Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Homemade Cilantro Hummus—In a Jiffy

Making school lunches has been part of my morning routine for, let's see, at least a dozen years I've got it down to a science. An imperfect science at best. Actually, I should say it's more of an art. If not a downright scramble.

Okay, let me rephrase. Better yet, an example. Take this morning, for instance. Sprouted grain bread for assembling obligatory sandwich, check. Loaf in the freezer, however. Solution: pry off two frozen, stuck-together slices and lay on counter top to thaw.

Step two: decide what kind of sandwich to make. Today's options begin with raw almond butter and jam. But my son is starting tennis season and cutting down on sugars to get in shape, so he'd prefer a protein lunch. Option, let's see what I've got here. If only I hadn't finished that container of hummus on Saturday....

Hummus! I can make that myself! It's like a revelation, which is funny, because I am old enough to remember a time when people always made their own hummus. It simply wasn't available in stores before Hot Mama's & Co. came to town.

And besides, hummus is super easy to make. All you need is a food processor (I'm not old enough to remember mashing the stuff by hand, thank you), chick peas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice (from fresh lemons or pre-squeezed). Today, I had it all, plus cilantro!

So there I am at 6:30 in the morning, whipping up hummus. I hope Zack likes it since, I confess, I only took a few small "I haven't even had my tea yet" tastes, although the smell is terrific. By the time the hummus was made, the bread was thawed enough to separate into two slices. Spread one with hummus, the other with Garlic Red Pepper Miso, fill with fresh alfalfa sprouts, snuggle into a baggie and we have one tasty sandwich to go. Add to lunch box along with fresh fruit, organic yogurt, Rice Milk and a chocolate protein bar for pre-practice snack and there's school lunch... in plenty of time to catch the bus.

Now, about that tea...!

Homemade Hummus with Fresh Cilantro

1 can (15 oz) chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons tahini, raw or roasted
Juice of 1 lemon, about 2-4 Tablespoons
1 clove garlic, minced
salt or Herbamare to taste
small bunch of fresh cilantro stems, minced, (about 1/4 cup)
water as needed to facilitate processing

Add chick peas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic to food processor and pulse till well blended. Add water or additional lemon juice as needed to smooth the processing or hummus will be too dry, especially if using raw tahini (which is less oily than roasted tahini). Add salt or Herbamare (that's what I used - delicious!), pulse again and taste. When satisfied with salt level, add the chopped cilantro stems and pulse them in gently, so they retain their individuality. You could also use cilantro leaves, but since they are prized more greatly as a garnish and in salads, I found this was a good use for the stems. The humble stems still taste wholly cilantro-y and I always add them into soups, beans, etc, saving the leaves for topping.

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