Waste not, want not has never been more important than today. Between the economy and general state of the planet, I view each meal as a gift to be savored and enjoyed. That being said, I sometimes go overboard at the farmer’s market this time of year. It’s hard to look at the bounty of fruits and vegetables and not get carried away. Last week I bought some zucchini that I’d planned to use in a frittata. They sat in the vegetable crisper for a few days. Fearful they’d go to waste, I sliced them and roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper, intending to play around with some roasted zucchini muffin recipes.
A few days after that, the guilt became overwhelming. Between the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner routines, mountains of work, and the two kidlets, I never had the time to make those muffins. Then I found inspiration yesterday in Mark Bittman's column in the New York Times. He mentioned a friend of his purees whatever leftover side veggies he has on hand to make a dip.
It happened to be lunchtime and I'd been staring at this can of chick peas I took out to make hummus. And so, my recipe for Zucchini Parmesan Hummus was born, giving that roasted squash a tasty new lease on life. It was the perfect lunch with some slices of toasted baguette, and I know it’ll also make an elegant appetizer at my next dinner party.
A few pantry notes before we cut to the chase. Soaking and cooking chick peas fresh is wonderful but how many of us really have the time (remember, I said I have two kids, right?). There are many good-quality canned options out there. One of my favorites is from a local store called Sahadi's. Unlike other brands which can be mushy and unappealing, the beans are "al dente" and retain their shape, almost like making them yourself.
Let's also talk olive oil. Two store brand favorites are from Trader Joe's. There's a California reserve, which they were out of stock this week. My back up fave is the Sicilian Selezione, pictured below. I also keep, Lucini on hand for those special occassions, like garnishing this hummus with a swirl on top. (A big thanks to Lucini for providing a sample of their Fig & walnut Savory Balsamic Artisan Vinaigrette in the Food Fete media bags—it was divine). This weekend I'm buying more zucchini and even they sit in the fridge for a few days, at least I'll have a quick way to shed the guilt and yummy way to use 'em up.
Zucchini Parmesan Hummus
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup chick peas, drained & rinsed
1 cup roasted or grilled zucchini
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Add the chick peas, zucchini, lemon juice, cheese, salt and pepper to the food processor bowl attachment on your Cusinart Stand Mixer. Process until mixture forms a chunky paste, about 45 seconds. Slowly drizzle in oil and continue processing until hummus becomes smooth and creamy, one to two more minutes. Serve with cut up vegetables, crackers, pita or slices of baguette.