Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beet Hummus

Are you seeing this? Are we looking at the same bowl of jewels? Can you look at this picture and not want to jump in and swim around? Maybe in a boat made of pita chips?

Because beets are good for me, because I also happen to like them, and because food is just more fun when it's technicolor, I try to buy them whenever I'm at the market. David has yet to fully jump on the bandwagon, and I don't really blame him. My beet repertoire is limited (I mostly just stick with some version of this guy), and their earthy-sweetness can definitely be an acquired taste. Especially if all you've ever had is slippery mush-balls from a can.
But I'm working on changing that. Recently, while dining at the delicious Sofra cafe in Cambridge, a rubicund little tub shouted at me from their display fridge. "Beet Hummus!" it said. "Beet Hummus?" I thought back. At it.

And then I tried it. And David couldn't stop eating it. "It's like dessert!" he says--for a dippin' dinner which also happened to include hummus and baba ghanoush. (Hey, once you've got the processor out, you might as well make it work.) Weird how beets tow the line between sweet and savory, right? Here's a perfect way to find out for yourself:
Beet Hummus
Makes about a cup, adapted from Simply Recipes

2 large beets (or the equivalent in small beets) roasted*
1 Tbsp sesame tahini paste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas OPTIONAL

*To roast beets, wrap them in foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375ยบ. Beets are done when a small paring knife slipped into the beet meets almost no resistance. Let cool, unwrap, and peel off skins--they should slip right off. Use the foil wrapper to get some traction. Also, small beets roast faster than large beets, duh, so if you're in a hurry, buy 4 smaller beets instead and shave 15 minutes off the cooking time.
  • To make hummus: combine in food processor. Buzz. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. I did not use chickpeas, but some of the recipes I consulted had them. I think it tasted just delicious without, but you can use them to up the density of the finished product, if you like.

Special Digestive Note: Beets influence the, well, the hue of your bodily out-products. Be forewarned. And unafraid.

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