Before I get to the recipe, I want to thank you for the huge outpouring of support after my last post. I appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers and was honored to hear the stories that you shared. Though it strengthens me to know that I’m not alone, it also saddens me that so many of my readers have received a similar diagnosis. My thoughts are with every one of you who has been touched by this disease. Thank you for the blog comments, Facebook messages, emails, phone calls, and even gifts you’ve sent. I want you to know that I am feeling back to “normal” and am eager to see what the next 50 years of my life has in store.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. There’s something about it that feels mysterious, a prickling of the senses that goes beyond the crisp, new hint of chill in the air or the flash of color and sound of falling leaves. Even as a child, I felt a sense of nostalgia around this season, a sense of participating in an ancient ritual each Halloween when my family built a bonfire and set it ablaze with a match tossed onto dried pine straw and leaves.
I get a little sentimental when I remember those bonfires, which, since we now live in the city, I’ve never gotten to share with my daughter. The same goes for the haunted houses, tame by today’s standards, that my siblings and I would set up in our garage for our Halloween parties. I delighted in creating ghosts from old sheets and bats with glow-in-the-dark marbles for eyes, rigging them up on wires, and pulling them out to scare our screaming friends. I thought one day my daughter would be interested in making her own haunted garage, but every Halloween she was more interested in going trick-or-treating with friends or attending other people’s parties. Now she’s 17 and much too sophisticated for ghosts and bats on wires.
I think my nostalgia over childhood Halloween parties is why I like to set up little scenes around my Halloween recipes. Normally, my food photography is fairly no-frills–a couple of sprigs of herbs or a salad in the background is about as fancy as I get. But when I made this swampy green hummus yesterday, I immediately pictured it in a witch’s cauldron, stirred by an old crone. Unfortunately, the local party store was all sold out of miniature crones, so I settled for the Grim Reaper instead. To create the right spooky atmosphere, I decided I needed some Spanish moss. There’s a nearby cul-de-sac of private houses where moss hangs off of every tree. The old oaks lean out into the street, dangling the moss just above the heads of passersby. Would jumping up and grabbing a handful be stealing?
I don’t know. So in the interest of avoiding self-incrimination, let’s just say that a certain blogger may have talked her daughter into going with her on a moss mission. She might have stopped the car right under a bit of hanging moss, and her daughter could have jumped from the car and plucked a handful out of someone’s oak tree. And then they quite possibly would have driven off quickly, laughing like a couple of children who had just sent a rubber bat with glowing green eyes careening into the hair of a squealing friend.
Killer Jalapeño Hummus
- 2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas drained (see Notes below)
- 1 cup baby kale or spinach packed (about 1.5 ounces)
- 1/3 cup bean cooking liquid, water, or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tahini or toasted sesame seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2-1 jalapeno chiles stemmed, seeded if desired
- 1/2-1 teaspoon mild chili powder (combination of chiles, cumin, and other seasonings)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Optional Garnish: black sesame seeds or chopped jalapeño
- Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and process until smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add liquid by the tablespoon and continue blending. Taste and add more jalapeños, chili powder, and salt if needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with chopped jalapeño or black sesame seeds.
I’ve come to appreciate just how much more creamy and delicious hummus is when it’s made with freshly cooked dried chickpeas. I use my Instant Pot to pressure cook rinsed garbanzos for 35 minutes at high pressure and allow the pressure to come down naturally for 10 minutes. Then I make the hummus while the beans are still warm, adding a little extra liquid because hummus prepared from hot beans will thicken as it cools. You can, of course, use canned chickpeas. Just adjust the salt to taste because canned chickpeas are usually salted.
With sesame seeds: 81 calories, 14 calories from fat, 1.7g total fat
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