Saturday, October 29, 2011

Improvisation is the result of... a lack of ingredients

So maybe this isn't very original, maybe it is. You can google it to find out, I'm sure. I wanted to make hummus for a Halloween party but didn't have what I thought was chick pea's second in command: tahini paste. Since Halloween is all about disguise, I wanted everything to be in complete character! Saw once that Alton Brown uses low sodium peanut butter in place of tahini, so I thought this would be my perfect chance to get rid of that nasty low sodium, sugarless peanut paste that's been prowling the pantry for weeks!
I know olive oil is full of phenols and other healthy fats, but it still pains me to stream in a half cup for one can of chick peas, especially after today's bike ride. I always have tons of nonfat plain yogurt in the house for Indian food and thought hey, that's creamy and tangy.. two food traits I love. So here's the skinny on some home made hummus with things you're more likely to have in the house. I had cilantro to use up, so I threw it in with some freshly ground cumin.

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I like it eye squinting tangy so I use a squeeze or two more)
  • 1 tablespoon low fat peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt, some pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 sprig for garnish
  • Pinch of paprika to blend in and to top with
  • 2 or so tablespoons of warm water (add as needed for consistency you want)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (can't have hummus without at least a hint of it!)

Using a food processor or magic bullet (forever grateful to my sweet cousin Nikita for mine), take the plunge:

1. Combine all ingredients except for the warm water and olive oil. Puree til pasty.
2. Add olive oil and water as needed to get right consistency.
3. After accomplishing your preferred consistency, transfer to a serving dish.
4. Sprinkle paprika and top with a cilantro leaf. You can also add olives around it.. for me, I grilled pita and arranged them around the bowl for easy partying.

Not only does the yogurt cut your cals, it gives a nice creamy texture and imparts a terrific tart.

You can also drizzle some olive oil for taste.. and to make it look like you didn't cheat with all these healthy ingredients ;)