Monday, January 6, 2014

12 Days of Meyers - Spicy Hummus

When the Austin Food Blogger Alliance was first created back in 2011, we had an open cocktail party to not only introduce this new group to the local food bloggers, but also to give the bloggers a chance to meet each other and to hopefully get them excited about joining this one-of-a-kind alliance. It was at this event that I first met Hilah.  She was standing at the bar and I was instantly drawn to her as I was already a fan/follower of her online cooking show.  I went over and introduced myself as I wanted to see if she was that same wicked-cool chick in person as she was on her show. I was very happy to learn that she was. Everything you see on her wildly popular show is exactly how she is when y'all are just hanging out with her.  Along with her producer and husband Christopher Sharpe, the couple have created a strong following for their show. As wildly popular as she is, I'm impressed that she has not let stardom go to her head as she is still grounded, funny and adorable, and all while cooking up a storm in her cool orange kitchen. Did I mention she was just voted #1 of the top 10 Austin Food Blogs by the Austin Chronicle?  I'm happy to be able to share her recipe here for yummy Meyer Hummus as today's guest blogger.  And if you have not had a chance to check out her site, please click on her link below for a fun cooking 101. Or go here for a list of her cookbooks to order.

Hummus was one of the very first video recipes I posted. It's a staple in my house because it's quick and cheap to make, it's high in fiber and relatively low in calories (at least the way I make it, it is) and is a wonderful snack with some celery sticks and even a decent stand-in for dinner when you're rushed or lazy or home alone with no one to judge you for eating hummus on crackers in your undies on the couch, sprinkling crumbs amongst the cushions as you yuk it up with the TV. In the years since publishing the original recipe, I've gotten innumerable comments to the effect of: I never knew hummus was so easy to make.

And that is how I wreak my vengeance upon manufacturers of over-priced, store-bought hummus!

I'm kidding, what kind of insane person would take personal offense to a hummus company?

For this spicy variation on hummus, I used plenty of sweet-tart Meyer lemon juice and cut down on the olive oil by, like, a whole lot. This makes it thrifty for the change purse and lower in fat and calories, duh, so maybe it will help out with those New Year resolutions, too. If you like the buttery texture of traditional hummus, feel free to add another 1/4 cup of olive oil to the mix. 

Harissa is a spicy condiment from North Africa made from ground dried red chiles, caraway, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and enough olive oil to bind them together. It's divine. I happen to have a tube of it (pictured) that I got from World Market, but if you can't find it, it's very easy to make your own and it's delicious in this and as a rub for grilled meat or fish, or an addition to salad dressing (especially grain salads). If you've got a modern copy of The Joy of Cooking, there's a recipe in it that I use and is the best recipe I've tried for homemade harissa. 

Spicy Meyer Lemon Hummus

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 Meyer lemon (or 2 standard lemons)
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons harissa (or less for less heat)
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt (reduce or omit if using canned chickpeas)

Drain chickpeas (and rinse if using canned) and place in blender or food processor.
Zest the lemon to get 1/2 teaspoon zest and add that; juice the lemon to get 1/4 cup lemon juice and add that, straining the seeds out.
Add all other ingredients and pulse a few times to get started, then blend to a smooth puree. You may want or need to add some more water or olive oil for a thinner hummus.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to a week.

Yield: about 2 cups

Check out more of Hilah below.

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