There are busy, stressful weeks, and then there are … well, REALLY busy, stressful weeks. This has been one of the latter. I considered just skipping a post, but I’ve really committed to checking in here at the kitchen once a week. Plus, I really needed to make some food for myself! Then inspiration hit. My dear friend, Arooj, who is also a doc (we met the first week of medical school!) just purchased her first food processor. I get very excited about new kitchen tools, and I immediately started thinking about all the things she can now make with the touch of a button …
… like Hummus! She is as busy as I am right now, and hummus is a great, healthy food that’s a snap to make with your trusty food processor and is easy to turn into a quick, nourishing meal with a few chopped veggies, a bowl of salad greens, a baked sweet potato … you name it, this hummus can go on top for a yummy meal. I can still remember the first time I tasted a roasted red pepper at an antipasti buffet in a fancy restaurant in Manhattan that I never could have afforded if I had been paying the bill. I ate an embarrassing number of them. Then somewhere along the line I discovered roasted red pepper hummus. Now this is an amazing combination. Try it, and see for yourself!
- 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained
- 2 red (or orange or yellow) bell peppers
- 1/2 cup tahini
- juice of 3 lemons
- 1-4 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1-2 teaspoons chipotle powder (this boots the smoky flavor, but omit if you don’t want spicy)
- 1 teaspoon red curry powder (optional but really good if you have it)
- handful of fresh cilantro (or more!) stems removed
- salt to taste
First, roast your peppers. I like to do this as long as possible before making the hummus — even a day before if you have time to plan. This lets the moisture drain out of the pepper. (Also, for the same reason, I like to open the chick peas and drain them the day before, then just leave in a colander so they are as dry as possible when you put everything together.) But you don’t have to — just draining and dumping them right in is okay too! You just might get a little bit of liquid accumulating on the top if you store it for a while — no problem — just stir it back in.
Okay, so you can roast a pepper on either an electric or gas stove — doesn’t matter. You just have to pay attention to what’s going on! I simply lay the pepper on the burner on a medium heat. Let it sit there until the skin starts to char — you’ll hear some popping and hissing noises. Then turn the pepper so it rests at another angle, and keep going until the whole thing is kind of wilted and charred. Remove from the heat, and let it cool down. When you can handle it, rub as much of the charred skin off with your fingers as you can. Cut out the stem, and scrape out any white parts and the seeds from inside. Now let it sit upside down and drain for as long as you have time for. Alternately, just cut in half and blot the inside with a paper towel.
HERE ARE THE STAGES OF ROASTING A PEPPER … THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE IS NOT TO GET DISTRACTED DURING THE PROCESS! DON’T LEAVE THE KITCHEN, START TALKING ON THE PHONE, ETC. PEPPERS CAN AND DO LIGHT ON FIRE IF LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES FOR TOO LONG!
Put halved peppers, coarsely chopped cilantro, peeled garlic cloves, and spices in the food processor, and whiz. Scrape down the sized and do it again. Then add the tahini and blend again. Finally, add the chickpeas and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt and seasonings.