Tuesday, August 14, 2012

White Bean Hummus

... or a disaster of epic proportions!

I like hummus.  Generally the chick pea (aka: garbanzo beans) variety but I get tired of the same texture and flavor combinations in the traditional varieties.

By my thinking you can make a hummus from any type of bean (except for green beans.)  With that in mind I decided that I needed to investigate what my possibilities might be.

My experience with beans is a bit limited.  I like all kinds but each has a specific use in my mind.  For example, navy beans are Boston Baked beans, pinto beans are refried beans, chick peas are hummus, etc.  So the idea of using a different bean for a different purpose requires a bit of mold breaking in my head.

One way this happened was quite by accident.  QUARTER/quarter is a small but elegant restaurant in Harmony, Minnesota.  The chef, Stephen Larson, is quite talented and will create something outside the box that is quite delicious, playful and unique.

A standard item on his Summer menu is the White Bean and Pork Pate'.   It is served with a sliced baguette, brown mustard/mayo and pickles.  It has become a favorite of mine and cracked the idea that I don't need to color within the culinary lines. 

So I went to a Bill's Imported Foods and grabbed a bag of white beans.  Bill's is the worst kept secret in Minneapolis.  They have a fairly good variety of food stuffs, mostly Mediterranean in nature.  There are several varieties of Feta cheese available and gallons of olive oil.  I source my olive pomace oil there for making soap.  It is cheap and I don't feel bad dropping $13 on a gallon of it.  They also have olives.  The best thing at Bill's is the spices.  Big packages, small price.  Go there and you will be surprised.

Next thing, get a recipe.  This was the one that I based my process on.  Since I was going for quantity I needed to eyeball the amounts of everything to try to come close.

I found several that would suffice but the gist that I got was you need beans, lemon, tahini, garlic, salt and cumin.  Actually the cumin seems optional for many of the recipes that I found but I like cumin so in it goes.  Tahini, on the other hand, is some expensive shit.  I decided that any nut butter would suffice and I happen to have cashew nut butter on hand so I used that.  Garlic appeared to be limited to the taste of the preparer.  In my world, there is never enough garlic.  I also like to add parsley. 

Now, consider that a one pound bag of white beans needs to be soaked then cooked.  What I ended up with was about 4 lbs of  beans.  Fortunately I purchased more than I would ever need of the other ingredients so as not to worry.

What I ended up with was a lovely soft and creamy white bean hummus that tasted awesome.

I also smoked the blender in the process and pretty much trashed the kitchen.

So much for trying to cram cooking into an afternoon/evening of being late for work, grocery shopping, getting the kidlet from her program, riding bikes to get dinner and riding back and making a smoothie for the kidlet before venturing into this little disaster.  I would like to say it was worth it but only time will tell.


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