Uncategorized, What is FOOD?

Hungry for Hummus

Image by kchbrown via Flickr

It could not have happened at a better time. I was rushing to the subway, eager to get home and eat a late lunch, when all of a sudden I noticed an eclectic group of people gathered on the sidewalk patiently waiting in line.

As the nosey New Yorker that I am, I figured it had to be something. It’s a well-known fact that New Yorker’s have become somewhat immune to most daily peculiarities that happen on our sidewalks. For a New Yorker to not only stop what they are doing, but also patiently wait on line, it had to be something pretty good.

At the head of the line was a red idling truck where 2 young women were busily giving away individual sized packages of Sabras Hummus and snack sized bags of Pita chips to everyone in line.

Yippee! Free food!!!

As mentioned in my past post “When Free Can Be Fattening,” I am always a sucker for a freebie. However in this case, this freebie was not only NOT fattening but relatively healthy and low carb. One tablespoon has only 3 carbs.

My plan was to just take the hummus and leave the chips. However by the time I reached the head of the line, these women clearly were weary of giving away their goodies and insisted that I take several packages of BOTH the hummus and the pita chips.

“But I really don’t want that many,” I weakly protested.

“Don’t worry” the young woman enthused. “Once you try it, you’ll want more.”

As I lumbered down the subway with my hands full of humus and pita chips, I reasoned that I would give the chips to my kids and eat my hummus with celery and carrot sticks.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, Hummus can also be spelled hamos, hommos, hommus, homos, houmous, hummos or humus. It is a very popular middle eastern dip made primarily from chickpeas. Chickpeas, or Garbanzo beans in Spanish, or Cece beans in Italy have been used in cooking for thousands of years. In fact, according to The Food Encyclopedia, garbanzo beans are one of the world’s oldest cultivated foods dating as far back as the Neolithic period  in what is now Sicily. During the Roman Empire, chickpeas were shipped in jars from Sicily to the rest of Italy. The middle eastern region is thought to have created Hummus hundreds of years before that by combining chickpeas with lemon juice or vinegar, tahini (sesame seed butter), garlic and olive oil.

Although the history of hummus is lengthy, this ancient dip did not become popular in the United States until the end of the 20th century. Its popularity has steadily increased over the years with a 2010 market research report indicating a 35% growth in hummus consumption over the past 21 months. Sales are reportedly reaching nearly $300 million.

It’s no wonder that Americans are getting “hungry for hummus.” Chickpeas, the main ingredient are rich in protein, fiber, folic acid, zinc and magnesium. Tahini, which is sesame seed butter has about 3 grams of protein per tablespoon along with fiber and mono saturated (the healthy kind) fats.

Try the recipe below and let me know if you are “hungry for hummus”

Roasted Garlic Hummus

  • 1/2 head of roasted garlic (see note below)
  • 1 can of drained chick peas
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Remove roasted garlic cloves from skins. Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Serve with your favorite raw veggies.
*** How to roast garlic –  Cut off 1/4 inch of the raw garlic head. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on top of exposed cloves. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
I like to eat my hummus with lots of raw veggies. Celery Sticks, carrots sticks, red bell pepper and zucchini slices are my favorite. Experiment with your favorite veggies.
Chow for now!
What is FOOD?

Here Chickie, Chickie, Chickpea

Roasted Chickpeas
Image by fritish via Flickr

I was rummaging through my parents kitchen cupboard looking for something to snack on. My mother, annoyed that I was invading her “sanctum” inquired “What the heck are you looking for? You just finished lunch. You’re snacking and eating all the time!” To which I retorted, “Well, HELLO??? I am on the I LOVE FOOD DIET after all.”

I was at my parents house in Florida this past week as my kids had their Winter Break and we all needed a break from the brutal NYC winter weather.

Unfortunately all my parents had in their cupboard was carb filled chips, pretzels and other “no’s no’s that would not suffice on the I LOVE FOOD DIET. Just as I was about to give up and delve in to the “Party Size” bag of Lays Potato Chips, I spotted a lonely and dusty can of Garbanzo Beans way in the back of the shelf.

Eureka! I hit the jackpot. I was going to make a batch of my delicious and nutritious spicy roasted chickpeas! I took out the baking tray from the toaster oven and wrapped it in aluminum foil (easy clean up!).

Then I opened my can o’beans. I drained the beans and then rinsed them in cold water. By doing this you remove the extra starches that ruminate in the canned liquid. I then patted my little golden nuggets with a paper towel and laid these little balls on the baking sheet. I drizzled the chickpeas with a little olive oil and then sprinkled the legumes with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder and a teeny bit of cayenne pepper. I popped these babies into the toaster oven at 450 degrees for about 30 -40 minutes until they were brown and crunchy.

Delicious, salty, crunchy and savory  with just a little kick from the cayenne, I munched on these poolside with a few light beers the rest of the day. Yum! 🙂

Chickpeas also known as  Garbanzo beans, Indian pea, Ceci beans or Bengal grams is an edible legume packed with protein. Chickpeas have a long history dating back thousands of years. In fact depictions of chickpeas have been found on pottery during the late Neolithic (3500 BC) period in what is now Greece.

Further, in their book, Domestication of Plants in the Early World, authors Daniel Zohary and Maria Hopf cite evidence of drawings of chickpeas in a cave in Southern France dating as far back as 6790 BCE.

Chickpeas are chock full of zinc, folate, protein and fiber. While they do contain some carbohydrates  (approximately 70 grams for the can), it’s a whole lot less than the 227 grams of carbs, not to mention the huge amounts of fat, in the bag of potato chips I was about to devour.

As the saying goes, beans, beans, good for your heart….

Guiltless snacks. I love the I LOVE FOOD DIET!

Chow for now!