Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zero for three in my aspirations for this post, and yet... Cannellini Bean Hummus

One time, in early August, I wrote the following post while I was sitting on an airplane headed to California. I developed this recipe the last time I was in California and thought I could somehow make sense of posting it six months later by somehow tying it into the fact that this was the first time I've been back to to this recipe's birthplace since its birthday. Nostalgia, place, food, home, comfort, smells, sunshine, strange loops, hummus, you know. (Happy half birthday, Cannellini Bean Hummus!) 

Hummus brownies and bdays oh my!

One time, in early September, I gave myself a challenge to post every day in September - allowing me the opportunity to post from the substantial backlog I've got (there really are some good ones!) and you the opportunity to fall in love with me all over again. (That's how I make people fall in love with me: by being exceedingly PRESENT. Hello! Hello! I'm here! Still here! Here again! Do you love me? But then I confuse you. As it turns out I am totally the flaky person who never calls. You probably shouldn't waste your time pining. I'm never gonna deliver. The space I occupy in your brain could be better used. Go study quantum mechanics or write a novel.)

Did I mention I am super loopy lately? I am. A little unfocused. (Except when I'm with YOU, students! Hiya! I am v. professional!)

One time, in February, which was ages and ages and ages ago, I made some wonderful cannellini bean hummus for my sister’s fortieth birthday party. It was my mom’s idea to use cannellini beans in place of the standard star of hummus, the lovely and ever-so-structurally-sound garbanzo bean. Her primary motivation was safety, as chickpeas are among Beckett’s food allergens. The primary result, however, was a creamy, silky smooth hummus that was lighter in texture and brighter on the palate than your run-of-the-mill chickpea hummus. The fresh, citrus element was much more flavor-forward than usual as it didn’t have to compete with the nutty, earthy quality of chickpeas. Once I figured that out, I played it up big time by incorporating the zest of my lemons as well as their customarily involved juice, and adding enough freshly ground coriander to give it a subtle limy twist. It was perfect. And did I mention smooth? So smooth!

So, thanks to mom’s emphasis on safety-first food preparation when we’re in town, even though the safety aspect became sort of irrelevant because Beckett didn’t really eat any of the cannellini bean hummus (he likes his chips and carrots straight up, yo, and anyway why we would he eat hummus when there were brownies on the horizon?), I’ve got for you today, a mere six seven months later, what I think is a new and improved version of super smooth, lemony-delicious hummus. You’re welcome.

Hummus brownies and bdays oh my!

Cannellini Bean Hummus, a Basic Formula
Yields about 3-4 cups
Have a little more of every ingredient on hand, other than the beans, so you can adjust the flavorings to find the balance that suits you best, based on your palate and also on the potency of each ingredient, which can vary significantly.

2 14.5-oz cans cannellini beans (or butter beans or, for more traditional texture, garbanzo beans)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup tahini or other nut or seed butter (optional - no joke! this is optional! it's lighter and lemonier w/o)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more; from 1-2 lemons)
Zest of 1-2 lemons

Have all your ingredients prepped and measured; start running food processor fitted with regular S-blade. Drop in your garlic, one clove at a time, into flute and process until minced, about 10 seconds. Remove lid and add beans, cumin, coriander, zest of one lemon, and salt. Process until everything is thoroughly combined. (Add a little water, one tablespoonful at a time, if you need some help to get it going.) Slowly drizzle in olive oil, followed by the lemon juice, and process until you’ve reached desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and something colorful sprinkled on top, e.g. z'atar, black sesame seeds or nigella seeds, paprika, aleppo pepper.

Tricks! (See? I'm tricky too. Run!)
1. Too much tahini can be balanced out with a little more lemon juice or zest.
2. Too much salt can be balanced with a tablespoon of water or a pinch of honey. (Way too much salt, however, is a disaster, unless you have a lot of all the other ingredients on hand and you want to make A LOT of hummus...)
3. For a thinner, smoother hummus, add more olive oil or some water, a teaspoon to tablespoon at a time.