Sunday, April 25, 2010

While I was waiting....


 It seems like spring is definitely here to stay.. For the second year in a row, the vernal season in Montreal is long and drawn out, and it is quite vivifying!

While I know that it is still too early to be planting out my tomato seedlings, I cannot help but feel the urge to dig my fingers into warm soil. I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel last week, and I've emerged from the miasma that is work, so now I can afford to spend a couple of hours at the end of my day with my hands knuckle-deep in the garden.

The farmers' stands in Montreal are still filled with winter crops yet my taste buds are aching for peas and asparagus. I have to wait, though I did break down last week and bought some Californian peas... They were not quite as good as fresh picked from the garden, but the shelling made it worthwhile!

I check my asparagus bed daily, hoping to find one poking through the thick layer of compost. I know it's still early, but I'm holding my breath. I also keep a close eye on my peas: I've seen  Ms Molly lurking about, and I worry she will attempt to jump my barriers... She has kept away from my garden so far, I think the scent of cat is scaring her off.
My rhubarb is almost ready to pick, which is rather exciting. My mouth just waters at the thought of its sharp bite... There might just be enough to make a nice pie or crumble.

Meanwhile, I'm still craving something fresh and new for spring, yet my fridge is bare except for a couple of wizened beets and a Mason jar full of sprouts. And I am hungry right now. Beets are out of the question, I do not want to deal with them tonight, so sprouts it is. 

It looks silly when written down black on white, but it has never before occurred to me to make hummus out of sprouts. I don't know why I never tried it... It's quicker than making regular hummus from scratch, probably more nutritious than using canned chickpeas, and it definitely beats store bought. It's a win-win situation all-round, especially if one is beginning to tire of sprout salads and stir-fries.

I used a 'crunchy bean mix' for my sprout-hummus, but I am sure that any sprouts will do, as long as it is at least 50% beans or peas. I have an inkling that sunflower sprouts (raw) with sprouted chickpeas would be scrumptious. Your standard hummus recipe will work, if you've never made hummus before, a recipe follows. You might not be able to get Sprouted Hummus to be as smooth as regular hummus, but it will be mighty tasty. 

Sprouted Hummus
Yields about 3 cups (750mL)

2 cups (1 Mason jar-full) sprouts
2 lemons, juiced and zested or ¼ cup (4 Tbs) mild vinegar (white wine, rice or cider)
1 tsp cumin seeds or ½ tsp ground cumin (optional)
2 Tbs water
1 clove garlic (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 heaping tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)  
Ras el Hanout (Moroccan spice mix) or chili powder/hot paprika for garnish
Olive oil

If you are using bean, lentil or pea sprouts, you will need to steam them for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
In a blender, purée sprouts, lemon juice and zest (or vinegar), cumin seeds and garlic if using, until as smooth as possible.  Add the water if you are having trouble blending everything.
Add tahini and give it a whirl.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, pour in a bowl or deep dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with Ras el Hanout.
Dip in with pita bread or veggie sticks, or use as a sandwich spread.

Bon app'!

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