Local Hummus

June 2, 2009 at 9:23 am

Rob Gardner

There are certain foods I only eat local like asparagus and strawberries.  There are foods that I know I can never eat local like olives and coffee.  There is wine, probably the only area where I do not defer to local.  Then, there are a few tough calls.  Garbanzo beans are a tough call for me.  I do like them.  I like their versatility, they can be boiled, roasted, fried or smooshed (i.e., hummus); they can also be ground and made into pancakes and other Mediterranean treats.  And I like all of that.  And I can not find nary a chick pea at my farmer’s markets.

I like chick peas.  I like hummus, and my wife makes a killer hummus.  I do not deprive myself from her hummus.  Still, if I abide firstly by the do not make yourself nuts rule of eating local, I also abide by the rule that states I defer to the local.  Why not try something local for my hummus.  There are two (at least) good options for local hummus.  You can use local field peas.  Of course you will have to wait several months to find these in the market, and next time you do, buy a huge amount to dry or freeze so you have them for your hummus.  The other thing you can do is find local beans.  This local family has picked up a lot of local beans on trips to Michigan.  A lot closer to home, Three Sister’s Farm has been selling local beans at Green City Market.  Here’s how we whip up some local hummus with our beans.

Soak your beans overnight, or use the quick soak like us.  Put the beans in a pot, bring to boil for a few minutes and then let them sit in the pot for at least an hour.  Rinse the beans.  Put back in a pot.  Cover by a couple of inches with water.  Add a few twigs of rosemary and a clove or two of garlic.  Bring to a simmer, then cook until the beans are tender.  Add water if necessary.  When the beans are finished, add salt and let them sit in the liquid for 1/2 hour.  Drain.

Put beans in a food processor with some cloves of garlic (not the ones used to cook the beans) and process until smooth.  From here, my wife likes to have a flavored oil ready, for instance she will have made a scented oil by gently cooking some rosemary in oil for about ten minutes.  (She adds, “try other herbs as well for the flavored oil.”)  Turn the processor back on.  Drizzle in your flavored oil.  Add some lemon juice.  Finally, add enough water to achieve  the desired consistency.   I’ll leave it to you to determine your ratios of oil to lemon to water because there is no right way, just a matter of how you want it to taste.

There you go.  Local hummus.  Serve as if.  As part of an appetizer platter or as a lubricant to a sandwich.  Believe, there are times I want the garbanzos, and even a time or two where I’ve opened the can, but I also know I can make a very decent local substitute.  Do try local hummus.