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Fear Conquered: Beans
Beans say "I love you."
I'm very serious about this - the next time you find yourself thinking, "What should I give so-and-so to show how much I care?" give them beans. Make them a special comfort food made from beans, put it in an attractive dish and let that special someone keep the whole thing.
Beans have so many great health benefits. They're high in fiber, they're packed with enzymes and nutrients, they're low in fat with no cholesterol and if you buy them raw (instead of canned), they're all natural with no preservatives or processing.
Beans are also friendly on the environment. If you buy dry beans instead of canned, you'll help reduce manufacturing, packaging, transport and distribution waste for everyone. Fewer cans, fewer labels, fewer canning chemicals, fewer wood pallets for transport, fewer cardboard boxes - the list of environmental savings goes on.
But that's not all. Beans are even good for your finances. For under $2 you can buy a one pound package of beans that will feed 6 people or more. When was the last time your $2 steak, chicken or seafood could feed that many people? And if you buy start buying beams in bulk, the savings really pile up.
Face it, the only reason you're not scarfing down beans is because you haven't bothered to figure out how to make them as comforting and tasty as the other stuff you're eating. Of course, I'm really talking about me. Because although I was raised on beans, I'm only now getting around to sampling bean foods.) So I'm on a mission to discover comforting bean foods and share what I find. And I'm starting with hummus.
Hummus can really take on a whole slew of different flavors. You can make it spicy, tomatoey, salty, creamy, mildly flavored, lemony, garlicky or just about any other way you choose. I've even experimented with chocolate hummus. I personally enjoy really aggressive flavors with beans because otherwise I feel like I'm chewing a mouthful of chalk. So my version of hummus combines two potent flavors: lemon and garlic. The cumin, paprika and pepper just round out the flavors.
The real key to hummus is finding that something special to eat with hummus. I like sliced carrots, celery and cucumber - which makes an extremely healthful lunch. But when I'm in need of serious carbs, nothing quite satisfied like pita chips and a dollop of hummus. The heat from the garlic, the zestiness of the lemon and the creaminess of tahini against the crispy, hearty pita chip - this is true bean comfort food.
STORY | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
|Add 1 gallon of water to a large pot.|
|Cover the pot and bring the water to the boil.|
|While the water comes to the boil, prepare dry chick peas.|
|Add chick peas to cooking insert of a slow cooker.|
|Pour the boiling water over chick peas.|
|Cover slow cooker.|
|Cook beans on low for 4 hours or until cooked through.|
|Chick peas will be soft inside when fully cooked.|
|Drain chick peas and allow beans to cool to room temperature.|
|Zest 3 lemons.|
|I juice the lemons into a measuring cup so I can determine how much juice to add to each batch of hummus later.|
|Mince or press 8 garlic cloves.|
|Add half of the cooled chick peas to a food processor fitted with the steel blade.|
|Next you will need tahini paste.|
|Add 1/2 cup of tahini paste to the chick peas.|
|Add half of the minced garlic, lemon zest, juice and spices to the food processor. Pulse until well combined and the chick peas are pulverized.|
|Next, with the food processor on continuous run, slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil.|
|Next, add up to 1/4 cup of water or until hummus is smooth and creamy.|
|Process the hummus until smooth and creamy. Transfer the hummus to a storage container.|
|Repeat the process with the remaining reserved ingredients.|
|Again process until hummus is smooth and creamy.|
|Chill hummus for at least 2 hours for best flavor before serving with pita chips or raw vegetables.|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Homemade Lemon Garlic Hummus
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hrs
Ingredients (serves 12)
- 1 pound dry garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 1 gallon purified water
- 3 lemons
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup tahini paste, divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika, divided
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup purified water, divided
- Cook the garbanzo beans according to the directions on the package (I use a slow-cooker, adding the beans to 1 gallon of boiling water and cooking the beans for 1 hour on the HIGH setting and 1 1/2 hours on the LOW setting); drain the beans and let cool to room temperature
- Add half of each of the following to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade: cooled beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, tahini, salt, cayenne, cumin, paprika and cracked black pepper; pulse until well combined and the beans are pulverized
- With the food processor on continuous run, slowly drizzle in half of the oil, followed by half of the water; puree until smooth and creamy
- Transfer the hummus from the food processor to a storage container and repeat Steps 2 and 3 with the remaining reserved ingredients; combine both batches of hummus and mix thoroughly
- For best flavor, chill the hummus for at least 2 hours before serving with pita bread, pita chips, raw vegetables, etc.
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2010 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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Hungry for Tips?
- You will need a food processor, food mill or powerful blender (like a VitaMix) in order to make this recipe; unfortunately, standard blenders simply cannot sufficiently puree big batches of cooked beans.
- To check if a garbanzo bean is fully cooked, taste one. If it's soft all the way through, the beans are cooked.
- Raw garbanzo beans will sometimes shed their outer layer when cooked. You can remove these skins when you drain the beans or just puree them along with the beans.
- Always use fresh lemons and fresh garlic for hummus. If you want great flavor, you cannot cheat with powders or bottles.
- When zesting the lemons, make sure to only take off the very top layer of yellow zest - zesting into the white of the lemon rind will add a lingering bitter aftertaste to the hummus.
- This makes a lot of hummus which is great for parties. If you prefer to save a portion of the hummus for more than a week, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
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