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Monday, May 09, 2005

Hummus for a crowd

I normally don't miss the Evensong (with organ recital, and reception afterwards) at my church unless I'm really, really tired. I have recently, no surprise, gravitated into the role of one of the people who helps make the party possible. I enjoy this even though I am "working" as I really like the Usual Suspects, it feels like an important hospitality gig (people come for the organ music, who would not normally attend services, and there is actually a certain reputation to uphold), and I also get the quite gratifying feedback of having my efforts devoured almost instantly.

This past Sunday was, however, Mother's Day, and I wanted to see mine. I wasn't sure if I would make it back from Tomatoland in time for church, but, on the other hand, I like to see that people are fed. As I was planning to attend early service before I headed on up, I volunteered to bring some items that could be made ahead and left. I felt compulsive and silly to be providing food for a party that I didn't know I would make it for, but at this point I can almost do some things by reflex, so on Saturday night I got busy and had it all containerized, wrapped up, and ready to go for Sunday morning. As I found out when I arrived Sunday night (going straight to the church and not stopping at home) this compulsiveness on my part turned out to be useful, as the usual organizer is juggling grad school and full-time employment and had a paper due the next day, so had not done much herself.

I made my pal Barb's prize-winning brownies (which are developing quite a following at the church) and some rosemary foccacia. As I had energy left and had found the tahini in the fridge and left it out to get to room temp (upside down so the oils reintegrated), I also made a double batch of my Saudi-American foodie pal Ranee's hummus. I first had Ranee's hummus at a RFC event she hosted and I almost broke a cardinal rule for RFC events and filled up on it before all the wonderous food arrived because it was SO FREAKIN' GOOD. With homemade pita (see her page!) and her "Middle Eastern Chopped Salad" (which I hope to make in a couple of days ... I bought a cucumber specially), this is the Food of the Gods. And a double, or more, batch is great for Feeding the Multitudes.

There was some hummus left, which was somewhat surprising given our vultures, erm, guests (we had no pita, or it would have gone). One of the Usual Kitchen Helpers praised it in my hearing without knowing I had made it, so I sent the leftovers home with him.

With the food processor, this goes together quicker than quick, but my stick blender "Kitchen Vibratorrrrrr" worked just fine before I had the FP (and does so in the serving bowl, hooray). Ranee uses hers to make this and I had never thought of that before I saw it.

Hummus bi Tahini
Ranee Mueller

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained (reserve about 1 TBS liquid, and 4 beans for garnish, if desired)
4 cloves garlic, chopped or smooshed
3 tablespoons tahini (bringing it to room temp really helps ... clb)
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin (I left this out to no ill effect)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional if beans are unsalted)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
olive oil for garnish
paprika and/or parsley for garnish

In a blender, food processor, or in a bowl with a hand-held blender, combine all ingredients except reserved beans and garnish. Blend until smooth. (Note from CLB: If your blender is wimpy, definitely mash the beans a bit first.)

Place in shallow bowl and garnish with reserved garbanzo beans, olive oil and paprika/parsley sprinkled on top. Serve with warm pita bread or crudites.

And all I have to say to that is that if canned beans and a stick blender are good enough for a gen-yoo-wine Saudi-American, they are plenty good enough for me.

Woops - I commented on the old focaccia post instead of this one. Just have to pop in here and say "hi" to both you and Ranee (whose hummus recipe is truly terrific)
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