Hummus and the Lemon Secret

You might assume since I am a vegetarian that I love hummus. Actually, I don’t always love it. In fact, had I not dated Sam, a Lebanese man, I could have done without hummus for the rest of my life. Garbanzo beans have never floated my boat.

There are some good things about Garbanzo beans, they are high in fiber. The beans are also high in molybdenum, manganese and folate. They have a healthy dose of of tryptophan an amino acid known, among other things,  for making you sleepy. Still, I wasn't much of a fan,
I find them somewhat grainy. In my opinion, there are much better tasting legumes than garbanzo beans

Then I started dating Sam. Both having family roots in the Mediterranean, we shared a love for similar foods, similar but not exactly the same. For instance, I love Kalamata olives. Sam had me try his favorite black olives. All I can say about that experience was, YUK.  I guess you just had to be Lebanese to really appreciate those salty and extremely bitter olives.

In spite of the olive experience, I agreed to try Sam’s hummus. He told me the secret was the lemon in it. Secret or not, it was delicious.  I dated Sam many years ago and since that time, I have tried a lot of hummus, but none that compares to his. Ziziki's in Dallas had some good hummus but the best part of it was the grilled and garlic buttered pita bread.

My mother and I stopped in a Greek restaurant in  Royal Palm Beach after shopping one day. With our meals, they served hummus as a starter and there it was, a hummus as good as Sam’s.

Now, let me mention that I have made more than a few attempts to make a hummus like Sam’s without much luck. One reason was that the hummus was never smooth, always grainy. Then there was the garlic. It was always too strong.

Since I tried the hummus at It’s Greek to Me, I have gone there many times with my sister. We both love the hummus. Interesting enough, when talking to the owner, he mentioned his secret was the lemon. There it was again, lemon!

I really wanted to make my own hummus that was as good as those I have liked. I spent a lot of time looking at other recipes, trying to find “the secret” to a smooth hummus.  I found a recipe that stated that when it was made from fresh cooked garbanzo beans rather than canned, the hummus was much smoother. I printed the recipe and tried it myself.

Now, as always, I didn’t really follow the recipe exactly. I only made a small batch of hummus and used the recipe as a template. I really loved it.  I didn’t use fresh garlic, but I did want some garlic flavor, so I added powdered garlic to taste.  The Himalayan salt is not really required. I happened to have some Pink salt, so I used it, but normal salt or kosher should work just fine.  Oh and one other change, I didn’t use paprika because I didn’t have any. What I did have was smoked paprika. It is very strong and smoky flavored so I just used a little bit. If you can find it, it does add some depth to the flavor of the hummus but I am sure the paprika will be fine too.

I bought some nice flat bread, chopped up some radish, grated some carrot, cut a few slices of avocado and sliced some romaine. I topped the flatbread with the veggies and hummus folded it over and thoroughly enjoyed eating it. Of course, had I had some Kalamata olives, I would have probably sliced some up and put them on the sandwich as well.

The garbanzo beans were not really hard to make after they were soaked. Rather than sit around for 2 hours watching the beans cook, I brought them to a boil in a saucepan with water, then dumped the whole batch into a small Crockpot and let it cook on low for hours until they were cooked.

Here is the original recipe. It costs very little to make and you will have a tasty healthy food and it’s lemony! I hope you will get the chance to try it. I am not sure where the recipe came from, so I am unable to give credit to the author.

Classic Hummus Recipe using Dried Beans

Hummus is one of the easiest snacks, appetizers, dips, or spreads to make. Just throw all your ingredients in a food processor and blend.  I love hummus and I make it using both canned garbanzos and dried garbanzo beans. However, if I have the forethought I always use dried because the hummus turns out smoother, fluffier and tastes better. It’s really not much more work than using a can, it just takes a little more preparation and advanced planning since you have to soak the beans overnight and boil them. Plus there isn’t any added sodium or preservatives when you used dried beans. The recipe has just a hint of spiciness and no garlic because I don’t like to have garlic breath, of course if you want garlic or more spice go ahead and add. Here’s the recipe:

6 oz organic dried garbanzo beans soaked overnight
1/4 cup organic cold pressed olive oil extra virgin
1/4 cup organic tahini (no salt added)
1 Tbsp organic ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp organic ground paprika
1/4 tsp organic cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp himalayan crystal salt
1 – 2 Tbsp fresh organic  lemon juice (~1/2 a lemon)
1/4 cup of water + more if needed

After you soak your beans overnight, bring them to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 2 to 2.5 hours or until the beans are soft and tender (which is whenever I remember that they’re sitting on the stove). Turn heat off and cool slightly. Add beans to food processor with slotted spoon, add all other ingredients, blend until smooth. Add more water if needed. Serve however you see fit.


Chemicals in imported fish

In an earlier post, I mentioned my concern for eating fish imported from other countries like Vietnam.  Here is a recent article I would like to share with you. It is nice to know that fish that is banned in Europe is now being "dumped" on us!