Monday, November 29, 2010

Recipe: Homemade Pita Chips w/Hummus

I didn't make my own pita bread from scratch (I have always wanted to try that - next time!) but I did take inspiration from a friend (dietitian-chef) who makes her own pita chips at home.  These are unbelievable easy to make, but I do have two tips to ensure success (yes, based on experience) so that yours' will turn out better on the first try than mine did..

Pita Chips Directions:

Purchase fresh pita bread - make sure it is the type that can be split apart (i.e. it should be able to be "stuffed" with some type of filling when you cut it in half.

(1) Split apart the pitas into 2 rounds. You may need a knife to carefully do this.
(2) Then cut each half into 8 triangles.
(3) Place all triangles onto cookie sheets.
(4) Spray with olive oil (or very lightly brush with olive oil using a pastry brush)
(5) Sprinkle lightly with herbs or seasonings of choice, i.e. Zatar, sesame seeds, sumac,, garlic powder - I used the MIddle Eastern seasoning mixture called Zatar plus some sumac (see photo)
(6) Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for ~ 5 minutes.

Here are my tips for success (i.e. chips that are not burned!)
(1) Check after 3 minutes to see if they are crisp (shake the pan slightly - if they move easily on the tray, they are done enough). The original directions I found said to bake for 10 minutes. I first checked them at 7 minutes - oops and darn! The chips on the bottom tray were already black (sorry - no photos of those!) on both the bottom and top.
(2) Once done, remove chips from the cookie tray right away. Oops, I was admiring the perfection of my top tray of chips when I realized they were getting browner and browner before my eyes because they were obviously still baking away with the heat from the cookie tray. Well, even browner than I would have liked, they were still great.  I served them all, and they were all eaten with gusto!

(Photo: Homemade pita chips with Zatar and sumac seasonings)

(Photo: Close-up homemade pita chip with Zatar seasoning along with sumac - Great served with hummus or other bean dip)

I have re-posted my trusty recipe for hummus that is also on my website. Making hummus at home is so easy and much cheaper than store-bought, however hummus can now be found in most grocery stores in the deli section, which is an easy way to first try it. In fact, I often purchase it pre-made when traveling. There are many varieties. It is a very delicious and healthful alternative to many other spreads and dips. To make it at home, follow the basic recipe below and then have fun making your own variations.

Hummus (Standard recipe)

2 - 15 oz. cans of drained garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or use any white bean (tonight I used 3 cups of organic navy beans that I cooked up from dried beans)
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best, but bottled will work okay)
2 - 3 cloves of fresh garlic (today I used 5 large cloves of roasted garlic)
3-4 Tbsp. Tahini (ground sesame seeds in a jar or a tin - found in all health food stores, the health food section of your grocery store or sometimes in the section with other imported foods)
1-2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
dash of salt (I don't often use this)
Garnish - I used chopped fresh chives in this photo, but today I actually used finely chopped garlic scapes that I am finally clearing out of my refrigerator (I'm testing just how long they really keep!)


Put all ingredients except garnish in your food processor or blender. Process until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary.

Many variations can be made on the basic recipe. After the garbanzos and basic ingredients are blended until smooth, then use a wooden spoon to mix in chopped chives, finely chopped sweet or roasted red peppers, or chopped spinach. Be creative. This recipe (using 2 - 15 oz. cans of drained garbanzo beans) makes a lot. If this is your first time making it, try cutting the recipe in half.

I use hummus as a spread on all of my sandwiches except PBJ, on bagels in place of cream cheese, on baked potatoes instead of butter or margarine, as a dip with vegetables, and even instead of mayo when making salmon salad or egg salad. The possibilities are endless. Sometimes I even just eat it with a spoon (yes I do!). It is not an exaggeration to say that I eat hummus almost everyday and never, never, never get tired of it. :-)

Carrot hummus and beet hummus are also great recipes to try. I mean this sincerely. My husband and I first had these vegetable-style hummus dips when visiting New Zealand. We made such quick work of the first type that our waitress asked us if we would like to sample the other one, too (which the chef was currently making for tomorrow night's menu). We were SO wowed by these two delicious variations of a traditional hummus recipe that I pleaded for the recipes to post on my website. Sue Bender, the chef and owner of Rocksalt Restaurant in Orewa, New Zealand, graciously agreed, and I have thanked her each time I make them.

You should be able to still purchase delicious locally-raised carrots and beets at your local farmers' markets, so wow the guests at your next party or potluck event by making any or all of these home-made hummus recipes along with your own pita chips. Easy, beautiful, delicious, and also healthy. Yum, yum, yum!

Our Thanksgiving grace this year:

"We give deep thanks for our multiple blessings, 
with particular gratitude for all the hands involved from farm to fork 
that helped to bring us this bountiful meal of delicious foods."

I like these words, succinct but just enough, just right to give thanks before every meal every day.

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

1 comment:

Kateri said...

A few weeks ago looking for something in the freezer, my husband threw a frozen chicken on top my bag of homemade pita bread and I ended up several dozen broken pitas. I baked them just as you described and the result was absolutely delicious. In fact my husband (who won't eat fresh pita bread) threated to do exactly the same thing next time I make pita bread. I make it every few months and freeze it. Here is the link for my recipe. They really are fun and not to complicated to make.