Someone up there pulling the strings knew that today was the first official day of fall. After a sticky, sweltering, 84° last-day-of-summer yesterday, we woke up this morning to a gray rain, leaves scattered on the ground. I had planned a picnic with a friend - erroneously assuming that the summer sun might stick around for at least 24 hours of fall - but upon discovering the splatter patterns of large droplets on my deck, I decided that maybe picnicking at a sunny park was out.
So we had an indoor picnic instead. Spreads of cheese and crackers, avocado, hummus, and a (only half rotten - boo PCC!) pomegranate tasted almost as good tucked inside, enjoying the rain, as they would have on a sunny blanket by the lake. If you live in Seattle, or anywhere that's not Southern California, you might find yourself in need of an indoor picnic one of these cold-weather days. If you do, you should make beet hummus. It’s not only delicious, but it uses a winter vegetable and turns out a bright fuchsia color that will brighten up any rainy day.
While I realize that I talk quite a bit about the weather and the seasons ‘round here, I’m going to make you a bold promise right here, right now. I promise (while I may not be able to control my other musings on life) I will never post about anything pumpkin-related this fall. Ever. I will leave that to Every Other Food Blog On The Planet. No mention of pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin puree muffins, pumpkin soup, toasted pumpkin seeds, or pumpkin bread. You and I, together, will make it through October 31 without ever discussing pumpkins. You have my word.
It’s not that I don’t like pumpkin, but the more I read other food blogs and think about my own, the more I start to see “the formula,” (Oh look! Summer’s ending. What should we do with all these tomatoes? Oh look! The weather’s changing. I’m so excited for apple products. Oh look! It’s Sunday and I made this amazing brunch.) and I want to make sure I keep writing about my kind of food and not the current trends of food blog-ia.
So here it is: this is a pumpkin-free zone.
I make no promises about beets, however. For most of my life I hated beets. I thought they tasted like dirt (and to be fair to my previous beet-hating self, they kinda do). About a year ago I made an honest-to-goodness concerted effort to come around on beets. It has been a slow process, but I’m proud to say I’m getting there.
This hummus is one of the prettiest foods I’ve ever made. Roasting the beets first brings out a sweet, caramelized flavor that does wonders for upping the bar on the plain-old garbanzo bean hummus. (Plus they come with the added bonus that chickens love noshing on beet greens!).
Roasted Beet Hummus
Makes enough for a potluck dish plus some left over for snacking
6 large beets
1 can garbanzo beans (or a cup and a half if you make your own)
2 Tbsp tahini
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 1-2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 475
2. Peel and slice beets into quarters or sixths. Toss in generous amounts of olive oil and place on sheet pan. Add salt and toss again.
3. Roast beets for 20-30 minutes, turning over every 10 or so minutes for even browning.
4. Combine beets, garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil in a food processor and process briefly.
5. Drizzle in olive oil and puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take to your next indoor picnic and serve with bell pepper sticks, blanched green beans, or as a topping on crackers.