Growing up in rural Georgia, I didn’t learn much about food culture as a kid.
My mom’s part German, part Italian, so I did eat her homemade meatballs, and I watched her mom (my Mammaw) top hot dogs with sauerkraut (which I was pretty much disgusted by until I was an adult). And, of course, Hartwell has its small-town, Americanized versions of Mexican and Chinese food, so I snacked on plenty of quesadillas and egg rolls, enchiladas and moo goo gai pan.
I was never squeamish about eating foods that the Hartwell folk considered weird, but there just weren’t many opportunities to try anything exotic. I tasted sushi for the first time as a teen one evening before a concert in Atlanta. Fancy cheeses like brie and Roquefort weren’t even on my radar until I studied abroad in France my freshman summer in college. And at some point during my college years, the word hummus became part of my vocabulary.
I can’t tell you the first time I tried this tasty chickpea dip. It was probably at some party with a group of my more cultured college friends (the ones who grew up in the Atlanta burbs), and I probably smeared it on some pita points or raw veggies. There was no revelation, no magical, memorable moment when this amazing stuff brought me to tears. But sometime in my early twenties, I realized I loved hummus, and that was (conveniently enough) around the time when it became pretty easy to find in the deli section of most grocery stores.
When Micah and I got married at Farm 255 here in Athens back in 2009, one of the foods we chose to have on the buffet was the Farm’s homemade hummus, which is pretty awesome. Some of the Hartwell folk weren’t so sure about it, but we gobbled the stuff down.
My newest incarnation of this now-ubiquitous party snack showcases the deliciousness of a humble home-style favorite: the black-eyed pea.
What’s in it:
- 1-1/2 cups dry black-eyed peas + water to cook them in (shortcut: 3-1/2 to 4 cups canned peas)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- I used a slow-cooker to get my dried beans done overnight. 8 hours on low heat did the trick. You could also cook them on the stove, or just buy them precooked and canned (in which case you will most likely need to reduce the salt in this recipe!).
- Put all of the ingredients in your food processor, reserving some of the cooking liquid (or canning liquid) from the black-eyed peas.
- Process until your hummus is thick and creamy, adding extra liquid if necessary to get the right consistency.
- Enjoy with chips, crackers, veggies, or whatever you feel like dipping! (Next time, I might try making mini cornmeal pancakes and topping them with the hummus. Mmmm….)
This stuff is so deliciously addictive. I’ve made it for two parties in the last two weeks, and it has been a huge hit! The cider vinegar adds a terrific tang, reminiscent of homemade pickles or the potlikker from a mess o’ greens. And the smoked paprika lends an almost bacon-y flavor. It’s amazing!
My Southern-inspired hummus hasn’t traveled home to the boonies with me yet. When it does, I might just call it black-eyed pea dip so as not to frighten the locals. Then maybe, just maybe, for at least one adventurous Hartwellian, it could serve as gateway grub to other excellent ethnic edibles. 🙂