Lemon Rosemary White Bean Hummus

by Maja Lukic


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For me, personally, fall and winter are all about making use of pantry items such as dried beans. I am a huge fan of dried beans, actually, and always have a few varieties of beans and other dried provisions on hand. 

This recipe was born out of a desire to actually use up the massive quantities of dried goods I've been hoarding in my kitchen cupboards lately. I live in New York but sometimes I act like I have real estate to spare, which is absolutely not the case. Cleaning out the cupboards/closets is always a winning move.

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I also got a little herb crazy over the summer and, ever since, I have been looking for ways to justify my manic expenses at garden and hardware stores back in July. Although my kitchen windowsill is lined with pots and pots of herbs that are now rapidly drying out, the rosemary and thyme have turned out to be remarkably resilient and, therefore, very useful in my culinary exploits. (I can definitely get behind a plant that manages to thrive even under the care of a busy and self-absorbed lawyer). And so, this hummus is quite the herbal situation. I mean, it is literally packed with an assortment of both fresh and dried herbs.

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This pretty, green hummus has become everything to me. With layers of herbal and citrus notes, the resultant flavor is complex and brighter than one would expect. And it's completely versatile - I've used it as a dip, in avocado sandwiches and collard wraps, and on baked potatoes, roasted cauliflower, and roasted fish. Its clean lemon flavor is welcome everywhere, basically. 

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Lemon Rosemary White Bean Hummus (v/gf)

Makes approx. 3 cups  

1 cup dried cannellini beans (or 2 cans)

1 dried bay leaf

2 tbsp tahini 

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley 

1 sprig of rosemary, finely minced* 

1 tsp dried oregano

juice and zest of 1 lemon* 

1-4 tbsp water, as needed* 

sea salt, to taste

For dried beans: soak the beans for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well. Cover with a few inches of water in a large soup pot, add a bay leaf, and bring the beans to a boil. Simmer on low to medium heat, partly uncovered, for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. If not using right away, the beans can be stored in the fridge in their cooking liquid for a few days. Otherwise, drain the beans well. Optional move: reserve a little bit of the cooking liquid to process the beans below. 

For canned beans: just drain and rinse them well.   

Transfer the beans to a food processor and add the tahini, mustard, garlic, parsley, rosemary, oregano, and half of the lemon juice and zest. Process until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. If the mixture is dry, add in the water (or reserved bean cooking liquid), 1 tablespoon at a time until you achieve a creamy texture. Taste for seasoning and add salt and the remaining lemon zest/juice, as needed. 

The hummus can be stored in the fridge for up to a week (cover with plastic wrap by placing the plastic directly on top of the surface of the hummus to prevent it from drying out) or stored in the freezer for up to one month. 

 

Notes:  If you have a very large or very juicy lemon, start with 1/2 of the lemon zest and juice and taste before adding the rest.

Rosemary is strong - a little goes a long way. 

I know that it seems counterintuitive but adding water instead of oil yields a creamier hummus. Basically, tahini + water will always result in creamy perfection. 

 


Peach Turmeric & Ginger Smoothie

by Maja Lukic


It's July and we're playing with fresh ripe peaches. Today, in smoothie form. Smoothies are a little obsession of mine. Even in the height of this insane juice craze, I think there is a solid place for blended drinks. There actually seems to be quite a lot of unnecessary smoothie vs. juice debate. Personally, I consume both and do not believe you should ever have to choose between the two as long as you incorporate them in ways that best serve you.

A smoothie can be a standalone meal. A juice, on the other hand, because it's not as filling, is better used as a component of a meal or a healthy snack. In a smoothie, you're consuming the whole fruit or vegetable, with its fiber intact. The juice is processed and stripped of fiber so it may not keep you full for very long. (That is actually a considerable advantage to drinking smoothies - whole foods are generally preferable to processed foods. And fiber is great -- why throw it away?).

As a breakfast item, smoothies have another, and to some people, more important, advantage: time and convenience. Unlike juices, smoothies can be prepared ahead of time and stored for later. They do not oxidize as quickly as juices. I typically make a smoothie the night before and store it in the fridge overnight. (Juices should not be stored. Unless you're lucky enough to own a cold press juicer, drink your juice within 15-25 minutes of making it to preserve its enzymes.).

On to the recipe. I only have two rules when it comes to smoothies:

1. No dairy. Don't worry - I'll take care of you. We will use a frozen banana instead, which gives you that smooth, creamy mouthfeel that you would otherwise get from dairy (but I bet you already knew this about frozen bananas).

2. No ice cubes. Ice will just dilute the flavor, especially as it starts to melt. Bon Appetit concurs: How to Totally Screw Up a Smoothie. For a chilled smoothie (and you will want it chilled), some frozen fruit is a much better option. You will need the fruit anyway. I usually add a frozen banana (see no. 1) but frozen cherries, mangoes, and pineapple are all great choices.

As for the ingredients, it's all pretty straightforward. Try not to leave out the turmeric. It's good for your skin and, curcumin, an antioxidant flavonoid found in turmeric, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. You probably have some lurking around in your cupboard - put it to work.

Peach Turmeric & Ginger Smoothie (v/gf)

Serves 1

2 large organic celery stalks, roughly chopped

1-2 fresh organic peaches, quartered (no need to peel)

1 organic pear or apple, chopped inner core removed (no need to peel)

1 frozen banana, chopped

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

juice of 1/2 lemon

water/coconut water/fresh fruit juice, as needed

Blend all of the ingredients together, start with veggies and lemon juice (with minimal water or coconut water or even fruit juice) to get everything moving, followed by fruit and grated ginger. Add the frozen banana last and blend everything until smooth.

Parsley Variation: Because I find pure fruit smoothies to be a little too sweet for my tastes sometimes (especially in the morning), I like to add greens. Same as above but add 1/2 cup chopped organic parsley (or other herbs).