Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hummus with Cashew Butter

The first time I encountered hummus, I had no idea what I was eating, but I liked it. Later, I found it pre-made at grocery stores. I still didn't know what was in it, but it was interesting. I might have glanced at the ingredients list, but back then I probably didn't know that garbanzo beans and chickpeas were the same thing.

And then I forgot about it.

The next time I ran into hummus, it was one of those slap-yourself-in-the-head moments. The dip that I thought was so mysterious and exotic and probably difficult to make was little more than mashed chickpeas.Sure, there are flavorings added, but it's not a difficult dish, particularly if you've got a food processor or blender to do the work.

Recently, I've seen all sorts of things called hummus. Green pea hummus, for example. Okay, if peas can be hummus, what about using other beans? Butter beans? That might work. Pinto beans? Um, isn't that sort of like refried beans?

I've also read recipes that claim if a hummus doesn't include tahini, it's not real hummus. And I've also read recipes that say it's fine to leave out, but you shouldn't substitute.

Tahini, if you're not familiar with it, is a paste made from sesame seeds. Personally, although I love sesame seeds, I have a love-hate relationship with tahini. Sometimes it's too bitter. And even when it's good, I always end up with too much of it. Hummus recipes use just a little tahini, and I don't make hummus often. So no matter how much tahini I have, it's too much.

Sometimes I add sesame oil to the hummus, but lately I've been leaving it out and going with other flavors.

This was my most recent mix:

Hummus with Cashew Butter

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Cashew butter
Roasted garlic olive oil
Meyer lemon olive oil

Chickpeas went into the food processor with a nice pinch of salt, and I started whizzing them up. I added the cashew butter - about a quarter cup, and then added water until it got close to the right texture, then added just a little bit of both the olive oils for. It was about a tablespoon of the oils all together, and more lemon than garlic.

If I had made the chickpeas from dried, I would have used the cooking liquid, but I don't care for the liquid in canned beans, which is why I used water. If you like the liquid in the can, use that; If you use freshly cooked chickpeas, use the cooking liquid.

I tasted it for seasoning and added just a bit more salt. And that was it.

I served it with the wedges of the tomato flatbreads I made yesterday.