Cooking is all about being excited, inspired, and creative.

If I can music nerd out on you a bit: I think of cooking as building a chord.  Each note in the chord has a specific function- the root is the base on which you build, the third sets the mood, and the fifth really helps set the chord.  From there more notes add color, flare, and even mood.   Each note is important and serves it’s own functional role in the chord.  Change one note and the sound you hear is completely different.

I do the same thing in the kitchen.  I find a base (usually one ingredient) and from there, I build an entire dish adding flavors and color as needed.  Each ingredient adds it’s own touch and change that one ingredient, your whole dish could taste different.  One of my favorite things is when a dish comes together in a perfect harmony (like how I tied everything together?)

I knew when I it was my time to pick a recipe to host for the Food Matter’s Project, I wanted to pick something that would really inspire people to do their own take.  I’ve loved hummus for years and it always amazes me when people say they’ve never made hummus before (and always buy store bought.)  It’s such an easy process I feel everyone should know how to do it!

So the chickpeas serve has a base and is then built on with garlic, tahini, and lemon juice.  The great thing about hummus is that there’s not limit on how you spice it up.  You can add roasted red peppers to get a little smokiness, roast the garlic to get a bit of earthiness, or even add curry powder for a bit of kick.

Hummus is one of those recipes that is great to have in your pocket when you forget you are having guest over in 20 minutes.  It’s healthy and can be used numerous ways (not just to dip your veggies and pita in!)  One of my favorites is to lather it on a grilled cheese.  

Since I can pretty much make hummus in my sleep, I decided to take it a step further.  I picked some gorgeous fresh spinach at the csa and since one of my favorite appetizers is hot spinach and artichoke dip, I decided to do a play on that (since usually my favorite is heavy with cream cheese, heavy cream, and more cheese.)  The result was a great party dip that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes (and has half the guilt of eating the other dip!)

Hope everyone enjoyed this week as much as I did and I can’t wait to see the takes!

I have to say that I always have a batch of hummus in the refrigerator.  It makes for a healthy snack (with veggies) or a great addition to lunch/dinner.  Bittman gives the base +a  few extra additions but what I’ve learned in my hummus make journey: the possibilities are endless!

Bittman’s Hummus Recipe:

3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

1 or 2 garlic cloves

¼ cup olive oil, or to taste

¼ cup tahini, or to taste

Salt and black pepper

3 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Put the chickpeas with ½ cup of their cooking liquid (or water) in a blender, add the garlic, oil, and tahini, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Purée for a minute or 2 until the mixture is very smooth. Add more cooking liquid, oil, or tahini as you like until the consistency is like a smooth dip or thick soup. (Refrigerate for up to a couple days or freeze for months.)

2. Transfer the purée to a medium saucepan over medium heat (or use the microwave); heat through while stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed. Serve warm, garnished with parsley.

(Additions: Roasted Red Peppers, Roasted Garlic, Pesto, Chopped nuts, Olives, Cumin, Curry Powder, Chile Paste)

PG 356 of The Food Matter’s Cookbook


Baked Hummus and Spinach Dip

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6


  • 1/2 recipe for hummus (above)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup shredded cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375˚
  2. Place spinach in the food processor and pulse a few times until spinach is shredded.
  3. Next, make hummus according to directions.
  4. Combine hummus, half of cheese, and spinach is a small casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cheese should be melted and hummus hot. Serve with pita, crackers, or veggies!

As always don’t forget to check out everyone’s take here!