Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rattle and Hum-mus

If you have known me for any length of time, you should realize that I make a lot of references to music - though looking back in this particular blog I only see a couple.  Of course, the title of this post - Rattle and Hum - is a reference to U2, though the post has absolutely nothing to do with the band.  It is a particularly fitting title, though.  The reason being that after a little rattling of some garbanzo beans and a few other ingredients in my food processor, I have made some hummus.

On Wednesday I made my trip down to Deerfield Farm to get my raw milk.  On the way home I decided to stop in to It's Only Natural and pick up some other things that I had run out of along with a sprouting jar.  Actually, I had planned to pick up just the strainer lid, but the only size they had didn't fit the mason jars I already own, so for only a couple of dollars more I got the complete set - a quart size mason jar with a variety of strainer lids.  Sprouting seeds or grain involves a 3-8 hour soak (depending on the variety of grain/seed) followed by several rinse and aerate periods.  The sprouting lid is designed to make this an extremely easy - though still relatively lengthy - process.  Simply add you grain or seed to the jar, fill with filtered water, and screw on the lid.  Allow for the required time to pass - not an exact science here, but a good rule of thumb is that larger grains/seeds need a longer soak - and invert the jar to drain the liquid.  Because the lid is perforated, there is no need to remove the lid or to employ a separate strainer to catch the seeds.  The kit I bought has three lids with varying sizes of perforations to accommodate a wide variety of seeds - from tiny quinoa and sesame seeds up to monstrous garbanzo beans - without worry of losing them through the mesh.  After draining, simply rinse the seeds with fresh, filtered water.  Drain the rinse water and lay the jar on an angle to allow for excess water to slowly drain and air to circulate.  To accomplish this, I simply took a bowl from my cabinet and placed the jar in it so that the jar lays at about a 30 degree angle with the top lower than the base. 

Here is a picture of my sprouting jar that is currently being used to sprout some wheat berries.  I soaked them all day yesterday.  They are already starting to sprout, so I will probably get the Cuisinart out later today and grind them into flour.

The garbanzo beans soaked for about 8 hours and were ready to use yesterday.  I could have waited longer to allow for larger sprouts, but that wasn't the goal.  The simple act of sprouting adds considerably to the nutritional value of our grains and seeds.  Depending on the intended use, the sprouts can be allowed to grow larger or used at the first sign of sprouting.  As my intent was to make hummus, there was no need to allow for more growth.  After giving the beans a final rinse, I set to peeling them - a process that would likely have been made easier had I let the sprouts grow a bit more.  Just like peanuts in a shell, garbanzo beans have a 'skin' that can be removed.  While it is edible, it is not entirely palatable.  Having learned from a previous attempt at making hummus, I decided to remove the hulls for this attempt.  It took me a little while, but I got the job done in fairly good time.  After peeling them, I set the beans to cook.  Brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer, I let the beans simmer for about two hours.
Once done, I drained the beans and allowed them to cool a bit before adding them to the food processor.  I gave them a pulse or two - causing the 'rattle' - and then added my seasonings; some sea salt, toasted sesame oil (less than 1/4 tsp.), some garlic, some flax seeds, and some lemon juice.  I ran the processor for a minute, scraped down the bowl, ran it again and ended up with the 'hum'-mus.  It came out wonderfully.  My only complaint is that I should have been a little more generous with the seasonings as it is a little bland.  Easily corrected for the next batch.
Oh, and I didn't peel all of the beans.  Instead, I kept out a couple to see if I might grow my own!  The sprouting beans are currently sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counter awaiting planting.  I think that I will plant them indoors until they are a little more established.

I already mentioned today's goal of grinding the wheat berries into flour.  I might go one step further and make some crackers to use with my hummus!

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