Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sneak Peek at Some Hummus

Hummus was first foisted upon me a few years ago by a woman standing next to the appetizer table. "Try that," she insisted, pointing to a bowl of bland-colored goop.

"What is it?"


Okay... I'd heard of hummus, but until that point had never tried it. Gamely I dipped a chip and took a big bite.

As I did, the woman continued, "I bought this hummus at [whatever] store. Isn't it great?"

Umm... no, it wasn't. "Delicious," I lied, and quickly moved on to the bacon-wrapped shrimp. Uh-huh. Now that's an appetizer!

I have had occasion to try hummus again, and although the flavored ones aren't as bad as that first taste I experienced, they're nothing to write home about, either. What did all these unpleasant hummuses (is that how you pluralize it?) have in common? They were store bought.

My next WHChef book has a hummus recipe in it. I groaned inwardly when I saw it (as you may recall, my "ghost chef" comes up with those recipes). "Not hummus!"

But how could I disparage one of my own recipes? Especially when chick peas (a/k/a garbanzo beans) are so good for you? -- Low-cal, low-fat, high fiber! I couldn't. So I tried it at home just to say I did. And you know what? I liked it. My family liked it. We've made it again and my husband insists on double recipes when I whip up a batch.

Super easy, this recipe is a slight deviation from the one that will appear in Buffalo West Wing(coming in January) but it's perfect because it's all made in a blender. No heating up the kitchen!

(And just so you know, the recipes in this next book are *amazing*! This one is just one tiny example. This time my ghost chef went all out!)


1 16 oz can of chick peas/garbanzo beans, drained (but save the liquid!)
4 - 6 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of one lemon (use fresh squeezed. Makes a huge difference!)
1/2 tsp salt
Chives for garnish
Olive oil
Chips to dip

In a blender combine chick peas, garlic, and lemon juice and salt. I like to start with only about 1/3 of the peas in the blender, and then I add more as I go. This way the blender doesn't get stuck because there's too much in there at once. Puree the mixture, adding a little bit of reserved chick pea liquid as needed. Keep adding and blending until the mixture is of dippable consistency. Like a very thick soup.

Pour into a serving bowl, drip a Tbsp or so of olive oil in the center, top with chives, and serve. This is pretty strong (really strong!), garlic-wise and the flavor will stay with you all day if you're not careful! And, be forewarned, every day this sits in the fridge, the flavor gets more intense. We love it. Hope you do too!

Just a quick FYI - I won't be monitoring comments today. Circumstances (good ones!) are taking me away from the Internet. But I will definitely check back as soon as I can, so please share your hummus stories! I can't be the only person who had to learn to love it!

Talk soon!



  1. Maybe it's an acquired taste if you're not of Middle Eastern extraction.. I see the problem with your recipe... it's MISSING A KEY INGREDIENT.

    1 16 oz can of chick peas/garbanzo beans, drained (but save the liquid!)
    4 - 6 cloves garlic, crushed
    Juice of one lemon (use fresh squeezed. Makes a huge difference!)
    1/2 tsp salt


    Once you do that you've actually duplicated the recipe I got from one of our Lebanese Sephardic friends.

  2. I love hummus! I discovered it when I first got married--there was a Lebanese restaurant in Birmingham that had amazing hummus. But I remember being disappointed in the store brands!

    Great idea to make it ourselves. Thanks for the recipe, Julie!

  3. I have never tired it. I always think I am not going to like it as it doesn't look that great, especially the ones in the stores. But, I am willing to try something new and it doesn't look at all hard to make. Who knows I might just like it.

  4. I share your fear... It's Fancy babyfood to me.

    But, I had to make a hummus using eggplant as the main ingredient. Maybe making it yourself does make a psychological difference, but I ate it, and my guests finished the entire bowl. I seem to recall tahina as an ingredient, so maybe NoraA has something.

    Just finished a post from "the Long Quiche Goodbye" today. Be afraid, I'll be coming after the manor House mystery inspiration soon!

  5. I recently finished my B.S. Degree in Nutrition and Food Science. For my Experimental Food Science course, I actually developed a garlic-curry flavored hummus that was SUPER delicious. I agree with a previous poster that that tahini is key to getting a great texture and more authentic taste.

    I have a few more tips from my many trials (25 in all)!

    -I would suggest using a food processor instead of a blender. You get a creamier product.

    -I mixed the olive oil into the hummus instead of drizzling it on top, although it can be done either way.

    -If you want to cut the fat, you can replace the olive oil with fat-free Greek yogurt. (I ran out of time before I could find the correct balance of flavors going in this direction, but it would work.)

    - Additionally, in my final recipe, I used reduced-sodium chick peas and removed the added salt completely. No one even noticed!

    Anyway, hopefully my comments aren't overstepping - I just have LOTS of experience in the hummus department. Sorry for not posting my final recipe, but it's a bit of a family secret after the MANY, MANY long hours of development. :)

    Happy Hummus Creating!

    ~Michelle Mabry

  6. I remember my freshman year of college seeing "hummus" on a menu and wondering why they were serving garden loam. :)

    Now, it's a staple in our lives ... I try to make my own as much as possible. I also use tahini (sesame paste). If I don't have any tahini, I add a little well-drained greek yogurt and a dash or two a sesame oil (I really like sesame).

    Or sometimes I do as you've done and stick with the basics: chick peas, lemon, garlic, and EVOO. Num!

  7. I've always been disappointed in store-made hummus, too, so I avoid tasting it. I like your recipe - LOTS of garlic, I approve! - but I too would definitely add about 3 T. of tahini. I've tasted it both ways, and I miss the rich smoothness of the sesame paste.

    Grill, I make the eggplant dip for my husband very often - it's called baba ghanouj, but around here it's just called eggplant dip.

    Julie, one more comment: I love the plate!

  8. I love hummus. I was thinking just the other day that it's one of those foods where there must be hundreds of variations. When we're used to a particular flavor, we often seek that particular taste again.

    The heavy garlic component in this recipe intrigues me. Yum! And it's so easy, too. I'll definitely be trying it.

    ~ Krista

  9. Julie, I love hummus. Actually, I love chickpeas in my salads and love hummus if I can have it with chips. This will be a great inspiration for me to make it at home.

    Year on...what did you mean re: The Long Quiche Goodbye and Julie should be afraid??? Oh, my. Quivering...


  10. I am loving this recipe discussion! I'm also a big fan of chick peas and hummus is a wonderfully healthy snack -- one I haven't had in some time. Thank you for the reminder, Julie!

    For anyone who wants to try adding Tahini (sesame seed paste) to Julie's delish recipe, here is a quick way to make your own at home:

    MAKE YOUR OWN TAHINI (sesame seed paste): Toast 1 cup of sesame seeds on a baking sheet (about 10 minutes in a 350 degree F oven). Put in food processor with 4 tablespoons of oil. Run the food processor until you have a sesame seed paste. Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Should keep for several weeks.

    Eat with joy!
    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  11. Everyone is convincing me to try this lol. I think I will give a shot this weekend when hubby is home so we can all try and I can get 3 impressions beside myself. I wonder if the boys will like it.

  12. Love hummus. I make a great white bean dip too. lemon, olive oil, garlic, parsely, basil, salt pepper, so good!

    I have some earrings up for grabs on my blog. Check it out!


  13. I have loved it since the first time I tasted it many years ago. If you'd like to see my recipe, you may find it here (sorry I don't know how to do that clickable link thing):