The unusual, extended winter weather that we softies here in North Carolina have endured has affected me in an odd way. I am obsessed with hummus. The Middle Eastern chickpea-and-tahini dip. I can’t stop making it.
It all started when I received a Magic Bullet for Christmas. The mini-blender machine is not the kind of gadget I’d buy for myself, and while looking for its best uses, I found a recipe for hummus in the accompanying booklet. How easy: Toss some drained canned chickpeas in the machine with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Two days later, the batch was gone. I craved it with my lunch and for afternoon snacks.
I had to move beyond the small capacity of the Bullet. My food processor held much more, and the larger bowl made it easier to get the hummus to a smooth consistency. I added a touch of cayenne pepper. The batches lasted three days.
I decided to recreate some delicious edamame hummus I had at Raleigh’s Duck & Dumpling. Frozen edamame, cooked in the microwave, made a fine substitute for chickpeas. I tossed in a dash of soy sauce for an Asian touch. The fascinating green color was the talk of potlucks, and it disappeared.
I shared my obsession with a friend, who told me about a cooking class she attended with Jamil Kadoura, chef of Mediterranean Deli in Chapel Hill, N.C. As I’m sure other purists do, he insists on no canned chickpeas. He strictly uses dried ones that are soaked overnight. Those probably taste better, but it’s hard to let go of the convenience of the canned. But other ingredients tinker with my brain: yogurt, pomegranate molasses, walnuts, roasted red bell peppers…