Michael (a.k.a. The Husband) recently put on his hero hat again and surprised me with a new
Hamilton Beach Food Processor – 70590. The hat became a crown when he said, “This isn’t an early Christmas present, I got it for you just to get it for you.” My shopping prince!
I started scouring all of my cookbooks and food magazines for humus recipes, pico de gallo recipes, and other opportunities to play with my new toy. I sort of flashed back to when I’d get a new Barbie for Christmas and I’d run around the house looking for new things for her to get into.
I got my ingredient list together and we headed off to Kroger. When we got back, I made a chunky Guacamole spread as well as my first attempt at humus. I used more garlic than the recipe called for…I guess years and years of watching Emeril has rubbed off on me. I also used a little bit more lemon juice (fresh from the lemon, of course) and actually substituted Organic Peanut Butter for the Tahini Paste. I read in more than one publication that many people (and even restaurants) substitute Peanut Butter because they prefer the taste and the cost.
Basically, I processed three cloves of garlic until they were minced nicely, then I added about 1/2 cup of loose curly parsley leaves – no stems were invited. I used the pulse method of processing until the parsley and garlic had mingled. Then I added two DRAINED cans of Garbanzo beans (also known as Chick Peas). I processed it until I got the consistency I needed, then added the juice of 1 very, very large lemon and some Olive Oil – enough to cover the top. Be sure you use the juice from a lemon and not lemon juice concentrate – it simply lacks the lemony goodness of the real thing. And, believe me, Garbanzo beans need a healthy dose of lemony goodness, without it, they just don’t have much personality or pop.
At this point, I removed the lid and used a handy little rubber spatula that came with my new culinary toy. I got the food off of the sides of the bowl and brought it back to the center where the action was. Then I added between 1/2 and 1 cup of peanut butter – closer to 1 cup.
If the humus is too thick, you can always add a little more Olive Oil – which I did, because…well, the peanut butter was way closer to 1 cup.
Add a little salt and pepper, remove the humus to a great-looking container, and you’re good to go.
At the time I served it with sliced wheat pita bread, untoasted. It was delicious, but I imagine that I’ll toast it first next time. Humus would be delicious served inside a hollowed out Sourdough bread bowl – wheat or regular – and served with crunchy vegetables.
For the chunky Guacamole, I processed two avocados with the juice of a lemon (the same lemony sermon above goes for Guacamole, too). Then I added about little about a tsp of chopped jalapeno – most wouldn’t want it this hot. However, my taste buds appreciate a good challenge. I also added a little minced garlic for good measure.
It was delicious, too. My tortilla chips were honored to take a hot little dip. They like a good challenge too.
I plan on experimenting with pico de gallo and salsas today. My taste buds are very much looking forward to it!
A few more quick tips:
I know that a lot of times I say things that make most of you seasoned cooks say, “I can’t believe she’s telling us that…” But keep in mind that there are lots of men/women/girls/boys who are new to the kitchen. I remember when I was new to the world of cooking, I’d get frustrated because the books would tell me, “Knead 10 minutes..” but wouldn’t tell me exactly how to do so. They seemed to be written with the assumption that I had a clue what I was doing. They couldn’t have been more wrong! So, that’s why you’ll often read things like the lemon sermon or “Use butter…not margarine..” – things that you may have learned by now. Reason? Not everyone has.
So, I want to point a few things out. First of all – a clove of garlic is one of the wedge-shaped portions that make up a head of garlic. It can be kind of confusing if you read “clove of garlic” and it can be kind of gross if you make the mistake in a recipe. Unless you’re cooking for Emeril, of course!
Second of all, always always always read through a recipe first. You don’t want to get halfway through and find that you need to chill the dish for 12 hours – when you were supposed to have it on the table in 30 minutes! Along that line of thinking, always be sure to get the ingredients you’ll be needing out on the counter before you begin. This way, if you have run out of something….a-hem…. that you could have SWORN you had….a-hem…you will know before you….a-hem a-hem….get in the middle of making your humus in your new Hamilton Beach Food Processor and have to run to Kroger for Olive Oil. Not that this has happened to anyone I know or anything.
Third of all, always use the freshest ingredients possible. The people who work in Kroger know me pretty well – I’m in there just about everyday, so they should. But I want my meat and produce to be as fresh as possible….plus, they’ve recently opened a Starbucks inside the store, so….
Finally, experiment! First, try a recipe the way it’s presented online or in the book/magazine, or on Food TV. Then, get crazy and substitute ingredients and amounts – make it your own. I’ve said it before, but my favorite recipes are ones I have come up with on my own or recipes I saw and “made” my own.
For example, one of the dishes I’m most known for is my Spinach-Artichoke dip. I actually first saw a similar recipe in an issue of Cooking Light. I thought, “That’d be good if all the Lows” and “Frees” were erased and if more cheese was added. So I tore the recipe out and headed to the store. I took the general idea and made an amazingly delicious recipe. I substituted the things that looked like they were on a diabetic’s doctor’s orders with things that looked like they were on Paula Deen’s shopping list. Then I threw in a little more of this and a lot more of that. In the end – Heaven!
Yes, as a matter of fact, I did take a healthy, lowish-calorie dish and fatten it up. I took good, common sense and turned it into Joi’s version of common sense. I did, indeed, go there.
That sort of thing defines me.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Hamilton Beach Food Processor. It’s easy to use, fun to use, and delicious to use!