What’s cooking

I love hummus! I cannot even imagine ever getting sick of the full Middle Eastern flavours. On its own, with pita bread or with home-made tabbouleh. It’s just so good. Since we moved to the UK, I have noticed that even my tiny local Budgens carries at least four different varieties of hummus. How convenient! That was not the case in Finland. I had to always turn to the master hummus maker, my husband. He whisks together a mean guacamole, too!

Some time ago, I came across this fantastic wintery recipe by Heidi Swanson, combining many of my favourite ingredients: tahini and chickpeas of course, but also asparagus and almonds. We made it last night:

Chickpeas, Asparagus and Brown Rice with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Dressing
It’s more fun with two people in the kitchen, so my husband prepares the dressing and I do the rest. I often ask him to double the amounts for the dressing, so that we have some extra the following night. The dressing is simply delicious as a dipping sauce for celery, carrot and cucumber sticks. I’ve also used it as salad dressing.

My husband chops a clove of garlic. I slide an extra clove and an onion onto his chopping board that I’ll need for my portion. He combines the one chopped garlic clove, a quarter cup tahini, the zest and juice of a lemon and two tablespoons of olive oil in a small jar. He combines the ingredients before adding two tablespoons of hot water to thin the dressing slightly. It’s as easy as that. A bit of salt and then he shakes it until blended. He’s all done.

Rice with vegetables
I throw two cups of brown rice and some water in my rice cooker. Perfect rice, guaranteed! I chop a big handful of whole almonds very roughly and toast them on a dry, hot pan with some salt. I think it enhances the flavour. I put them aside. I have to toast some extra almonds because I always end up snacking on them while cooking. I then heat two tablespoons olive oil in the same pan and empty a can or two of chickpeas onto it. I shake them around until they get slightly brown.

I trim a bunch of asparagus and cut it into one inch pieces. If I cannot find any asparagus, broccoli will do. I add the garlic and onion that my husband has kindly chopped onto the pan with the chickpeas and cook the mixture for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Then the green vegetables get tossed to the pan. I try to find a lid and allow the asparagus to steam until it has turned bright green. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

It’s almost ready now. The final phase is to add the brown rice and toasted almonds to the pan. I try to toss the mixture a little to combine all the ingredients properly. Our pan is too small. It’s such a shame that we are not able to use our wok on the new induction hub. I season the food with some freshly ground black pepper.

We serve the rice mixture and drizzle the dressing generously over the rice and vegetables. Bon appétit! Maybe tomorrow I’ll make some baba ganoush.

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