What is "From Scratch?"

When it comes to cooking, it's all about creating. Before you can eat, you must compose. As grocers, corporations, celebrities, and Chefs make more and more food "convenient" ultimately, their taking away your ability to trust your own palate and creativity, and replacing those senses with nothing more than assembly line instructions. A package of this, and a bottle of that, isn't what stirs up memories of your grandmother, and doesn't make you beam with pride when you pull your creations from the oven. I prefer to have flour from head to toe, a rigged apartment smoke alarm, and to feel the excitement of knowing that I am self sustainable, creative and spent an afternoon (into the evening) to make something I thought you could only buy.

The purpose of this blog isn't to give recipes that will feed a family of 4, in ten minutes, on a Wednesday. There is plenty of that already. This blog is about reclaiming our heirloom recipes, learning how to avoid the bar code when shopping, and ultimately, it's about cherishing the hours we spend at the stove, not trying to condense them.

By your self, with your friends, your kids and loved ones, I encourage you to take a look at what we can create to nourish, entertain, and gift....From Scratch.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


According to my (poor) math calculations I have spent almost $300 on store-bought hummus this year. It's one of those items that ends up in my basket every shopping trip, and is included in one form or another in just about every snack break. It's gaining big popularity in the grocery stores too, being sold at big name shops, corner stores, and farmer's markets. But the price point is so inflated! I saw one brand at my organic market that was almost $7.00! Making hummus yourself not only saves you big money but gives you the opportunity to try different flavors and combinations, as well as control the amount of oil and salt. This recipe can be made using canned chickpeas, but when made with fresh, the flavor and texture can't be beat. For advice on how to cook dried beans, check out the "Cowboy Caviar" article I wrote.
The method could not be easier, everything is spun in the food processor and can be stored for up to a week in the fridge, although a tub of hummus has never lasted beyond 24 hours in my fridge. I love to dip tortilla chips into it, or if I am nutritionally behaving, baby carrots. Try hummus in place of mayo on a turkey sandwich, bring it to the next party or picnic, or thin down with lemon juice and use it as a dressing on Greek salad.  Kiss the store bought stuff good bye, you're in for a treat!

Hummus, from scratch
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 15 oz. cans organic chickpeas, 1/2 cup of beans reserved
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (seasame seed paste, found in the peanut butter isle)
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water or reserved bean liquid
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt, to taste

All our supplies

Because this recipe only has a few ingredients, and nothing is cooked, it's important that everything be high quality. Use organic ingredients, and a finishing extra virgin olive oil. 
To begin add garlic cloves to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add your chickpeas, zest, cumin and lemon juice and tahini and puree until smooth. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. Season with salt.
Loading up the processor

 If the hummus is thicker than you desire, thin it down with reserved bean liquid or water until you
achieve the consistency you desire.
30 seconds later, it's hummus!
Move hummus to a large mixing bowl, and fold in remaining chickpeas. I like this method because it produces a hummus with some texture, but it's totally optional.
Drizzle a little olive oil over the top before serving. 

So easy!

Once you have made hummus from scratch, you will never buy store bought stuff again! This recipe is very basic but, the flavors of hummus you can make are endless, so don't be afraid to try out all kinds of combinations.There are dozens of variations for hummus and you can flavor it anyway you like. These are a few of my favorite variations.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (Sambal) for spicy hummus
  • Puree 1/2 an avocado in with your chickpeas for a smooth, veggie hummus
  • Change out chickpeas for black beans, and replace lemon with lime
  • Change out chickpeas for cannelini  beans, the tahini for pinenuts, and add chopped sage instead of cumin

    Extra large batch, to share with my roomie : )


  1. AHHH! This looks amazing and EASY! I am craving hummus now ... your blog always makes me crave food (oh wait ... that could be the baby growing inside me too). Thanks for the info!

  2. This is so great! Can't wait to make the hummus. I've been on a big salsa from scratch kick myself. Have tomatoes, onions and peppers roasting in the oven as we speak.

  3. I will have to try this - I have always had disastrous results when it comes to hummus...though it was about 8 years ago since I last tried!