Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Jalapeno Hummus

Here is the recipe for the "light-filled" hummus I served at the party! Chuckle.

1 16 oz. can of chickpeas (reserve the can juice then drain and rinse the beans)
3 cloves of garlic - sliced and diced
5 jalapeno slices - of the jarred variety
2 tablespoons of the jalapeno juice from said jar
1 tablespoon tahini (optional and fatty but truly delicious)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Pinch of pepper

Get out the food processor (that you wish was bigger!) and get ready to blend the dickens out of this hummus.

The juice from the can of chickpeas is KEY in this recipe. It replaces a good portion of what would normally be olive oil. Some hummus recipes call for 1/2 CUP of olive oil. I'm sure it tastes delish but I just can't do it.

First, peel the chickpeas with love and then place them in the food processor. My food processor is brand new and TOO SMALL. I should've listened to my gut and gotten the bigger one. My bad. I have to split the can and do two batches.

Next, drizzle in the olive oil, jalapeno juice and 2 tablespoons of the chickpea can juice. Toss in the chopped jalapenos, diced garlic, tahini, smoked paprika and pinch of pepper - only leaving out the lemon juice at this point.

Blend away! Food processors don't like to be on for more than a minute so take a few seconds to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then start again. TASTE the hummus as you go and adjust the flavors. Odds are it won't be perfect the first time. If you like more heat, pump up the number of jalapeno or the juice. Yum.

If you need more liquid to keep the food processor going, use the chickpea juice. It does have some sodium but not the fat of olive oil. (Yes, olive oil is the good kind of fat but when your Kadooment costume is just days away - you do the math)

Finally, add the juice of half a lemon and blend for just a couple of seconds to combine. I like to squeeze the remaining juice on top just before serving. It really brightens things up!

In my world, hummus is a trigger food. I can eat it all day long and not think a thing about it. Make sure to check your portions with this one. It's far less fattening than the traditional oil laden hummus but still relatively calorie dense when you use tahini.


The Zen of Peeling Chickpeas

So, we had a bad experience in our running group last Thursday that caused a lot of upheaval. A man grabbed one of our girls from behind. She slid through his arms onto her back and kicked him several times in the chest as he grabbed for her iPod, scratching her arms and ripping out one of her earrings. We were there within 20 seconds (per our Garmin watches) and he fled when he heard the sprinting footsteps. We had followed the golden rule, keeping runners in sight of each other but he was dressed in jogging clothes and started chasing after her in our plain sight. She was even carrying mace – to no avail.

At first, we tried to place it in the category of “an iPod theft”, but after the police report was filed and I came home to get ready for work it started to sink in that my girlfriend had been attacked. No matter what he was after, he grabbed her and my sweet friend wound up on her back kicking and screaming. I got very angry and stayed very angry for two days. I took it out on my palm trees in the backyard with a hefty pair of shears and then I took it out on the toilets with a gallon of bleach and then I found myself standing over a HUGE bowl of canned chickpeas that needed to be peeled for hummus.

Note irritating little shells...

As I stood there I kept shifting my weight back and forth. My lower back began to ache. I was unable to be still and found myself more and more aggravated by the tedious task. Discarding the little peel makes your hummus much smoother (thanks for the tip Hillaire) but no lie - it’s a pain in the a**.

In Ayurveda, one of my favorite principles of eating is “eat only the food that is prepared by someone who loves you”. Food has energy. I can definitely tell when food was made by someone who didn’t care or used crap ingredients. Often, the best compliment we can bestow upon a meal is that it was “made with love”. Why does the phrase “it tastes just like my mom used to make it” mean that the food is wonderful? Because your mother loves you!

I suddenly remembered why I was making this double batch of pain-in-the-a** hummus. My friend who was attacked and her entire family (23 in all) were coming for dinner. If I put the anger into the hummus then the attacker wins. I’m literally feeding the bad energy back to my friend. Do I sound kooky? Maybe so. But in an instant my body language and thought patterns changed. I began to peel the little chickpeas with love in my heart and formed a light in my mind that brightened my kitchen and expanded out to encircle her entire family. I have to say that I still felt the light as I served up the hummus at the party last night. Good stuff.

I’m still angry about the guy and we’ve gotten quite a wake-up call. On our first run since the incident we looked like a Presidential Detail. The girls were followed by my big huge husband, running behind and keeping watch (a la Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard). He was followed by my friend’s father in an SUV with lights flashing. All I could think was “Liberty’s Moving!”

Sometimes bad things happened in good places to good people – it’s a mystery. For my running girlfriends all over the world, take some extra time this week to recheck your safety systems and make sure that someone is carrying a phone. Things can happen anywhere even when you do everything right. Stay aware, be vigilant and run on my sisters… run on…

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Broccoli, Chickpeas & Garlic - "Go To" Simple Dinner

Thanks Again Isa Chandra Moskowitz! This easy recipe has become a staple at my house. I can plow the whole Pyrex as-is but it also works well as a side dish for the carnivorous huz. To top if off, it couldn't be cheaper. Win. Win. Win.


1 Colander full of rinsed broccoli* florets (fresh only)
1 Can of rinsed Chickpeas
6-10 Cloves of Garlic, smashed
1.5 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Cup Veggie Broth
1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Oven at 400

Place the broccoli, chickpeas and garlic in a large Pyrex and work through olive oil, salt and pepper with your hands.

Bake for 40 minutes - turning everything over with a spatula at the 20 minute mark. At 40 minutes, the broccoli tips should be browning and the chickpeas should look like they're drying a bit. The garlic should be smelling delicious.

Next, pour the veggie broth into the Pyrex and turn to coat.

Remove after 10 minutes and squeeze lemon juice over the top & sprinkle a little Nutritional Yeast. Eat. Smile.

A word about Nutritional Yeast

Getting enough B12 is a concern for vegetarians and vegans. B12 deficiency is no joke. It can lead to brain damage and some studies show a linkage to Alzheimer's. It is often one of the loudest arguments against vegetarianism in the attempt to prove that we need to eat animals to survive.

In fact, B12 comes from bacteria in dirt - not animals. Back in the days before we washed and bleached our vegetables or grew them in sterilized GMO laden factories, we ate quite a bit of dirt! Now, the animals eat the dirt and the B12 is found in their bodies - which we eat.

Getting B12 without animals is relatively easy. Most cereals and many soy milks are fortified with B12, you can take a multi-vitamin (which you should be doing anyway) or you can sprinkle a little Nutritional Yeast Flakes on your popcorn, your broccoli, pita chips, rice, pasta... any place you would commonly use parmesan cheese. You can even make a "cheese sauce" with Nutritional Yeast Flakes.

I order NYF online in a "shaker" container much like Parmesan. KAL Yeast Flakes run approximately $9 for 10 oz. and a little goes a long way. Do I wish it had a different name? Yes. "Yeast Flakes" sound unappealing - but they're tasty little buggers that make is easy to erase the B12 Argument.

*I've made this recipe with broccoli, cauliflower and broccoli flowerk broccoli and brussel sprouts (thanks Angie!) or a mix of whatever is in my fridge. It's ALL good.