Sunday, July 11, 2010

Back Porch Summer Evenings (Black Bean Hummus)

I’ve written before about our wonderful neighborhood and the people who live here. As we near the year anniversary of our cross-country move, I continue to be thankful that we made our decision to purchase the house we now call home. 

This summer many of the neighbors have been getting together on alternate Saturday nights for cocktails, appetizers and a lot of laughs.  We inevitably end up on the back porch – the quintessential Southern gathering place on a hot summer night.  

In California we would have called it the deck or patio.  Here a back porch is often screened, which makes it seem even more like a part of the home. Furnishings are typically simple, but the spaces have a cozy feel.  Both the screened and completely outdoor variety back porch often overlooks a wooded yard and, if you are lucky, a creek or stream. A flickering of fireflies and the symphony of cicadas, tree frogs and bullfrogs rounds the whole thing out.
We had just such an evening planned for last night.  The day, however, had been long, busy and active day for both Steve and me, so a quick and easy to make appetizer was in order. 

I’d been thinking about making black bean hummus all week (I truly don’t know why, but it sounded like a good thing to do), and earlier in the week had jotted down what I thought would make a good recipe for it. The party was a great opportunity to give the recipe a try.

As usual, I made an adjustment here and there to my original ideas about spices and seasonings.  At one point, Steve (my official taster) declared it “too limey,” so I added a seeded and minced jalapeño pepper, which balanced the whole thing out. 

I also made a batch of homemade tortilla chips, something I hadn’t made since college (so easy – just cut up fresh corn tortillas, fry them in canola oil and sprinkle with sea salt).  Then with crossed fingers and a bottle of wine, we headed over to the party of unsuspecting guinea pigs.

They may have just been being polite, but everyone said they liked it.  The bowl was all but licked clean, so I’m calling it a success.

Here it is for you to try out.

Black Bean Hummus

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ limes (the juice of both and the zest of one)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated on a micro-plane, or minced and then rubbed with the side of a knife with some Kosher to make a paste (you want the flavor of the garlic, but not a chunk of it)
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp hot sauce (Cholula "original" or another flavorful, spicy hot sauce of your choice - see photo)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted in a skillet until they are fragrant
  • ¾ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, and finely minced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs minced cilantro for garnish

In a food processor
  • Pulse the black beans, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, chili powder, hot sauce, cumin seeds, salt, pepper and coriander until smooth.
  • Scrape down the sides of the food processor and pulse again to mix.
  • Switch the setting to “on” and stream in the olive oil
  • Add the ½ cup of cilantro leaves and the jalapeño and pulse to mix
  • Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste
  • (If you like a thinner hummus, you can thin with a table spoon or two of water)
Remove to a serving bowl or plate and chill for at least 30 minutes
  • Garnish with remaining 1 Tbs of cilantro leaves and line wedges

Serve with tortilla chips or sliced red bell peppers and/or sliced jicama