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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Serving up the weekend...with a side of hummus.

As I sit here eating my very first home-grown tomato sandwich of the season (so good that I actually closed my eyes when I bit into it) and munching on a local raw potato with a sprinkle of sea salt (I know, empty carbs...but it's my guilty pleasure. Yum!), I'm thinking about what I can possibly write about today that would be of interest to you. Truth be told, I'm still basking in the warm glow of a fantastic Father's Day weekend.

Granted, this was Keith's weekend. But I got to enjoy it by default! It was a weekend filled with togetherness -- enjoying the summer sun, homemade pizza and a movie, family Wii night, and lots of cooking! It just gets better and better as the kids' interest in food and confidence in the kitchen keeps growing.

Admittedly, the weekend wasn't all svelte. But such is life, right? The entire weekend was a culinary adventure, with the girls wanting to experiment. Besides The Svelte Gourmet pizza (a weekend staple) and the batch of Raisin Honey Bran Muffins I made, Taylor baked peach cobbler, Courtney learned to macerate blackberries (that she picked in the yard), and they baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I had some bananas ripening too quickly on the counter, so I sliced them up, roasted them at 400 for about 20 minutes, then tossed them with a few dark chocolate chips. Wow. I guess we were in a dessert mood this weekend.

Taylor and I enjoyed another experiment, too. We were at the grocery store picking up pizza toppings and peaches, and she picked out a small carton of calamata olive hummus in the deli section. One of her many discoveries in her new life as a vegetarian. But wait a second, $5? For that little thing? I almost detected a chuckle and eye roll when I suggested that we could make it just as good, if not better, ourselves -- and for 1/5th of the cost (I already had everything at home except the chick peas).

Me: "Just grab some garbanzo beans."
Taylor: "Huh?"
Me: "You know, chick peas."
Taylor: "Huh?"

OK, so we'll start from scratch. Hummus, basically, is mashed chick peas, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Then whatever other delicious flavoring you want to add. She's into calamata olives right now, as am I, so we decided on those and headed home.

Me: "Just get out the food processor."
Taylor: "The what? I thought you didn't want us eating processed food."
Me: "Ha! Not the same, dear."

So I introduced her to the food processor and off we went, whipping the ingredients into a delicious, svelte masterpiece. Commercial brands vary, but they typically come in around 100 calories and 6 grams of fat per 1/4 cup of the plain variety. Taylor's calamata hummus comes in a bit lighter with 85 calories and considerably less fat (1.5 grams) in 1/4 cup. Coupled with some celery sticks, cucumber slices, or a bit of toasted whole wheat pita, you've got a great snack with a little protein punch. Double the serving and add yogurt or an apple on the side and you have a perfect lunch. Enjoy!

Taylor's Calamata Olive Hummus
Makes five 1/4-cup servings

1 can (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans (chick peas)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt (add more to taste)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp sliced calamata olives
1 tbsp juice from calamata olive jar
1 tbsp water

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Quick and easy! Taylor loved it and ate it all weekend. I plan to make more and have it for lunch this week. Next time, I'll experiment with adding fresh herbs, sundried tomatoes, and maybe some pine nuts. Yum!

To top off this fabulous weekend, the girls surprised us with breakfast in bed (another one of the benefits of being married to their father on Father's Day!). They made French toast, scrambled eggs, grits, cinnamon toast and coffee. Amazing. They are really turning into great cooks, and nothing could make me happier.

Happy Father's Day!

The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html. Enjoy!


Melissa said...

YUMYUM! Hummus is a staple in my house as well :) I usually cook big batches of dried chick peas in my pressure cooker and always have some on hand - even cheaper than canned! We also use some tahini and parsley in ours. Another great option would be to roast the garlic and use several cloves of it for a great roasted garlic hummus. And of course roasted red pepper also goes great in hummus as well. In Turkey we make a similar dip out of white beans, so if you (or Taylor) gets sick of the chick peas, give white beans a try. Any kind will work. Happy Father's Day to Keith!

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Ooh, I love those ideas! I love roasted garlic...I didn't think to do that here, but I'll do it next time. I love white beans, too, so I'll give that a whirl. Thanks, Melissa!