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Thumbprint Cookies – Nowruz Recipe

I‘m at an age when I may be guilty of idealizing my youth in a kind of “the good old days” filter that blocks out any unpleasant memories of political or cultural unease.  Of course, I wasn’t aware of any such issues, at least not in a way that was meaningful: I had a privileged upbringing.  We weren’t rich by the American standard – not by any stretch of the imagination- but I didn’t worry about when and if my next meal would arrive.  We ate a lot of soup beans and cornbread, but we ate.  And life got better, and there were more cookies and cakes, and always love.

So whenever I’m asked to write about cookies I find that I often write the same kind of column.  Cookies make me think of my grandmother and the smells of her kitchen and all the love and good stuff that goes along with those memories.  As I write, I can almost always count on a few tears, too– some coming of good memory, others of remorse and loss.

But these cookies are not like other cookies.  Sure, they are – I mean they smell good and I know that they evoke potent memories for Mahasti, memories of her mother’s frantic holiday baking which always included special thumbprint cookies made with homemade jam.  But these sweets are treats made for the Iranian New Year – a spectacular celebration called Nowruz: literally translated as “a new day”.

It’s a holiday that begins at the exact moment that the vernal equinox begins, precisely when the sun crosses the equator.  So it varies in terms of calendar time, but it’s a major celebration that’s about 3000 years old.

Like many nations of ancient pedigree, Persian culture is spread across the globe, and despite what you may think you know about Iran and Iranians, the people and culture are diverse especially among the millions living outside the border of Iran.  But in the midst of theses differences, Nowruz, a secular holiday, is a common denominator among people of varied world views.  It’s a symbol of the one great truth that binds all people on earth: we are on earth, we live under the sun, and we are all subject to its rise and fall.  And whether great or small, each of us lives within the cycles of birth and death.

Like all celebrations of the new year, spring festivals, and even harvest rites, Nowruz is optimistic:  This year will be a good year, this sowing will yield a good crop, this child will live in peace.

Hope is the root of so many treats: we bake to celebrate, and cookies are as much a celebration of the goodness and sweetness of the earth as they are an indulgence shared by our mothers (and fathers, too).  So perhaps your mother didn’t bake like mad for Nowruz, but someone in your past, even if it was just you, hoped that life would get better, that you would live without worry and discord.  Finding a time to forget what divides you from your neighbor and, instead, celebrating what you share, what is common to you and them, whoever “them” may be, is a valuable part of countless celebrations around the world.  It’s also a good way to live with less worry and discord.

A good start is to bake some cookies, and share them.  With everyone.

 

My Mom’s Thumbprint Cookies

 

1/2 Cup Butter, softened

1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar

1 Egg, separated

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

½ – 2 cups Nuts, chopped

Jelly or Jam.

Cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.   Add egg yolk and mix until smooth and creamy.  Add flour and mix until all the flour is mixed in.  Scoop 1 Tablespoon portions and roll into balls.  Dip the cookie balls into the egg white then roll them in the chopped nuts.

Place the cookies on a cookie sheet 1 inch apart.  Make an indent with your thumb in the center of the cookie.  Bake in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes remove from oven and re-indent the centers again if necessary.  Bake for 10 -12 minutes more.  Allow cookies to cool then fill the center with your favorite Jam or Jelly.

Makes 11 cookies.

Tomato Head’s Chicken Enchilada Dip

Ingredients

2 packs Frontera Enchilada Sauce

2 oz Cream Cheese at room temperature

1/2 tsp Salt

¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper

¾ tsp Cumin

2 tsp Light Brown Sugar

4 cups Cooked & Shredded Chicken

1.5 cups Frozen Corn Kernels

2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Mild Cheddar

Heat the enchilada sauce in a 10-inch cast iron skillet.  Add salt, cayenne pepper, cumin and brown sugar.   Whisk to mix well.  Add softened cream cheese and whisk until the cream cheese has melted into the sauce.  Place the chicken and corn in a medium bowl.  Add sauce mixture and cheese then toss well to coat all ingredients.  Place the chicken mixture in the cast iron skillet and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

Remove the dip from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes then top with queso fresco, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, diced onion and jalapeno.

Serve the dip in the cast iron skillet with tortilla chips on the side.

Brian Murray – Featured Artist

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

If you block it,
it will never exist through any other medium
and be lost.
The world will not have it.”

Choreographer Martha Graham wrote those words to dancer Agnes de Mille, and they seem as fine a mission statement for dance and all the arts as any a poet might compose.  Artists find in the world a beauty or perspective that is free of the gravity of utility, or the mundane, or any of the forces that can blind us to what is around us.  How many times do any of us look beyond the designation signifying function of a sign on the street to recognize the potential attraction of the object itself – its design or placement or interaction with the forms about it?

Artists help us see things.  Sometimes, they show us new forms, sometimes they draw our eye to things we’ve looked at a thousand times but that we’ve never truly seen.  This, at least from an outside perspective, might be the theme of photographer Brain Murray’s exhibit now showing at Tomato Head, Market Square.

As a long-time resident of Knoxville, Murray understands that the city has a lot of interesting things to see.  His interest in photographing them came by way of his interaction with Scott Schimmel and Lisa Sorenson in the early days of their store, Bliss, when they asked him to sell some of his work in the store.  They also encouraged Murray to take photographs of local scenes, Knoxville stuff that would appeal to both visitors and residents alike.  He says that the suggestion was a good fit for him because “I don’t really include people in my pictures so scenic landscapes and architecture are perfect.  All you need is good lighting.  There’s no bad hair day for those.”

It also worked because Murray most understands that even objects that seem most mundane in the world can have an appeal, maybe not beauty exactly, but something that catches his eye.  In some ways he opines that this is what drew him into photography.  “My sister painted, my dad painted, and my mom wrote poetry, I felt like I should have an artistic outlet, too.  But I can’t draw.  I mean, I can see the things but I can’t get them on paper.  Still, I noticed things that other people didn’t see, and so when I was 15 or 16 my parents got me my first camera.  I could capture things that were already there, but in my own way.  And it was fun. “

Of course, that’s something that many people feel, whether they know it or not.  Murray figures that there are countless photos of the Sunsphere.  It’s always the same structure, but light, and clouds, and perspective imbue each image with a unique nuance.  And those subtleties are what keep Murray engaged with subjects, sometimes over and over again: “It’s what draws my eye.  It’s the lighting.  I’ve taken so many pictures of the same thing but then you see it in a different light and it changes. “

“Another part of it is that I like the drawing aspect…  I like linear things, which is why I do a lot of architecture, landscapes.  I like a lot of lines, textures and patterns, so sometimes I’ll focus on that and not even think about what it is.  I mean the Tennessee Theatre marquis is cool, but when the light hits it just right it’s all about the lines of the bricks and the interplay of the curvature of the sign with its linear elements.”

Murray’s particular vision will be on view at our downtown location until March 3rd and the West Knoxville Gallery Tomato Head from March 5th thru April 8th.  It’s an exhibit that brings together images of recognizable Knoxville and parts that you may not have noticed, but all of them come through Murray’s unique expression.  They are all images that really caught his eye, he says, “things that I couldn’t take my eye off of.  They’re not the typical landscape, I mean it could be a drain in the snow that I just couldn’t stop looking at it.”

Bearden Middle School – Featured Artist

Arts matter.

At various times in our national history, we get caught up in a great debate about the value of arts in our communities and in our schools, and although, generally speaking, we don’t like to debate, on this point, well, we ain’t shy.  From our earliest days the Tomato Head has been full of the arts of all sorts – and these days we keep our walls alive with the extraordinary work of visual artists because we know that arts matter.

The arts build confidence, and they’re among the most potent crucibles for creative thinking, problem solving, and resourceful approaches to living in the modern era.  And in a growing community like Knoxville, the arts are the nectar and ambrosia of progress and beauty.  They are an essential component of the drive to create that increasingly defines this wonderful place we call home.

That’s part of the reason that we invited the students of Bearden Middle School (BMS) to adorn our walls with their work.  As for the other part, that’s about talent and vision, and you’ll understand it when you see this exhibit’s vast array of color, composition, and joy.

Under the direction of teachers Mike Weininger and Jessie Winston, students from BMS’ half year and full year programs were invited to create a small, abstract work for community display.  It wasn’t an assignment – it was an invitation outside of their class room requirements.  Weininger, said, “I didn’t want them to be motivated by grades for this project. So, if they didn’t complete it, it didn’t affect their grades.  Some of them are under so much pressure at the end of the semester with tests and everything, and I told them ‘if you can’t complete it then that’s fine, don’t worry about it.  Of course, your work won’t be in the show.’”

So, you see, these are works of passion. All 100 of them.

Weininger and Winston don’t take much credit for what their students produce, but clearly the environment that they and BMS have built gives their students an inviting place to let imagination thrive.   That includes having both a semester and a yearlong option for art class.

Weininger is quick to point out that he doesn’t feel that BMS’s art program is in any danger of going away.  In fact, he has nothing but good things to say about the encouragement and support he feels not only from the school, but from the entire community, too.   Still, he and Winston work hard to keep their student’s work visible to make sure that their colleagues and community see the value of the programming – both semester and year-long because, Weinger thinks, “for many of my students, this class can be the one class, the one connection that keeps them going.”

The works themselves are a varied lot, but color and vision flourish through the exhibit.  Weininger and Winston asked the students to label their works by hand.  Often in these works, the handwriting, which clearly belongs to young fingers, is an odd but thrilling juxtaposition to the maturity of the composition.

And, of course all the participants hope that viewers won’t say, “Cool! A kid did that”.  They’d much rather hear, “Wow.  Nice painting.”

As for us, we just hope to keep seeing more of it.

The exhibit of abstract and mixed media pieces will be on view at the downtown Knoxville Tomato Head on Market Square from January 7th thru February 3rd, 2019.  The exhibit will then hang at the West Knoxville Tomato Head from February 5th thru March 4th, 2019.

Gingerbread

Cookies are magic.

We know it instinctively.  It might be that some of us grew up believing that little elves who live in hollow trees make magic in the form of fudge stripes on shortbread.  Or perhaps is the Christmas Eve ritual of leaving treats for old St. Nick. For me, the magic is in the memory of family kitchens filled with palpable holiday enchantments: forbidden cookie dough clinging to spoons and beaters, the bewitching and tortuous aroma of baking cookies almost ready.  Just writing those words casts a craving on me that won’t quit.

And of all that aromatic cookie magic, the most potent is gingerbread.  The secret, methinks, is in the formidable combination of ginger and molasses which creates a darkly sweet but lively dough that produces a rich baking aroma that gets inside of me and makes me feel warm and, of course, very, very hungry.

It’s not a new magic. Gingerbread in various incarnations populates the histories of the world, and the ritual of shaping food into shapes for a little magical mischief is an ancient juju.  It may have all started with clay and idols, but, as the idea evolved into something more like hope than sorcery, the tools of enchantment became more toothsome.

By about year 1000, gingerbread was being baked into the images of saints, and in Medieval England, ladies would sometimes eat gingerbread husbands in hopes of acquiring the real thing.  But how gingerbread men came to be a part of the Christmas tradition is unclear – it might have evolved from a German tradition of making gingerbread houses for the yuletide that started sometime in the 16th century.  Or maybe it’s just one of those things that happens – somebody made a gingerbread Saint Lawrence and decided it would look good on a tree, and, abra cadabra, a tradition was born.

But the real magic of gingerbread isn’t in the shape – it’s in the creation, the act of the shaping, and the fact of the making.  But it’s something that must be shared.   Sharing kitchen time and recipes between generations is more than a link to a family’s tradition and history, it’s a bonding ritual that creates love and memories rooted in the practical magic of the senses and made firm by the sharing of that most precious of all enchantments: time.

The rich aroma of gingerbread in the oven is the aroma of home. And isn’t the magic of home a big part of what we observe this time of year?  No matter what holiday we celebrate, it’s always better at home – whether that’s a family moment or time shared with close friends, perhaps even pets, spending time with those we love is the real charm.

Homemade gingerbread is the by-product of love, which, of course, is the greatest magic of all.

It’s never too late to find your inner wizard.

Gay Bryant – Featured Artist

 

Aristotle spent a lot of time thinking about the human drive to control circumstances that interfere with a happy, safe, and productive life.  As silly as it might sound, the philosopher was describing the same basic urge that impels us to insulate our houses and to buy insurance – we like to have a buffer between us and misfortune.  Of course, at some level and in some circumstances, control is impossible. Often the only seeming answer is acceptance which means letting go of control and hoping for the best.  Relationships can be like that.  Watercolors can be the same.

In fact, if you talk to as many artists as we do, you’ll find that many of them believe that their work guides them (not the other way around) and that the best thing they can do is to just get out of the way.  Artist Gay Bryant feels that way, at least some of the time: “Mostly I work in watercolor. And the key is letting go, to let the paint do its thing.”

And while it may appall some ancient Greeks and more than a few control freaks among us, her ability to trust in fate or good luck or providence (or whatever you want to call it) leads Bryant to more than a few beautiful places.  Her nature paintings are evocative without being dogmatic; the gentle patterns recall a presence, a sense of being there, but they’re not so specific that you can’t imagine being there yourself. In fact, you may feel compelled to visit Alum Creek or Icewater Spring at dawn to experience Bryant’s subjects with your own eyes.

Bryant hardly cedes all artistic control to her materials like a mystic or medium looking for meaning in automatic writing: “The paint sometimes tells me what colors to bring out or what shapes to develop.  But, if you look at some of my botanicals, they are very tight, very photo-realistic.  You can do that with watercolor, but my favorite thing about it is that there can be so much serendipity.  Letting it do what it’s going to do is one of my favorite approaches.”

While painting is decidedly her first love, as a life-long learner, the artist’s work and interests continue to evolve: “Mostly I’ve painted but later in life I got interested in print making though it feels almost like the antithesis of painting because you have to simplify things, and cut it down to bare bones in terms of color and shapes.  But it’s nice to go back and forth.  I teach both over at the John C. Campbell Folk School [in Brasstown, North Carolina].”

Bryant has been a teacher for much of her life, though at first her subject was business, not art. She recalls that, “Painting has been one of those things I’ve always done.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making art.  But my mother was determined that my sister and I were going do something so that we didn’t have rely on a man to pay our way through life. And art wasn’t on that list, so I became a teacher.”

Even through a successful career as an educator (including time at Pellissippi State), Bryant remained an active artist.  “Even when I was in college as a business education major, I had to continue with art just to stay sane.”  Today Bryant’s life is full of her work.  In addition to teaching at the Folk School, she also conducts workshops at the Swag in Waynesville.

And in all of this activity, Bryant is led more by her passion than by an urge to please.  She grins a little when she says, “If it sells that’s okay, if it doesn’t that’s okay, too.”

Perhaps that perspective comes of an acceptance learned from her experience with watercolors: life happens, let it be.  Or perhaps, it’s simply that the best defense against life’s uncertainties is finding love in what you do and maintaining your life’s passion come what may.

Gay Bryant’s work is on exhibit at the downtown Knoxville Tomato Head from October 7th thru November 4th and at the West Knoxville Gallery Tomato Head from November 5th thru December 3rd.

 

 

 

Flour Head Bakery’s Appalachian Trail Mix Cookies

You cook?  Then try this recipe, post a picture on social media and tag us! Also use our hash tag #FoodGottaCook and we’ll randomly pick a winner and send them a Tomato Head Gift Card!

I have a sneaky feeling that the creation of gravy happened somewhere at the intersection of accident and eureka.

In my imagination, it starts as a little grease fire in a pan.  When cook notices, she grabs a handful of flour left over from kneading the breakfast bread and tosses it into the pan to smother the flame. As the fire abates, she adds a little water to make sure the flame is dead or to keep the mess from sticking too hard, and, curious, she dips her finger in for a taste.  Voila!  Gravy.

Of course, that’s all early morning conjecture, but the history of food is rife with accidental creation not too dissimilar from this imagining.  A quick survey of the inter-webs will tell you that Crêpes Suzette and corn flakes are both the results of happy accidents.

Perhaps it’s merely a eureka moment when inspiration strikes cooks and inventors.  But in the kitchen, I can’t help believe that for every “ah-ha” moment, there are many more ideas born of frugality at times when every bite counted.

It can be hard for some of us to understand frugality in the kitchen. It’s easy to get used to throwing mistakes away and starting over without even wondering, “how can I salvage this?”  And that’s a real waste because it robs the world of some of the most potent and practical creative impulses: ideas born of necessity, the great mother of invention.

What is a pâté de campagne except an inspired assemblage of odd bits?  And those Crêpes Suzette?  They’re a brilliant accident that went onto a plate instead of into the trash after the sauce caught fire.

Mistakes happen – even in careful kitchens.  It’s what you do next that counts.

The cooks and bakers at our sister, Flour Head Bakery, are a precise lot, but accidents happen to the best of us. Like the time when two different kinds of granola found themselves in the same mixing bowl.  Not a great tragedy, I suppose, but it did mean there was a lot of unsalable granola hanging around.  Fortunately, someone said cookies.  And that’s how this recipe came to be.

It’s a hearty combination of some of our favorite things and, though I’m sure nobody felt good about mixing up all that granola, the mistake mixed with a little inspiration made for a pretty fabulous cookie.  And that’s how to turn a kitchen frown, upside down – all without throwing anything away.

 

Flour Head Bakery’s Appalachian Trail Mix Cookies

1 stick Unsalted Butter, Soft

½ cup Granulated Sugar

½ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed

1 Large Egg

1 tsp Vanilla

2 cups All Purpose Flour

½ tsp Cinnamon

½ tsp Ground Clove

½ tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Baking Soda

1.75 cups Flour Head Bakery Granola

1 cup Dried Cranberries

½ cup White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, followed by vanilla and beat until mixed.

Whisk together flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Add the granola, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips and mix until well mixed.

Drop the cookies by the spoonful or scoop out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Flatten the cookies slightly with the palm of your hand and bake for 12 minutes until the edges are light brown.

Cool cookies and serve.

Dough can be scooped and frozen for up to 4 weeks. Thaw and flatten before baking.

Makes 12- 24 cookies depending on size.

Tomato Head’s Collard and Creamed Leek Pie

I grew up attending a small and fiery little church, where I learned that we were right and you were wrong.   In fact, there was a joke about us…

A Baptist minister who, upon entering heaven, asked St. Peter for a tour of the place.  They moved past many different halls, each filled with hosts of Presbyterians, Methodists, Quakers, etc., until they came to a room belonging to my childhood church.  St. Peter turned to the minister and said, “Shhhh – you must be very quiet now– these people think they’re the only ones up here.”

It’s easy to claim something all for yourself, but the vast nature of the world means that you probably aren’t alone in your special family traditions, and there’s even a chance that your secret handshake isn’t utterly unique.

As the author of Ecclesiastes says, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

And that’s also true for food.  Just think about BBQ – everybody I know thinks they’re the only people to do it right.  But most things, BBQ included, are shared experiences.  Even something that’s as tied to a culture as much as collard greens are to the South are shared with places far away and, perhaps, long ago, too.

Roman Poet Ovid wrote a lovely poem called “Baucis and Philemon,“ a touching, 2000-year-old story about love and grace and hospitality.   The hospitality part includes two poor folks opening their homes to strangers and offering them a supper of greens with pork.  Ovid might have meant turnip greens, he might well have meant collards, too.  Even so, the whole dish sounds mighty familiar, doesn’t it?

Across time and space, we humans share a lot of experiences (and ingredients too).   The way we interpret and expresses ourselves in terms of those things may vary considerably or maybe that, too, is part of the great, repetitious turning of the world mentioned in Ecclesiastes and made pop-culturally famous by The Byrds in 1965 with “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

Turning to our recipe today, Mahasti takes some liberties with her collards by gently sautéing them and putting them into a pie.  It’s a riff on creamed greens – don’t squint, you know you like creamed spinach even though you may prefer to call it Spinach Maria.  The dish combines two Southern favorites, collards and biscuit, with leeks and Gruyere cheese.

It’s a nice side dish that has a comforting and familiar flavor but has some nuance that sets it apart from the same old thing.  Leeks bring a light onion flavor with a hint of sweet garlic, and a soupçon of maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness and a little flavor mystery that gives the whole thing the kind of uniqueness that we like in food that we put our name on.

But, if you want to call it your own, we won’t out you – you might very well have created it all by yourself.  These things happen.

Tomato Head’s Collard and Creamed Leek Pie

For the biscuit:

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. Salt

1 Tbl baking powder

½ stick unsalted butter

¾ cup buttermilk

In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or 2 knives. Stir in buttermilk until a soft dough forms. Pat dough down into a greased 12-inch cast iron skillet or pie pan. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the Leeks:

¼ cup oil

4 cups sliced leek

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

¾ cup heavy cream

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, salt and pepper and sauté until leeks are tender. Add heavy cream and cook down until cream has thickened, about 2-3 minutes on medium high.

For the Collards:

¼ cup oil

1 bunch Collards chopped, about 8 cups

1 Tbl cider vin

2 Tbl maple syrup

1 tsp salt

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add collards and cook down for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. Add salt, cider vinegar and maple syrup and sauté stirring frequently until collards are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

For the breadcrumbs:

1 cup bread crumbs

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

Melt ¼ cup butter over low heat. Mix bread crumbs with melted butter. Set aside.

To Assemble:

1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

Spread the collards, followed by creamed leeks, gruyere and breadcrumbs, evenly on top of the partially baked biscuit. Place the pie in a 400-degree oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until cheese has melted and breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Allow the pie to cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8

Hummus – Tradition and Invention

Absolutes are dangerous.

Of course, absolutes are also attractive, sometimes very attractive because they eliminate uncertainty and create a kind of level playing ground for the mind.  After all, life is so unpredictable, it’s only natural that we’re drawn to anything we perceive as steady, fixed and resolved.  But the truth is, the truth can vary.

And that’s as true in matters of food as it is of anything.  If you’re a well-traveled southerner or just one with family in more than one state, you probably know this instinctively.  Just you try to declare a definitive recipe for BBQ, corn bread, or, heck, even deviled eggs, and you’re likely to find yourself embroiled in the kind of ruckus that has been known suspend family reunions indefinitely and to rouse normally serene southern grandmothers to expletive laced invective.

In parts of the Middle East, you’ll find the same passion for the absolute in discussions about hummus and the one true recipe.  But if history has taught us anything, it demonstrates that there is no such thing as the one true recipe.  Hummus, like all good food, has as many incarnations as there are hands that make it.

Besides, history is notoriously incomplete in matters of food.  Even today as young writers relish and record family recipes, they’re setting down instructions and ingredients that are often several generations old, passed sometimes by food stained recipe card and sometimes by oral tradition. An old family recipe that insists that Duke’s is absolutely the only mayo for a properly deviled egg is curious to me because both Mama and Mamaw only ever had Helman’s in their kitchens.  Somebody changed that absolute, I know it.  And I know that’s true of hummus, too, because I’ve seen it happen.

Hummus is shorthand for hummus bi tahini which means chickpea with sesame paste.  It’s an old recipe with a first recorded mention sometime in the 13th century, though some folks argue that the first reference is actually in the Old Testament’s Book of Ruth.  There’s no recipe in Ruth, just an invitation to dip some bread in the hometz, and that’s just as well; chickpea cultivation is about 10, 000 years old, and I feel confident that someone, whether by accident or intention, mashed up the chickpea and found it good long before anybody even figured out how to make paper.

The basic ingredients of hummus are chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon – and from there it’s a story about invention, adaptation, and experimentation that has launched a thousand little tweaks in kitchens across the globe and close to home, too.

Even here in the Tomato Head kitchens we have a signature recipe that we couldn’t resist fiddling with.  Oh, don’t worry – our original and unsubtle hummus remains as original and unsubtle as ever, but we’ve added some more flavors to the mix.  In fact, there are four new flavors: Beet, Black Bean Sriracha, Carrot, and Classic.

Our new Classic hummus is a traditional, smooth and creamy chickpea centered dip.  The other flavors are just what they sound like because the recipes remain short, simple and fresh. And we make all of them by hand right here at home – that means we roast beets, shred carrots and mash the chickpeas ourselves.

And while they make great dips, don’t get so caught up in absolutes that you overlook all the hummus hack potential – consider the recipe below, Tomato Head’s Beet and Carrot Hummus Sandwich.  It combines 2 flavors of hummus with the taste of market fresh produce for a sandwich of considerable crunch and savor.  And even if the recipe doesn’t pre-date the Common Era and does take some liberties with even older recipes, it’s still absolutely delicious

 

Tomato Head’s Beet and Carrot Hummus Sandwich

For the Corn and Green Bean Salad:

8-10 Green Beans

1 ear Corn

2 tsp Fresh Mint Chopped

2 TBL Feta Cheese

4 tsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Lemon Juice

¼ tsp Salt

¼ tsp Cracked Black Pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 3-5 minutes just until tender. Remove the corn from the pot. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. Place the corn kernels in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Drop the green beans in the same pot of water and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the green beans and immerse them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the green beans from the ice water and slice thin. Add green beans and remaining ingredients to corn and toss well.

To assemble the sandwich:

1 – 9 oz tub Tomato Head Carrot Hummus

1 – 9 oz tub Tomato Head Beet Hummus

Flour Head Bakery 100% Wheat Bread

1-2 leaves Lacinato Kale Julienned

1 Green Zucchini sliced thin

1 Yellow Zucchini sliced thin

1 Tomato sliced

Place 2 slices of bread on your cutting board. Spread one slice generously with Carrot Hummus, and the other with Beet Hummus. Top one of the slices of bread with Julienned Kale, followed by Yellow Zucchini, Green Zucchini, Corn and Green Bean Salad and Sliced Tomato. Sprinkle the Sliced tomato with Salt and Pepper. Place the second slice of bread on top of the tomato, hummus side down. Cut sandwich in half. Repeat the process if building more than one sandwich.

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design