I’m a big fan of finger food. I like getting right in there, using my hands to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the use of utensils, and contrary to a recent episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, my child (2 years old) does and will learn to use forks, knives and spoons (and probably chopsticks too!). But there’s nothing like digging into your meal with your hands and really feeling the food. Textures and temperatures, they’re all right there for you to truly embrace that food, get you closer to it and love it even more.
In many countries, use of utensils is rare and often only for special occasions. The use of breads, banana leaves, and other forms of vessel is common practice. What fun to eat your dinner off a freshly washed banana leaf!
For me the serving of finger foods is not as common as it could be in our household. Often there are chopped salads, or whole chunks of meat or saucy things dripping in goodness (also I’m partial to really hot food). I’m sure we could eat them with our hands, but this would be somewhat against the natural order of Western culture, right?
I’ve often talked about my love for dipping things too, so this dish combines two favourites! I get to dip and I get to use my hands to do so, what more could a girl ask for? Besides, now that my stomach protrudes way past the end any other of my body parts, it’s much easier for me to stand and eat, or balance a small dish precariously on my tummy, than it is to sit and lean over to eat at a dining table. The tough life of being pregnant, I know!
So I offer one of my most favourite of hand eaten foods, hummus. Quite common in it’s natural state, I have given variations on the simplistic basic recipe below. You should always have fun with your food, and that includes how you make it! So don’t be shy, make a big batch sometime soon. Just remember though, some people are a little sensitive to other people’s garlicky odour after consuming raw garlic, as my lovely husband wanted to point out. No amount of tooth brushing or rinsing will remove the odour from your body until at least the next day, so don’t say I didn’t warn you and make sure you and everyone living with you indulges!
** Note: This is a version of hummus that I like to think of as somewhat “healthy”, not an authentic ethnic recipe. Many versions of hummus include a fair amount of oil, plus more for drizzling. As someone from the Middle East pointed out to me, they do not always add the oil to the hummus, instead letting people add their own upon serving. I use the liquid from the can to add more depth of flavour and less oil. But feel free to double the oil and omit the reserved liquid.
Servings: Makes approximately 2 cups of hummus
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
1 19oz can chick peas (drain and rinse, but reserve liquid)
2 garlic cloves, peeled (For a milder garlic flavour, use roasted garlic)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground salt and pepper
1. Add chick peas to bowl of food processor. Add garlic, lemon juice and tahini.
2. Add in half of oil and a couple tablespoons of the reserved chick pea liquid.
3. Pulse on high for a minute and then set to low, adding more oil and reserved liquid as desired to achieve the right conisitency.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Best if made at least 1-2 hours in advance, but can be made the day before as well. Keeps well for at least three days in fridge, covered.
* If you try to make this in a blender, you risk overloading the motor as it is very thick. Go ahead though if that’s all you’ve got, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! I take no responsibility if you make it in your blender and break it! You may want to add extra liquid if you do attempt the blender method though…
Chipotle Hummus – Add 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to food processor in second step.
Bean Hummus – Use any bean other than chick peas (black, white, cannelini, kidney, black eyed peas, lima, edamame, etc.)
Lime & Cilantro Hummus – Replace lemon with lime, and add in 1 cup loosely packed cilantro to second step. The addition of jalapeños is up to you.
Roasted Garlic Hummus – Slice the top off a whole garlic globe, place in aluminum foil packet, pour 2 tbsp oil over, some salt and pepper and pop into a 400°F oven for 35-45 minutes. Use this garlic in place of 2 raw garlic cloves.
Roasted Beet Hummus – Follow directions here for roasted beets, omitting the garlic and rosemary and only using 1-2 beets. When cool, toss the beets in during step two.
Artichoke Hummus – Using marinated artichoke hearts would work best following steaming and dissection of fresh artichokes. Use only 1/2 a cup of hearts and add during step two.
Curry Hummus – Add 1-2 tsp of curry powder to hummus in last step. The addition of a tsp of cumin along with the curry would also be delicious.
Sun Dried Tomato Hummus – Toss 1-2 oil packed sun dried tomatoes in during step two.