let’s talk garbanzo beans (chick peas)

the organic dried beans to the left were soaked overnight
and plumped up to their original size (right)
when i was a kid there was always some bean or grain being soaked in my grandma’s kitchen. i’m not exaggerating-this was pretty much a constant. i liked to poke my head in the bowl every once in a while and see how much the different beans had  grown since the last time i’d looked. beans and grains are a big part of the middle eastern diet, and at least back then, buying them canned was not an option. when my grandma came to america, she took to using canned beans (so much easier), and i remember her sending my grandpa to the store for garbanzo beans. he liked to tell the story of how he finally got the lady at the store to understand what he was looking for-it was funny the way he told it, holding his hand up, making a small circle with his fingers, showing us how he asked for the “round” beans! i’ve often used canned beans myself, but have cut back recently with news that many canned foods have BPA containing lining the inside of their cans: another reason why you should think twice before using canned foods. so why the focus on garbanzo beans today? well other than being very tasty and versatile, these little beans are a great source of fiber, and offers a unique supply of antioxidants: garbanzo bean nutrition information-which means if you care about eating well, they are a good option to add to your diet.

my grandma used them often in abgoosht (a lamb, potato, & garbanzo bean stew made with preserved limes), and in the thick traditional soups filled with root vegetables, herbs, and beans we call “ash“. today i decided to prepare them two ways: roasted whole with spices in the oven much the same way i roast other vegetables, and real home-made hummus (almost-minus the tahini-which i looked up, and is not hard to make if you have a lot of sesame seeds on hand) the way my lebanese friend rula’s family used to make. the most important step when cooking beans is to soak them overnight (or for 8-10 hours). see how beautiful these beans looked after soaking for 10 hours or so.
ingredients for roasted garbanzo beans with cumin:

 

toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups garbanzo  beans soaked over night **
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil or toasted sesame oil*
photo 31. cook  (simmering softly) the pre-soaked beans in lightly salted water for about 40 minutes (or until tender, but still whole).
2. drain, and pour into a medium sheet pan. add your oil of choice, sea salt, cumin & cayenne pepper (to taste).
3. shake the tray lightly making sure all the beans are coated with the oil and spices.
4. bake in a 375 degrees oven for 35-40 minutes. you can’t imagine how good and spicy these beans will taste, and the sound they make as they come out of the oven-try them! you won’t be disappointed.
for hummus:
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas ( about a cup and a quarter dry)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup (or less, really) tahini (sesame seed paste-for me less of this is more)
  • 1 large or 2 small lemons (freshly squeezed) juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt (to taste)-                                                                                        blend (warm) cooked & drained chickpeas, peeled garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt (remember chickpeas are salted), and half of the olive oil in a blender or food processor. you want this to be very smooth, so adjust the oil if necessary. taste and adjust seasoning-you’ll need more lemon juice than you think. serve in a deep dish or bowl, and top with the rest of the olive oil, finely chopped ripe tomatoes, a few roasted garbanzo beans and a touch of sea salt (flakes are best). if you don’t like to smell like garlic (i don’t), it’s (almost) just as good without.

blend (warm) cooked & drained chickpeas, peeled garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt (remember chickpeas are salted), and half of the olive oil in a blender or food processor. you want this to be very smooth, so adjust the oil if necessary. taste and adjust seasoning-you’ll need more lemon juice than you think. serve in a deep dish or bowl, and top with the rest of the olive oil, finely chopped ripe tomatoes, a few roasted garbanzo beans and a touch of sea salt (flakes are best). if you don’t like to smell like garlic (i don’t), it’s (almost) just as good without.

** soaking guidelines: http://www.frot.co.nz/dietnet/downloads/Grains.pdf

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a {round} table gathering of friends with homemade hummus, fresh cut vegetables, and other such goodies

home made hummus with tahini and heirloom tomatoes

last night we had another book(food) club gathering (#almostatherapysession).  it was a good-good night. we had home made hummus with tahini and lots of citrus topped with chopped heirloom tomatoes served with fresh cut vegetables, a simple arugula salad, minty taboulé (latest obsession), olives, grilled tomatoes, goat cheese stuffed little red peppers,  (ohsogood) feta cheese with honey and walnuts, poirs au sirop (fancy way of saying pears in syrup-recipe to follow soon), and ice cream. there was a big basket of fresh breads (yes, we were bad). come to think of it, there aren’t many things more satisfying than sitting around (a round) table with good friends, enjoying freshly made simple food and (just a few) drinks (or more) while sharing stories and exchanging ideas. It is truly therapeutic and necessary for the soul. all of it: the company of true friends. laughter. (good)food. lots of it. new ideas. old stories. new ones too. more laughter. encouragement. support. a warm slice of bread dipped into a deliciously balanced homemade hummus. a sip or two of rosé. every few minutes. warm chatter. dirty dishes. leftovers. hugs and kisses. another good night come and gone. good memories remain. and leftovers.

poirs au sirop

cooking minhummus with tahini photo

grlled tomatoes and spring onions

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