Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hummus Among Us

 Yesterday I made hummus!  I love the stuff and always bought it ready made in the store but my sister and her husband have made it at home for years using canned chickpeas.  We stayed at their home in Rochester for Easter and I always have to make a trip to the International Spice and Grocery when in town.  I am never disappointed there and stocked up on all kinds of stuff.  Not only did I buy the tahini and dried chickpeas for the hummus, but I also got citric acid and almond oil for bath bombs, 20# of kalijira rice, Bosnian/Turkish coffee, a couple different teas, CHOCOLATE, etc.  It is a little oasis for the Muslim community in Rochester.  They have international newspapers and movie rentals, toiletry and hygiene products that are also common in the UK, Bosnian/Turkish coffee sets and cezve/ibriks, cookware and bakeware, etc.  I love this store and usually have to be dragged out of there.  My brother in law is pretty chummy with the owner too, so I feel like I have connections!  ;)

Back to the hummus.  I started from scratch with my dried chickpeas and used this recipe.  DEE-lish.  You rinse and cook the chickpeas in a crack pot and let them cool.  Then process them together with garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, water and tahini which is sesame seed paste and tastes almost like a slightly bitter peanut butter.  Here are the chickpeas after they've been pulsed a few times because I forgot to take a picture of them just cooked.  One pound of dried chickpeas cost $2.99 and made almost 6 cups of hummus.  I packed it up in old Noosa yogurt containers and will freeze them and use as we go.  I've thrown away a lot of hummus over the years because I didn't eat it before the expiration date.  I had no idea you could freeze it.  This hummus was no frills, no pine nuts, no red pepper or the sundry of varieties available, but it is so flavorful.  It just pops and my brother and I ate a whole container full with a sleeve of crackers in one sitting last night.  I read that if frozen for any length of time, it is still just as nutritious, but the flavor dulls.  I am very loyal to Sabra brand store bought hummus, but it doesn't hold a candle to this homemade.

And speaking of crack pots, RIP my beloved crack pot!  :(  My mother gave this to me back in 2000 when I was still in nursing school so it's had a good run.  I put my chickpeas in before I went to bed and set it on low.  Woke up the next morning and ran out to check them and it was just barely warm.  I tried a few different outlets to make sure it was indeed the crack pot that had failed and deduced the poor thing had died.  I'm just thankful I didn't have a $20 roast in there!  Luckily my aunt Julie gave us a larger oval crack pot as a wedding gift so I used that one instead and the hummus was just delayed.  I was really spoiled with 2 crack pots.  They are so handy when company comes and we had both of them running nonstop when everyone was here for Christmas.  Even though this one is no more, I am going to save the actual stoneware crock and lid.  I'm sure I can use it for something.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

50 Shades Of Lefse

Oh what a wonderful day it was yesterday!  I had my first glass of stevia sweetened iced coffee from the batch I'd made the day before.  The coffee concentrate is made 2 quarts at a time using this recipe.  I baked frosted sugar cookies for upcoming Easter and then decided kind of at the last minute to make a batch of lefse.  I had about 4.5 pounds of russet potatoes that I needed to use up and set to work making some lefse.  It was a beautiful warm sunny day and I got to stare out the window and deck door at the pond while I was baking.  We even got a mild thunderstorm last night.  Bliss.

 I really appreciate lefse and realize that many who eat it do not understand the ins and outs of it.  The dough is simple and delicious.  You roll it out paper thin and can see the eyes of the potatoes as flecks in the dough.

 It is baked on a 500 degree griddle and as soon as it is transferred onto the heat, it blisters and bubbles up, shrinking at the edges.

 It is turned once and the first surface is freckled with brown spots where the bubbles rested on the griddle.

 Then it is flipped onto a dish towel to cool and the other side has a shinier surface and darker brown freckles.  The wonderful scent of potato bread wafts from the griddle and it is hard to not eat from the pile!  My go-to recipe for lefse is 5 pounds of russet potatoes peeled, cooked and riced twice.  Allow to completely cool before adding 1/2 c. butter, 1/2 c. cream and 1 1/2 Tbsp. salt.  Stir in 2 cups of flour, portion out, roll, cook.  Num num.
Here is a photo of my new herb dish towel I got at The Afternoon when Melissa and I went in February.  My herbs are starting to wake up for the year.  The chives are sprouting through outside.  My sage has survived the winter on my window sill but the leaves were the size of my pinkie nail all season.  This last week, they've started getting bigger and longer which I find truly miraculous.  How does the plant know to do that?  How does it know it is spring?  Does it realize it is receiving the magic number of sunny minutes in a day?  I'm waiting to see if my rosemary goes crazy too.