Monday, July 12, 2010
Breathing Again & Hummus
After six days of what felt like interminably suffocating heat, the sky relented, took pity on the Northeast and released a happily welcomed, albeit brief, torrential downpour this past Saturday. Finally, Sweet Zeus! I can breathe. There was so much rain I could have gone for a swim if I wanted. I resisted the urge to pull out my tankini. Instead I celebrated my newfound full lung capacity by doing two things I couldn't bare in the heat, attended a Personal Training session with Jackie, Warner...in my bedroom. Her Power Circuit Training DVD is one of my favorites. Just the restoration my body needed. And I read most of Markus Zusak's 'I am the Messenger'. This is my second of his, first being 'The Book Thief'. He's a great writer! I also caught up on seasons 1 & 2 of, what I believe to be, the. best. show. ever. on television,'Breaking Bad'. The show and both of the lead actors, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul were just nominated for Emmy's. *Fingers crossed*
I summed up a productive weekend by eating something rewarding. Is there a better way?!
In my Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Garbanzos) Post
I talked about recently discovering Hummus. To start with, I only tried the prepackaged variety and have to say, I wasn't impressed. While looking for garbanzo bean (chickpeas) recipes I came across several for Hummus. I was surprised at how easy it was to make and encouraged by many reviews which said homemade Hummus is delicious and tastes 'nothing like store bought.' They were right, I'm hooked. I make it often to snack on, and in many cases, to have as a meal.
Recipe courtesy and Adapted From About.com
2 Cups prepared dry garbanzo beans, reserve cooking liquid (or one 16 oz can of low sodium garbanzo beans, reserve can liquid)-Chickpeas
1/4 cup liquid from cooked beans or can of garbanzo beans (or 1/4 cup water)
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
1 -2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, completely smashed
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cumin
Dry bean method:
Soak beans for four hours submerged in lag re pot of cold water. After four hours, strain liquid from beans and cover with fresh cold water. As beans absorb A LOT of water, cover with several inches of water. Don't worry about adding too much, You won't. If you notice the beans absorbing too much water, just add more water. Place pot over medium-high heat, boil beans for 1 hour and fifteen minutes, or until tender.
Strain liquid into bowl and reserve for later. Allow beans to cool mostly through. It's fine if they're a little warm.
*I love warm hummus, it's creamy and delicious!
In food processor, add 2 cups garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, olive oil and cumin. Pulse until fairly smooth, Add in 1/4 cup reserved liquid, process until completely blended and smooth.
Serve in bowl. Garnish with Paprika and Parsley (Optional). Serve immediately and cover and refrigerate. Lasts in refrigerator up to three days.
Canned bean method:
Drain canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) into bowl, reserving liquid. Combine beans and lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, olive oil and cumin. Pulse until fairly smooth, Add in 1/4 cup reserved liquid, process until completely blended and smooth.
Serve in bowl. Garnish with Paprika and Parsley (Optional). Serve immediately with sliced carrots, bell peppers, English cumcumber and/or toasted Pita bread, Or cover and refrigerate. Lasts in refrigerator up to three days.
Feeling adventurous? Make Pita Bread!
My first attempt at making pita was the basic white variety. As I rolled the pita too thin and baked the bread too long it was a failure. Well, failure in that, the hard and crunchy disk-like results weren't technically "pita." But broken in half, and sauteed in olive oil they were delicious. My second attempt was Rosemary & Olive Oil whole wheat pita. With a few changes learned from my prior mistakes, it was a success!
I figured that, rather than post the recipe here, which would make this entry overwhelmingly loquacious, I would post a link to the recipe on one of my favorite sites, The Fresh Loaf, HERE,
with a few notes of my own below.
1. To make the whole wheat variety, I used 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup white bread flour.
2. I NEVER add salt in with the yeast and water. Instead, I mix the salt in with the flour. Salt kills yeast. Even when you're encouraged to add salt in with yeast and water, DON'T. Always mix it into your flour.
3. In almost everything I make with yeast, soft pretzels, bread, et alii, I up the sugar to two tablespoons, usually dark brown, sugar feeds the yeast and gives the dough more flavor. Anything less would be bland.
4. I added two tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary to the flour.
5. I threw a handful of water into the bottom of the oven before I baked each of the pitas to create steam. Steam helps the pita to puff.
6. I placed an inverted cookie sheet in the oven while pre-heating the oven so the pita would immediately be introduced to heat, giving it a better opportunity to rise.