Posts tagged Mediterranean

Making Hummus with Dried Chickpeas

HummusOne of my favorite Lebanese restaurants churns out smooth, creamy hummus that’s unlike anything I’ve been able to make at home. Until now. The secret I’ve found is foregoing the canned chickpeas – you know, the ones that smell like cat food when you open them?

 

In playing around with making hummus from scratch I discovered that I was usually adding extra ingredients – more and more garlic, olive oil, and seasoning to cover up the tin taste of the canned chickpeas. When you make hummus from dried beans there’s no off taste to cover up, the beans are flavorful all by themselves. Making hummus with dried chickpeas doesn’t involve many more steps, just a little more planning. Plus, a bag of dried chickpeas costs a lot less than buying cans!

 

Tips for hummus success:

  • Don’t use flavored olive oil – I tried with with garlic oil and the flavor overpowers the chickpeas
  • Do blend in extra ingredients, like roasted red pepper, once you’ve made your hummus (although the plain variety is the best when you make it from dried beans)
  • Hummus becomes fluffier in texture on day #2
  • Chickpeas cook more evenly in a smaller crockpot but go ahead and use what you have on hand
  • Do double or triple this recipe!

 

Recipe

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

 

Ingredients

1 cup dried chickpeas (usually available at the grocers either by the canned beans or in the Mexican food section)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. tahini (in a pinch you can substitute 1 tbsp. peanut butter plus 1/2 tbsp. each more olive oil and more reserved liquid)

1/2 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1-4 tbsp. reserved liquid from the beans

1/2 juice from a fresh lemon

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1-2 tsp. salt (sea salt, preferred)

 

Directions

  1. Place the dried chickpeas in a crockpot and cover with water – about 1″ above the beans. Soak overnight.Soaking chickpeas
  2. Rinse the chickpeas and empty the water from the crockpot. Place the rinsed chickpeas back into the crockpot and cover again with water – about 1″ above the beans. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the beans are tender (it’s okay to overcook the beans a bit). *Add in 1/2 tsp. salt halfway through cooking.
  3. Ready the food processor! Drain the cooked chickpeas, reserving the extra liquid.Blending Hummus
  4. Put the lid onto the food processor and place the oil into the dispensing funnel (if you have one; alternatively place the olive oil in with the beans before processing) and pulse the beans until they become mushy.Making hummus
  5. Remove the lid and add the tahini and seasonings; blend again. Add salt to taste.
  6. Adjust the consistency of the hummus with the reserved liquid. If you like a smoother consistency by all means add more – if chunky is your style, you’re done.
  7. To serve place the hummus, in a bowl and drizzle with extra olive oil and roasted pumpkin seeds or sprinkle with smoked paprika or cayenne pepper. Last night I just put a big pile of hummus on each kid’s plate.
Lebanese dinner

Lebanese dinner – grilled chicken, hummus, tabbouleh, pitas, cucumbers, and grapes

 

 

 

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Easy Mediterranean Chicken Soup

Mediterrean soup

5 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the temperature outside–but with the windchill it feels more like -6. Chicken noodle soup time. I’m getting tired of the regular chicken soup as the temperatures continue to slide. To capture a little bit of summer in a bowl, while warming myself up I’ve been making this Mediterranean version.

 

Recipe

 

Ingredients

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken (hello, leftovers!)

3 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. paprika (smoked, preferred)

1 10-oz. box Israeli couscous

1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 lemon

 

Directions

  1. Prepare the couscous according to package directions. You can use the smaller, more widely available Moroccan couscous but I prefer the larger, Israeli variety.
  2. Place the 2 tbsp. of olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot to coat. Saute the onions and garlic over medium-high heat until fragrant and the onions translucent.
  3. Add in the carrots and celery and saute for 2 more minutes.
  4. Stir in the chicken and saute 2 more minutes.
  5. Pour the chicken broth into the pot and bring the mixture just to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Mix in couscous, parsley, olives, and seasonings.
  7. Serve each soup bowl topped with feta cheese and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions

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