Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Creamy Dreamy Lemony Hummus

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines metamorphosis in this way:

Metamorphosis: noun \ˌme-tə-ˈmr-fə-səs\  a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances 

There are other meanings of the word, as we all know, that refer to the radical change in appearance and form of an organism at a certain interval in its life.  And while a caterpillar changing into a butterfly is beautifully fascinating (and was, in a way, the inspiration for these musings), it is not where my mind goes to on this particular day.  Instead, I wonder about the "striking alteration in... character and circumstances" that are in the works for my life this coming year.
I've always been the kind of person who spends a great deal of time thinking about every detail of my life- overthinking quite often, truth be told.  I plan out entire conversations and interactions with others so that I know my point will be made and my intentions not misunderstood.  I conjure up memories from the past and replay them to my satisfaction.  I dream about the days to come and what my role will be in the lives of those I care about.  The food to be cooked, the bedtime stories to be read, and the chores and errands for the day as well larger and more philosophical musings all roll around in my head in a constant swirl vying for my attention.  It's no wonder I have a terrible memory.  There's just too much going on in there for me to give any new thoughts their due attention.

In the sometimes mindless and rhythmic task of chopping, peeling and stirring that comes with food preparation, my mind actually rests.  I know it seems like the opposite should be true, but I think if you ask anyone who really loves cooking they will tell you that same thing.  The mind is focused on those tasks and all of the babble in the background quiets down.  Except that on an afternoon not that long ago as I was peeling chick peas in an effort to make a smoother and creamier hummus, I was struck by the odd beauty of the pile of translucent skins on my counter.  They reminded me of the skins and shells shed by an animals undergoing some sort of transformation.  A metamorphosis- shedding the old to make way for the new and better.  And it sent my mind reeling.
My own life will be undergoing a radical metamorphosis this year.  By mid-year there is a very strong possibility that my family will be pulling up our stakes here in America and moving to parts unknown somewhere in the world.  At the very least we will be leaving a community we have come to love and will have to learn to navigate in a whole new arena.  And I'm not sure I'm ready for it.  But that's the way life works isn't it?  You often get thrown into the deep end with no forewarning and you either figure out which way is up and make your way to the surface or get lost and never find your way to the top. While I've never been the greatest swimmer, I'm cautiously hopeful that I can get to the surface without too much difficulty.

It is my hope that the change is a true metamorphosis for me.  Not only a change in circumstances, but in character as well.  That I learn to adapt, enjoy my new surroundings, learn from the native people, see and experience all the new land and culture have to offer and, most importantly, teach my children that change is not only good but necessary to survival and fulfillment in life. The butterfly is always more beautiful than the caterpillar it started out as.
Creamy Dreamy Lemony Hummus
Makes about 2 cups.
For the printable recipe, click here.

This recipe isn't all that different from my previously posted hummus here on the blog, but with two notable exceptions.  First, in order to get a lusciously creamy texture, I have learned that peeling the chick peas is the key.  It isn't difficult, you just pinch the pea and it pops right out of the skin, but it does take a few extra minutes.  I promise it will be worth it.  And while you're peeling your chick peas, you can roast a lemon that will provide you with the sweetest juices ever for your hummus.  Those few extra minutes take a really good hummus and make it spectacular. 

1 lemon
1/4 cup water
6 tbs tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cumin
pinch of cayenne
1 15-oz can of chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Cut the lemon in half and place the halves, cut side up, in a small roasting dish.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Juice the lemon halves in order to get 3 tbs juice.

While the lemon is roasting, peel the chick peas.  Pinching the pea between your thumb and index finger, pop the pea from the skin and into the open palm of your opposite hand or directly into a bowl.  Discard the skins.

In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice and water.  Set aside.  In another small bowl, stir together the tahini and olive oil.  Again, set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, place the peeled chick peas (minus a small handful for topping the hummus), the garlic, cumin, salt, and cayenne.  Pulse the mixture several times until almost fully ground together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  With the food processor running, slowly pour in the lemon juice and water.  Continue to process for about 30 more seconds.  Scrape down the bowl again.  Begin running the food processor a third time and slowly pour in the tahini and olive oil.  Blend until smooth.

Serve with toasted pita chips and veggies.  Hummus will keep for three to five days in the refrigerator.

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