Monday, May 10, 2010

A Gift of Tahini

A very heavy box came in the mail a couple days before my birthday. It was from my daughter in Florida. To send this heavy box to Pennsylvania cost her, I knew. That it was early was, well, not typical. But the real surprise was what was inside.

She’d made a little game of this package. She put instructions inside the box that told me to be sure and open the little packages in their numbered order. Each wrapped package had a number and a little note. There were nine.

First there was hoisin sauce: “Can’t pronounce it, but I know you like it.” Then some plum sauce, duck sauce, and a can of sardines, one of anchovies. The label on the sardines said, “These are just weird, so they had your name on them.” Then there were bean threads, cellophane noodles and arborio rice. The piece de resistance, the last but not least was tahini: “Just what you always wanted, Mom! Happy birthday!”

You see, as much as I enjoy our country life, from time to time, I get a little frustrated at not being able to find some ingredients I want at our local grocery stores, at least when I want, or when making something like hummus, for instance, is on my mind. And I don’t think far ahead enough to order things online or when I’m in the city (which is rare, by the way.) So when Amy asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told her I wanted her to get me some of those kinds of things to stock my pantry.

I’d really forgotten about telling her that until the package came. I called her right away and she told me what a ball she had shopping in a grocery store for my birthday present. She’s out of her element, buying this kind of stuff, so she had a friend along to guide her on this foreign mission, thank heaven.

Because I couldn’t be with my distant daughter yesterday, Mother’s Day, I decided I would make my hummus with the tahini she gave me a few months ago – just a little way to feel closer to her. And even though mothers aren’t supposed to be cooking on Mother’s Day, I decided this wasn’t really cooking – I was just indulging my hobby.

I set about making the hummus. It was a semi-spontaneous decision. A couple days before, I bought dried chickpeas at the store. I had soaked them the day before and then, on a whim, decided I would try roasting them instead of boiling them. It was like eating nuts!

I wasn’t sure if the roasted beans would be the same as canned as I made the hummus, since none of the recipes I looked at suggested roasting first. But the hummus was just great; it may have taken a little longer to puree in the food processor than canned beans would take, but it worked fine and did indeed imbue a nice, nutty flavor to the hummus.

So thanks again for the birthday present, Amy! It helped to make a nice Mother’s Day, too!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
1 cup chickpeas, or garbanzo beans
2 large cloves garlic
4 T lemon juice
4 T tahini paste
2 T olive oil
Water, as needed
½ t salt
¼ t black pepper
1 t cumin
Shake (or two) of crushed red pepper
Several drops sriracha sauce
2- 3 pieces large pieces of roasted red pepper, from jar

Place chickpeas, garlic cloves, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil in food processor bowl. Mix until well-blended, about five minutes, adding water as needed to make texture as creamy as desired. Add seasonings. Roughly chop red pepper, add to mixture and pulse a few times, leaving some red chunks of pepper visible. Refrigerate several hours before serving to allow flavors to meld. (Ideally served with homemade pita chips!)


  1. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is my favorite....I also roast chick peas, did some for the salad bar this morning....try roasting them sweet some time..yummm or sweet and hot....even better..
    Where is Fischer Pa?

  2. I think I'm now a convert to roasting chickpeas! Fisher is a teeny, tiny burg about halfway between Clarion and Brookville in western PA.

  3. What a perfect recipe! I've never tried roasting chickpeas before, and I can only imagine the flavor it adds. I'm also a writer, who likes to bake, and so I'm happy to have found your blog. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I'm glad, too . . you'll love roasted chickpeas, even as a snack. Write on!

  5. By adding the roasted red pepper not only will give a beautiful to the otherwise plain hummus but also some added sweetness. Yummy. Can't wait to try this out myself.

    I do share similar frustration living in a regional area. So every once in a while, I will travel out to the city which is 3 hours away just to stock up some "exotic" ingredients. :)


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