Hummus was an acquired taste for me.
I first encountered it at a book club meeting. It was nestled in among brownies and cookies and cakes and 7-layer dip. I almost didn’t take some, but I didn’t want to be rude. So I scooped up a little bit of the pale, pasty goo, grabbed a few equally bland looking pita chips, and took a bite.
“Blech!!” I was not impressed.
But somehow, hummus kept making an unobtrusive appearance at our monthly meetings, and my reaction to it went from, “Blech!!” to “Ick!” to “Hmm…” to “Maybe it’s okay,” to “Yum!” to “More hummus. Now!!”
I had been converted. I began to look forward to my monthly encounters with the mushy little dip. But it never occurred to me to try to feed it to my family.
A few weeks ago at a play group, hummus made its appearance again, and my munchkins totally snarfed it.
It was clearly time to bring hummus into our home.
But first…I needed to go shopping for the proper hummus ingredients. And I was out of shopping money. This was a huge disappointment, which led to a search on the world wide web for hummus recipes.
I found one – just one – that I could make with the ingredients I had on hand. It was black bean hummus. The recipe looked suspiciously like a recipe for black bean dip.
I don’t like black bean dip.
But I decided to ignore that. I began soaking the black beans.
I needed to find a recipe for pita chips. Pita chips are very easy to make, if you have pita bread on hand.
I did not.
So, I found a recipe for pita bread. In fact, I found lots of recipes for pita bread, which led me on a detour for a recipe for naan. It called for ghee. I had never heard of ghee. So I looked it up.
According to everything I read, ghee is basically turbo-butter with magical super powers.
And I LOVE butter.
I had to make ghee. Right then and there.
I spent the next hour stirring a giant pot of butter on the stove while Joshua stood drooling beside me. “Why does it have to smell so good? Can I drink some? When will it be finished?”
Because melted butter is da bomb.
Interestingly enough, ghee tastes nothing like butter. Even though its only ingredient is…butter. And I’m afraid it’s going to have to be an acquired taste for me.
With my ghee making adventure behind me, it was time to get serious about making pita bread. I found the perfect whole wheat recipe. And then I learned that whole wheat should be soaked overnight for better digestibility and an extra nutritional punch.
How did I not know this?
At this point, it was coming up on midnight. I decided to soak enough whole wheat to make a batch and a half of pita bread, so that I could save some for lunches and turn the rest into chips.
Have you ever tried to double a recipe at midnight after spending the last hour stirring a pot of delicious-smelling boiling butter on the stove? Now imagine that instead of doubling the recipe, like any sensible person would do, you 1.5ed it instead. It’s not easy. Especially when you have to put two-thirds of the water in a bowl with half of the flour to soak overnight. But I muddled my way through and then trundled up to bread, where I dreamt of
Hrithik Roshan warm pita chips and hummus.
The next day was Sunday. Which meant that I had to mix up and bake the pita bread, blend the hummus, and turn the bread into chips while getting the offspring into their Sunday best and also cooking a roast.
No worries. I could handle it.
I put the roast into the crock pot, started boiling the black beans, and turned my attention to the bread.
First, I needed to proof the yeast. In 1/3 of the 1.5 times water. You do the calculations.
A few minutes later, the yeast was bubbly, the rest of the ingredients had been assembled, and I began mixing up the dough.
And then I realized that somewhere, somehow, I had added WAY too much water. But I wasn’t sure how much. Or when. But I’m pretty sure that I doubled the two-thirds of the one and a halved amount of water that I used to soak the wheat in. And I was in no condition to do that kind of math at the moment.
It was early. I wasn’t thinking straight.
And the beans were boiling over on the stove.
Now the kitchen was stinky and the dough was gooey.
And Elisabeth was running through the house naked.
This was not turning out as planned.
But I never turn away from a project. (Okay, so that’s totally not true, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?)
I forged ahead, adding random amounts of flour and yeast and honey into my bowl until I had something that vaguely resembled bread dough. With some creative help from Jakob, it was formed into balls, rolled out, and placed in the uber-hot oven.
And…it puffed! I did it!
I had already mixed up the black bean
dip hummus, so it was time for lunch! I lovingly placed a warm pita pocket filled with hummus and cheese in front of each of my children.
They were NOT impressed.
I didn’t blame them. I wasn’t impressed either.
The pita bread was okay, but the hummus – it really wasn’t hummus at all.
The chips were delicious, though, AND we made it to church on time!
A few days later, I tried again – this time with the correct ingredients, a perfectly doubled pita recipe, and no midnight ghee making fun.
When mixed up correctly, the pita bread was so good that we ate most of it before turning it into chips, which were again delicious. And the hummus was pretty good – I’ll just make a few tweaks to the recipe next time and it will be perfect.
Except that there won’t be a next time.
Because even I can see that spending five kazillion hours in the kitchen to make a snack that will be devoured within minutes is a little bit ridiculous.
Stay tuned as Jennifer begins her quest for tasty but inexpensive hummus and pita chips at the grocery store…