Good Day Café: Susan Barocas Hummus Bar - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Good Day Café: Susan Barocas Hummus Bar

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You've probably seen it at cocktail parties and on picnic tables but there are some things you might not know about one favorite Middle Eastern treat. Susan Barocas visited to explain not just the roots and the benefits of hummus but also how you can make it the perfect snack for your next party.


Hummus
http://jewishfoodexperience.com/recipes/hummus-4/

By Susan Barocas

In 1972, my younger brother came home to Denver after studying at Hebrew University and introduced our family to a delicious new dip. Back then, hummus wasn’t the ubiquitous, many-flavored item available at nearly every store where food is sold. In fact, we didn’t know of any store or restaurant in the entire state where you could get it, not even the Greek grocery where we regularly shopped. My family fell in love with hummus, made in our trusty blender or mashed by hand, and we started introducing it to friends at parties and pot lucks. I even started making it in my dorm room when I returned to Boston University that fall! I like to think my family and I contributed to the spread of hummus across the geographic and cultural boundaries of North America! When I have time, I find it really satisfying to make it by hand, mashing the chickpeas to create a chunkier version. But I admit that most of the time I rely on my food processor to create creamy, tangy and healthy hummus in minutes. Either way, the homemade flavor takes me back to the first tastes brought from Israel so many years ago.

Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Yield: about 1 ½ cups

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1-2 small cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
Juice of at least 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or to taste
Olive oil, paprika, sumac and/or coarsely chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Preparation

Drain chickpeas in a strainer or colander and rinse well with cold water. Reserve a few whole garbanzos for garnish.

By hand:
Put the rest of the chickpeas and garlic on a flat plate and mash using a strong fork, or do in batches in a mortar and pestle. Add water gradually only as needed to just hold the mixture together. When the mixture is mashed to desired smoothness, transfer to a bowl and add the tahini, lemon juice, salt and cumin. Mix well, adding a little more water or lemon juice as needed for desired consistency. Adjust seasoning to taste.

By machine:
Put the drained chickpeas and garlic in the food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely grind. Scrape down the sides and add all the other ingredients. Process until you get to your desired consistency, adding a little water or more lemon juice as needed for desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Variations:
Stir in a tablespoon or more of horseradish for a spicier hummus or change the taste and color by adding a few pieces of roasted red pepper to the blender.

To serve:
Spread the hummus in a wide, shallow bowl. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a few sprinkles of paprika or sumac, chopped parsley and the reserved chickpeas. Serve with pita bread, homemade pita chips and cut up fresh vegetables. Also makes a great sandwich or wrap with thinly sliced cucumber, roasted red pepper, sprouts, cheese or anything else that you like to add.

 

HOMEMADE PITA CHIPS
http://jewishfoodexperience.com/recipes/homemade-pita-chips/

By Susan Barocas

Homemade pita chips are so easy to make and satisfying to eat. Not only can you choose which kind of pita you want to use—white, whole wheat or any other—but you can sprinkle on your choice of spices. Choices include salt, garlic, cumin and chili powder among many others. My favorite is za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend of dried herbs (most commonly oregano, thyme and marjoram), sesame seeds and salt that is available at specialty markets and groceries. There is no one “recipe” for za’atar, so the flavor can vary some with different herb blends and the amount of salt and sesame seeds used. While in Israel, I have enjoyed going from one spice merchant to another tasting and purchasing the merchants’ personalized blends of za’atar,

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8-12 minutes
Yield: 48 chips

6 pitas, 8 inches in diameter
Spray oil
Salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons spices of choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each pita into 8 triangles. Arrange the pita triangles in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly, but evenly spray with cooking spray, preferably olive oil. Turn the triangles over and spray the other side. Sprinkle with salt and/or spices as desired. Bake 8 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the pita. Watch the chips closely so they don't burn. You want them to be crispy and just lightly browned in spots. The baked chips will keep up to a week in an airtight container, although they never last that long.

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