Hummus with No Tahini [recipe]

Hummus and Pita
Relationships require maintenance. While levels of required attention and affection vary across types of relationships – a romantic relationship in the early stage requires much more attention than, say, an online flirtationship – the requirement is usually about the same within each type. Incidentally, marriage and/or (the slash, depending on your opinion of “marriage”) family require the relationship maintenance equivalent of a Toyota. And/or an Alfa Romeo.

With friendships, though, maintenance needs vary almost as widely, if not more widely, than all the other relationships combined.

On the one end, you have your BFF who expects you to call the minute you wake up, pix msg your day’s outfit so the two of you don’t clash, meet her for lunch, hold her hand during her botox appointment, filter through boys’ profiles, mix her a cocktail, be her wingman, hold her hair back, and all the while you have actually been on the phone giving her the minute-by-minute, as-it-happens breakdown of your day. All nineteen waking hours of the day. Every day. That’s a high maintenance friendship.

I’ve had my fair share of high maintenance friendships over my lifetime. Saying “my fair share” makes it sound as if high maintenance friendships were a bad thing; not necessarily, though I have, on occasion, wondered how long I could maintain (wait, is this how guys feel about girls?). High maintenance, by definition, simply means that it requires a lot of constant, consistent work. You can’t let it go. If a short period of time goes by without so much as a “hello,” there will have to be the inevitable catch up over Asian chicken salad with dressing on the side for lunch. As life and work force you to reschedule then postpone then reschedule again, The Catch Up Lunch just looms larger and longer with a backlog of “stuff.” You start to dread The Catch Up Lunch because it’s going to also take coffee and dessert and three hours of shopping to get through 12 weeks’ worth of every single teeny tiny little thing that has happened from getting the best massage evar at a spa in Monterey to the distastrophe of Memorial Day weekend, in chronological order.

Of course, Twitter and Facebook are making high maintenance relationships obsolete. Or far too easily frenetic. Can’t tell which.
Hummus and Store Bought Pita Chips
On the other end of the friendship maintenance scale, you have your Ryan. My Ryan and I have been friends ever since I took his breath away at an ice cream social first semester of freshman year at Cal. Over the many, many, (goddamitweareold) many years we’ve been friends, we have never lived in the same city, spent more than half a day at a time together, or called each other on a regular, frequent basis. However, when Ryan and I do find the time for lunch or a cocktail or a late night phone call, it’s easy. There is no long, drawn out Catch Up, no wasting time with mutual information exchange. We do get the obligatory “Married?” “No.” “Kids?” “No, or at least none that I know of” out of the way, but then it’s either simply conversation for the sake of the conversation that seems to perfectly pick up where last we left off 4 months ago or, as is more often the case as of late, my sobbing unintelligibly about my shattered heart. I know that if I needed to, I could speed (up the I-5 for 6 hours!) up to San Francisco to escape for a few days and Ryan would let me torture him with my post break-up hysterics and bloggers’ hygiene.

Ryan and I have a low maintenance friendship. It’s not better than a high maintenance friendship, nor is it worse. Just different.

Low maintenance relationship is sort of what I need right now. Come to my rescue in crisis. No need to explain where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, who I’ve been doing (oops, did I blog that out loud?). No questions. Just jumping right back into the conversation, picking up, as it were, where we left off.

So, let’s try this again, shall we? Our low maintenance, low pressure, stress-free blog relationship? It’s been a while, so I’m just easing into it with a simple starter…
Hummus Up Close

(Even Healthier) Hummus

Makes: enough. Can be multiplied. In multiples. Of numbers.

Most recipes for hummus include tahini, a sesame paste. There is nothing inherently wrong with tahini except that all the oil that collects at the top of the jar freaks me out, so I don’t use it. I realize sesame oil is a healthy plant oil, but you know what they say: oil is oil. Besides, tahini is expensive, and last I checked, I can hardly afford a $700 billion bailout, let alone a jar of tahini.

1 can of garbanzo beans (you can soak and cook dried beans, but…why?)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice from ½ lemon
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
handful of chopped fresh parsley
paprika to taste (optional)

Drain bean juice from garbanzo beans. Just the idea of bean juice is gross enough, but now I’ve had to type it out. Twice. Gross.

Process garlic clove in a food processor until it looks finely chopped. It seems weird to waste all that small electrical appliance energy on a single clove of garlic when you could chop it more finely by hand, but you have to use the food processor eventually, and besides, you won’t lose any garlic essence during transfer from cutting board via knife.

Add the can of garbanzo beans to the garlic clove in the food processor, sans bean juice (that’s also sans can for any of the noobs in the back row) along with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

Process until the garbanzo beans are pureed to the consistency you want. For a smoother consistency, puree longer, and add (a little at a time) more lemon juice and/or olive oil. But be careful: oil is oil.

Add parsley at the end and pulse until parsley is just chopped, salt (if necessary) and paprika to taste.

Garnish with a drizzle of oilve oil, additional paprika, and serve with toasted pita wedges or chips (my choice).

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