Happy Friday! Thanks so much for your kind words about our diet experiment and especially thanks to two wonderful friends who volunteered to cook for my kids this week in order to give me a break. We’ve had a much better week, and I continue to be so proud of Judah and Amie.
Some of you have been asking me to post recipes, so I’m going to. I’ll admit that the thing that’s held me back is how self-conscious I am about my food photography. But if you can overlook my less-than-creative photos, I’m happy to post some of our family favorites, especially dinner recipes.
Today I’ll start with something really simple: homemade hummus. I never attempted this until we lived in South Asia and I was just dying for hummus. I made it a couple times but could never get excited about it.
But here’s the thing I’ve learned about cooking: you have to practice. Novel idea, right? Why do I understand that about other areas of life, and yet if a recipe turns out not great I feel like I should just toss it? I think that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past couple years: if I don’t love something I cook, I need to make it again. And again. And again. And tweak it every time, until it’s good.
In her book An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler says that a recipe is truly ready when you taste it and feel yourself compelled to take another bite. I’ve begun to apply that principle to everything from my daily salad to spaghetti sauce to hummus, and my food is starting to taste good!
I’ll never forget the day I simmered a big pot of black beans on the stove and tasted them a couple hours later, then immediately served myself a big bowl — at 3:00 in the afternoon. Of just beans. I have never, ever wanted to eat beans by themselves, but my beans were that good. Tamar Adler is right.
All of that to say, try this hummus. It’s so easy. And if you don’t love it, experiment. Add more lemon juice, more cumin, more salt. Or get online and find a recipe that’s totally different than mine. Don’t settle for just average hummus when it can be great. Most of all, have fun making it.
Quick and Easy Hummus
1 clove garlic
2 cans garbanzo beans, one fully drained, one with about half a can of liquid reserved (for your first couple times maybe reserve a whole can of liquid to make sure your hummus isn’t dried out)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp sesame seed oil (this is an economical way to replace tahini, and prevents a jar of tahini from expiring in your fridge)
Juice from 1/2 lemon, or around 1 TBSP lemon juice
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Several TBSP extra virgin olive oil (it will help the flavor if this is good-quality olive oil, but isn’t absolutely necessary)
I put my garlic through the food processor first or use a garlic press, then add the beans with their liquid, spices and lemon juice, and process. I would start with just a couple drops of sesame seed oil because it’s very strong and add more if you want. Taste to see if the seasoning is right. The hummus should be thick but not overly dried out; if it is add more of the garbanzo bean liquid. Then turn on the food processor (you could use a blender instead), and add olive oil in a thin drizzle until the hummus is as creamy as you want it.
This is a great appetizer to make for a party or picnic or your kids’ school lunch. You could get fancy and roast your garlic beforehand or add roasted red peppers for a more complex flavor. We like our hummus with carrots, tortilla chips, or spread on crunchy gluten free toast with kalamata olives and David’s fresh-from-the-garden lettuce (micro-greens are amazing too).
If you’ve learned any improvements on this basic recipe, leave them in the comments for us all to enjoy!