Hummus and Mezze Platter Tidbits
I know, I know, hummus is so easy to get in any store and why would you make your own? Let me say, there are plenty of delicious hummus brands out there... but homemade it also SO easy! And you can control the spiciness, garlickiness, saltiness, creaminess, deliciousness!
Ambitious hummus maker: cook up your own garbanzo beans and test different flavors and combos.
Want it easy: can of garbanzo beans, tahini optional, garlic level of your choice.
Ready? Set, Go!
1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon) plus more to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini
3-5 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water (if you cooked your own, use the cooking water)
Olive oil, for serving
Dash ground paprika, for serving
If you choose to cook your own chickpeas (which I highly recommend) use the following instructions:
1/2 pound chickpeas
2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
1 small onion, split in half
1 small carrot
1 stalk celery
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
The night before combine beans, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tbsp salt in a bowl, cover with 6 cups cold water, cover with a towel and let rest overnight.
Drain and rinse beans thoroughly.
Place beans in a large dutch oven or saucepan. Add 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp salt, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid slightly cracked. Cook until completely tender, to a point of falling apart, about 1-2 hours. Remove vegetables and bay leaves. Drain and reserve some liquid, approximately 1/4 cup.
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy.
2. Add the garlic cloves and blend until garlic is mixed thoroughly.
3.Add the olive oil, cumin, and a 1 teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.
4. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.
Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water (or cooking water if you cooked your own chickpeas) until you reach the perfect consistency.
5. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of paprika. Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.
Serve with sliced vegetables or pita bread. We love broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and cucumber.
Feta, Herbs, and Onions
White onion, sliced
Various Herbs (Parsely, Tarragon, Basil, Cilantro, Mint)
Pita bread, lavash, or other flat bread
Layer bread with feta and herbs and slices of white onion
We learned this combo of yummy flavors and textures of fresh feta and herbs from one of my best friends and her husband who like experimenting with Persian and Middle Eastern dishes from her Iranian heritage. Many thanks to their many nights of hospitality and for introducing us to this fabulous appetizer and addition to a perfect Mezze Platter.