What do you do on those chaos days when cooking seems overwhelming? It’s tricky around our house because my kids did not grow up eating sandwiches, and frozen convenience foods are non-existent. For me, a great rescue lunch using simple ingredients from the pantry is hummus. We serve it with toasted pita bread wedges, carrot sticks and cucumbers for dipping. Finish off with sweetened vanilla yogurt for desert, and you have a great meal.
Here’s a confession to start with: I can’t just follow a recipe when I cook. Instead I look at a recipe as a point of departure. To me, cooking is a creative undertaking that depends on your mood and instincts at the moment. This means that no dish ever tastes the same even if I make it over and over. Hummus is an easy recipe that you can vary according to your taste. This is how I made it last night:
2 16 oz. cans chick peas, drained (Reserve ½ cup of the liquid.)
1 large clove garlic (2 if cloves are small)
3 TBSP lemon juice
3 TBSP olive oil
¼ cup tahini***
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cumin
½-1 tsp salt (to taste)
Drop the clove of raw garlic into a blender or food processor. When it is chopped, add the remaining ingredients, including the ½ of liquid from the canned chick peas, and blend until smooth. Spoon the hummus into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle it with paprika and chopped flat leaf parsley, and drizzle with olive oil if desired before serving. (Serve it up straight with no garnish on the chaos days.)
*** I know this would make any purist cringe, but if you cannot find tahini, you can substitute peanut butter, and reduce the amount to 3 TBSP. The taste is different, but hummus with peanut butter is a lot better than no hummus at all!
You can increase the cumin and paprika to 1 tsp. each. If the raw garlic has too much bite for you, use roasted garlic instead. I often add red pepper paste, one of the greatest culinary blessings Turkey has to offer.
What about you? What’s your favorite rescue lunch or dinner? I’d love some new suggestions.