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Black Olive Hummus

It's been a busy week so far here - filled with the right mix of family stuff, work stuff, and a whole bunch of other details - like saying goodbye to good friends (and a little crying) and getting out for some quality time with the fresh air! I am never sad after a nice long run in the sunshine...especially with company (my daughter rides her bike beside me).

I am hoping to wax a little bit about my love (and the zen benefits) of running in a post soon…but for now, let's get chatting about a well-known dip, shall we? When I was a teen, I swear hummus was the very first recipe I ever tried. I credit the Moosewood Cookbook (my mom had an original) for the original genius behind what quickly became the inspiration for a recipe ingrained in my DNA...I still use that book to this day (though my hubby bought me my own early in our marriage). Let's get started with the chickpeas shall we?

To my recent delight, I received a few extremely precious bags of dried chickpeas from a friend's family farm. Yes - direct from a farm in Saskatchewan! Of course, I was totally ecstatic as it is difficult to buy Canadian grown garbanzo beans in Canada....yes, strange as it seems, we actually export most of our garbanzos to the Middle East!

I try to soak and cook chickpeas from scratch whenever possible, as the economic benefit is staggering vs. canned, and in this case - the taste and texture difference is dreamy! I'd love to write an entire post just about these beans because they are truly amazing: large, creamy in texture, sweet, and Canadian grown - it's no wonder they are in demand from the rest of the world. If you have never cooked beans from scratch - it is really super easy!

Here is how:

  1. Simply soak the beans for 8-16 hours in LOTS of cold water (they will expand like crazy, about 4 times) and rinse.
  2. In a large pot combine soaked beans and again LOTS of fresh cold water & bring to a boil with a few teaspoons of salt. Once it boils, skim off the white frothy stuff from the top (this is the gas producing stuff you don't want to ingest) and then turn down and cook partially covered until soft on a medium boil/simmer (chickpeas take about an hour). Feel free to check the beans here and there for more of the frothy stuff and remove it by skimming the top with a large spoon.
  3. When the beans are soft, drain and rinse with cold water and store in an airtight container in the fridge covered with cold water.
  4. Alternatively, you can freeze in individual one or two cup portions for easy thawing for recipes like this!

The cost to cook them at home vs. using canned is pennies in comparison - there is a less for more if I ever saw one - and have I mentioned the taste and texture? HUGE gratitude to Janna for the beans :)

Next, we have olive oil…and by olive oil, I do of course mean strictly cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil. It is delicious, healthy, and we use it by the litre in this house. Make sure it really comes from Italy or Spain or Greece instead of just 'packed in' those places. There is a lot of imported olive oil from countries like China on the market these days posing as European oil. Just read the labels, and be wise!

Unrefined sea salt is full of minerals from the sea that get stripped out in the salt refining process. After harvest, it looks like this: wet, grey, and chunky. I always have a mortar and pestle handy in the kitchen (by the stove) with salt in it, ground and ready for use. A little goes a long way with this stuff, and it costs more, but it's worth it.

Black Olive Hummus

(2) cups cooked chickpeas
(1/4) cup sesame tahini (I use anything from organic to obscure Mediterranean brands)
(3-4) tbsp lemon juice (start with 3 and add more to taste - I love a super lemony hummus)
(1) tsp salt
(1/4) cup olive oil
(up to 1/4) cup water
(1) clove fresh garlic
(1/4) tsp cayenne powder
(6-8) black olives - Kalamata or 'Colossal', pitted and coarsely chopped

    Simply combine all ingredients, except the olives and water, in your blender or food processor and start blending - add the water as the blender is running until you get a nice smooth rhythm going. Use your spatula to help things along and don't be shy to sing or dance (just a little) too! Transfer to a serving bowl or container and keep in the fridge. Before serving, or storing, add the chopped olives to the top!

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