Hummus I Feel

We all have deep dark secrets.  I have a few.  I keep them locked away tight, as direct sunlight or a casual observance may bring down the entire house of cards that is my life.  With some minor prodding, I realize it is time to make the first step, to admit out loud what so few know.

I like Ambrosia.  I don’t mean the old timey desert with whipped cream and canned fruit cocktail.   I am referring to the seminal San Pedro based (softish) rock band.  Sure you all know the soft hits, but dig into “Life Beyond LA” or “Holding on to Yesterday”.  And what other band pulls from Vonnegut (Deadheads need not answer)?  Of course there goes my hard rock cred.  That’s ok, I cry a lot too.  Don’t pick up my copy of Stephen King’s 11.22.63, the last half of the book is tear stained, if you need proof.

With apologies to David Pack, let’s get started.

That’s hummus I feel, feel for you, baby.
Hummus I need, well I need you for lunch.
Hummus I live, I live for your goodness.
That’s hummus, that’s hummus,
That’s hummus, that’s hummus.

Today is all about hummus.  On the Book of Faces, not to be confused with the Hall of Faces from Game of Thrones, there was talk about needing to make your own hummus, due to a Sabra recall.  I do like my hummus and I make a fresh batch weekly, so Lambchop and I have some for snacks and some for lunches.

Hummus is pretty easy to make and most of the ingredients are in your kitchen if you like to cook.  Let me be frank, I wing it every time and my hummus is not “plain”.  It is rich in delightful flavors, many non-traditional.

Lee’s basic, non- basic, hummus

2 14oz cans of Chickpeas (garbanzos) drained

2 Meyer lemons, juiced and zested (I use my microplaner)

10-20 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

1 Anaheim pepper, whole

2 Jalapeños, whole

1 Tablespoon Cumin

2 heaping tablespoons of Tahini (sesame paste)

½ cup Good Olive Oil

½ cup water

Salt and Pepper to taste

Lambchop likes her hummus lemony, so I often use more than 2 lemons and I haven’t seen a recipe calling for the zest which I believe adds complexity.

Step 1:  Break the garlic barrier

In a small shallow pan, put in the garlic, Anaheim and Jalapeños.  I put the chilies on top. Pour the olive oil over the garlic and peppers, to roughly cover the garlic.  Spin the chilies to get them coated in oil.  I roast these in my toaster oven at 270 for about 40 minutes.  The garlic should not brown significantly, but we do want the peppers to blister.  If they haven’t blistered, take the garlic out and broil them for 2-4 minutes a side to blister the skin.  Throw the chilies in a sealed zip lock or plastic container for 10-20 to cool.  Peel of the skin.  Remove seeds to temper the heat.  Either way.  Make sure the oil is back to room temp.

Step 2:  Whip that Tahini

It is time to get out your food processor.  You can use a blender, but I prefer the trusty Kitchen Aid food processor over my smoothie maker.

Some recipes do not call for tahini, some call for more some for less.  I like about 1.5T per can of beans.  Add the tahini, the lemon zest and half of the lemon juice to the food processor. Whip on high for at least 30 seconds.  Whipping the tahini gives body and helps it incorporate more evenly.

Step 3:  Peas to the Pool!

Add your garbanzos to the processor and process for 10-20 seconds to get a rough grind.  Add in the garlic (not the oil), chilies, cumin and salt.  Process the peas for another 20 seconds or more.  The mixture should be fine, but not a puree.  This is an inexact science, you’ll learn the flavors you want to add, how much garlic etc.  Perhaps you want 3 Jalapeños, or none.  I usually add about 4 grinds from my pepper mill at this point.

Step 4:  It’s Time to Rain on this Parade

Hummus is an emulsion, not a mix so the liquids get added slowly.  Turn the processor on low and drizzle in the remaining lemon juice.  Turn the processor to high and drizzle in about half the oil or until the hummus is near the consistency you want.  Then start drizzling in water to get the final consistency.  When the consistency looks right, taste it.  What do you think? Add in more oil, more garlic or more salt if you think it needs it.

When it is how you like it, remember it will be better tomorrow.

In my world, I often add in other ingredients.  My favorites include:

½ white onion

Harrissa

Red Bell pepper

Cayenne pepper

Chipotle pepper

Homemade pepper sauce

Paprika

Oregano (dried or fresh)

Rosemary

 

And if you don’t like my fancy hummus, here is Epicurious’ recipe that I started with.  Its time I mosey on to somewhere I’ve never been before.

 

 

 

 

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Myriad Randomness – Drought Edition

As you may have heard, there is drought in California.  What does this mean to me, specifically?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s what I’ve changed.

  • I have a bucket in the shower. I catch the “warm up” to water the tomatoes.  That’s new.
  • I reuse my shower towel “many” times. It is 85+ most days and it dries quickly.  That cuts down on washing.  I did this in college and in my younger days.  No longer is my hamper full of towels.  (You know, that subtle status symbol of being economically stable.)
  • I only run my sprinklers 2 days a week. Usually after 9pm when the sun goes down.  My once envied super green lawn looks like every other sad, green lawn in the Nor Cal.  I haven’t decided to kill it yet.

What does this mean?  We are mandated to cut our usage by 25% from 2013.  May I was down about 50%.  No earth shattering changes.  Just lots of little ones.

I know I’ve been a bit outspoken politically lately.  Quite honestly I’m both thrilled and heartened by many (but sadly, not all) of the responses I have gotten.  Don’t go by the comments here, there aren’t many and I delete all the “I want to kill Ashley” or “I want Ashley to host my Bukakke party” comments.  Most are far worse.

But seriously, how can things continue to unravel in our world?  Pope Francis works hard to bring the Catholic Church into the 20th Century and Fox News calls him the most dangerous man in the world?  People I know on Facebook call him “EVIL”.    I guess the world still must be flat, the sun revolves around the earth and Torquemada was misunderstood.  Really?  You know what I think.  I just can’t understand how some conclusion could be reached, held so tightly and preached so violently.  We know the gene pool is flawed, just saying.

I still love my coffee.  Have you had Equator Coffee?  I’ve been buying their stuff on line (their roastery delivers for free for a $50 order and I have it in 2 days) and now they opened a shop next to the Warfield.  We know mid-Market is on the upswing, but this is huge.  Granted it’s a mile walk from the office, but I get exercise, the coffee is great and they have food too.  Check it out.  Only downside is that their bean selection is limited.  No fear here, I don’t mind the online thing.  The sweet spot is the 2 pound bags.  I’ve been drinking the Brazil 45 Espresso (it makes a mean, well rounded regular cup).  $13.25 for 0.75 lbs.  That’s $17.67/lb.  Or $30.05 for 2lbs.  $15.03/lb a savings of 15%.  Compare that the various coffees at Peets’. They are $14.95-$16.95.  So the same price or less and much more complex and delicious.  And honestly, smelling Major Dickasons at home today, it smelled burnt.  Fantastic coffee doesn’t always mean expensive.  But there are expensive options too.  Ping me if you need coffee advice.

Sandra Bland was in jail for 3 days.  She was arrested for an illegal lane change.  Later, she hung herself in her cell (allegedly).  She was college educated.  She was back in her college town for a job interview. And she was black.  I have about 400 questions.  If you don’t, stop reading this now.  You probably shouldn’t ever come back to this page. I’m sure incidents like this have happened far more often than “white” America realized in the past.  It is glaringly obvious now.  Our blinders are off.  They need to stay off.  I’m not going to pontificate on this today.  But I am outraged.  You should be too.  How can you not be?

I’m pondering a long piece on the death of middle management.  Clearly, I’m not in the top 2% and I see so many fixable issues that are allowed to fester.  That’s what 30+ years of working in corporate America will do for you.  Of course I worry about being to self-centered and whiny.  And that you won’t care.

And for those of you that don’t know, R+L=J.  It is known.  It always has been.   Three words: Tower of Joy.

I’ve read a few things lately that you should might enjoy.  I loved the latest James SA Corey Expanse entry Nemesis Games.  It is getting mixed reviews from my friends, but I’m firmly on board and can’t wait for the show on Syfy.  It looks fantastic.

Tex Thompson’s second book Medicine for the Dead builds on her debut, One Night in Sixes and shows vividly what a fantastic writer she is.  Seriously, in 10 years you’ll wonder how you missed this.  She’s going to be huge.   Trust me.

Did you like Flowers in the AtticJR Johansson’s Cut Me Free builds off a similar premise.  It is defiantly YA, but sometimes I act as if I’m 14, so it makes sense.  I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading more of her stuff.  Especially those that are painted in horror tones.

I’ve never given Leigh Bardugo column space here.  Her Grisha Trilogy is fantastic.  Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising are all great reads.  Her next novel, Six of Crows, is set in the same universe with new characters.  It is scheduled to come out later this year and I’m excited for it.

In the kitchen this year I’ve mastered hummus.  Who’d have thought?  But homemade is so much better than store bought, especially when you can spice it to your tastes.  More lemon? Yes.  More harissa? Yes.  More fresh onion, garlic and herbs? Yes.  Hummus it’s not just for hippies anymore.  No need to wear the tie dye today.  Tomorrow you can.

I’ve also kicked up the frequency on my bacon jam. Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam.  It goes well on crackers, bread, grilled cheese sandwiches AND on your burger.  I made a huge batch and my guests inhaled it.  Guess I’ll need to make more soon.

The view from my building

And I love working in SF.