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I just woke up recently with dried raspberry jelly plastered to my arm hairs; a distant reminder of this morning… (and also why I didn’t get around to that hummus post yet)

I was up far, far earlier than my normal schedule. Why? Because I was given an opportunity to learn how to do the cake and pastry work in the bakery I work at, instead of the usual bread baking at night.

I put on my uniform at, to me, the ungodly hour. I caught myself staring hard at my shoe, pondering which foot it belonged to. (the curved outlines of my shoes wiggled, and then both appeared to seem straight to my mild bafflement)

After that though, the rest of the day was cake. Hah, punny (that one slipped by subconsciously) There were certainly quite a few characters there; one in particular reminded me of the days when I was 12, working with my dad and the over the top new yorker italian restauranteurs… Mostly there were some slightly more repetitive things to do like, how to jam a little cake square into a smaller square mouthed shotglass. (After three hours I began to understand why, when I was given this task, the taskgiver added “I’m sorry” and looked genuinely apologetic) However, I did learn some pretty useful things, so I’m happy I got the chance to do it!

Alright, on to the hummus.

The first time I made hummus, it was a disaster. I was inspired by the greek restaurant Opa taverna’s, hand smashed in a mortar and pestle chickpeas… I also cooked the beans myself, and I guess they didn’t cook long enough because even popeye after a can of spinach would’ve had difficulty hand smashing them. (perhaps this is a job for chuck norris?)

Here are some Chuck norris jokes brought to you by google;

“Some magicians can walk on water, Chuck Norris can swim through land”

“Chuck Norris can say “m” without putting his lips together.”

“There used to be a street named after Chuck Norris, but it was changed because nobody crosses Chuck Norris and lives”

“Chuck Norris died 20 years ago, death just hasn’t built up the courage to tell him yet”

“Chuck Norris can cut through a hot knife with butter”

“Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door”

“When the boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.”

“Chuck Norris once got bit by a rattlesnake…… After three days of pain and agony…… the rattlesnake died.”

“Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. It’s descendents are known today as giraffes.”

Tahini (AKA raw sesame paste)

recipe inspired by cinnamon spice

 

Sesame seeds  **It takes a lot of sesame seeds to make a little paste

Sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put desired amount sesame seeds on a baking sheet with a lip, or no crevice will be able to escape the wraith of the sesame seed

Toast sesame seeds until fragrant and golden brown (6+ minutes)

Let cool for a few moments, then blend with a food processor ideally, or blender. If the crushed seeds become powder like or hard for it to process, add a splash of sesame seed oil and keep processing; continue doing this until you get the consistency you want; thin and pourable. There should only be a few whole sesame seeds remaining, if any.

 

Hummus;

recipe from the hummus blog (for more in detail instructions)

 

1 cup of dried chickpeas

1 tbs and 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup tahini

juice of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp cumin

salt to taste

olive oil

parsley

Wash the dried chickpeas until the water runs clear.

Soak them in a bowl of water overnight, with one tablespoon of the baking soda (I believe I soaked them for 15 hours, some people recommend a full 24 hours)

The next day drain the chickpeas, rinse out the bowl and add fresh water. Let soak for a few more hours.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas well, put them in large pot. Cover beans with water and add the 1/4 tsp baking soda.

Cook at a soft boil until the chickpeas are tender and very easily smashed between two fingers. (It took me about 50 minutes) The recipe author recommends changing the water once during the cook time and to skim the foam and peels off the surface of the water. (most of the foam happens in the beginning of cooking)

When they are done cooking strain the beans, but keep the cooking water for thinning the hummus later.

Put in food processor or blender and blend well; let sit until cool.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until you get the desired texture. If it is too thick for your tastes adding the cooking water will thin it out.

Optional; pile hummus on plate in circle. Make a divet in the center and pour olive oil and sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on top. Sprinkle red pepper on the sides in strips for spiciness and color.

 

Pita bread;

bits and pieces recipes adapted from arabic bites, kath eats real food, smitten kitchen, rose levy beranbaum

 

2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1 Tablespoon olive oil

place all ingredients in a mixer bowl, knead for 10 minutes to make a soft dough. (I had to add a half handful extra flour because it was too wet)

Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in bowl. Lightly oil top of dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 90 minutes.

One 45 mins – 1 hour before you bake pitas put a baking stone, cast iron pan or cookie sheet on an oven rack on the lowest level and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Cut dough (a dough scraper works well) into desired size of pitas. If you want tiny ones you should end up with about sixteen pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball, set on plate. Let rest for 20 minutes, covered.

On a lightly floured surface roll each ball into about a 1/4 inch circle.

Let rest for 10 minutes (I skipped this and they still turned out good)

Cook for 3 minutes”

*If your pitas are not puffing to your liking supposedly you can spritz the rolled out pitas and let rest for three minutes, or as rose levy beranbaum suggests kneading in a little moisture.

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