” ….a land flowing with milk and honey”. The phrase conjures an image you can settle into. Green and lush, softly warm, with a gentle sweet fragrance. A pillow-y chair in morning sunlight that you can curl up in and sip your tea. Santa Barbara is such a place for me. A long weekend there is an affirmation that all is right. Prince Charming and I recently spent a weekend there. A beautiful hotel, sunny, lazy mornings, and evenings filled with the scent of night jasmine. Perfection. Oh, and fabulous food. What has all of that to do with the picture of an avocado up there? I’m going to tell you.
One evening, we made reservations for dinner at 8 pm. By 6, we were hungry. We went into town very early thinking that we’d sit at the bar and have drinks and appetizers until our table was ready, and of course, since we were there they’d give us our table early. Ha! The joint was jumping, not a square inch to even stand in to see if we could wait for a seat at the bar. We would have to wait for our appointed time and come up with Plan B. Plan B was “we’ll wander through town until we find a place to drink and hopefully have a bite until 8”. Gratefully, I wasn’t wearing stilettos and actually had shoes that I could wander around on. Fingers entwined, we start on our journey. Cross the street, turn the corner, wait, what’s this? “This” turns out to be a zen/funky/retro tapas bar called…….Milk and Honey. (The circle is complete!)
We happily enter and settle into a pillow filled banquette table. We’re handed a drink list and menu and quickly become even happier. Blood orange martini, why yes, thank you! Single malt scotch, of course! We order. They have cool, funny names for their dishes which I can’t remember, but we have bacon wrapped dates, goat cheese in a thick, tomato sauce, and avocado hummus. We were blown away by the avocado hummus which neither of us ever had before. We actually finger boxed for a moment to get the last piece of pita to scoop the final bit up with. Prince Charming won, popped the last bite into his mouth with ummms, an “I’m in heaven face”, followed by “wow”. After another round of drinks we went on to dinner and enjoyed every scrumptious bite. We even sat next to a minor Food Network celeb! What do we remember most about that night? Avocado hummus. I knew that I’d be making that soon. Weekends end, no matter how much we don’t want them to, and we have re-enter real life. 😦
Home again, my beautiful mountains in the distance, time to make the hummus. Could it be as simple as adding avocado to my existing hummus recipe? Out to the endless inter-web I go. Think you have an original idea? Check the web. Want to find out how to do most anything you can think of? Check the web. Was the never heard of before avocado hummus out there? Of course it was. After reading through several of them the conclusion was, it really is that simple. I usually use less tahini than called for in regular hummus recipes as I prefer a softer bite of it. I would consider cutting the amount of tahini in your recipe in half at first, then tasting to see if you want more of it. Avocado has a gentle flavor and it would be easily overcome by too much tahini. This recipe couldn’t be easier, and it is so delicious. It is also pretty. You might be tempted to garnish or add guacamole type ingredients, but I’d refrain. Tomatoes and cilantro have no place here. But cumin might be an addition that you’d like to make. Again, start with less and taste. Taste it! The most important thing in cooking. Taste it.
1 can of chickpeas, drained
2 tbls. of sesame tahini
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tbls. of fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 tsp. of salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of fresh cracked pepper
2 small ripe avocados
Combine first six ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth and creamy, adding a tbls. of warm water if it looks too thick. You don’t want it runny, but it should be soft and creamy. You can alternate tbls. of warm water and olive oil until it gets to the consistency you want. Add the black pepper and peeled avocado, cut into chunks. Process again until avocado is totally smooth and combined with the hummus. It should be a pale green. Taste for seasoning. This is where you would add additional tahini, salt, lemon or pepper to your taste.
Serve with vegetables or pita wedges. Keep tightly covered in refrigerator. Press some plastic wrap directly onto the hummus as it will oxidize on you and turn brown if not kept airtight. This will keep for several days covered in the fridge.
Inspired by Milk and Honey Tapas Bar in Santa Barbara, CA