinner, feel free to add more water and oil. Another tip I've heard of for making Hummus really smooth like the store bought is to remove the skins from the chickpeas. Seeing as I had a large amount of chickpeas, and a lack of motivation to sit and peel them all, I skipped that step. If it seems necessary for your enjoyment, be my guest, and remove the skins.

Now, while your food processor is running, stream the water and oil mixture in through the feed tube, until everything starts to come together. I had to stop and scrape down the sides of my bowl, and check the consistency a few times. During these times I also added in salt, pepper, and onion powder, but again I didn't measure so use your own taste and judgement.
When it comes to the consistency and flavor you like Voila! You have made your own Hummus! Just transfer to a storage container, and enjoy. Not sure on the shelf life for it, but I feel it would last a week in the fridge, but have also heard you can freeze it for up to 2 months. Since I eat a lot of it, I made a big batch, but feel free to cut the recipe in half if you don't think you'd eat that much.

Now this recipe makes plenty of Hummus to share, or in my home, plenty for the week. If you're new to the Hummus scene it can be used for many different things. Some of the common ways are:

- Spread on Sandwiches
- Dip for Veggies, Pita Bread/Pita Chips,Crackers, Pretzels, and Popcorn! (if you saw my last post, you would already know that!)
- Filling for an Omelet (Good alternative to loads of cheese!)

Hummus can be a healthy alternative to mayo, cheese, and not so healthy dips, such as french onion and ranch. While it is not for everyone, I urge you to give it a try, and like always explore new flavors!

I'm not sure of the nutrition info for this, but I know 1 Tablespoon of commercial Hummus is 25 calories and 1 gram of fat, and since I did not use a lot of oil or any Tahini, this recipe would be even less. Regardless, it is delicious!

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