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Start a Party With This Hummus

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hummus
Photo: shutterbean

It's almost Halloween! Back in our trick-or-treating days, this meant that the primary food at Halloween parties was candy, followed, meekly, by grapes peeled to look like eyeballs, blood-red bowls of punch, and slimy spaghetti ... guts. Luckily, grown-up Halloween parties are even more fun: everyone is still costumed, but somebody spiked the punch, and party food for adults is infinitely tastier. Start with this simple and delicious hummus recipe: homemade hummus is an instant upgrade. Then get creative for and make a batch with some colorful mix-ins to give your hummus a unique flavor and scary-beautiful color.

Hummus
Two or three cloves of garlic (if you're making this just chickpeas, no colorful mix in, add another clove)
Two cups of canned or jarred chickpeas (drain the liquid and save it for later)
1/3 cup tahini
Two tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon to taste
Paprika (pimentón de la vera) to taste
Potential blend-ins (about one cup, but judge by taste): pitted kalamata olives, roasted beets, cooked sweet potato, roasted red bell pepper, eggplant, avocado, edamame, black beans...

Put the garlic and olive oil in the a food processor and process until it's relatively smooth (you can also use a blender or mash by hand in a bowl).

Add the chickpeas and tahini (if you're using an add-on ingredient, put that in too) and process until uniformly smooth, adding the reserved chickpea liquid just a little at a time if the hummus is too thick.

When the hummus is blended to a desired consistency, try it, and then add salt, pepper, lemon, or paprika to taste before topping it off with a little bit more olive oil (about a tablespoon). Tasting the hummus is imperative before seasoning -- for example, you're probably not going to need salt if you mixed in olives. Serve with veggies and warm pita.

(My favorite way to do this is to make a few different flavors and colors to serve at the same time. Just separate before adding the extra ingredient!)

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