Ta Da! The elevation of a simple dip made from chickpeas to an herb and roasted shallot infused super dip! That’s where our foodie travels take us today. Inspiration is all around us, we just have to be open to receiving it. Start with a basic dish that you love and embellish it with flavors that make you happy. Creativity at it’s finest! So simple. It’s not complicated, it’s usually quite easy. Much like friendship. So begins the tale of two girlfriends, years of adventures and a shared love of hummus!
Michele and I blocked out four hours to lunch, visit and shop. It was a minor miracle but we had so much to catch up on. Yes we have the same name, spelled the same way. We are one “l” girls! Our lunch was already special if only because we finally found space, huge space, on our busy calendars. That, in itself, would have been enough. But being connected to someone on a deeper level is a gift. The bonds of friendship are like that. Even when you haven’t spoken or seen each other for way too long, the threads of past experiences and the love you have for each other, bind you together forever.
We met up at a favorite place for each of us, Tender Greens. Michele asked me if I had ever had their hummus and I said no. She insisted on adding it to our lunch selection and I didn’t give it another thought. Hummus is hummus, right? When the bowl of hummus arrived, it was a bright green color. Herbs, it had to be herbs that gave it the beautiful color. All conversation stopped so we could take little bites. We tasted and savored and tossed out our guesses of what they had used. This is the fun of eating with a food lover! The food is given it’s due as a major player in the whole social aspect of eating with others.
Michele turns to me and says, “What do you think?” “Well”, I say, “I think it’s more than herbs but not sure what.” Michele says, “I think you should make it!” I love these challenges thrown out by friends! They know me so well and have confidence that I will come up with something. Something like it or something new. Something different is what I did make. For Michele: I offer two options 1. The Tender Greens Hummus version which I found after I played around with my version and yes, there are more than herbs going on in it! 2. My take on a herb hummus version. Options are good!
Once I had this herb hummus thing going on in my head I knew it would be the perfect appetizer to take on Saturday for a very special evening. David and I were going to meet my friend Nancy’s new boyfriend. BTW, he is great! I had only been in his beautiful home 10 minutes when I flipped the container of soy ginger glaze for our salmon all over the front of me, down his kitchen cabinets and all over his gorgeous wood floor! What a fiasco! He was so calm and polite. I was so flustered and embarrassed. He helped me clean it up, poured me a glass of wine and moved on to “It’s so nice to meet you!” Guess that’s one way to be unforgettable!
Nancy and I go way back. I mean way back, 35 years! We love to tell the story of how we met. I met her father, Andy, first when I was working in the restaurant business. As we got to know each other, Andy said you have to meet my daughter. You two will love each other. She is coming back from Alaska next week and is going to work here.
One day, as I was rushing around the corner at work, I literally ran into a girl and we bounced off each other. Laughing, I apologized and we went on our separate ways. When I came back into the bar area, I saw her talking to Andy. He motioned me over and introduced me to his daughter. We both started to laugh and he couldn’t understand why. Until we told him, we had already met. It was a smashing start to a beautiful friendship with one of the kindest, most caring people I know!
Nancy has always been a very healthy eater. Selective to the point that there are things which are viewed as “this will never pass my lips” because it is not healthy! Me, I’ll try almost anything once. So when I think of Nancy and the food she likes, I always go to the healthy end of my food spectrum. Hummus and veggies seemed like the ideal appetizer. It couldn’t have been a bigger hit! I knew I’d hit the mark when Nancy said, “This is so good you could package it and sell it!”
Now I know hummus is not just hummus. It is the basis for creativity to run wild. And each friendship is uniquely special. They are the basis for happiness and exploring who you are and all you can be through the eyes of another. Friends make life a lot more fun! I am fortunate to have great friends, and now great hummus!
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” ―William Shakespeare
Bright and vibrant colors lead to bright and vibrant flavors! Start fresh, end happy!
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet and add the shallots. Cook until the shallot starts to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the remaining olive oil and cook for a minute. Set aside and let the oil cool. The shallots and garlic will continue to brown as the oil cools. The browning of the shallots and garlic will infuse the oil with an extra layer of flavor.
While the shallot oil is cooling, give the herbs a rough chop and set aside. I love the smell of fresh herbs! It is the smell of springtime on the cutting board!
Give the garbanzo beans a little rinse to remove any of the liquid from the can. Fresh flavors in everything!
In a food processor, combine the beans, tahini, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and pulse to combine.
Check out the bits of roasted shallots! Not only does it look tasty but the toasty smell of the shallots makes my mouth water. This is my idea of a healthy onion dip! You could omit the herbs and make a roasted shallot hummus. More options! It would be great!
With the motor running, stream in the shallot oil and process until smooth. If you like textured bits of beans, process less. If you like a smooth and creamy texture, process more.
Add the herbs to the hummus and pulse until combined.
Oh the lovely bits of herbs! Time to taste for any additional salt needed. Add more lemon juice or water to thin out the hummus if needed.
Carrot and celery sticks
Slices of toasted Ciabatta bread
- 2 – 15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- Zest and juice of one large lemon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chop
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill, rough chop
- 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, rough chop
- 3 tablespoons chives, rough chop
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet and add the shallots. Cook until the shallot starts to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the remaining olive oil and cook for a minute. Set aside and let the oil cool. The shallots and garlic will continue to brown as the oil cools. The browning of the shallot and garlic will infuse the oil with an extra layer of flavor.
- In a food processor, combine the beans, tahini, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and pulse to combine.
- With the motor running, stream in the shallot oil and process until smooth. If you like textured bits of beans, process less. If you like a smooth and creamy texture, process more.
- Add the herbs to the hummus and pulse until combined.
- Taste for any additional salt needed. Add more lemon juice or water to thin out the hummus if needed.
- Sliced Cucumbers
- Carrot and celery sticks
- Pita Chips
- Slices of toasted Ciabatta bread