Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hummus and Baba Ghanouj

Ah, Christmas. That most-relaxing time of year, where I sit around all day eating cookies, only to be interrupted by long walks with my sweet sisters. Fortunately, as well, this year our dog Humong didn't get into the dark chocolate and so we had Christmas dinner free from seizures and near-death experiences.

This year I decided to make hummus and baba ghanouj to add a little variety to the X-mas cuisine. After working for several weeks at Mezza in SE Portland, my tastebuds have been awakened to the wonderful world of Lebanese food. This food was also a hit both with my immediate family and with the extended relatives at the Christmas, aka Boxing Day party on December 26th.

The pita is great if you make it handmade as well. Here's recipes for all three.

1 package yeast (scant tablespoon)
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon sugar

Dissolve these three ingredients and let sit for 10-15 minutes

1-1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour (gradually, stirring as you go)

Knead 10 minutes. Dough should be a little bit sticky. Add more flour if need be. Cover dough with olive oil and let rise in a warm place for one hour.
Heat oven to 550 degrees. Next, flour a working surface, and punch dough down. Divide into 8-10 pieces. Flatten the pieces to circular pieces about 6-7" in diameter. Cover a pan with olive oil (you can use a cookie sheet, a 9x12" lasagna pan, or pizza pan, it doesn't matter). Put 2-3 pieces of the uncooked pita onto the pan, the place in the oven. Bake on one side for four minutes, then open oven and flip and bake on the other side for 2 minutes. Pita should just be getting brown. Repeat the process until all of the pita is cooked. It is best to eat the pita immediately, but since this isn't always possible, be sure to re-heat in the OVEN and not the microwave. If you reheat in the microwave, the pita will become chewy.

Baba Ghanouj

1 large eggplant
1/4 cup tahini (can be found in grocery stores)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bake eggplant in 350 degree oven for about one hour until meat is tender. Cool ten minutes then peel and cut lengthwise. If cool enough, squeeze meat to remove excess liquid. Puree eggplant and all other ingredients in food processor. Garnish with olive oil and/or parsley.


1-16 oz. can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup liquid from can of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
3-5 Tablespoons of lemon juice
1-1/2 tablespoons of tahini
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid. Combine remaining ingredients in blender. Add 1/4 cup liquid from garbanzo beans. Blend 3-5 minutes until smooth. Garnish with parsley and olive oil.


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