Female. Lives in United States/Illinois/Chicago, speaks English. My interests are Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking/Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.
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United States, Illinois, Chicago, English, Female, Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking, Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Breaking In the Cuisinart with Hummus

As I mentioned in a previous post, I just got my first food processor.  Until now, I've been chopping by hand or using a blender when recipes called for a fine chop, slice or puree.  I was always disappointed when a recipe indicated that a food processor was really required to make the dish turn out right.  Hate to be left out due to lack of gadgets.

All that's behind me now though.  I now have the Cuisinart Prep-11 Plus 11-Cup Food Processor.  I know this is its official name because we still have the box it came in on our kitchen floor.  Turns out the box is the perfect height to be a little workstation for Lima.  She loves to walk up to the box, pretend she's doing something terribly important there, and then walk away.  She also uses it as a storage space for all her treasures.  Right now, the box is holding a tongue depressor, a manilla folder, a teething ring shaped like a fish, and two rocks.  Normally I'm against clutter, but this little workstation is too cute so we'll let it hang around for a while.

I decided to test out the Cuisinart with something relatively basic:  hummus.  While I had eaten hummus numerous times, I never made it myself...mostly because a chef told me it's best done with a processor and I lacked one.  As usual when I cook at night with any noisy equipment, I had to haul the Cuisinart to another room far from Lima's to make sure the noise didn't wake her.  Despite this little detour, the hummus came out really well and the Cuisinart proved easy to use and easy to clean. 

Here's the recipe I used.  It's from The Chopping Block, a cooking school and retail shop in Chicago.  I've taken several cooking classes there and loved them all.  I'll be cooking again with them soon and mentioning more about them in upcoming posts. 

Prep time:  15 minutes
Makes 4-6 generous servings

2 cloves garlic
2 15-ounce cans of chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
small handful of flat leaf parsley
water, only if you feel it's needed (see directions below)

Chop the garlic in a food processor fitted with metal blade.
Add remaining ingredients and pulse until a smooth paste is formed.
Taste the hummus.  If it's too thick, add additional water or lemon juice.

Note:  When I tasted my batch, I decided that it not only needed more lemon juice but I also added a bit more cayenne as well.  Trust your taste buds and adjust the seasonings as you see fit.  The basic recipe above serves as a good start; improvise as you'd like.

Serving suggestion:  Make a well in the center of the hummus and fill with olive oil.  Sprinkle the top with smokey paprika, cayenne pepper or paprika.  This time around, I garnished with some flat leaf parsley for color and a dash of smokey paprika.  If you haven't tasted smokey paprika yet, be sure to give it a try.  It is delicious and provides a rich, smokey (almost bacon-like) taste to dishes.

So I started my food processing career off slowly with some basic hummus, but now I'm gearing up for something more challenging in the Cuisinart.  A while back I made some delicious potato and smoked gouda pancakes to serve as an appetizer.  The dish was excellent, but it took forever to get the potatoes sliced so finely by hand.  Maybe I'll give that recipe another go, this time with the Cuisinart.