Sometimes on my husband’s day “off” from the restaurant, we go out to eat together. Now, Waco isn’t known for its plethora of dining options, at least not for a vegetable-eating, bread-avoiding type like me, so there aren’t that many places to choose from. Still, it takes us ages to decide where to go. I go back and forth with him about the Thai place, he mentions a soup and sandwich place. We shrug. Then he says, “What do I always want, Randle?” And with a sigh I say, “Mexican.”
See the thing is, I’m always trying to avoid Mexican food (by “Mexican,” I mean “Tex-Mex” of course) with my last shreds of willpower. No matter how much I tell myself I’m going to eat a nice light taco salad or a bowl of caldo xochitl soup, I leave in a sweat, asking Ted to roll me to the car. Every time he says, “You did good work in there.” And like always, I respond, “You know I’m powerless in the face of queso.”
If you don’t know what I mean by queso, it’s not just cheese. It’s this soupy, saucy, melty cheese that we Texans bring out with the salsa and the guac. I wrote about in the early days of Crandlecakes here.
It’s true though. When I see queso in the center of a table or bubbling away in a crockpot at a party, I must have it. A lot of it. It’s quality control. @_@ I’ve known about my queso weakness for many moons. The lucky thing was that I rarely made queso available to myself at home, instead choosing to leave it to the professionals.
Alas, I’ve discovered a new kryptonite — one that I make at home. A lot. It’s hummus.
Look, I know that being addicted to hummus is probably “so 2010” in the food world, but I wasn’t on the bandwagon for a while. I used to find hummus grainy, dry, and wayyy too garlicky. I still think that’s the fate of many a bowl of hummus, but (fortunately or unfortunately — you tell me), I’ve cracked the hummus code. I’ve been sneaking hummus in on the blog for a while now. There was the classic hummus from the Jerusalem cookbook, a zingy roasted red pepper hummus, and a popular chipotle lime hummus that was perfectly southwestern. It was only a matter of time before I went Italian on the hummus formula.
Italian White Bean Hummus
Makes approximately 3 cups
This dip is best made with a pot of beans boiled with garlic, peppercorns, and herbs, but you can always use canned cannellini beans or great Northerns, and add extra garlic and pepper to your hummus.
2 cups cooked Italian white beans (recipe here)
¼ cup tahini
2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 – 4 Tablespoons ice water
½ – 1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons capers, drained
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1. In a food processor, purée beans until nearly smooth. Add tahini and continue to purée. Add olive oil and pulse.
2. Add the lemon juice one tablespoon at a time, tasting after each addition. Add in ice water as needed, until the hummus has a texture you prefer. I added about 2 tablespoons of ice water.
3. Season with salt, adding ½ teaspoon at a time.
4. Serve at room temperature, topped with parsley and capers and drizzled with olive oil. Try serving the hummus with raw vegetables, crackers, or chips for dipping; spread it inside a pita or wrap; or use it as a sauce for grilled meat or fish.
Keeps sealed in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days.