I have been promising this one for a while.
Mostly because I cannot tell you the number of times I have watched someone sidle up to a table of potluck munchies, select his or her preferred scooping mechanism – pita chip, carrot stick, extended finger – load it up and then, upon chomping down on a crunchy bite, proceed to light up (hyperbole)*, exclaim in ecstasy (gross exaggeration), and, head-spinning cartoonishly (now I’m just being silly), demand to know what mere mortal summoned from the heavens such a sanctimonious mouth-pleaser.
*Definitely snagged that paranthetical aside (and the use of an asterisk for an asinine comment mid-buildup) from Tina Fey’s Bossypants, in which I’ve been so immersed that I missed my stop on my way home today. (If I tell you that my commute currently averages an hour-fifteen and that I compulsively count down the last few stops unless thoroughly distracted, this may mean more to you.)
Okay, so about that hummus descended from heaven. It’s not really. Descended from heaven, that is. But I am constantly amused at how oddly dumbfounded many of my friends are by the idea that, rather than running into [insert health-food store of choice] to buy some overpriced pre-prepared hummus in an easy-to-transport disposable container, I would instead whip up a batch myself. “WHAT?! Seriously, YOU MADE THIS???”
As flattering as this response always is, I can’t help but reply with a sheepish grin before explaining in earnest that it’s actually super easy and that you, too, can totally make your own hummus! Depending on who I’m talking to, this tends to get one of two reactions: over-enthusiasm in the form of vigorous head nods, bulging eyeballs, both lips and eyebrows that arch creepily skyward (presumably followed by heavy eye rolls once I turn around) OR enthusiastic suggestions that I should post the recipe to my blog.
Oh yeah. I did say I wrote one of those, didn’t I?
What’s my secret to crowd-pleasers? Well. Allow me to define hummus for you: a flavor-packed dip that requires no cooking or precision whatsoever. You dump a bunch of stuff in a blender and turn it on. Doesn’t taste quite right? Throw more stuff in and blend a little more. Huzzah.
I’ve tinkered with the idea that I should keep my mouth shut and let folks pretend that I’m the culinary whiz kid they would have me be. Unfortunately for my ego, the… educator? journalist? motivator? in me is determined to convert everyone to the mindset that they can also fool people into thinking they’re kitchen gods among men (and women, of course).
So come with me (down the page) … I promise it will be scads better than the pricey store-bought stuff.
By the way, we like it real garlicky and pretty spicy, so if you want to start tame and work your way up, add the spices slowly. You can always kick it up a notch… bam. (Can I do that? Please don’t sue me, Emeril.)
Kickin’ Homemade Hummus (that YOU can make!)
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/8 cup)
- 1/8 cup tahini (sesame seed paste… found at health-food store of choice)
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp cumin, or to taste
- 1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste
- Pinch paprika, to garnish
- 1/4 cup water, or to desired consistency
Note: If you’re making this for a crowd (8+), double up on everything… and if your food processor is pint-sized like mine, switch to your blender.
- Add all ingredients, except water, to food processor or blender, and pulse until smooth. Add water or tiny bit more olive oil to reach desired consistency. (I prefer it nice and thick, but add more water if you prefer creamy.)
- Add additional lemon juice and/or spices to taste.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, if possible, to build flavor.
- Drizzle with olive oil, top with a pinch of paprika, and serve with pita chips and/or crudités for an appetizer or snack. OR, for a light yet satisfying lunch, slather on whole-grain wheat and top with roasted red pepper, cucumber slices and arugula.