Accoutrements

Ajvar, Tahina, and Hummus Recipes

Ajvar

INGREDIENTS

3 – 4 (sweet) red peppers such as long or bell

2 small eggplants

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 c (60 ml) olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

*If you want to make this a little sweet I think adding 2 soft or soaked medjool dates would be nice, or if you wanted it to be creamy you could try adding 1/3 c soaked cashews.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Blacken the peppers and eggplants: If you have a gas range you can turn the burner on and blacken the pepper and eggplant skins directly on the flame, using tongs.  Otherwise, turn your oven to broil and on a metal baking sheet, place the peppers and eggplants and let them turn black.  Check the peppers every 8 – 10 minutes or so, turning them as needed to be sure all the skin gets charred.  The same for the eggplants but they will take longer. My oven is a bit weak so they took about 40+ minutes to fully char.
  2. When you remove the pepper and eventually eggplants, put each in a bowl and cover with aluminum foil for at least 5 – 10 minutes to steam and cool.  When they are cool enough to handle peel the skin off the peppers, discarding the skin and seeds, reserving the roasted pulp. Depending on how your eggplants char (i.e. soft charred skin or hard charred shell), in either case you want to remove the smoked pulp of the eggplant and reserve, and discard the skin.
  3. In a blender or food processor, add the pepper and eggplant pulps, crushed garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Salad of pomegranate, chickpeas, cucumber, celery leaves, and ajvar.

Tahina

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (~230 g) tahini

1 clove garlic, crushed

juice of 1 lemon, ~ 1/2 c (120 ml)

1/4 c (60 ml) water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a blender, mix the lemon juice and garlic.  Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve.
  2. Return the garlic/lemon liquid to the blender. Add the tahini and water. Blend until smooth.

Hummus

INGREDIENTS

Adapted from: Jerusalem: A Cookbook

1 1/4 cups (~230 g) dried chickpeas (yields ~ 3 cups cooked)

3/4 c tahini (170 g) tahini

juice of 1 lemon, ~ 1/2 c (120 ml)

2 – 3 gloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 c water, more as needed*

Salt and pepper to taste

*  My blender is crappy so I needed more water to smooth the hummus but if you have a high-power blender or food processor you may not need more water.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl or container and soak in the refrigerator overnight. You can buy canned beans but I think homemade beans here really make a difference in creaminess and smoothness of the hummus. If using canned, at least slightly warm and rinse the beans in a pot on low heat before using.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas and place in a pot of water with at least 2 – 3 inches of water covering the beans.  Bring to a bowl and then lower to medium heat.  Simmer until tender, which can take anywhere between 40 minutes to 1.5 hours. Check periodically, you want tender not mushy beans.  Once cooked, drain and allow to cool slightly.
  3. This next step is optional, but again, I think makes for a smoother hummus. On a cutting board or clean surface, one cup at a time, place the drained chickpeas and with a towel or paper towel very gently press and push forward on them once or twice.  You do not want to smash them. You just want to loosen a few and then with your hands, remove the skins.  I don’t do every bean as this is obviously time- consuming, but I remove at least half if I have the patience.
  4. In a food processor or blender, add the chickpeas and blend a bit to at least break them up or if using a high-power blender or food processor, break them completely into almost a paste.
  5. Add the tahini, half the lemon juice, 2 cloves crushed garlic, half the olive oil, water, and a good dash of salt and pepper.  Begin to blend, scrapping down the sides as needed so everything fully incorporates.  Give the hummus a taste at this point and add the remaining garlic, lemon juice, oil and additional water as needed.  I used 3/4 c water total.  Let the blender or food processor run for a few minutes so that the hummus gets smooth.

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