Friday, September 17, 2010

Hummus - It’s Not Just For Garbanzo’s Any More...

Hummus is one of those staples that never get old. It is like a baked potato or a good piece of bread. Whether you eat it plan or with some dressings upon it, it tastes delicious. Whenever I see it at a party I always have to try it. It is like that massive bowl of mystery punch sitting mischievously on the table with cups surrounding it. You can almost hear a faint little voice saying “drink me drink me”. You just want to know what flavors are lurking within. Is there lemon and tahini in it, or paprika and garlic? You never really know until you dive in with a chip or veggie spear. The sad thing is, I am usually disappointed. My problem is, nothing ever comes close to the first time I ever had hummus.

It was many years ago at a friend’s Toga party. Yes, I said Toga party. I saw this large bowl of beige bean-dippy looking stuff and I questioned it with an upturned nose. A friend of a friend, whose name escapes me, looked at me and said, “um… its hummus”, but by the look of their face you could tell they were really saying “like duh”.

So not wanting to be a bad party go-er, I tried some on a small slice of baguette. I was instantly hooked. It was satiny smooth, full of flavor and left me wanting more. In fact, think I stood by the table, and more specifically, that bowl most of the night. To this day, that is still my fondest memory of hummus and I have yet to find anything that comes close. Though because that was so long ago, it is fair to say that my first experience could be somewhat delusional. Maybe it was just so new and tasty that I am holding it in higher regards than it deserves, but I like to think not. Needless to say, I am still on the hunt for that perfect hummus which I have yet to duplicate. That is why for now I do not have a traditional hummus recipe for you, but something a little different.

A few years ago on a Tyler Florence episode on the food channel, he made some white bean hummus. It looked delicious. He made it just like traditional hummus with lemon garlic and tahini, only he substituted white beans and he added olive oil (I believe). Since then I have seen various options including edamummus which is made with edamame (soy beans). My favorite other than the traditional, is black bean hummus. The cool thing about hummus is the possibilities are endless. You could use whatever combination of beans and flavors your little heart desires like white beans, basil and sun dried tomatoes, or pinto beans, smoked paprika and bacon (if you are into that). For my recipe I went a little south of the border with some smoked paprika, red pepper and black beans. Whatever flavors or kind you are drawn too, I encourage you to be bold and try something new, and if you have the perfect recipe, please don’t be a hog and share it with me! Until then my friends, happy eating.
Rachel :)

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