We’ve still got a good two weeks until Easter meaning there’s STILL no meat in our house. No beef, no pork, NO CHICKEN. Some days are harder than others. And on those hard days I find myself going back to an all-year favorite…hummus. I’ve made it for years but when James was little he’d have no part of it. I mean, it’s brown. And mushy. Truly, it looks nasty. At that time I was still making all the hummus for the festival at St. Demetrios. Jimmy helped plan the festival, James was one of the dancers and I made the bean dip. Every year. It was quite a bit of work but I loved it. The women’s club, Philoptochos, was usually baking some to-die-for Greek cookie, they always crank out thousands of little cookie jewels, and all the kids who were going to dance festival weekend would be practicing the intricate dance steps; the boys would practice their kicks, each clenching an arm to give the dancer support for those super high kicks. James grew up with these boys and there was a very tight group of four, James being one of them. How we love those boys! James, JW, Mikey and Adam. They met at church. Although all four lived at opposite ends of town, they met every Sunday on the altar, studied together in Sunday school, groaned through Greek school as a team and danced the dances of southern Greece, northern Greece, the mountains and islands.
They played together, got in trouble together and when they got older partied together. Again, they were a team. When they went to Greece they kept an eye out for each other. They are like brothers. They have stories and dirt on each other that make them howl with laughter. And when I ask “What’s so funny?” they answer in unison “Oh, nothing.” One year before festival my hummus marathon took place during a dance practice. At some point JW strolled over and asked, “Hey, Mama C. What are ya makin’?” “Hummus”, I answered while reaming my 100th lemon. He rolled his eyes and hollered, “Oh, my gosh! I love hummus!” And that was the day James and the kids at St. Demetrios discovered my bean dip. Years later the boys have grown up and are separated by life’s demands and responsibilities but are still very close. At different universities, all have states dividing them except JW. JW, or James William, has chosen monastic life and now goes by his real name Dimitri. He lives, studies and prays at the monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. Google the monastery…it’s fantastic. Anyway, we last saw JW, I MEAN DIMITRI, this past Christmas when he and Mikey stopped by after vespers. It was wonderful! This was when he shared his decision of living a monastic life. But the boys were back together and were fortunate to enjoy and share one more evening of laughter and reflection. They are brothers. We miss Dimitri more than he’ll ever know and look forward to the day when we see him again but until that day we’ll think of him and eat all the hummus!
Hummus is very forgiving in that if you add too much garlic or lemon juice more beans can easily be added to correct a heavy hand. As I mentioned, I’ve been making this for years and we don’t just eat it with carrot sticks and celery. No way. We slap that stuff on cold, sliced cucumber rounds, pita bread, tortilla chips and sandwiches. And we serve it on its own as a side. I’ve always used organic, canned beans but knowing I could get a better final product, I spent an entire afternoon taking the skin off a 14 ounce bag of dried garbanzos that had been soaked and boiled. What a pain. But let me tell you. The end result was a silky smooth spread that I could not stop eating. I’ll probably keep using canned beans for the sheer convenience but for a party or get together I’ll definitely go the skinned, dried bean route. I’m telling you, it was like velvet. You can use any kind of bean you want as well as a combination. I like to sometimes use a combination of garbanzo beans and cannellini beans. And if you don’t want to skin your beans don’t worry. It’ll still be delicious, just not as smooth. So don’t spend your money on that stuff at the store. This is a thousand times better. Enjoy!
- 2 – 1 pound 13 ounce cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 large lemons, juice and set juice aside
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3-4 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1/3 cup olive oil, or more to taste
- 2 ounces hot water, tap is fine
- sea salt to taste
- To your food processor add all ingredients EXCEPT hot water.
- Start processing and with the machine running slowly add hot water.
- Process until smooth adding a tablespoon at a time of additional hot water or olive oil until hummus reaches the desired texture.
- Taste for seasoning.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.