First order of business, I have a new header! It was designed and executed by my good friend, the lovely/talented/brilliant Bailey Rae. She’s an incredible mosaic artists who recently designed and oversaw the installation of a 25 foot mosaic in downtown Minneapolis. Besides that she shows me the best places to buy cheap booze, knows every line to every 90s movie, and has the best eye for design of anyone that I know. Bailey! You’re fantastic and thank you.
Second, hummus. Aaron loves hummus. It’s one of his favorite foods, and we usually have two or three plastic tubs of hummus knocking around in our fridge. I’m pretty fond of the stuff myself, but not like Aaron. We’re spoiled to have an excellent local brand (Holy Land) here in Minneapolis that’s available in grocery stores across the metro. And it’s delicious stuff. But every time I buy hummus I look at the price tag and think to myself, I really should be making it.
The trouble is that we don’t have a food processor. So I was thrilled a few weeks back when Melissa of The Faux Martha published a recipe using a blender to make hummus. Her recipe was simple and brilliant, and came with a clever recipe for quick-roasting garlic. I saw the recipe and thought not of the quick-roast garlic (though I’m tucking that recipe away) but of one I’ve been storing for years, of hummus with a quick paprika butter.
I clipped the recipe from an August 2012 issue of Food and Wine. It comes from a culinary profile of Minneapolis. I bought the issue long before Aaron and I decided we wanted the Twin Cities to be the launching pad for our adult life, and I won’t lie and say that article didn’t influence our decision. This hummus comes from Saffron, where Aaron and I ate for our anniversary one year, and which is sadly closing this week. I remember ordering the hummus and expecting a mound, but instead getting an elegant plate of perfectly smooth hummus topped with chrimson paprika butter and a flurry of za’atar. Everything we had that night was perfect, from the fried cauliflower to the Parisian gnocchi to the warm punch that greeted us when we sat. I’ve been fortunate enough to have eaten there a handful of times, and I am grateful to have this recipe to remember it by.
As I write this I realize Minneapolis is the thread that links this all, from Bailey to Saffron to Melissa, who also lives here and whose work I like to admire from afar. As the winter comes, and as the season of gratitude is technically over, I am filled with joy of the place I live. I hope for the same for you.
Hummus with Paprika Butter
The hummus and the paprika butter ratios don’t quite match, but that’s for the best. The paprika butter is so quick and easy to make that if you want more, it takes three minutes. This recipe will make enough to have a gorgeous, “special occasion” hummus with the paprika butter, and have enough left over for daily snacking.
Makes 3 cups
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained, or 1 fifteen ounce can of chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
Put the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt into the blender. Start the blender on low, and once its a chunky paste slowly turn the speed up to medium. Blend until the blender stalls. Scrape down the sides using a rubber spatula, add 2 tablespoons of water, and return the speed to medium. Repeat the scraping and adding water as necessary, until the blender moves easily. Blend for a few minutes until the hummus is as smooth and fluffy as you want. The more water you add, the lighter the texture will be. Taste the hummus, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. My tahini had no salt added, so I found the hummus needed an extra 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Melt the butter over medium low heat. Wait until it starts to froth and separate into liquid, solids, and foam, and the solids start to get dark and smell toasty. Stir in the paprika, and cook for about a minute more. Pour into heatproof container and let it settle, then skim the foam off the top.
To serve the hummus with paprika butter, mound the hummus into a serving dish. Use the back of a spoon to create hills and valleys, places for the butter to gather. Gently pour the paprika butter onto the hummus, being careful to keep the toasted butter solids off of the hummus. Serve immediately, with pita, crackers, or crudites.