bits and pieces

Monday, September 22, 2014

Yallah! Black Bean Hummus with Roasted Spices and Fresh Herbs

My garden parsley and chilies! Look at the sunshine! Wahoo! 

Wahoo indeed. A few weeks ago I was lamenting the loss of summer, and bemoaning the onset of winter. I love winter, but the past few in Saskatchewan have been... well... it's been -40something for weeks on end. And lasted until May. So as much as I love all our wonderful seasons in Canada, I am happy that summer has lingered well into September.

I had covered my tomatoes and chili plants with blankets to protect them from the frost, and it looks like it worked, as my chilies are still kicking and growing like mad. I need to can or dry them soon!


I'm trying to get a lot more conservative about my grocery spending. When you cook a lot, and also have to account for different diets in your household (i.e. meat based, and not so much) - it can mean a lot of half used products go unused. I HATE throwing out food, but I can recognize that I still do it far too often. My  main culprit is beans. I'll use half a can of beans and then either forget it in the back of my fridge, or freeze them and forget about them in the back of my freezer for a year or so. It is a terrible terrible thing to do, so I'm trying to forbid myself from grocery shopping until everything is all eaten up. It is also an incredibly efficient way to save money when my bi-weekly grocery bill seems to be increasing by 25$ every year or so.

I had a lonely barely used can of black beans in my fridge (I'd made a couple avocado and corn fajitas and used a sprinkling of beans). I knew that if I didn't use it this weekend it would sit there for another week, dying a slow fridge-y death.

Now beyond chili, and fajitas, and salads, I don't have much use for beans, and I didn't feel like either. Scouring my brain for canned bean uses led me to chickpeas and hummus, and I thought - hey, black bean hummus has to be a thing! And it is - although like much of the Middle East, it is fraught with controversy.

Hummus is hummus. Hummus is not hummus. Hummus is hummus.
I've taken a Pure Land Buddhist approach to the hummus wars. 
Seriously - controversial hummus. And it is SERIOUSLY controversial. Now as the wonderful cookbook 'Jerusalem' details, hummus and its origins are fought over by zealous nationalists of pretty much every corner of the Middle East. Apparently, black bean hummus is among the most controversial, with hummus giant Sabra having launched a petition to ban black bean hummus and it is technically not 'hummus'. That's not even to mention the heated debates over whether hummus is Israeli, Palestinian, or Lebanese. 

Oy. 

If you're hungry, have an extra can of beans, and feel like pissing off Sabra, make your own black bean hummus-not-hummus and enjoy! Because it's pretty healthy, pretty easy, and pretty good; and food should bring people together, not force them apart. 

ingredients:
1 can of black beans (or - if you're clever and plan ahead, 1.5 cups of your own beans)
3 generous tbsp tahini
1/4 cup water (or more)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds (or just plain cumin)
big pinch of paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes/cayenne/chili of your choice - I threw in a chili from my garden too! 
1 big pinch of salt
1/3 cup of green olives (no pits!)

chili and more parsley as garnish

other things you will need: 
food processor/blender
frying pan for toasting your spices

  1. In a small frying pan, toast your spices over medium until fragrant. I toast all my spices, on the regular, and it makes a noticeable difference. 
  2. Combine ingredients (except water) in your processors and pulse until combined. Slowly add water until hummus like consistency is acquired. Taste, and adjust salt/tahini/lemon/olive oil as needed. The lemon and salt will brighten the flavours, while the tahini and olive oil will add to the richness and depth. 
  3. Consume with toasted pita, carrots, celery, or a spoon :) 

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