My husband and I are pretty adventurous about food, so looking back, I'm surprised that it took our daughters to introduce us to hummus – a Middle Eastern spread or dip made with chickpeas and sesame.
We've gotten in the habit of splitting an order during happy hour at our local brew pub for a light, inexpensive, vegetarian meal. They serve the hummus with warm pita bread and vegetables (carrot and celery sticks, broccoli flowerettes, roasted peppers and olives).
My favorite combination is topping a warm wedge of pita with hummus, a strip of roasted red pepper and an olive. I like it so much that it inspired me to create hummus sandwiches for a tea party.
I trimmed the crust from slices of dark bread and cut the bread into thirds – creating long rectangles. I piped hummus onto the bread with a sawtooth pastry tip which made fine lines in the hummus as it went on the bread and topped it with three olive slices. The lines and the circles made for a very geometric presentation with visual appeal. The sandwiches were a hardy addition to the usual cucumber sandwiches.
Making your own hummus is easy and inexpensive. I like to keep some on hand if I know our daughters will be visiting – especially since one of the girls is vegetarian.
Tahini, the one ingredient you may not be familiar with, is a sesame seed paste used in Middle Eastern and Asian cooking. If you have trouble finding it or don't want to invest in an ingredient that you may not have other uses for, feel free to substitute peanut butter for the tahini.
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup liquid from beans
2-½ tablespoons lemon juice
1-½ tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Drain chickpeas, reserve the liquid. Blend chickpeas with lemon juice, tahini (or peanut butter), garlic, salt, and olive oil in food processor. Add chickpea liquid and process until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
Serve with vegetables or pita.