Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus

Roasted Garlic and White Bean Hummus

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Fridays are my favorite day of the week. It has long been our date night and we rarely make plans to do anything because we are both ready to just relax at home by then. This is even more true lately, because life just seems more fraught and busier than ever these days.

The leisure of a Friday night, cooking together and catching up, is as welcome as a warm afghan on a cold day. We start texting each other by mid-afternoon with ideas for dinner. The Kitchen Genius’ ideas usually trump mine because he seems to be fussier on any given day than I am. Not that he’s actually fussy. Far from it. That man will eat just about anything.

But he has a fickler palate on a day to day basis. It’s not worth arguing about because we always eat very well. What difference does it make to me whether we eat linguini with white clam sauce or marinated lamb chops? I love it all.

Around 6 p.m. on Fridays, I turn off my laptop and he pulls into the driveway. I put Pandora “Dinner Party Radio” on my phone and turn on the speakers. Then I make cocktails while he unloads whatever groceries he picked up on his way home. His new favorite cocktail is a bourbon Negroni, which is equal parts bourbon, Campari and sweet vermouth, shaken and served straight up. I generally have an old-fashioned on the rocks because it’s perfect for slow sipping.

Friday is the only night we always make an appetizer to go along with our cocktails. Some weeks they are simple, like cheese stuffed mushroom caps or oysters with mignonette. We were so in love with oysters ceviche a while back that we ate it every week for a month. Stuffies are another favorite along with clams casino.

Our new favorite appetizer is a new recipe we tried on Easter. Our crowd of over 20 could not get enough of the crostini topped with roasted garlic and white bean hummus we made. It is one of the simplest recipes you can make, so this will certainly be on the menu at our next dinner party.

Foods come and go from favor all the time. Roasted garlic was the darling of most chefs a few years ago. Then it kind of got forgotten, although my son in law tells me the roasted black garlic is a current rage.

Roasting garlic is incredibly easy. You simply slice the top off of a whole bulb of garlic cloves, drizzle it with some olive oil and wrap in up in a little foil packet. Tuck it into a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes. Slow cooking garlic in its skin transforms it from something with a lot of bite to something that is incredibly smooth and sweet.

Roasted Garlic

To remove the garlic from the skins, turn it upside down over a bowl and squeeze. Each tender garlic bulb will pop right out. At this point, no one would fault you if you smothered a few cloves of it onto a waiting slab on a nice crusty piece of bread, but patience offers a bigger reward. When the roasted garlic is pureed with cannellini beans, olive oil and fresh rosemary, the result will make you forget that butter exists as a condiment for bread.

To make crostini I start with a long baguette, cut into fairly thin slices, which I arrange on a baking sheet. First I take a peeled clove of garlic and slice it in half. Then I run the cut side of the garlic over the top of each crostini. I use a small pastry brush to spread a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil on each slice. A light sprinkling of salt adds flavor. Broil the crostini for about one minute until golden brown.

You want to make these at the last minute so they stay crisp, rather than becoming chewy. To serve, arrange the crostini on a platter and put the hummus in a small bowl. Place colorful toppings like Kalamata olives, marinated sweet red peppers and marinated mushrooms in other bowls so guests can create their own crostini.

Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus
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Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus
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Ingredients
  • 1 bulb garlic , roasted
  • 1 can white cannellini beans (15 ounce), drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 grinds fresh black pepper
Servings:
Instructions
Roast Garlic
  1. Slice the top off of a whole bulb of garlic cloves, drizzle it with some olive oil and wrap in up in a little foil packet. Tuck it into a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes.
  2. To remove the garlic from the skins, turn it upside down over a bowl and squeeze. Each tender garlic bulb will pop right out.
    Roasted Garlic
Hummus
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, about one minute.
  2. Serve as topping for crostini or with white toasted pita wedges for dipping.
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Hummus 1

Butternut Squash Hummus

What happens when people who used cooking to connect and blow off steam can’t find their way to the kitchen? The answer isn’t happy or delicious at all.

The Kitchen Genius and I are usually pretty easy going on each other and all other people in our life. Our theory has always been that most people are trying really hard and it’s better to be a helper person than a critic. But once in a while we become so overwhelmed by real life that we retreat into our private ways of coping and those ways aren’t necessarily complimentary.

I’m pretty sure this must be true of all marriages and the survival of a union is in the details – and how quickly you get over the petty things and get back to loving each other.

We were facing the end of the longest week of the longest month in memory in terms of stressful live events. And we had one day to catch up – Sunday. I had warned KG for days that I had to devote the whole day to writing. He had other ideas in mind.

Communication was at a minimum. We both retreat when we are stressed. It left us off balance all week, but hit a peak on Sunday. When we woke up, we took the time to read the newspaper over bowls of granola together. KG had his own list of things to do and so did I.

I got to work writing and KG ignored the big pile of leaves he planned to tackle and started rearranging the piles of story folders, magazines and everything else in our house that was mine. This is always his not-so-subtle way to persuade me to join his agenda. It usually works for him, but I resisted this week and things got tense.

When I get stuck on writing, I tend to pace. Each time that happened, I looked out the window and noticed that KG was either out of sight or in a different place. He was alternating between dealing with the big pile of compost that is now sitting in our front yard and the massive amount of leaves everywhere.

He also cleaned out the chicken coop.

That poor man was so flummoxed by all the pressing needs of our house and yard that he was alternately trying to chip away at the most obvious things.

I knew that home-cooked food would bring back peace. When I checked out the ingredients in the fridge and pantry that KG had already bought in our daily survival list, I saw where his mind was going.

Hummus 2
Roasted butternut squash adds seasonal appeal and flavor to hummus.

Last month we had a fabulous dinner at the Ocean House in Dennis. We were both wowed by the butternut squash hummus. It was topped with kalamata olives sautéed with garlic and rosemary and served with warm naan bread.

hummus 3
Mini sandwich wraps are like bites of comfort.

KG made it for our daughter’s family when we were on vacation in San Francisco and it was such a hit that less than a week after we returned home she called me from Whole Foods to get the recipe. It was also the perfect dish to set aside petty annoyances and remember that life is both good and delicious.

Butternut Squash Hummus
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(a recipe in reassuringly simple steps)
Butternut Squash Hummus
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
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(a recipe in reassuringly simple steps)
Ingredients
Squash
  • 3 cups butternut squash diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt , to taste
  • pepper , to taste
Hummus
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can chick peas , drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/2 lemon , juice
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
Topping
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic , minced finely
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (leave it whole)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives with pits removed
To serve:
  • 1 package tandoor baked garlic naan
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle smoked paprika
Servings:
Instructions
Squash:
  1. Toss squash cubes with olive oil and salt and paper and roast at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until tender, turning after fifteen minutes. Cool squash while you make the hummus.
    Hummus 2
Hummus:
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add cooled squash and blend again.
Topping:
  1. Place olive oil in a small cast iron pan and sauté ingredients over medium heat until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes.
To serve:
  1. Heat naan for 2 to 3 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Place butternut squash hummus in the center of a medium serving plate. Arrange olive mixture on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Serve with naan bread cut into triangles to make mini sandwich bites.
    hummus 3
Recipe Notes

*Note: For a faster version, you can buy organic pre-made hummus from Whole Foods like we did in San Francisco. Sometimes you just need easy.

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