Quick warning…this intro has nothing to do with the recipe, but I wanted to share my thoughts, so bear with me (or skip down the recipe and enjoy a delicious snack).
One psych concept that many people are familiar with is the idea of protecting oneself with the aid of defense mechanisms. We’ve all seen little kids act out when they feel like they’re being ignored, and I’m sure we can all think of someone in our lives that takes on the passive aggressive role when they don’t feel like confronting their problems. While I can catch myself using any one of the defense mechanisms from time to time, I think I am most likely to resort to intellectualization any time I’m afraid of embarrassing myself. Rather than taking a risk and putting myself out there to be criticized, I overanalyze, in excruciating detail, the different ways to attack a problem/task/goal rather than just going out and doing it. I’m aware of this shortcoming, but up until this point, I haven’t really felt the need to do anything about it. To be honest, the worst that has come of this is that I’m considered a cautious person. I drive like an old lady, and like to have every second of my day planned out, but that’s about it. At least it has been till now.
At the start of my research block, I decided I was going to use my newfound free time to learn to take photos. I bought a camera, checked out the necessary manuals from the library, and have spent the last month pouring over books explaining everything from food photography to portrait taking. I can now explain to you what all (or at least most) of the buttons on my camera do. I understand how shutter speed, aperture and ISO affect exposure. I’ve even begun learning some new photoshop tricks. The simple fact is, I felt kinda guilty spending all that money on my camera, but was able to tell myself that it was money well spent since I was learning all this great new stuff…and then I realized that I hadn’t actually taken any photos. Sure, I had used it a couple times to take photos for the blog, but I was able to do that before buying the camera by borrowing Anita’s…and that was free. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the scary thing about taking the photos was the fact that people would be able to judge my work. If I just sat there reading about how to take a picture, rather than actually doing it, there was nothing to judge or criticize.
A couple days ago I came across a website describing a 30 day photo challenge (you have to take 30 specific photos in 30 days), and I realized this was just what I needed. Not only would it force me to actually pick up the camera, but I decided I would display my photos in some way that would make them available to be critiqued. This blog has been one of the most revealing things I’ve ever done, so I figured it would be appropriate to talk about this challenge in a post and display my first picture – a self-portrait. It was definitely awkward trying to take a picture of myself, but allowing myself to feel awkward/embarrassed/etc. is what this challenge is all about (well that, and actually taking pictures). Wearing the glasses was a little bit of a cop out (as Anita says, the eyes are the most telling part of the face), but I figured it was only my first picture so I was allowed a little leeway. Besides, the challenge on day 30 is another self-portrait…hopefully I’ll be comfortable enough at that point to lose the glasses.
Now that you’ve all indulged me by listening to/reading my ramblings, let’s get on to the good stuff – the food. This is a recipe that was introduced to us by a fellow med student (despite our limited free time, med students are some of the best cooks I’ve ever met…but I might be biased in this assessment). It’s a fun twist on traditional hummus, and the perfect snack for summer weather like we’ve been having over the past week in that the preparation requires little to no heat. In fact the only thing that requires heat (roasting the garlic) can be prepared long before.
What you need:
- 3 cups white beans (or about 2 14 oz cans)
- 9-10 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 2 tbs tahini
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbs za’atar (optional)
What you need to do:
- The first step in making this hummus (roasting the garlic) can actually be done in advance and kept fresh in the freezer. All you have to do is peel your garlic cloves, place in the center of a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Fold the edges of the foil so you have a closed packet and roast at 350 degree F for 45 minutes (I recommend using a toaster oven if you have one to prevent overheating the house). Once roasted, the garlic can be placed in a ziplock bag and then into the freezer until you decide to make the dish.
- If you chose to use dried white beans, be sure to prepare them ahead of time as well – In a large bowl, cover the beans with 3 inches of cool water and leave them at room temp to soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and add them to a large pot. Cover the beans with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer the beans until tender (about 1.5 hours). Additionally, you can add a bay leaf, salt and pepper to the water for a little flavor. If you don’t feel like turning on the stove, I recommend using canned beans.
- Now that all the prep work is done, blend together the roasted garlic and olive oil in a food processor.
- Add the beans, lemon juice, vinegar, tahini, salt and za’atar to the food processor and blend until smooth (took me about 3 minutes).
- Serve with carrots, pita chips or on a spoon, and enjoy!