• Hummus & Pita, + Gluten Free Bakery Open House

    by Ellen on January 31, 2008 · 10 comments

    I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it myself. Homemade, from scratch, from dried chickpeas, makes the best hummus. Hands down.

    Of course, there are days when even I am pressed for time and I open a can of chickpeas. But when I have the luxury of time and I can make it from dried beans, there’s nothing like it.

    Problem is, in the past, I always forgot to soak the chickpeas. As a result, until I got a pressure cooker, I never made hummus (or hummie as we call it in my house) unless I opened a can of chickpeas. But with my Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, it takes under an hour, start to finish.

    For those of you nay-sayers who think that a pressure cooker is unsafe, think again. The new ones are built with safety mechanisms. You’d have to really go out of your way for it to explode. Or not pay any attention to the process. I’ve never had that happen, so I can’t really speak to it.

    Here’s the process for cooking chickpeas:

    Rinse 1 cup of dried chickpeas. Then pour them into the pressure cooker with 7 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Put the lid on the pressure cooker.

    You turn the burner up to high. You wait and watch the pressure cooker come up to pressure – that sounds so technical and scary, doesn’t it? It just means that you wait for the pressure inside the cooker to reach high – on my pressure cooker, there is a little doo-hickie that rises as the pressure builds. When the two red lines show, it’s at full pressure. Because of the volume of water needed, it takes a little longer than with other recipes. Usually, it comes to pressure in about 6 – 8 minutes.

    Then you turn the burner down to the lowest possible setting that will still keep the pressure cooker at high pressure (in my case, the two red lines need to show) for 35 minutes. Turn the burner off.

    Note: occasionally, at least with my pressure cooker, what seems like the lowest simmer is too much. When that happens, the pressure cooker begins to hiss. I just release some of the pressure by holding a towel over the doo-hickie and pressing down on it gently. Then I turn the flame to a slightly lower position.

    After 35 minutes, you place the pressure cooker in the sink, run cold water over the lid. The pressure begins to release, the doo-hickie begins to shrink down into its’ initial position, you hear a final “sssssssss………” as the pressure is completely released, and you remove the lid.

    You pour the chickpeas into a colander, allowing the liquid to pass into a bowl beneath the colander (you’ll reserve the liquid for the hummus). Move the bowl of reserved liquid to the side. Run cold water over the cooked chickpeas, allowing them to cool to room temperature.

    Proceed with your hummus recipe.

    I would give you a recipe, but honestly, I always make it up. It always tastes a little different each time I make it. But that’s the fun of it. Experiment and you’ll come up with your very own hummie recipe!

    The basics are:

    Cooked chickpeas (from one cup dried)
    Garlic cloves (less is more, you can always add more if desired)
    Tahini (I usually start with 2 tablespoons and add more to taste)
    Freshly squeezed lemon juice from one lemon
    Salt & Pepper
    Extra virgin olive oil (a tablespoon to start and then add more to taste)
    Reserved chickpea cooking liquid (as desired – it makes the hummus a little less thick)
    Optional, any one or more of the following: ground cumin, ground coriander, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, roasted red pepper, scallions, wheat-free gluten-free tamari

    Throw it all into a food processor, whirl, and voila. It looks so authentically Middle Eastern when you serve it in a bowl with a swirl of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika on the top.

    AND what would hummus be without pita bread? Until I found Bette Hagman’s recipe from The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread, I was in mourning. Now, I make it at least once a week. I can barely wait to eat it when it comes out of the oven. It is sensational. Note: it’s not great the next day unless you toast it. I’m going to try freezing it tonight and then tomorrow, I’ll see how it holds up if I heat it in the microwave and/or toaster.

    Bette’s recipe calls for a flour blend (which she explains in her book) that includes gelatin. To make this vegan, substitute agar.


    I know you’re mouth is watering, right? This gluten free carrot cake is delicious. It is from On The Rise Bakery in Worcester, MA. If you want to taste it, this Sunday, Feb. 3rd, if you’re in the Worcester, MA area (or don’t mind traveling), this bakery is having their second gluten-free open house. The baker is Elizabeth Casey and she is a star in my world. The menu includes Chocolate Truffle Cake, Triple Mousse Cake, Toffee Torte, Cheesecake, Chocolate Roll, Carrot Cake, Sugar Cookies, Quiche, Coffee Cake, Pumpkin Raisin Muffins, and bagels. We had the Triple Mousse Cake for my daughter’s wedding – it was beyond words delicious. The bakery is located at 1120 Pleasant St., Worcester. MA. Call for reservations – 508-752-3809. There are only a few places left, but if you let her know you’re interested, I’ll bet they’ll hold more open houses.

    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    celticjig January 31, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Oh how I love pita and hummus. I too have made Bette’s pita recipe and I have to say, your’s looks great! Mine did taste great, but were on the chewy side.
    Cheers!

    Reply

    Ellen January 31, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Hi Celticjig,

    I’m not sure what the trick is, but I’ve made them enough times that I now have the hang of it. Try again, maybe with a different kind of rice flour, for example.

    Reply

    Gluti Girl February 1, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Those pita’s look beautiful. I saw that recipe in her book and always wondered if it was good. I may have to give it a try!

    Reply

    Theresa February 2, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Yummmm! I love love love hummus, and I’m totally going to buy that Bette Hagman book just so I can eat pitas again.

    Question: if I don’t have a pressure cooker, how long would I soak/cook the dried chickpeas?

    Thanks!!
    –Theresa (The Vegetarian Celiac)

    Reply

    Ellen February 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Gluti Girl – you MUST try it, you will love it. I froze four pieces of the pita and they defrosted beautifully!

    Theresa – I’ve never made the hummus without either canned chickpeas or the pressure cooker, so I’m not absolutely sure about how long to soak them. My intuition, based on reading lots of cookbooks, is that soaking for 8 – 10 hours would be sufficient.

    Reply

    Jennifer's Kitchen February 4, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    We absolutely looooove hummus!
    I’m with you – hummus from home-cooked chickpeas is the best! I made some using canned chickpeas only once, but, being spoiled by home-cooked ones, my family said, “Don’t bother.”
    So now I put some chickpeas in the slow cooker the night before (no soaking necessary) and the next day we have yummy, soft chickpeas ready for hummus.

    The pita bread looks so delicious! Thanks for letting us know about it. I’m so looking forward to trying some!

    Reply

    Ellen February 4, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Jennifer,

    Good idea to make the chickpeas in the crockpot. On low? Please tell me the ratio of chickpeas to water and the length of time you cook them. Thanks!

    Reply

    Jennifer's Kitchen February 4, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Ellen- I put 2 pounds of chickpeas in a 6-quart slow cooker and then pour enough water in until it’s just about at the top of the pot (about 2 1/2 quarts of water).

    Then I turn the slow cooker on HIGH and cook them all night. In the morning I turn the cooker on KEEP WARM until I am ready to use the chickpeas.

    All slow cookers cook differently so you may need to do a bit of experimenting.

    Also, this makes quite a bit because I like to make extra hummus and freeze it. But if you don’t want to make that much, just cut the amount of beans in half, but still put in almost (maybe 80%)of the water. You can always drain off extra liquid, but dry or burned chickpeas don’t taste too good. :)

    Enjoying your blog! :)

    Reply

    finallyabutterfly January 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    OMG I want to come live at your house and spend some time in the kitchen :) I have been on a mostly vegan, partly raw, and totally GF cooking/baking frenzy as of late and you are such a nice and funny person I'm sure you are so fun to be around! Thanks for the amazing blog and great information. You inspire me to keep going and trying new recipes. I need some more toys (no pressure cooker yet) but have so much fun otherwise. Your family is luck to have you :) much love from California!

    Reply

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