Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Small Town Dilemma

One of the most frustrating things about WW (and cooking in general) is that my tastes can run rather exotic - or at least well beyond the realm of good ol' Southern cooking. I love to experiment with funky new recipes, and most WW cookbooks have divine-looking dishes that I'd love to try. The problem is that half the ingredients simply can't be found in this rural area. This is particularly true of the ethnic foods - things like tahini and rice noodles are impossible to find. I've searched every grocery store in the county with no luck. I'm about to jump into the internet-grocery store fray. I feel a little weird ordering food online, but since I'm not likely to find cannellini beans or whole-wheat couscous anytime soon, that may be exactly what I have to do.

Last night I felt the frustration again. I love hummus. It is the best dip known to mankind. For those of you who don't know, hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made with chickpeas. It is fabulous with veggies and flatbreads. One of the key ingredients in hummus is tahini - a paste made from sesame seeds. I've been looking for tahini for months now with no luck. Last night I searched the internet for 30 minutes trying to find a hummus recipe that didn't include tahini. Eventually I threw my hands into the air and decided to make my own. I come from the Rachael Ray school of cooking (I don't measure anything) so my quantities are estimations at best. But in case you want to try something yummy that doesn't include tahini, here is the version I came up with last night:

Amanda's Tahini-less Hummus

1 15-oz can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 tbsp. EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
coarsely ground black pepper

Heat chickpeas in saucepan on stove. In a blender, mix lemon juice, EVOO and pepper. Drain most of liquid from peas and add to blender. Pulse until well blended. Serve veggies (carrot sticks and peppers are my fave) or tortilla chips/flatbreads.

I found that heating the peas helped them puree better in the blender. I don't have a food processor so I have to make it blender-friendly. Besides, I like my hummus warm anyway.

I know hummus sounds a little strange to someone who hasn't tried it - but trust me. It's gu-uuuuud!

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