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Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

Pink and spring green! Today’s dish celebrates this vibrant colour combination and I can’t really say that I expected the result to taste that good. My green asparagus stalks found a perfect companion in a screaming pink hummus. I adjusted its colour and taste by adding a generous amount of boiled beetroots. At first I was worried that the roots’ earthy tones would dominate, so I started with one root for a small can of chickpeas. But there was no need to worry. The beetroot easily found its place in the nutty dip, in fact, it’s a fine sweetness that comes through the most.

Before the roots kicked in, I used my basic hummus recipe to start with. It perfectly balances out the flavours of chickpeas, rich tahini, sour lemon, and the punch of fresh garlic and ground cumin. It was a recently published cookbook that inspired my to turn my hummus pink. Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison’s book called Batch, a comprehensive collection of pantry recipes, caught my attention and made me wish I had a whole room and not just a shelf to store my jars of preserved goods. Their book covers various methods for canning, dehydrating, fermenting, cellaring, salting, smoking, and infusing. As I thumbed through the pages, I noticed that there are still a lot of preserving techniques I have to learn more about. I cook my own jams and chutneys, preserve my gherkins, lemons and other fruits and vegetables, I learned to make gravad lax from my mother (a recipe that comes to use at least once a year), but I’ve never made my own sauerkraut or smoked mussels.

Batch is a book that needs time and attention, a book that gives you lots of basic recipes to follow and not to experiment with. It’s about learning the right techniques to be able to fill the shelves in your pantry with pride and satisfaction. However, the duo also included quite a few creations that allow you to play with your preserving results and be creative. In the beet chapter, Joel and Dana write about a pink beet hummus, which is different to mine: they don’t add chickpeas, it’s the pure red root that shines. Below you can find both recipes, my chickpea and beet hummus and Joel and Dana’s pure beet hummus. Try both and enjoy. I just love my chickpeas. But don’t forget to add green asparagus cooked al dente, it’s too good. And use the leftover dip to spread on dark spelt bread.

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

 

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

Serves 3-4

For the beet and chickpea hummus

medium to large beetroots, unpeeled, 2
bay leaves 2
olive oil 2 teaspoons
drained and rinsed canned chickpeas, 240g / 1 1/3 cups
tahini 150g / 5 ounces
water 120ml / 1/2 cup
freshly squeezed lemon juice 6 tablespoons
garlic, crushed, 2 large cloves
ground cumin 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon
fine sea salt about 1 1/4 teaspoons

green asparagus, the bottoms cut off, 1kg / 2 1/4 pounds
olive oil
flaky sea salt
white sesame seeds

Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil. Add the beetroots (with their skin) and bay leaves, cover with a lid, and cook the roots over medium heat (simmering) for about 45-55 minutes or until tender. Rinse with cold water and let cool for a few minutes. Peel the roots and weigh 200g / 7 ounces, use any remaining beetroot for another recipe. Using a food processor or blender, purée the beetroots and 2 teaspoons of olive oil until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

For the hummus, using the same food processor or blender, purée the chickpeas, tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt until smooth. Add half the puréed beetroot to the hummus and purée until well combined. Add more puréed beet until the hummus has the desired taste. I added the whole 200g / 7 ounces of beet. Add more lemon juice, salt, and cumin to taste.

Cook the asparagus in plenty of salted water for about 3 minutes or until al dente, rinse briefly with cold water, drain, and transfer to a large plate or divide between the plates. Serve warm or cold, drizzle the asparagus with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with sesame and salt. Dollop a few teaspoons of the hummus over the green stalks and enjoy!

Alternative beet hummus recipe:

Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison’s Beet Hummus 

from Batch, published by appetite by Random House

Serves 2-3

garlic, peeled, 3 cloves
tahini 120ml / 1/2 cup
ground cumin 2 teaspoons
sesame oil 2 teaspoons
fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons (add more if you wish)
canned beetroots 1l / 1 quart-jar (you can find a recipe for pressure canned beets in the book, but you can also use my recipe above to boil the beets)
beet stock (preserving / boiling liquid) 60ml / 1/4 cup
olive oil (optional)

Place the garlic in a blender and chop until fine.

Add the tahini, cumin, sesame oil, and lemon juice to the blender. Scrape the sides to make sure the garlic is incorporated and blend for 10 seconds.

Add the beets and blend until smooth. Add the beet stock, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the hummus achieves the texture you like (you may not use the whole 60ml / 1/4 cup or you may have to add more). Chill in the fridge for a few minutes before eating (optional). Serve in a bowl and a drizzle of olive oil.

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

 

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

 

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

 

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

 

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

 

Green Asparagus with Beet and Chickpea Hummus

Sabih – A Sandwich with Hummus, Egg and Grilled Aubergine

Sabih

The last time I ate Hummus at a restaurant I decided that the time has come to make my own. It’s one of my favourites from the Middle Eastern cuisine and you can be sure that I always order my own little bowl of this delicious spread when we go to a restaurant to make sure that I definitely have enough for myself.

I’m an expert when it comes to eating it but not preparing it and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself so I decided to ask two experts, both very good friends of mine from Israel. They recommended using really good quality Tahini from Lebanon because this sesame paste has a big influence on the Hummus’ taste. It’s one of the main ingredients together with cooked chickpeas and this is actually where Hummus gets its name from, meaning chickpeas in Arabic. It’s very easy to prepare if you use tinned chickpeas – that’s what I did and the expert opinions didn’t object – you just have to peel them which only takes 5 minutes. It’s more like popping them out of their peel between two fingers, it’s fun! Then you add the Tahini, fresh lemon juice, garlic, salt, water, mix everything in a blender and your Hummus is done.

My friends also told me about a sandwich which is very popular in Israel – Sabih (meaning the handsome one!). You spread Hummus on some good white bread (I use my olive bread which fits really well with its juicy texture and flavours of green and black olives), then you put slices of grilled aubergine and boiled egg on the Hummus and sprinkle some Harissa on top. This is too good! I’m not normally the first one to put an egg on a sandwich, but here I make an exception. The creamy Hummus, the juicy bread, the aubergine, the egg, the whole combination is just divine, I’m not surprised this sandwich is so popular!

Sabih

 Sabih with Hummus, Grilled Aubergine and Boiled Egg

I made enough Hummus to fill a large bowl as you can keep it in the fridge for a few days. For the sandwich you can also use white flatbread but I must say that I really enjoyed it with my thick and juicy olive bread.

For the Hummus

canned chickpeas, cooked and peeled, 475g / 17 ounces
Tahini 300g / 10.5 ounces
garlic, crushed, 2 big cloves
salt 1 1/4 teaspoon
freshly squeezed lemon juice 5 tablespoons
water 100-125ml
olive oil for topping
Harissa for topping

Purée all the ingredients in a blender until you have a smooth paste, you can add a little more water and lemon juice if you want the Hummus less thick. Fill in a bowl and sprinkle with olive oil and Harissa.

 

For the grilled aubergine

one aubergine, cut into 7mm / 1/4″ slices
olive oil to brush the aubergine slices (around 50ml)
salt and pepper

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill in the oven until golden brown and soft.

 

For the sandwich

white bread, 4-6 thick slices
boiled organic eggs, cut into slices, 2

Spread the Hummus on a slice of bread, put 1-2 slices of the grilled aubergine and some of the egg on top and sprinkle with a little Harissa to add more spiciness. Close with a second slice of bread to finish your sandwich.

Sabih

 

Sabih

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