It’s been a while since my last post, mostly because academic stuff has been taking over my life and cooking anything remotely interesting is lately more of a hassle than anything else. (I’m pretty sure my frozen vegetables/apples and oatmeal daily routine meals aren’t really worth writing about. And K, I hear you on the stressed/cheese for dinner front.) In addition to being generally busy with exams and the pitfalls of research, my budget for this month is really, really constrained after some last minute book purchases (paying job, will I ever meet you/bask in the glory of real income?)… anyway, it means that I’ve kept my weekly grocery bills to $15 max in the past weeks. (Under $10 for this week!) Doing this has made me start cooking things in advance and from scratch/with what’s available in the pantry (in addition to some small purchases). Hummus is a general favorite for snack/lunch, carrots and cucumbers were on sale this weekend, chickpeas are cheap, and I have an old recipe that’s been faithfully good. Hummus it is.
1 16 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and picked over (or 2 8 oz cans… but I usually buy the industrial size because it’s cheaper and I go through two of those a week sometimes.)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 -1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini (My awesome roommates keep tahini in stock for Lebanese cooking, so that really defrays the cost for this recipe. You don’t necessarily need to add tahini to make hummus, though it does make for a better, more “authentic” taste.)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head of garlic, chopped into coarse pieces (Yes, I mean an entire head. I really, really like garlic. Add more or less to your taste.)
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon honey
3-4 teaspoons garlic powder
3-4 teaspoons black pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
**Adding diced peppers, sundried tomatoes or roasted minced garlic to the final mix makes this hummus even better.
[Optional prep for chickpeas: Do this to the chickpeas and roast with the chopped garlic for about 15 minutes at 450 degrees. (Add whatever spices you like; I personally use a combination of black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, honey, spicy mustard, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.) I put this step as optional, but it really brings out a richer flavor in the final product, and I highly recommend doing it. If you’re really pressed for time though, it’s not necessary.]
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mash with a fork until you get a rough paste. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth. Add water if it’s too thick and more of the mixture still in the bowl if it’s too watery. Then add what’s left of the mixture and blend until relatively smooth. “Smooth” is kind of subjective here… I like my hummus to be thicker but still smooth (i.e., a few chunks are fine)… keep adding tablespoons of water and blending if you want it to be smooth like the kind you’d buy at the store. Add extra pepper, garlic powder, cayenne to taste. Once you reach the desired consistency, eat. Or store in an airtight container and refrigerate; it keeps for about a week or so.