Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Midweek Food Musings: What to make you're not!

Fresh Hummus and Warm-toasted Pita Chips

I know that a lot of people are not especially into spontaneity, especially when it comes to people coming to their homes unannounced. But, well, that’s how it used to be—and still is—in places where cell phones/emails don’t control all! And, if you’re prepared—or can be prepared—it’s fun! My big thing about being prepared for unanticipated guests is related to food. Now, those of you who know me personally will be laughing at my restating the obvious: I  always want to be able to feed my friends, even if they do come by without a prior shout!  

So, in my case, I’m happy and quite lucky to be pretty well stocked in that department—thankfully—even when my kids aren’t home. I will share a few ideas with you in the coming weeks, but here’s one I made recently that worked well!

Now, here I’m sharing a recipe with garbanzos in a can; of course making them yourself is best…but, well, the reality of many of our crazy lives is that we might not be able to plan ahead for spontaneous visits (!), hence the canned bean suggestion.

The pita bread, one of my favorites, can be bought fresh, or bought and frozen (recipe for toasting follows the hummus recipe).

And finally, the touch of the pomegranate seeds is one of my favorites; I like the contrast of color, texture, and flavor. Besides, tart treats are readily available this time of year; you can find pomegranates in many markets, and the seeds are often sold separately. Another option is using a fresh herb like parsley—for both color and a bit of peppery flavor (depending on the parsley).

Hummus + Toasted Pita Bread

Makes about 2 1/2 cups of hummus

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
Juice from 2 lemons (or about 1/4 cup—or according to taste)
2 tablespoons of water or liquid from the chickpeas
Olive oil
Pomegranate seeds, chopped parsley—or both!

Using a pestle and mortar, or the back of a spoon in a bowl, combine the minced garlic and the salt to make a kind of paste (you can also let your steel blade in the food processor do this!). In a food processor, add the garlic paste, and the rest of the ingredients. Process until puréed (doesn’t have to be completely smooth!). Taste and add salt/lemon juice as desired. (You can also add hot sauce. ) Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and garnish as desired.  Serve chilled or at room temperature with toasted (warm, preferably!) pita bread.

For the bread:

6 pieces of your favorite pita bread
Olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut 6 pieces of pita bread into triangles.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread out the pita triangles on a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and add salt and pepper. Bake until browned and toasty, about 10 minutes.

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