hummus with flat bread

This homemade chickpea purée was a favorite of both Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea, and all-purpose snack we had on hand at all times. Not only did we serve it with a salad for lunch, or with grilled vegetables as a snack, but we also put it out for the receptions and sent a supply along when the first family traveled. There are a number of quality store-bought hummus brands on the market today, but there’s nothing like making your own and tweaking the heat level to suit your own taste.

1 cup dried chickpeas
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup tahini
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon harissa, plus more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 loaves of pita or other Middle Eastern flat bread

Rinse the chickpeas in a colander under cold running water. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cold water, and soak overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Set the pot over medium heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are tender, 80 to 90 minutes. (Check by removing one with a spoon and biting into it.) If the water starts to boil at any time, lower the heat to prevent the beans from breaking apart.

Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the lemon juice and zest, the tahini, oil, vinegar, garlic, parsley, and harissa. Process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For a spicier hummus, stir in another teaspoon or so of harissa. The hummus can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Serve the hummus with toasted pita or flat bread.

Makes 2 to 2½ cups.

From “White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen” by Walter Scheib and Andrew Friedman

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