When I was a youngster growing up back on the block, we never heard of hummus. It wasn't until my early adult-hood that I became aware of this Middle Eastern savory. Today its is ubiquitous. You see it everywhere. No party, wedding, birthday bash, or social function would be complete without it. It's used as a spread, dip, or pita filling. Most people get it in the supermarket, with all the additives that come with it to preserve shelf-life. However, some of us would never buy the store bought stuff. Why? Because it is so EASY to make. Ten minutes, top, and you have grade A hummus.

Hummus is a concoction of chick peas (garbanzo beans), Tahini, or sesame seed paste. I use Tahini, which can be found in any store and is simply pureed roasted sesame seeds. Apart from using hummus as dip or over veggies, I like it over rice. Try it. It'll spice up the old grain. But my favorite hummus recipe is with pasta and olives. Simple: cook any tubular pasta (penne, macaroni, rigatoni, ditalini, etc.) as per package directions. Drain, then add a cup of hummus, and one (6-oz) can medium or large black olives (drained under cold running water to remove excess salt, and sliced). Mix it all together, and you have a great, delish pasta dish. Quick and Nutritious.

Of course, you need to make the hummus first. So, here is my quick hummus recipe. You'll never buy the shelf stuff ever again.


1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/3 cup Tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil

1. Place all ingredients, except the olive oil, in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
2. Transfer to a serving bowl or dish. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and serve.
Yield: about 2 cups (the recipe can be doubled for additional servings)
NOTE: Some people like to add cumin (about 1 teaspoon) and a pinch of paprika to the recipe for a more pronounced Middle Eastern flavor. Do whatever suits you best.

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