This Saturday I held my annual holiday party, and for some reason decided to be ambitious and spend all day in the kitchen for it. It was nice to spend the day by myself cooking in a peaceful apartment. My roommates were both out all day so no one was in my way, and I just had my cute dog hanging out on the couch to keep me company.
When party time came, and people didn't eagerly gobble my food, I decided that I won't go to so much effort next time. No one cares that it was homemade. They would have been perfectly happy with storebought hummus and chips and chocolate and so on.
Early in the day, I made chips and dips. I used my old standby recipe for pita chips, which is always a crowd pleaser. Next it was time to tackle the food processor. Jesse got the food processor for Christmas. For some strange reason, he decided that we needed it. I was, and still am, skeptical about this, as I always got along fine in my life without one. Up until Saturday I had never used a food processor before. If I wanted to puree something, such as soup or pesto, I have always just done it in my blender.
I watched the 45 minute instruction video to see if I could get some idea of whether this device is actually useful. Interestingly, on the video they often put prepeeled and sliced vegetables into the processor to chop them up more finely and mix them. Now I think this is kind of silly. If you've already gone to the trouble of getting out a cutting board and a knife to chop a pepper into large pieces, why not just go all the way and knife it up into fine little pieces rather than having to use electricity and getting a whole other object in the kitchen dirty to chop it up more finely. Same goes for mixing cookie batter in a food processor. Are people too lazy to use their arm muscles anymore?
But I figured I should give the food processor a try, since it is ideal for making dips and spreads. After completing the recipes below for hummus and Moroccan carrot dip, I will agree that it is a lot easier to use the food processor than the blender for dips. I think I might also try using the food processor when I want to tackle pastry dough someday. But other than that, I think it will stay hidden in our makeshift kitchen storage, aka the underneath of a table in my living room (our kitchen is impossibly small).
Some Moroccan carrot dip recipes call for cinnamon and honey, so I included them. However, carrots are already sweet and this made the dip a little too sweet for what should be a savory snack, so I omitted them from my recipe below. The hummus came out great. In the next month I really want to try cooking Mediterranean food more often - hummus, falafel, tabouleh, tajine, and so on. Mmmm.
Moroccan Carrot Dip
4 medium sized carrots
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon squeezed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Chop carrots in large pieces and unwrap garlic clove, leaving it whole. Place carrots and garlic in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, and then let simmer, partially covered, about 20 minutes until carrots are tender. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Let carrots cool for a few minutes.
Place carrots and garlic in food processer and process until smooth. Add cooking water and process again until smooth. Add spices, honey, and lemon juice, and process again. Add olive oil slowly while the machine is running. Taste and add more spices to your liking. Spoon into a serving bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil, and serve with pita chips.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/3 cup tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
dash of paprika
Put the raw chickpeas in a pot with cold water to cover and soak overnight.
The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas, then place them in the pot and cover with about an inch of water. Add one whole clove of garlic to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, partially covered, for about an hour or until the chickpeas are tender.
Drain the chickpeas and garlic, reserving the cooking liquid. In a food processor, process the chickpeas and garlic until finely ground. Add tahini, lemon juice, remaining garlic clove, and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and process until smooth. Add cumin, salt and pepper and process again, adding more of these spices to taste. While food processor is running, add 2 tsbp olive oil. If consistency is too thick, add more of the cooking liquid a little at a time until hummus is smooth and paste-like. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle paprika over the top. Serve with pita chips.