The fact that I find myself contributing to a cooking blog surprise/ most likely elicit laughter from the friends and family that know me best, quite simply because I don’t really know how to cook. While my sister is the chef, I am the steadfast taste tester, roles that developed quite early on and that have comfortably suited us both. Identical twins seem to share parallel lives, at least initially - same school, same friends, same strengths and weaknesses - and my sister and I are no different. When Francesca first took to cooking, it was a way to finally, in some small way, set ourselves apart, and I watched happily as she forged her her way through gourmet burgers stuffed with goat cheese, slow-roasted tomato soup, homemade pumpkin gnocchi and layer cakes, recipes that few high schoolers would tackle. Family lore includes stories of my sister’s culinary greatness, tucked in between my failed experiments: the time I took two hours to make a boyfriend pizza with pre-made crust (I ended up searing it, crisp on the outside, raw in the middle), or the Thanksgiving I added baking soda to my corn bread mix instead of baking powder.
Despite my lack of finesse in the kitchen, I have perfected a few recipes that, although basic, are quite versatile. Hummus, a chickpea and tahini dip, is one of them. Traditionally served with toasted pita bread, I’ve found that hummus is also a nice accompaniment to veggie crudites. A Lebanese friend even suggested dipping french fries in it, although I’ve yet to take his advice. Another perk? Hummus is one of those rare recipes that is both rich yet healthy, flavorful yet light, a dish I find myself preparing often following the decadence of the holidays.
Despite my small successes, I think I’ll leave the more elaborate recipes to my sister. After all, some are meant to cook, others to be fed.
2 cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and a few chickpeas for decoration)
4 tsp tahini
1 small clove of garlic (or less if you’re not crazy about garlic)
1 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil
3½ tbsp lemon juice
Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and tip into the food processor. Add the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice and seven tablespoons of the reserved liquid from the cans. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the oil while it runs.
When the mixture is fully combined and smooth, pour it into a serving dish. Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, and decorate with a few whole chickpeas.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Best Basic Hummus recipe.