I distinctly remember the first time I met someone who was Protestant. I was in middle school and a classmate mentioned something about her Pastor. Growing up in deeply Catholic Northern RI, I thought all Christians were Catholics. I believed, in fact, that the terms were interchangeable. It blew my mind that there was a whole group of people out there that did not believe in the Pope, or the infalibility of the Pope. (That’s the deal with the Pope, right?)
As a kid, a bus would arrive arrive and take us all to CCD every Wednesday. (I guess I never noticed my poor Episcopalian classmate left behind. What a self absorbed little brat I was.) We would talk about Jesus, Mary, et al. Talk and color pictures of Jesus. I don’t get the coloring pictures of Jesus. Do other religions do this? Are Jesus coloring books to Catholics what jello molds are to Mormons?
Even as a kid, I was fairly skeptical of what was being pounded into our heads with all that coloring; luckily, my parents just sent us to CCD because that is what you did. They were in no way religious or pushy about the Church and for this is an very thankful. I almost backed out of my confirmation, but ended up doing it because it seemed too late to change my mind. My one good memory of confirmation classes was looking up dirty stories in the Bible with a boy. There is a lot of sex talk in the Bible–sex with animals, even. You would have thought he and I were the first to discover all these dirty, dirty stories. Yes, even in church and at 13, I was a pervert.
So, when I joined a book club recently, and “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert was the choice, I was apprehensive. I am much more into eatin’ and lovin’ than I am prayin’. I tried to have an open mind, but I just wasn’t into it. I found it lackluster, uninspiring, and way too spiritual for my tastes. I appreciate that people get things out of their beliefs, but my belief system consists of doing my best to be a good person. That is about it.
I did not even make it to book club after all due to a million circumstances I will not get into. I did, however, have the best intentions so I did what polite people do; I made some hummus. Just like the book, I find this to be a bit of an uninspired choice. Don’t get me wrong–this is a great hummus–but I feel like my cooking has been very mechanical and done out of necessity lately. I still enjoy it and the happiness it brings other people, but my choices have been kind of lame. I need to make a big dinner this weekend and rekindle my inspiration.
But I digress. This hummus recipe is done by memory and feel, so the garlic, oil, tahini and salt measurements are rough estimates. If it seems too thick, add more oil. (Water works, too.) Like it garlicky? Have at it. Because I am a freak I roast my own pepper, but if you have jarred, by all means, use it. I just think it is fresher, healthier (it is not packed in oil) and cheaper to do it myself. Blending the pepper before adding the chickpeas helps cut down on the oil as the water in the pepper thins it all out. A food processor or blender can be used to blend this dip.
May you enjoy this while finding some inspiration-literary, spiritual or culinary.
Red Pepper Hummus
A Lemmonex Original
1 large red pepper
2 large cloves garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 TBS tahini
4 TBS olive oil
2 tsp salt
3– 15.5 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Roast red pepper by holding pepper over flame until skin blisters and blackens. (This can also be done in the broiler) Place roasted pepper in closed paper bag for 10 minutes and then peel off skin. Skin should slip off easily, but water will help rinse off stubborn spots. Cut pepper into thin strip and turn to puree in food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend until thick and creamy. Serve with pita and vegetables.