A Plate of Hummus and Thou
A long day of work and weekday irritation that suddenly turns to dusk (and suppertime) is a scenario familiar to all of us, regardless of geography, occupation, age or marital status. We've all been there, over and again, and surely, the modern work-life balance dilemma will be knocking on your dinner plate sometime in the near future.
In spite of its regular appearance, the "what's-for-dinner" conundrum never ceases to stump cooks of all kinds. As recently as Monday of this week, I fell victim to said syndrome -- tired, cranky and hungrier than I'd like to be at an hour when dinner ideas fail to penetrate the addled brain.
At times like these, the very personal pieces of our personality emerge like erupting lava. Hungry at 7 p.m. after a long day, the cook becomes a strange creature, one who might, out of desperation, pour three bowls of cereal or eat a pint of ice cream for supper. A package of Saltines paired up with a processed cheese-food product suddenly sounds divine. You get the idea. We all have our weird-moment go-to treats and we have our limits, too. One person's dinner delight is another's scraps for the dog.
When all ideas turn to mush, I turn to hummus, which technically is also mush, but it's one that always brings me back to life. Requiring only seven minutes of my time, hummus gives me hope that I'll eat something relatively nutritious in less time than it takes to heat a frozen pizza. For this reason, I always have a can of chickpeas, a lemon and jar of tahini paste in the house. Everything goes into a blender or a food processor, plus a clove of garlic and some salt, and dinner is ready.
During my recent experience, I paired up the hummus with some lettuce, cucumber, red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes, all currently in season and in fine form at your neighborhood farmer's market. As the seasons change, the fruit and veg dippers can, too. Try hummus with slices of apple or pear this fall, or cauliflower florets. Try some cool-season fennel, thinly sliced, or spinach leaves used as hummus wrappers. The possibilities are as numerous as you want them to be.
With hummus feast plated, I poured myself a glass of wine, and carried my seven-minute feast outside onto the back porch. A few hummus dips later, I smiled with exhausted relief as the sun disappeared into the horizon.
What are your go-to meals at the end of a crazed day? Share in the comments area below.
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