I am passing the week with my 82 years old brother in law (Bill) who is in treatment for cancer. While he does not want to be “taken care of”, I cannot help but want to cook, though I am not surrounded by the things in my own kitchen. Fortunately, Bill and his late wife stock a well-used kitchen, as far as cooking utensils are concerned. The ingredients in the kitchen are rather dated, so I am pleased to explore the groceries of Southern California (SoCal). My focus turns on nutrient-rich foods served in small courses, more like appetizers. My husband and Bill’s late, Hawaiian, mother would call them “poo-poos”. Now before you snicker, Islanders serve “Poo-Poo Platters” much the same way Spaniards serve “tapas”, in other words, small bites.
Lucky for me, I once worked with an Egyptian woman who taught me her version of hummus, and it continues to be my favorite hummus, to this day. My first challenge is that Bill declared to me that he “dislikes” hummus and chick peas. I said, “Fine, then I’ll make it for us!”. So, I will let you know how I make hummus and flat bread.
I like to cook with fresh ingredients. No, I did not grow my own garbanzo beans, but I do purchase about 10 ounces of the dried beans. I cook those in boiling water which as been generously salted until they are soft. Once those are cooked and cooled, I am ready to proceed. Oh, yes! I don’t like the high price of tahini, or sesame paste, so I make my own.
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds. Put them in a small, dry skillet and heat them, stirring often, until they are brown and toasted. Notice in the photo, what “browned” sesame seeds look like.
Once the seeds are toasted, cool them. The next step is to grinds the toasted sesame seeds. I have a coffee grinder that I use exclusively for spices, seeds, and other things I need to grind. I do not grind coffee in this grinder.
When the ground seeds resemble a paste, add olive oil to support a thick paste consistency. Again, notice the tahini in my pictures.
Blend – 1-2 cups soft garbanzo beans (chick peas), 4 gloves of garlic, 1/4 to 1/2 Tahini, Salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, the juice of half a lemon, and plenty of olive oil. Blend until you have a nice consistency, to your taste. ( I hope I remembered all the ingredients!)
Spread the hummus in a walled plate or wide glass pan. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle smoked paprika on top. I like to decorate the middle with a few, set aside, beans for garnish. Serve with flat bread.
I just use a simple bread recipe of flour, yeast, a little sugar, salt, and a little oil. Make a good dough, and let it rise for a bit (1/2 hour).
Form the dough in small rounds, about the size of a golf ball. Roll out and cook on a hot griddle. Cook on one side, and when you flip it to cook on the other side, a nice bubble will form. Then you can call it a “pita”!. I like to cut the round flat bread into fourths.
Serve with the hummus , which is high in fiber, protein, and good fats, with the olive oil. The garlic is good for you, too.
Oh, I should tell you that Bill, who earlier said he dislike hummus, had three servings of his “small” bites! Turns out he loves homemade hummus! Things are always better when we make them from scratch! I should mention that Bill likes herring in sour cream, so we served the hummus and flat bread with a side of herring in sour cream, to take from many cultures today. The color of the food would have looked better on a darker-colored plate, but I made do with what I had.
Enjoy, and thank you for reading.