roasted garlic hummus
As I was putting together an assortment of snacks for an evening’s gathering, I got to thinking about the first time I made my own hummus.
It was a cold winter’s day in Montreal. I had recently moved in with my new roommate, a fun and hilarious Québécoise who made me my first dirty martini and always made sure I had a mug of coffee to wake up to. (She was pretty fantastic.) When I was moving my things in, she remarked on the absence of anything kitchen-bound. I was slightly defensive and showed her that I did in fact have a kitchen tool to merge with her utensils: an orange peeler.
Oh yes, a red plastic orange peeler by Tupperware. It was literally the only kitchen item I owned. I had won it at a Tupperware party in NB and dragged it along with me from place to place. (Remember Tupperware parties?) It had come to serve as a tiny plastic symbol of my lack of interest in acquiring kitchen skills. (Sure, I knew how to make cookies, but doesn’t everyone?)
And so it was with great trepidation that I embarked upon making my own hummus. It seemed easy enough; canned chick peas, olive oil, lemon and garlic. There was mention of tahini paste but it scared me so I ignored it. I was whipping this concoction up for a going-away party being hosted by our downstairs neighbors. A classic, easy dip and only a few stairs to travel. What could be easier?
The first sign of trouble came when I asked my boyfriend’s roommate to lend me his stand mixer. (He was quite a whiz in the kitchen.) “You making a cake?” he asked me. “Uh, no…” Was this gigantic stand mixer with a whisk attachment not the right thing to be using? (Note: It wasn’t.) Nonetheless, I forged ahead, being the stubborn by-gosh-I-WILL-make-this-work! kind of gal that I am. I wrestled it back to my apartment and carefully added my 4 ingredients to the mixer. I remember the recipe called for one tablespoon of olive oil. Well I’m sorry but one tablespoon of olive oil does not two cans of chickpeas blend. That whisk just whipped around and around and the chickpeas refused to be a part of what was going on, clinging for their life to the sides of the bowl. Each time I would push them into the center and start spinning again, off those chickpeas would go to their safe place, away from any involvement with the strange and delicate spinning whisk. The only thing I could think to do was add more oil. 250ml of olive oil later, I had achieved a lumpy, greenish spread that tasted only of olive oil. I was already late for the party and I had managed to make more of a mess in the kitchen than if I had made a cake. There was nothing left to be done than to grab a potato masher and go full-out psycho on those chickpeas. The lumps remained. Feeling defeated, (and somewhat admiring of those tough chickpeas) I knew it was time. I had to clean myself up and walk down those stairs with my oil-mashed chickpea dish. And a bag of pita bread.
Now, the thing about those outdoor stairs was, they were quite steep and didn’t have any kind of grips on them. It was a freezing winter night, I could hear the muffled sounds of people inside the apartment, chatting and laughing. It was dark. I got to thinking about the opportunity at hand. I could easily have slipped, and lost hold of the bowl of dip, which then went flying into the neighbor’s yard. Yes! Yes, that’s it, I fell down the stairs and now the dip is gone! ‘Yes, I’m OK. I’m just sorry you guys didn’t get to try that amazing dip!’
In the end though, I couldn’t go through with that desperate idea. The only thing worse than showing up late is showing up late and empty-handed. (And a liar.) So I safely descended the stairs and joined the party.
There was only one comment made about my dip that night. A friend scooped some of it up while I happened to be loading my own plate with veggies and a far superior dip someone else had made. She must have seen my apprehensive expression because she asked me, “Did you make this?” Guilty. “Uh huh.” She chose her words. “You can really taste the olive oil!” I made the decision then and there to stand by this lumpy mash. “Yeah, I love olive oil.”
My ‘dip’ was mostly untouched. I suppose in the end it might as well have been thrown over the stairs and I would have had some pita bread to contribute. But that wouldn’t have been fair. Those chickpeas had been through enough.
1 head garlic, tips sliced off to expose the cloves
1 tbs olive oil
1 425g (15oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin
salt, to taste
drizzle of olive oil, to garnish
sumac, to garnish
6 years later, I’ve made a few adjustments. I love roasted garlic, for one. So here’s how we do that:
Simply lop off the top in one clean slice and pour the olive oil on top.
Roast at 210°C (410 °F) for 45 minutes or until it looks like this:
Isn’t it beautiful? So mash it up with a fork and place in a food processor to await the glorious chickpeas.
Another adjustment I made from my first go is to heat up the chickpeas. I find this makes them easier to blend and besides, I love warm hummus! Simply crack open the can of chickpeas, dump everything into a small pot and bring to a boil. Drain and add to the food processor along with the roasted garlic. Add to that the sesame oil, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and salt and blend until smooth.
Place in a bowl and top with extra oil and sumac. Serve with warm pita bread or veggies.
Oh, and remember that orange peeler? I brought it with me to Ecuador. It was only right.