When visiting the Palouse recently, I had it on the top of my list to pick up some dried lentils and garbanzo beans. After all, the Palouse is known as the lentil capital of the world. The agricultural productivity of the area is something I have often taken for granted. I am a big proponent of bringing the small farm back. If only this could be a productive option again in the Palouse. Perhaps we could take a few lessons from times gone by. I visited the Dahmen Barn in Colton, WA, an old dairy barn that was restored and converted to studios featuring local artists. I wandered through and found a corner with local area history and sat down to watch farming footage from the 1930's and 1940's. Trailers full of men worked the fields, overalls and bandanas on. Horses and sweat were the fuel of the day. I thought about all this while picking up my five pounds sacks of lentils and garbanzo beans from the Moscow Food Coop and made my way home with my small gifts in tow.
What to do with five pound sacks of legumes? Well I will have plenty of time to find out! First on the agenda, homemade hummus. Hummus is something most of us are familiar with because it tastes so good! It is a Middle Eastern sauce made from mashed chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. It is often seasoned with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive or sesame oil. You can serve it as a dip with pita bread or spread it on a sandwich. When you venture to the grocery store, you will notice that hummus can be fairly pricey, sometimes up to five dollars a pop! Hummus is ridiculously easy to make and I have proof because I made it this week. The five pound sack of garbanzo beans I bought (priced at about seven dollars) will surely stretch my hummus dollars for many months to come. Here is the simple recipe. Give it a try. You'll be quite pleased with the result.2 Cups Cooked Chickpeas
Juice of 2 Lemons
2 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Tahini
1/2- 1 Cup Cooking Water
Soak chickpeas overnight in water. Cook over medium high heat until tender and cooked through. Drain but reserve 1/2 cup to one cup cooking water. Add chickpeas to food processor (or bowl if you want to hand mash) with lemon juice, tahini, and 1/2 cup cooking water. Blend to desired consistency. Add more cooking water if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Put in containers and drizzle with olive oil. If you want to get more creative add chili powder, roasted garlic, herbs, or kalamata olives! Tip, if cooking a large batch of chickpeas, put the leftover chickpeas in freezer bags to use in salads and soups.