Pass the Hummus, Please!


By Gini Rainey

If you’re a blog writer, then you know that when you publish your blog, sending it out to cyberspace, it’s almost like putting something out on the air via television or radio – you never really have a sense of whether or not you are reaching anyone with your cleverly put together words.  In an attempt to pull in more readers for the magazines that I write for, I linked my blog up with, and one of the bonuses from having done that was being able to connect with other writers and find out what they are up to.  One of my favorite blogs is “My Name is Yeh,” and is written by Mollie Yeh, a graduate of Julliard who married a fifth generation farmer and moved from New York to live on the farm that sits on the North Dakota-Minnesota border.  She likes to play music, bake, write, and take pictures.  We seem to have a lot in common, and when my niece announced that she was going to be attending the book signing party for Molly’s new cookbook, “Molly on the Range,” I just had to go to my friendly Amazon bookstore and purchase it.

Molly’s book, published by Rodale in 2016, is 284 pages filled with some of the most interesting stories, recipes, and photographs around.  Her writing is delightful and you’ll find it difficult to put the book down long enough to try the yummy recipes that are included.  From her charming writing style, colorful photographs, and interesting food combinations, you’ll come away with the sense of having had a nice visit with a charming friend.

The story behind her first kiss with her future husband prefaces her recipe for hummus and reminded me of one of my first encounters with that lovely chickpea concoction.  My younger daughter and her family are vegans.  Imagine my distress when I realized I would not be able to do the grandmotherly thing with her first baby – hand him a cookie that I had baked for him with much love and care!  Let me tell you – that was tough!  But, then, imagine if you will, this cutie pie at about 2 years old, toddling into my kitchen, stopping in front of the refrigerator and saying in his cute little squeaky voice, “ummmusnpida, naw naw!” Me saying, “I’m sorry sweetie, what do you want?” Him “ummmusnpida, naw naw!” Me (trying really hard to understand) “What do you want?”  Him stomping his little foot “ummmusnpida, naw naw!” So I call my daughter into the kitchen.  “What does Oliver want Beth?”  He turns to her “ummmusnpida, mommy!”  Beth “Oh, he wants hummus and pita chips.”  Which, thank goodness, she had brought with them!

Well, I’ve never made hummus, but Molly’s recipe sounds like something I’m going to make the next time Oliver comes to visit.  He’s 10 now, but I have a feeling this would be one thing I could make with as much love and care as I would put into cookies.  With the opening cautionary to only use dried chickpeas (as opposed to canned), Molly says to soak them overnight and then boil until they are very soft before going into the hummus.  So, with 1 cup of dried peas that have been soaked, drained, and rinsed, put them into a large saucepan with ½ teaspoon of baking soda, cover with 1 to 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until they are very soft.  Drain and cool, then transfer to a food processor.  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, ½ cup of tahini, ¾ teaspoon salt, and 2 cloves of garlic.  While processing, drizzle in ¼ cup of water and continue to blend for 2 to 3 more minutes.  Taste and season with additional salt if needed.  Transfer to a serving dish and top with a drizzle of olive oil, tahini sauce, finely chopped onion, and chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.  Serve with fresh pita bread and onion wedges for dipping.  And by all means, pat yourself on the back for making this with love and care!

ben wheeler