Friday, August 1, 2008

Here a pea, there a pea, everywhere a chickpea.

“Then there are some things that sound too funny to eat. Some things are too humorous to swallow. Guacamole. That sounds like something you yell when you’re on fire. ‘Guacamole!!’ Or sounds like something you can’t remember the name of. ‘Where’s that little…guacamole I had here?’ Something else that sounds too funny to eat: garbanzo beans. I mean, that’s the first four letters of the word garbage in there. ‘Hey, did you take out the garbanzo beans?’ And, of course, the funniest food: kumquats. I don’t ever bring ‘em home anymore. I sit there laughing and they go to waste.”

-George Carlin on Fussy Eaters.

I have to say, that since becoming a veghead, I have a new appreciation for garbanzo beans. Still not a big fan of just sitting down and eating them straight outta the can…but they have lots of protein, lots of fiber, very little fat, and you can make yummy stuff out of them. Oh, and they are cheap.

I only bring this up because we had what I call Birthday of the Month Day yesterday at work. Basically, we pick one day toward the end of the month when we celebrate all the birthdays that fell within that month. (We used to celebrate each birthday individually, but management complained that we were spending too much time socializing over birthdays, so we amalgamating them). So, once a month 2 or 3 or more people bring in a tasty treat of some sort. Usually something savory, and something sweet. When I volunteer, I almost always bring hummus. Mostly because it’s cheap and easy. Also, for some reason, it impresses the hell out of people that “you made that YOURSELF??” I think being mostly Whiteys, everyone here views hummus as foreign and EXOTIC and, therefore, difficult to make. In fact, it’s just about the easiest thing in the world to make…except maybe the onion soup/sour cream dip that I could eat by the TRUCK LOAD. However, as I am trying NOT to eat my body weight in fat every day, and am also trying to wean myself off dairy (not going so well, actually), I am trying to avoid bringing buckets of sour cream based dips to work. So, this morning before work I hauled out my food processor and whipped up a batch. Another thing I like about hummus - I am a big fan of recipes where you get to throw everything into a food processor, crank it up to 11 for about 5 minutes and then call it done.

There is something I find interesting, and perhaps a little frustrating/confusing about when I bring hummus to any sort of potluck situation. Half the time it disappears and there is barely even a teaspoon left for me to take home…and the other half of the time I end up taking home almost the entire batch, and end up eating it for lunch every day for the rest of the week. What gives? Maybe you have to be in a hummus sort of mood? Maybe they just don’t have their chickpea GROOVE on that day? Yesterday though, everybody was totally digging the hummus. There was still about a quarter cup left, but I think that’s only because they ran out of bread before they ran out of hummus. I do have to say that the hummus turned out even better than usual this time. It’s WAY creamier than usual. When I first learned out to make hummus, it said to drain the can of beans, and add only lemon juice and oil to the mixture. I found that to get the creamy consistency I liked, I was adding absurd amounts of oil! Which sort of defeats the purpose of eating hummus as a healthy snack! Finally yesterday morning, it dawned on me..DUR…just add some of the bean “juice” from the can! So I reserved about 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup, and slowly added it back as I pureed, and OMG! Amazing! It’s PERFECT. It’s EXACTLY how I like it.

(As an aside…do you know how confusing it is to try and make hummus, when you don’t know that chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the EXACT SAME THING??? Ya…boy did I feel stupid after going to several different stores looking for chickpeas, when all I could find were cans of GARBANZO BEANS.)

Now…if I could only get my son and husband to actually like chickpeas…life would be a whole lot easier….

(Anybody have any interesting hummus recipes? Anything unique that you like to add to the mix to spice it up a bit?)

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