Variations On A Theme

		Hummus is a middle eastern art form unto itself.
		Either you have the experienced and practiced art
		and taste, innately and intuitively - or you do not.
		Hummus has its own Muse, and the following is merely an
		expression of TSC's muse; these are but suggestions
		for a development according to your own Muse.

		This is a "dip type" of hummus; if you save all that
		sauce from the chickpeas, and incorporate it, you
		will have a thick sauce, also called hummus, this
		is used in various middle eastern street food stuffed
		into split pita breads.


	10       @  garlic cloves, large coarsely chopped
	1       tsp salt
	10      TBS fresh lemon juice (about 4 medium lemons)
	3       TBS olive oil, extra-virgin
	2       tsp cumino, ground, dry roasted

	(A substitute for 12 TBS of stirred tahini paste)
	4-5     TBS sesame seeds, dry roasted
	2-3     TBS sesame oil, fragrant and dark
	10      TBS peanut butter, smooth
		(i.e., 2/3 cup)

	30      ozs chickpeas, canned, casually drained

	2+      TBS chopped parsley/cilantro

		roasted pignoli
		1/4 tsp paprika
		a modicum chopped parsley


	1. Place the first four(five) ingredients in a food processor and
	   whiz until the mixture is smooth (or use a large mortar and
	   pestle or molcajete & tejolote as is your wont); smooth is
	   the watchword here.

	2. Add, to the pulverizing utensil of your choice, the roasted
	   sesame seeds, sesame oil and peanut butter (or tahini paste).
	   Grind finely.

	3. Add the chickpeas and process (or grind your little heart
	   out) until all is homogeneous and smooth as a baby's popo.

	4. Add the chopped parsley, and process (grind) minimally
	   to insure a good distribution.  We want flecks of green
	   parsley in the bulk of the tan hummus, not a purée of parsley
	   intermixed with the rest.  In a processor, this means
	   about 5-10 seconds of processing.

	5. Remove to a serving bowl (flat), or platter, chill slightly
	   and serve with a very thin coating of olive oil spread over
	   the surface.

	   Hummus is almost always served as a kind of dip with pita.
	   It is a matter of taste and personal history whether or not
	   the pita (cut in pizza like triangles) is toasted, or not.
	   Toasted pita (unsurprisingly) has a flavor much like
	   "English muffins"; think about what they are, and how they
	   are made.  TSC believes in toasted pita: cut each pita in
	   6-8 wedges, put them on a baking sheet, and into a preheated
	   oven 325 F for about 15-20 minutes.

	   Serving on/with wedges of English muffin toasted, or toast
	   triangles also works fine.

	   Note: Hummus is much better when made, covered and stored in
	         the refrigerator to be served a day or two later.


	1. The essential and ancient ingredients are chickpeas, garlic,
	   tahini (a sesame seed paste), a fragrant olive oil, lemon
	   juice - after that, you are on your own, and dependent on
	   your own artistry.  Artistry (the "art" of paying attention)
	   is all there is; it is the only truth of Hummus and the only
	   rule.  If you are paying attention, understand the natures
	   of the simple ingredients with which you are dealing in the
	   context of a whole, understand the function of each of the
	   ingredients and love them for their unique and individual
	   contribution you will develop your own and very special,
	   perfectly balanced proportions and selection of peripheral
	   and substitutional ingedients - and so create a work of
	   culinary art that is yours.  If you have no idea what the
	   hell I am talking about - stop reading and go to McDonalds.

	2. Peanut butter?!!  Yes, you noticed that, and do read aright.
	   This arose when TSC wanted hummus and he had no tahini.
	   No tahini was even remotely available - but, sesame seeds
	   were: back to basics with a few magical incantations, and
	   you have something very much in the spirit of things and
	   even, if I dare say so, more flavorful.  No, it tastes not
	   of peanut butter, and you would be hard pressed to taste
	   even the suggestion of it were you told it was there.

	   You can make the exact same substitution in Baba Ghanoush;
	   just do it, and tell no one.  Remember that in  US, Tahini
	   is considered "gourmet food", and so carries a ridiculously
	   high price.  The added sweetness of the peanut butter also
	   acts as a mellowing agent without making the hummus sweet.

	3. Other items that are sometimes included are roasted nuts
	   ground up into it (most often roasted pignoli), and other
	   roasted ground spices.  Some people have also added: tomato,
	   cilantro, jalapeños, chipotles, carrot (grate first).
	   We keep it simple here.

	4. This version happens to be rather thick, while some people like
	   to make it almost soupy like bhaba ghanoush.  Using
	   fresh tomato, more olive oil, and some of the water/juice
	   in which the chickpeas are packed can all be used to thin
	   the paste out as you like it.

	5. The word is from Turkish (humus), that unsurprisingly denotes
	   mashed chickpeas, but which comes from Arabic (hummus)
	   meaning chickpeas (ummu, imma, immi).

	6. Hummus is a mezze (from Turkish): appetizer, snack, fun food
	   the kind you can eat easily while sitting around talking with
	   friends sipping a little arak, ouzo or metaxá - a sense of
	   human life that in the "west" has all but vanished in its
	   judeo-christian reptilianisms with which we are all punished
	   for the sake of punishment.
	7. Variant: use roasted garlic totally or partially in place
	   of raw garlic, and so actually double the amount of garlic.

	   A very nice variant is to add a few tsps of roasted
	   almond oil.

	8. Do we really want to begin with dried chickpeas?
	   Of course, this can be done.

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Created: July 27, 2007
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