Thursday, February 19, 2009

The michael5000 Kitchen #2: Hummus

Recipe #2: Hummus

Provenance: Written in the handwriting of frequent L&TM5K commenter mhwitt, this recipe was almost certainly put to paper between 1987 and 1989, the period when he and michael5000 shared a skanky off-campus apartment near the University of Oregon. The index card it was written on has numerous stains, suggesting frequent use, but I have only very vague recollections of using this recipe.

The Recipe:
2 cups cooked or canned Garbanzo Beans [note – this is a standard 15 ounce can]
6 Tablespoons Tahini
1/8 cup lemon juice (+more to taste)
Juice of Garbanzo Beans (enough to thin hummus sufficiently)
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
2 teaspoons Olive Oil

The Results:

With apologies to mhwitt’s younger self, this recipe yields a hummus that is marginally passable but by no means especially appetizing. There is something of a bitterness about it, which may be due to an excess of the Tahini. It is also bland; this may mean that “more to taste” is an important aspect of the lemon juice, or that my pinch of Cayenne Pepper was too stingy. I also deeply suspect that the “2 tsp” of Olive Oil, the only part of the main recipe in my own handwriting, should be “2 Tbsp.” The word “garlic” that I appended at some point might not have been a bad idea, either.

Updates! Updates based on actual reader suggestions have been made to the M5Kitchen Recipe #1, Soda Bread.


UPDATE: Hummus 2.0

Taking elements from the blizzard of comments and personal messages regarding this recipe, I retired into the Castle5000 Culinary Studios and emerged with the following recipe, which attempts to honor the essence of the existing text, yet modify it in diverse ways suggested by you the readers in order to make it, you know, taste better.

The Revised Recipe:

2 cups cooked or canned Garbanzo Beans [note – this is still a standard 15 ounce can]
4 Tablespoons Tahini
1/8 cup lemon juice
Juice of Garbanzo Beans (enough to thin hummus sufficiently)
2 cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil


The Results:

Much, much better. Very tasty, in fact. The only flaw in the ointment, or rather in the hummus, is that it was a bit too garlicky. This was due to me being interrupted during preparation by a pair of nice young men representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints; when I got back to the blender, I had another garlic clove in there before I remembered that I'd already done the garlic. Well, live and learn.


blythe said...

it's all about tahini brand. joyva.

Michael5000 said...

@Blythe: Surely you jest?

jovaliquilts said...

OMG, not worth a try! Where's the garlic? I always add a pinch of cumin, more olive oil, and less tahini (and the brand does make a difference, but not that much difference!). I recently tweaked my recipe with a bit of paprika and we really like it. Oh, just noticed garlic is written in on the bottom of the recipe in the photo, but it's not on your list.

Yankee in England said...

mmmmmmmmmm hummus. Its almost lunch time and now I want some. Just noticed you are now advertisementless, way to go!

The Calico Cat said...

Is your taste more accustomed to the stuff available in grocery stores? (Dare the think it might even have some HFCS...)

I remember that the "real stuff" in Israel tasted different that the "cr@p" I used to get in the grocery store.

I've been pretty happy with Sabra brand lately...

gl. said...

yes, the garlic & more olive oil will certainly help, but i think you'll find the addition of salt to be a remarkably transformative component.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth has a wonderful recipe -- maybe she'll share it with you.

mhwitt said...

First this: holy crap! That's my crummy handwriting! Published at last!

Second, yes that does sound a bit bland. Wonder where I got that recipe?

I eventually started making hummus with no recipe at all, but as of this writing it has probably been two years or more since my last batch. I would guess that my recipe today would indeed have less tahini and more lemon juice, and garlic, garlic, garlic. I'm trying to cut back on the fat these days and would try to stick to that 2 tablespoons (not teaspoons!) of olive oil, but might be compelled to add more.

These two recipe posts have been fun! I just love the idea of taking advice from a friend who is -- shall we say -- less adventurous with eating than most of my friends. You said as much in the first post, of course. Non-foodie indeed!

Thanks for a trip down amnesia lane!

Anonymous said...

i concur with the cumin, salt, more OO, and garlic recommendations. I would get rid of the "juice of Garbanzos" if it's what I think it is. And I would definitely rinse the tasteless mush off the garbanzo (if using canned) beans, then dry them, before using. For a chip, you can cut up Pita bread, baste with OO, and bake at 375d for 10 minutes or so.

Anonymous said...

Alas, I have played around with hummus too. Austin and I have made it a few times. A few suggestions:

-1/2 tsp salt
Reduce Tahini to 4 tablespoons
-Garlic - you need garlic (1-2 cloves)! I made it with raw garlic, and it had too much of a bite. So then I lightly sauted the garlic and it made a big difference.
-You need more olive oil (yes, prolly 2 tablespoons or more).
-Paprika! Sprinkle it on top and it makes it better.
-I don't put cayenne pepper in mine, but regular pepper.

I have a great recipe from Austin, but the key is to keep fiddling with it while it's still in the food processor. Keep tasting and adding and then you'll be guaranteed to get it perfect.


Fool for paper said...

Some folks say you should never use canned, but cook your own garbanzos from scratch. After trying this several times I'm still not too sure it's worth the effort.
However, do add the garlic and salt for sure. and extra lemon juice doesn't hurt. Another nice touch is substituting Pimenton (genuine smoked Spanish paprika, not a cheap substitute) for the paprika. You can find it at Whole Paycheck and a few other places locally.

Eversaved said...

After trying this hummus recipe I never wanted to go back to the store-bought stuff. Of course I do, it's one of those on-again-off-again things, but that doesn't mean I'm proud of it. So here it is:

8 oz. chickpeas (liquid reserved)
2 garlic cloves, coarsely crushed
6 tbsp. lemon juice
4 tbsp. tahini (if tahini is too strong substitute part of the 4 tbsp. with peanut butter)
3 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 tsp. ground cumin
salt, pepper, and paprika to taste

Blend the chickpeas first, adding in a bit of the reserved liquid until it forms a smooth paste. Add in garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over hummus and sprinkle generously with paprika. Perfect!

Chance said...

This is easily your best blog project. Nothing brings people together like old failed recipes. Seriously, good times.

Jenners said...

I think I know the skanky apartment of which you speak -- the one where you slept in the closet? I would have that piece of paper sterilized before having it near foodstuffs.

Rebel said...

As I was reading this I was like - Where's the garlic?? WHERE'S THE GARLIC?

I don't have a recipe, I make hummus to taste. All the same ingredients you use, but with MUCH more oil and a little less garbanzo bean 'juice'. I think it probably needs salt as well.

The Calico Cat said...

I don't want to see garlic for a while after my blue garlic incident...