Simple Hummus

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Hummus is easy to make at home. When I whip up a batch in my blender, I skip the olive oil to cut down on fat. Oil does lend that divinely smooth mouth feel to traditional hummus, but I don’t miss its flavor in my homemade batches.

By the way, in my first little draft of this recipe, I accidentally typed “1 glove garlic.” What could be made with a glove of garlic, and it could it double as eternal insurance against vampires?

Simple Hummus

Yield: 1.5 cups, or 12 2 Tbsp servings

  • 1 16 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 4 T tahini
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • 5 T water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Serve with cut vegetables and crackers.

Dill Pickle Hummus

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When I think of hummus, one of the few latin phrases I know comes to mind, ne plus ultra: there is nothing greater. To my palate, no other dip approaches the glory of hummus, which I’ve enjoyed for 25 years. The classic combination of garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic tastes so divine that I hesitate to justify a departure from it. I have read so many well-reviewed recipes for variations on hummus that it may be a blank canvas for all sorts of culinary adventures.

Today I tried combining hummus¬†with another of my favorite flavors, refrigerator dill pickles. I’d recommend using a pickle you love. I’ve added pickles to enough recipes to know that it’s best to use a pickle you enjoy by itself. This pickle principle is parallel to the advice of cooking only with wines you like to drink. Otherwise, the finished dish could disappoint your taste buds. I’ve put hummus on sandwiches with pickles often enough that I guessed the combo could work in dip form. It has decent tartness that doesn’t mute the umami of the tahini.

Dill Pickle Hummus

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained

2/3 cup dill pickles, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup tahini

2 T pickle brine

1 T lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh dill, torn into pieces

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with cut vegetables and crackers.

Canned Ham and Dill Pickle Dip

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I adapted this recipe from a dip that my mom’s late friend Carol was apt to make for holiday gatherings. Carol excelled in both kindness and her flair for making simple things festive. It was no surprise that her birthday was none other than Christmas day.

My favorite Carol story does not have meal time appeal, but since almost no subject is forbidden at my dinner table, I will relate this particular anecdote. When Carol was a newlywed back in the 50’s, she found herself unexpectedly in need of feminine products near the end of her honeymoon. Her husband was a true gentleman at this moment and went forth to buy these supplies. Since he had no idea what size or brand to buy, he bought the largest box of pads he saw. This enormous box lasted past their 10th anniversary, for Carol had most of her eight children during that decade.

I’ve admired three women who had eight children each: Carol, my former secretarial co-worker Sue, and my late mother-in-law Fannie. I am impressed that each of these women retained their sanity, personality, and individual interests while raising so many children.

Carol’s original dip recipe was simple and good: mix a block of cream cheese with a drained can of smoked ham and a 1/4 cup each of chopped onion and green olives. Finish by studding the outside with more green olives.

Since I am very fond of dill pickles, I revised the recipe to feature them.

Canned Ham and Dill Pickle Dip

  • 2 oz blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 2 – 5 oz cans smoked ham, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped refrigerated dill pickles, such as Claussen brand
  • 1 T pickle brine

Mix all ingredients in medium mixing bowl until well incorporated. Transfer to serving bowl and offer with crackers and cut vegetables.