Monday, June 24, 2013

Chick Flick Hummus and Pita Chips

Dear Lauren,

So, we have this wall in our pantry. It's narrow, but it's really tall, I'd say 12 feet. One week when Dad was out of town, I went to Home Depot and I bought some magnetic paint and I bought some chalkboard paint. And I painted the narrow, tall wall. It required a ladder, plastic sheeting and tools (wow, that sounds too much like Dexter, doesn't it?).
I'm not exactly a DIY'er, so you can imagine Dad's face when he walked in. He was shocked.

Now, Dad is a guy who doesn't like walls painted anything but beige or white. The one house we lived in when I convinced him you should be allowed to paint your room any color you wanted, you chose this color of blue.  Believe me, I heard about how that affected the resale value of that house for the two years we lived there, and all of the years since! So I was wondering how he might react to magnetic paint and chalkboard paint - a double whammy. He really said nothing negative. I think he admired my chutzpah.

Last week, I was surprised, but in a happy way, when you told me you were coming home for a few days and bringing one of your sorority sisters, Brooke, who is also one of your roomies from college. I love that girl! And I love having you home to visit. But, the surprise actually came in when you asked me to please write up all the things I was going to cook for you and for Brooke on the pantry board! How cool, I thought! So, I got out the ladder and washed the board to erase all the remnants of the menu I had written for the 37 Cooks get-together.

Washing the board was as far as I got and I never did write up a menu for you and Brooke! I guess we had too much fun with the actual cooking and with laughing, talking and watching chick-tv to write on the board, but who cares?! It was a great few days!

It was fun making hummus together.  In fact, you are becoming a great cook when you set your mind to it! And don't you think a dish with chick peas is perfect for watching chick flicks? Here is the recipe for what we made. Let's try a few variations next time you come home, okay?

Chick Flick Hummus

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 heaping Tablespoons tahini (tahini is just like peanut butter, but made from sesame seeds)
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle before serving
1 lemon, juiced (use this to juice it, it's an amazing tool)
1 garlic clove, peeled
a pinch of salt and a few shakes of pepper, freshly ground if you have it
cayenne pepper

Put all of the ingredients in your food processor and, well, process it! Stop it after all ingredients are combined, add about 1/4 cup of warm water and let the food processor run again until the hummus is smooth. Place it in a dish and drizzle some extra olive oil and a few shakes of cayenne pepper on top. Serve with good pita chips, which you can easily make yourself, or get some from Trader Joe's. They have the best.

Pita Chips

8 pita bread (like bread, there are many varieties of pita and I used oat bran pita today)
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Each pita bread is hollow. You know this, right? Well, before you cut the pita bread like a pizza into eighths (you can stack them and cut them all at once with a chef's knife), slice the edges open, so instead of one pita bread, you have two parts. This will make for thinner chips and trust me, they're better!

So once you have cut each pita in two, then cut all 16 "slices" of pita bread into eight pieces each (are you with me here?), then you will put all 128 "chips" in a large mixing bowl, add some salt and pepper and then the olive oil.  Toss with your hands until all of the "chips" have a little olive oil on them.

Place these chips on two rimmed baking sheets in an even layer on each sheet (use parchment paper if you have it, it makes for easy clean-up). I bake each sheet by itself, but I know some people who bake two sheets at once, and at the halfway point during baking, they switch the sheets on the oven shelves for even cooking. Bake for about 10 minutes, but please do check the chips. They need to be crispy, but you can't let them go too long or they will burn. And don't put them in your mouth to check if they're crisp! You will BURN your mouth! Yes, I did burn my mouth, laugh and get it out of your system!


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