Hummus, a very healthy chick pea spread, used to be something ethnic and exotic. Unless you purchased it from a middle eastern restaurant, you had to know how to make it yourself (or have a vegetarian friend that shares). Today at my local supermarket I counted 7 different brands of the stuff in three different sections of the store, and there were more varieties than I have fingers.
Hummus is a very easy recipe to whip up, literally. The hardest part is figuring out which container to use for the leftover tahini. Tahini is a flavorful thick paste of ground sesame seeds. You only need a quarter-cup of the stuff per batch ... so you WILL have leftovers. But don't be tempted to leave it out because it's an integral part of the formula.
In a previous recipe, I suggested discarding the liquid from a can of chick peas as well as rinsing them. But here, adding back some of this liquid rather than water helps thin out the dip a bit without making it watery.
If you really like spicy, find your way to the refrigerated section of the kosher aisle and pick up S'Chug, a hot red pepper mix. A much-less spicy option is to simply sprinkle the finished dip with pine nuts, and fill the center with a tablespoon or so of good olive oil. I, on the other hand, prefer the spicy version below.
Yield: Enough for a crowd
2 cans (12-15 ozs. each) garbanzo beans
1/4 (heaping) cup of tahini
2 tsp. minced garlic (bottled ok)
2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. coriander
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp. table salt)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
dash of Frank's Red Hot Sauce (optional)
1 Tbl. S'Chug (hot red pepper mix) (very optional)
Package of pitas
Drain and reserve the liquid from the cans of garbanzo beans. Place the beans with the remaining ingredients, except the S'Chug, in a food processor and puree until preferred consistency (smooth or chunky). Add the reserved liquid a tablespoon at a time, if too thick.
Spoon into serving bowl. If desired, using back of spoon, form a depression in the center of the hummus and spoon the S'Chug into the depression.
Let stand 1/2 hour before serving. While waiting, cut up pitas into 6 triangles each.
Serve hummus at room temperature or refrigerated, surrounded by pita triangles.