Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Holiday

Ferris Wheel

I'm in mid air at the moment, enjoying a blogging break encouraged as much by summer-swelter meltdown as mandated by on-line burnout. My presence for the next few weeks will be limited to catching up on visiting and commenting on your sites, malingering on Flickr, and the occasional chirp on Twitter. Behind the scenes, I am restoring my blogroll, and improving my About page to include FAQs and policies, New Year's resolutions which I've always held a commitment to fulfill rather than break.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and heat-resistant August. See you at the end of the month!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Just Add Water - Instant Chickpea Flour Hummus - My Legume Love Affair 25

Instant Chickpea Flour Hummus

I know. Hummus. Ho-hum. Who hasn't put up a hummus recipe since they started blogging? It seems the default dip for cheaters, those who can't quite get with the sniffy program of bacon-walnut taffy and civet coffee.

Well, I'm going to cheat some more. These days, in the home stretch before I go on vacation, I can't get with the program of soaking and boiling dried chickpeas. I can't even be bothered to open a can of them. Blame it on the relentless heat, but I have been especially all about taking it easy this summer, and wish everything and anything could be instantly prepared just by adding water. Chickpea flour is one of the few products that I can depend on to lay the foundation of a meal that processes quickly without being processed food. And if you want to forgo even the smallest of kitchen appliances, you can whip up a mean bowl of hummus with a wire whisk and a little wrist action. Ho-hum, you say? I call it a humdinger.
Chickpea Flour Hummus - Flour, water, and tahini measures taken from the Bob's Red Mill recipe

Ingredients

3/4 cup chickpea flour
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
1 large garlic clove, peeled and (quartered if using food processor; minced or pressed if preparing by hand)
Juice of half large lemon
1 level teaspoon harissa (or more if you like your hummus distinctly incendiary; taste first before adding extra)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry skillet for a few minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

Method

In a large bowl, beat chickpea flour and water with a whisk until well blended. The batter will have a remarkable and surprising fresh-bean aroma. Let rest for 10 minutes to allow reconstitution. The batter will be watery. Pour batter into large saucepan and bring very slowly to a simmer on the lowest heat. Stir constantly; the mixture is prone to clumping, especially if it thickens too rapidly. You will notice how quickly it starts to thicken once it gets warm. Continue to simmer and stir until batter reduces to a thick purée rather than a stiff paste (about 15 minutes). The aroma will now be warm and nutty, not unlike hummus ground from whole chickpeas, yet distinctive. Remove from heat and beat in olive oil and tahini with a whisk. Let cool to room temperature, occasionally beating to maintain texture.

Transfer cooled purée to food processor. (No need to take out your big bruiser; a small-capacity one gets the job done.) Drop in quartered garlic, and pulse until smooth. Add lemon juice. Pulse again. Transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in salt. Top with harissa and cumin seeds. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve as is or gently swirl toppings into hummus to make a pattern. Flavors develop more complexity when allowed to sit. Refrigerate any leftovers. Yields 2 cups.

Serve with pita, flatbread, crackers, or toast. Olives and briskly cold herbal tea well complement the flavors and texture. ~~

Hummus & Harissa
This is for Siri of Siri's Corner, working on the round-up for MLLA 25. Siri expects the details to be finalized this weekend of August 7-8, when she will announce the winner of the random drawing.

Simona of Briciole is currently at the helm of MLLA 26, hosting for August, and is looking forward to you sending your amazing recipes her way.

Thanks very much for making MLLA a romance that you always remember.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Shiro Plum Jam with Vanilla Bean - Weekend Herb Blogging #244

Shiro Plum Jam with Vanilla Bean

This sweet-tart recipe is so easy I nearly blush with embarrassment to call it a recipe at all. No one can take credit for it; it belongs to everyone, and I fancy, reads like something from the days of antiquity:
Measure 2 cups (any) stone fruit (peeled and pitted) to 1 cup sugar in 1/2 cup water. Stir in juice of half a plump and heavy lemon. Simmer in a large saucepan over low heat until wooden spoon sticks straight without slipping (about 30 minutes). No pectin is necessary. Pour in glass jar. Slip in vanilla bean. Yields about 1 1/2 cups.
There is no better nor faster use for summer fruit that would otherwise turn brown in a bowl for lack of mouths to feed. Don't let it go to waste. Feel free to press in a few star anise instead of the vanilla bean.

This recipe is for Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging # 244 for Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once.

Shiro Plums

Shiro plums, a Japanese variety, are naturally this yellow, but will turn a rich, sunshine-golden hue as they cook, despite the addition of lemon juice. The transformation is quite lovely.

Been There, Done That ~
Pumpkin Butter
Richmond Maids of Honor
Lemon Curd Shortbread

Other People's Eats ~
Peach, Plum and Ginger Jam
Easy Plum Jam
Peach and Cherry Jam Infused with Vanilla Bean