Hummus has become very popular in the last decade or so, and rightfully so. Not only is it healthy, inexpensive, easy to make and store, it opens the mind of the eater to the ancient roots of this terrific side dish or snack; it can be dated to the 13th century with it's origins in Medieval Egypt.
This great mixture has become so popular, commercial food companies have taken notice and are marketing several very good quality examples of classic hummus. However, it is expensive and contains artificial flavors. It is also very "tight" and doesn't always achieve the smooth, light, creamy consistency of the scratch-made version.
Luckily, hummus is easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. However, a blender can also be used.
The biggest part of hummus is chick peas- sometimes called ceci or garbanzo beans. I find that the canned version is perfectly fine, although you can cut your cost by using dried chick peas. Simply account for the time needed to soak overnight, and boil for 60-90 minutes before incorporating into your hummus.
First, place two cans of chick peas in your food processor which has been fitted with a blade attachment. Drop in 4-5 garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of lemon juice. You can use fresh-squeezed lemon, but a good-quality bottled juice is adequate and convenient. I tend to use more garlic because I love the flavor, and garlic is another one of those food products that are wonderfully heart-healthy, cancer-fighting and also boosts the immune system.
One note on buying garlic; I really like the containers of cloves that are already peeled and ready to use. Buying bulbs in the produce section of your market or from a Farmer's Market is still best, but a little more messy and labor/time intensive. I never use the jars of shelf-stable minced garlic. The flavor is pathetic and the health benefits are lost in the canning process.
Start your processor and allow it to run for 30 seconds or so. As the machine is running, drizzle in about 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and continue processing until the hummus is light and smooth.
Traditional hummus also contains Tahini, a sesame seed paste. However, it can be hard to find and somewhat costly. If you have tahini, add 1/4 cup to this amount of hummus.
Store in an airtight container and serve with pita, toast points, a bread of choice or raw vegetables.This is a delicious, healthy snack that everyone will enjoy. It's also a great boredom-fighter for those hot summer days when your house is full of kids!