February 5, 2010

Take it slow: Make Hummus

Every couple of weeks I find myself spending the day in the kitchen.  Of course I am there at other times too, making dinner, breakfast, washing dishes -- its not that I ignore the kitchen the rest of the time.  I just find that every so often I am inspired to make several things and I usually do them all at the same time.  Not always the best way to go, but when I have the time to do it, I have to take the opportunity.  Last Sunday was one of these days when I was working on a few different recipes and trying to make some of staple foods that I make almost every week to keep our kitchen stocked with good food.

It makes me think of how, back in the days of cooking by the hearth, women used to spend one day of the week doing all the baking, another doing the washing, etc.  Most of what I know about that probably comes from reading the Little House books and visiting Old Sturbridge Village when I was young.  I do know that in these modern times, we have choices.  There are stores with aisles and aisles of food that could sustain us and we would never have to think about turning on the oven or dirtying a dish.  But that, of course, is not the choice I make.

Most of the time, I want to be connected to my food as deeply as possible. I'm not sure why as cooking and eating is a constant cycle and things that are edible are also usually perishable.  It must be this life cycle and the need to be a creative part of it that fuels my desire to be connected with what I eat.  There are many ways to do this and I look forward to the day that I can also grow the ingredients for the food I prepare.  For now, though, I find small ways to take part in the life of eating.

I make hummus nearly every week.  Mostly I make it because Ray really likes it for lunch and its something I can make instead of buy that he will enjoy.  It is a great staple food to have in the fridge for snacks or meals.  If you don't make a lot of things from scratch, this is a good place to start and its a small, really simple way to shift from buying to making.  In a culture that is full of the ready made and an obsession with instant gratification, its empowering to know that you can create something yourself, rather than having to pay for it.  I believe it is important for everyone to make this shift in some way, whether by knitting, quilting, playing a board game instead of going to the mall, or, well, you could try making hummus!
Hummus Plate
I make this in a food processor but I am sure you could make it by mashing the chickpeas and stirring everything together, it just might not be as smooth.  If you are doing it by hand, make sure to finely chop the garlic and cilantro and then experiment with mixing it to a consistency that you like.  You can use canned chickpeas, but I usually use dried ones which I soak in water overnight and then cook in their soaking water.  I bring them to a boil and then simmer for a couple of hours until they are soft.  You can also let them boil for about five minutes, turn of the heat and leave them covered while you are at work, they should be almost totally cooked when you get home.

2-cups cooked chickpeas (see above), with some of the cooking liquid (if you are using canned chickpeas you can use water as the liquid, if needed
1/2 cup tahini, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled, or more to your taste
Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, paprika or other spices to your taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro

As you can see, all ingredient amounts can be changed or modified according to your taste.  You can also add fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic or other ingredients and flavors.  But to make this basic recipe:  Put all of the ingredients in the food processor.  Process for a minute or two.  Taste and adjust flavors as desired.  For a looser consistency add the cooking liquid.  For a very smooth consistency, continue to process for 2 or 3 more minutes.  Serve with bread, crackers, veggies or whatever you would like.  Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.


  1. What a great post. I find mayonnaise is another thing that is just silly and wasteful to buy. Right now, I'm working on making rather than buying bread. I like how you put board games in this line of thinking. Have you tried Agricola?

  2. Thank you! I've been thinking about hummus for so long.

    I want to get in the habit of making things weekly for the house. I have a really inconsistent work schedule which makes it difficult. As soon as I get a job with weekends off, I know that's how I want to spend my Sundays. (I already knit ;) )

  3. Brad-I keep saying that I wish I liked mayo because I want to try making it! I have heard of Agricola, but never played it -- I'll have to check it out sometime.

    Liz-I know I'm lucky that Sunday is the one day I consistently have off, it often gets taken up with kitchen projects, but its worth it.

  4. I love hummus too. Yours looks great. And I was actually just thinking about Old Sturbridge Village and how much work it must have been back in the day!