I come from a family of entertainers.
No, not true entertainers like circus people. Although, my dad has had his fair share of shining moments with his infatuation with tequila and the fact that he calls mejdool dates “sweet cockroaches”.
I have grown up surrounded by women who relish in the fine art of entertaining. My mom, aunts, and grandmothers want you to eat when they have you over. They don’t mess around. You will be bombarded by food upon entering my parents’ house. So when I go to a party or gathering, it’s now engrained within me to scan and judge hors d’ourves like it’s nobody’s business. And I’ve noticed that the usual suspects are always in attendance: pigs in a blanket, cheese plates, dips, chips, olives, crudites, etc.
But none like the king of all appetizers: hummus. It’s usually either Sabra (which is good, but not nearly on the same playing field as homemade) or something with the texture of sand. Who wants to eat sand? Not me, not you, not anyone. When I taste it somewhere it’s “meh” at best. Which leads me to ponder why something that has the potential to be so delicious swerved down the tragic road of mediocrity.
Well, that stops right here. This hummus is divine. It’s texture is like silk and the flavors are absolutely booming. It’s exceptionally creamy, and your eyes will open with delight as you see that something so simple and healthy can be a serious explosion on your taste buds. And it takes seconds to make! Literally dump your ingredients in the food processor, pulse, and you’re done. Believe me when I say that this will be your go-to hummus recipe and the only one you’ll ever need.
What’s great about this is that if you feel like having plain hummus you’re already good to go. But there are so many different variations: add two bulbs of roasted garlic for a roasted garlic hummus, add a tablespoon or two of sriracha for a spicy hummus, add the zest of a lemon for a lemony hummus, you can add a can of artichoke hearts and some spinach for spinach and artichoke flavor, and you can also add a personal favorite of mine, fresh or canned roasted red peppers (about 1/4-1/2 cup) for a roasted red pepper hummus.
This has my stamp of approval, and the critical (in a loving way) entertaining queens of my family would agree.
On a weird note, chickpeas are double awesome: they are loaded with fiber and look like little butts.
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1/2 cup dried chickpeas (if you’re in a rush, you can use 1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, but note that the flavor will not be as good as if using dried)
2 quarts water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
6 tablespoons tahini , stirred well (Joyva tahini (see picture above – I love the little sultan logo man) is the best tahini to use here, and it can be found at nearly all supermarkets)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
5 small garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (I like my hummus super garlicky, but if you want to tone down the garlic punch, only use 1-2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon table salt (to taste, you might need more depending on how salty you like things)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
Pick through and rinse chickpeas. Place beans in large bowl, cover with 1 quart water, and soak overnight. Drain. Bring beans, baking soda, and 1 quart water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup bean cooking water, and cool.
Combine lemon juice and bean cooking water in small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.
Process chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and cilantro over surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Serving suggestions: pita chips (I like Stacy’s), soft pitas cut into wedges, flatbreads, carrots, celery, radishes, cucumbers, cherry and/or grape tomatoes, even apples or grapes are good too.