Saturday, April 25, 2009

Homemade Bread, Homemade Chickpeas, Homemade Hummus

I really, really, really love bread. However, I don't buy it often, because when I do, I usually end up eating the whole dang loaf in about 2 days. Discovering how easy it is to freeze fresh bread has really helped, but still. Anyhow, last week I got around to trying out a recipe from Mark Bittman's column, that I had cut out a while back. This is his recipe for faster no-knead 100% whole grain bread. The end result was a slightly heavy, slightly sour, zero-effort, 100% whole grain loaf with a lovely moist, seedy texture and a firm crust. Also, this is the "quick" version, where the dough only sits for 4-5 hours, rather than 12-18. I'll definitely make it again.

'Banzos! Chickpeas! Ceci! Whatever you call 'em, you gotta love 'em! As far as I'm concerned, 'banzos are the king of beans. After all, 'banzos are the source food of hummus and everyone knows what a dark and sad place the world would be without hummus. I've long been a fan of home cooked beans, but lately I've become a bit more of a fanatic. They are so good, and you can cook them just the way you like them! And, this was my best batch ever, thanks to a few tips from the aforementioned Mark Bittman and his epic tome "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian."

Here are a few very excellent bean cooking tips I will share with you:
- Soak the beans about 8 hours, not too much more
- If the beans are presoaked, you only need to cook them in enough water to cover them by about 2 inches
- Bring to a boil, but then reduce the beans to a gentle boil - not a crazy boil!
- Check every 10 minutes or so to see how they are coming.
- When they start to get tender, add about 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp white vinegar (per 1 lb beans) which helps expedite the cooking, keeps the skins from breaking away, and imparts flavor.

YUM!

With my huge batch of ceci (9 cups!), I used some for dinner, made a 1 1/2 batch of Dreena's amazing "Creamy Hummus" from "Vive le Vegan", and put some in the freezer (Bittman's book also has nice instructions for steaming frozen beans to thaw them, which I haven't tried yet!)

Then, I put it all together, for some delicious open-faced hummus sandwiches. Toasted the bread lightly, slathered on a generous layer of hummus and then put together 3 different toppings (left to right):
tomatoes, fresh basil, hummus
kalamata olives, roasted red bell pepper, hummus
tomatoes, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, hummus
tomatoes, fresh basil, hummus

Alongside a giant salad, this was a perfect dinner for last Monday's 97 degree heat!

17 comments:

  1. Yea for homemade awesomeness! I've decided to start baking my own bread as well. My friend just gave me some sourdough starter, so I have a great excuse.

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  2. Two things I love - bread and creamy hummus!

    I love Vive le Vegan cookbook - we just made the bean and yam hummus, and it was delicious!

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  3. That bread sounds perfect! What could be better than homemade bread and hummus, anyway?

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  4. YUM! What a beautiful post. Those sandwiches look just amazing, so bright and gorgeous.

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  5. that's a lot of homemade awesomeness! hellz yeah! and thanks for the bean cook'n tips - totally gonna try them out next time we make a batch! thanks! :)

    isn't homemade bread the best?!? we make a loaf of whole wheat every week! mmmmm! i feel like such a bad ass make'n my own - i hope you do, too! yay!

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  6. 97 degrees?!? Wow! I'd want refreshing and light sandwiches too.

    Your tomatoes look awesome!

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  7. Those tomatoes look so summery! Perfect feast for a hot day.

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  8. I just stumbled on your blog... on the day I had made a Mark Bittman recipe! (Well, tried to, anyway!) You have a great blog, and I'll visit again!

    wingraclaire.livejournal.com

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  9. Your bread looks pretty good! I tried a recipe like that from vegweb and make it a bunch of times.

    I love homemade beans too! Mmm...hummus from freshly cooked chickpeas :)

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  10. Viva la chickpea! I agree with you, those things are the best legume around, and hummus is perhaps one of the best things to make with them. It all sounds delicious!

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  11. I get a lot of free bread from work but there is nothing like making your own.

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  12. You always bake the prettiest bread. It reflects your love!

    YOu sure made a lot of chickpeas! Your tips were right on, although I did just read somewhere that it didn't matter when you added in the salt. Making lots of hummus was a yummy idea.

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  13. Your open faced sandwiches look delicious, especially the fennel topped one, mmmm! Totally agree about the chickpeas- they are the king of the bean world!

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  14. Holy homemade deliciousness! Please share!

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  15. The bread looks great! And I love home-cooked beans. I just started cooking my own a few months ago and now I'm embarrassed that I was every intimidated. Thanks for the tips!

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  16. Wow, all this homemade stuff just impresses my socks off! And those open-face hummus sandwiches look so darn good!

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  17. i've never cooked garbanzo beans, but after reading those cooking tips, i surely will ; ) ! (i guess they taste better than the canned ones).

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