Sunday, October 9, 2011

garlicky hummus and hot flatbread


My friend, Miz Agatha (if you understand that joke, good for you; next time my coffee machine breaks, I guess I'm calling her), is the lady of hummus. She's talented at a great many things, including making me laugh out loud, but hummus is one of her masteries. She brought this to a party and I demanded the recipe with love and awe. She informed me there wasn't one.

Instead, she emailed me a list of ingredients (garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander/lemon) with notes like "tahini is awesome. Hummus without tahini is like guacamole without cilantro. No."

According to Miz Agatha, her hummus is so famous (it has converted people to the way of the hummus, and I see why) is because she goes so heavy on the garlic. Don't be shy; add lemon if you overdo it.

She also brought a giant bowl of flatbread, which was nearly as awe-inspiring as the hummus, which is saying something. The flatbread has few ingredients, but a delicious flavor, a little tangy from both the yeast and yogurt in the dough. It can be fried in olive oil, but I did mine in an ungreased skillet and they were delicious (as well as healthier).


Miz Agatha's Hummus

29 oz chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 C tahini (this amount makes it fairly creamy; lessen if you like your hummus coarser)
1/2 C olive oil
5 cloves garlic (I actually used seven; it was delicious and a touch spicy from it. But that's a little much for most people).
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/4 tsp coriander when no lemon juice is available
salt and pepper


Toss the garlic in a food processor, and mince them with the metal blade . Then, add all the other ingredients and whirl them until smooth. Adjust to taste.


More tahini will make it creamier; more oil, oilier (shocking!); more garlic, spicier (and make sure you mince it by hand before adding extra); more chickpeas, chunkier, grainier, and heartier. This batch was fairly heavy on tahini, so it was quite creamy.


Easy, Tasty Flatbread


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
4 cups all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast, sugar and salt in the water. The water should feel lukewarm and not hot. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast. It is better to have water that's too cold and sluggish yeast, than hot water and dead yeast. These little fellows are what will rise your dough, and they're very important. Treat them kindly!

Now, add the yogurt and then the flour to the bowl and stir until it all comes together. For me, it was still quite sticky and shaggy at this point, so I dumped it onto a very well-floured cutting board, dumped some more flour on top of it, and kneaded it in. I think I ended up adding about an extra 1/2 C of flour, but your dough's flour needs will depend on the weather, your flour, the whims of the dough gods... Just add enough to where it's still soft, but doesn't stick to your hands. Roll it into a ball and place in a clean bowl to rise for about three hours.

When your dough has risen, get a cutting board and a rolling pin. Tear off a hunk of dough and roll it out thin. Take this thin round and put it to the side to rest for 15 minutes or so.

(I fried some without letting them rest and they were still good, but not quite as puffy).


If you don't have a rolling pin, or an empty wine bottle or one of those cylindrical Pillsbury dough to use as a rolling pin, there are other methods. I actually preferred to stretch them by hand, because it involved not having to clean a rolling pin, and it was easy and fun. I would just grab a hunk of dough (maybe the size of an apricot) with lightly-floured hands and stretch it out, turning it in my hands, until it was fairly thin. Holes are okay; the bread will puff up beautifully anyway.

puffed up dough after about a minute of cooking

In an ungreased skillet, cook the dough rounds about a minute or two on each side. If your bread is particularly thick, cook a little longer.


Eat with hummus.

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