Gluten Free, Recipes, Travel

Travel Memories: Hummus in Israel

When I was 13, my aunt and uncle took me to Israel.  I have so many wonderful memories of that trip, but  26 years later (!!) some of the most vivid are of the food we enjoyed.  I remember sitting by the pool and enjoying a lunch of grilled chicken strips and hearts tucked into a pita with tahini.   I remember eating lush, juicy wedges of watermelon on the beach. I remember sitting down to a meal and tasting hummus for the first time. Thick with sesame paste and flavored with lemons and garlic, it had a moat of tangy olive oil to swipe your pita through.  I was instantly enamored.  I spent the next 20 some years experimenting (it’s not possible I’m that old), dried chickpeas vs canned, fresh garlic vs roasted, olive oil to water ratios, trying to recreate what I tasted so many years before.  Here’s the thing about food.  When you get it right, it can transport you right back to that moment in time, back to that foreign land, back to those people you met over lunch, back to the laughter and good times shared over a collective meal.  It’s magic.

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Hummus*

2 cans organic chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained again
1/3 cup sesame tahini
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus juice of another half lemon
3 garlic cloves, microplaned*
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
10 shakes of hot sauce (I like Frank’s)
a few grinds of fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water*
Good olive oil to finish

Place chickpeas through pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 10-20 times to start.  Scrape down the sides and turn the processor back on. Leave  the processor on and slowly add the olive oil. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Slowly add the water until you have the consistency you desire, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. You may not use all the water. Spread thin on a plate and draw a moat in the hummus with the back of a spoon. Drizzle good olive oil in the moat and serve with fresh pita, cut vegetables or your favorite chips.  Enjoy!

Helpful hints:

~Fresh hummus blows any and all packaged hummus out of the water.  It takes maybe 10 minutes tops to make, and that’s including assembling your ingredients.  Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.
~I like my hummus garlicky, feel free to use more or less pending your personal taste.
~ Slowly add the water until the hummus whirls smoothly, but remains thick. You don’t want to have runny hummus.