Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hummus with Pita Chips

Hummus and Pita Chips
Yes, you can buy a pretty decent hummus at the store for $5 (you better be buying Sabra), but no supermarket hummus can compare to the amazing creaminess and taste of homemade hummus. I still dream about the hummus in Israel, served at nearly every meal with fresh pita and herbs.

Hummus and Pita Chips

Here in the Bay Area, Z and I like to travel down to Oren's Hummus in Palo Alto for fresh hummus and grilled chicken, but given the traffic and driving time, we don't make it down nearly as much as we would like. For weekends when a hummus craving strikes (which for me is about every other week to be completely honest), homemade hummus is the way to go.

Cooking hummus at home is really straightforward. It does require some foresight and thought, so buy the ingredients during the week and start the soaking process on Friday night when you get home from work/happy hour/dinner. By Saturday at noon, you'll have a giant bowl of homemade hummus for weekend football parties and fall picnics.

Hummus and Pita Chips

Every good hummus needs a vehicle to eat it with, and my personal favorite is homemade pita chips. Homemade pita chips are healthier than store bought chips, have way more flavor, and are easy to throw together at a moment's notice. Inspired by Mediterranean flavors, I flavored my chips with sumac and thyme.

Hummus and Pita Chips

I find that each person has their own hummus preferences, so feel free to treat this recipe as a guideline. Add more lemon juice, garlic, and herbs to your liking. Add in some roasted tomatoes or garlic. I serve mine topped with olive oil and a sumac/thyme combination, but grilled meats, pine nuts, and chopped veggies would all be outstanding.

Hummus and Pita Chips

From The New York Times and Ina Garten

1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light tahini paste
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons lemon juice
6 1/2 tablespoons cold ice water
1 package pita
Olive Oil
4 sprigs fresh thyme

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water twice its volume. Let soak overnight. 

The next morning, drain chickpeas. In a medium saucepan, combine drained chickpeas and baking soda over medium high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add 6 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook at a simmer, skimming foam and chickpea skins off the top of the water, for 20 to 40 minutes, until chickpeas are tender (in my testing, it was about 20 minutes). When done, the chickpeas should crumble easily when pressed, but should not be mushy.

Hummus and Pita Chips
Drain chickpeas. Place chickpeas in food processor, and process until you get a stiff paste. With machine running, add tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice, and salt (1 1/2 teaspoons). Slowly drizzle in ice water, and let process for 5 minutes until you get a smooth and creamy paste. If it is too thick, add more water as necessary. 

Transfer hummus to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 30 minutes. Refrigerate if not eating right away--will last up to 2 days in the fridge.

For pita chips: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut each pita into 8 slices. Toss pita slices with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, sumac, and thyme. Spread pita slices onto a baking sheet, and cook for 10 minutes, tossing at 5 minutes. 


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