Hummos with Miso – Mega-Healthy, Mon

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HUMMOS
A popular Middle Eastern dip, hummos is the perfect party appetizer. It’s also now available in most markets, including coffee shops like Pete’s coffee, it makes an amazing mid afternoon snack when your energy is dipping. Since it’s high in protein and essential fatty acids, it will replenish your energy immediately and sustain you long past what would caffeine and the sugar & carb high of a mid afternoon muffin. Don’t let your cravings deceive you. That 4pm sluggishness is really your kidneys looking for a little rest. If a siesta or a 3-minute meditation is out of the question, hummus is the thing to keep on hand in your office or home fridge. Plus, my special recipe, made with miso paste, will keep your intestines happy due to it’s probiotic nature.

“If you’re happy and you know, say “I am”  –  I AM…”

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And here I AM happy, serving up tastes of hummos with it’s sexy counterpart, Tabouli.

Enjoy this served with fresh or toasted pita bread, slathered on a piece of your favorite hearty bread, as a dip for veggies. You can even dilute it and use it as a sauce for veggies or on a baked potato. Tahini, rich in calcium, is a ground sesame seed paste, similar to peanut butter. It’s an important part of the hummus recipe and cannot be substituted. However, it can be omitted, and many store bought hummos will leave it out to cut productions costs and nutrition costs for you.

I also add miso paste – and less straight up sea salt. The miso has a tangy, salty vibe that gives the hummos some added depth. Plus, fact is miso rocks in the nutrition department and I aim to slip it in as many dishes as I can – it’s full of probiotics, protein, minerals, vitamins, including B12 (conflicting reports) .

Hummos with miso – Mega-healthy, Mon.

Try making it yourself, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make and how great you feel after.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas / garbanzo beans
  • OR 2 cups cooked from dried chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup liquid from the chickpeas
  • 3-5 T lemon juice (depending on taste – I like it on the more lemony side)
  • 2 T tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T miso paste (red or mild yellow are what I use)

Preparation:

If you choose to cook your chickpeas, start by soaking 1 cup of dried chickpeas overnight. Boil without salt, in 4-6 cups water, with a 3” strip of kombu seaweed for approximately 40 minutes or until tender.

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Add the garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt and miso and continue blending.

NOTE: Always taste what you’ve made before serving and dial in the right balance of salt-fat-acid.

Place in a serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. I love adding a small drizzle (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well and a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with parsley, paprika, cumin or zatar (a middle eastern blend of spices and crushed toasted sesame seeds).

Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita or whole grain bread, tabouli and olives. or cover and refrigerate and use instead of meat or cheese on a sandwich, in a wrap or as a snack with veggies.

CUMIN MINT TABOULI

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This is a delicious twist to a very Classic Tabouli Salad – made with cracked wheat bulgar, parsley, tomatoes, and a garlic mint parsley dressing and accents of lemon zest.

We had a good time with this at the store today, doing a cuisinart demo to make the dressing. An enthusiastic customer was my taste tester (and camera person), helping to dial in the salt, acid (lemon), fat (olive oil) ratio while a crowd looked on, having tastes and waiting patiently while we packaged it up for each one to take home a container.

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Let’s backtrack to show you how to make this simple dish. Note: the second time you make a dish, it takes about half the time, once you know what you’re doing. Like riding a bike.

The cool thing about tabouli, is that the grain – cracked bulgar wheat, is actually cooked al dented, NOT on a stove, but actually just by pouring boiling water over it, and letting it sit for 20 minutes covered. Instead of using a bowl, today I made the bulgar in a canning jar – which has a screw on air tight lid and what’s so cool, is that the glass jar can handle the heat of the hot water without breaking.  Just pour it over  – 1 cup bulgar to 1/2 teaspoon of salt, screw on the lid, give it a shake. And voila!
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Now for the veggies. It’s always best to have a sharp chef’s knife. In Oakland, I take my knives to The Shaver & Cutlery Shop for sharpening. They love knives and I love them.

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Toe-mato, Toh-mahto…First, trim the end off of the tomatoes, quarter them and then turn them upward so the flat end  is on the cutting board, this makes it easy to trim out the seedy center. Lay them flat and then dice them by slicing them first into strips, and then the final manuever, the dice.

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Peel your cucumbers with a veggie peeler, then do the same process as you did with your tomatoes, cutting out the seeds.
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And cutting them down to strips, ending up with diced cucumber.

Dice your mint and parsley and set aside. Make your dressing  in the blender or cuisinart with:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley, stems are fine
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • NOTE: I often make a double or triple batch of dressing to have for a second batch or to use the dressing on other things. Yum yum yum.
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Pour this over your cooked bulgar, let it soak in and then toss in the veggies, garnished with parsley, more fresh mint, and a little extra lemon zest. ALWAYS taste your food before you serve it to be sure  it tastes just right! In other words dial in the salt – acid – fat ratio.

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That’s me holding up the tabouli with all our great bulk herbs in the background. The world of herbs & spices is your oyster! Remember to take liberties to flavor it up just like YOU like it and make it orgasmic.

 CUMIN MINT TABOULI

Makes 6 to 8 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cracked wheat bulgar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch flat leaf or curly parsley (I prefer the texture of curly, both for taste and appearance)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 English or hothouse cucumber

Preparation:

  1. Put bulgar in a medium bowl and mix in 1/2 tsp. salt. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water, cover, and let sit 20 minutes. Note: let it stand undisturbed – this will cook the bulgar to a perfect al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processer blend olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a blender . Add mint leaves and the ends of the parsley, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, onion powder, and cumin. Whirl until parsley and mint are minced into the dressing and the dressing is more or less smooth. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and spices.
  3. Chop parsley leaves. Core, seed, and chop tomatoes. Peel, seed, and chop cucumber.
  4. Drain bulgar, if necessary. Pour dressing over the bulgar and toss to combine well BEFORE adding the veggies. Add parsley and toss to combine well. Add tomatoes and cucumber and stir to combine.
  5. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve. Best within 24 hrs, served classically with hummos, stuff it into a wrap or enjoy as side with grilled vegetables or fish.
  6. Note: If you’ve had this in the fridge a day or two, adding fresh parsley and / or mint will resuscitate your tabouli salad if it’s looking a little lack-luster.
  7. Remember: We eat with our eyes and nose first, so make it look and smell delectable.