Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving: Family and Friends

This year try to introduce a new side dish at your Thanksgiving table. I like to introduce an ethnic dish that goes with the normal stuffing, mash potatoes, yams, grandma's cranberry mold and green beans.

I am adding a Middle Eastern dish called hummus. Hummus is made from garbanza beans or as the Italians call them, ceci beans. You may know them as chickpeas. This is the easiest thing to make as a hors d'ouevre. Light and satisfying, it is a nice counterpoint to all the saucey, cheesy stuff on the appetizer table. You can make this from scratch by cooking dry beans or save the trouble, and open up a can of prepared beans. Just remember that prepared beans are already salted, so adjust accordingly. I don't bother straining the seed case; more rustic and roughage in diet is better for you anyway.

clean glass or stainless steel bowl (aluminum reacts to lemon)
garlic cloves (rubbing the bowl)
2 cans garbonza beans
1/4 olive oil
1 med lemon (juice only, save peel for decorative strips)
chili oil (optional)
lemon peel (optional, decorative)
chopped parsley (optional, decorative)
pita bread, crackers (plain crackers are better than flavored)

Take garlic and peel. Cut in half. Rub the cut end all over the bottom of your bowl. Do this liberally. Dump garbonza beans into bowl. On the rafting trips, I take a potato masher and smash all the beans into a pulpy mass. (At home, just do this in a blender or food processor) Add oil, lemon juice, chili oil, paprika, pepper and salt to taste. Stir vigorously until semi-smooth. (Add more oil if it looks dry... the oil seems to be absorbed easily, so add the oil little at a time) Let sit. When ready to serve, take the back of a spoon and form an indentation at the top of the mixture. Pour a small amount of olive oil into the well and sprinkle more paprika on top. Add slivers of lemon peel and chopped parsley as a decorative touch. Serve this with cut pieces of pita bread or just plain crackers. This is also great as a substitute for mayonnaise on a sandwich. You'll be surprised at how much better your sandwich tastes! And your vegetarian and vegan friends will be delighted that you served this on your table this Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to All from the Staff of W.E.T. River Trips

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