Smooth and Fluffy Hummus

jar of tahini

So, maybe I’m a cheater. I’ve heard that the only way to get really good, authentic hummus is to soak and cook the highest-quality dried chickpeas you can find and remove the skins ( before you do any blending (or eating!). But I don’t have that kind of patience for snack-making. Usually if I reach for a snack at all it’s because I’m already rabid starving. One day I will make hummus with my own scratch-made and hand-peeled chickpeas and I will tell you all that nothing less will ever do. But today I want to be lazy, I don’t want to plan ahead, and I want my chickpeas to come from a can.

tahini and lemon juice

So whatever, this isn’t authentic hummus. But it is lighter than the stuff you get in a tub from the grocery store, a million times more delicious, and it’s almost as smooth as the hummus you get at a good mediterranean restaurant. It also takes about five minutes to throw together, so for me it’s just the thing.

The trick to getting hummus that is light and fluffy without soaking or simmering or peeling is in adding and processing your ingredients in the right order.

tahini cream

The first ingredients that should hit the blades of your food processor are garlic, lemon juice, and tahini. When you process the lemon juice and tahini together, they create a light, airy tahini cream. My first shot (above) was a little too thick, so I added another teaspoon of lemon juice, scraped the sides and bottom of the bowl, and gave it another turn around the blades. I ended up with …

tahini cream

This tahini cream (above). From here all you have to do is add the chickpeas, about a half cup at a time, blending for about thirty seconds between additions. If the hummus gets too thick, add a tiny bit of water. If it starts looking like the right consistency but it still isn’t as smooth as you like, let it run for a minute or so and stop adding chickpeas. You might not use the entire can, but you can put the extra chickpeas on top for garnish if you like.

light and fluffy hummus

A lot of people like to add olive oil to their hummus, but I feel like the flavor of olive oil kind of overpowers the delicate beany-ness of the chickpeas. I love a little olive oil on top, but I prefer the texture and flavor of hummus without any olive oil processed in. If you want to, you have my permission to add the tiniest dash of cumin.

hummus with olive oil

hummus with olive oil and red pepper

hummus with bell pepper


Serve it with peppers, cucumbers, pita chips, crostinis, or whatever else your little heart desires.

The recipe:

1/3 cup tahini

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, smashed

Process the above until thickened, light in color and evenly incorporated, scraping the bowl if necessary.

1 standard 15oz can chickpeas, drained

water (as needed)

salt, to taste

a dash of cumin (optional)

Add the chickpeas 1/2 cup at a time, adding water by the teaspoon if the mixture gets too thick. Process for about 30 seconds between each addition of chickpeas. Stop adding chickpeas when you reach your desired consistency (you should finish or nearly finish the can, but don’t sacrifice texture for volume). Process for another minute or two to eliminate any graininess. Salt to taste and add a little cumin if you want it.

  1. So delicious looking!!!

    Amy — September 25, 2013
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  2. so can you get tahini at your basic grocery store??

    miranda — October 8, 2013
    1. Hey Mir! At my grocery store there's a little section of indian ingredients, and that's where I can usually find it. If your store doesn't have one of those, check the natural foods section (vegans love tahini) or even the nut butter section. Most stores do carry it these days.

      courtney — October 8, 2013
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  3. awesome! thanks, i bet you the store i usually go to has it. they have a nice long aisle of authentic mexican/indian food ingredients.

    miranda — October 9, 2013
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Quality Over Quantity

Cody and I moved our stuff out of the storage unit we were keeping in Bel Air a few weeks ago. We realized we’ve hung on to a lot of crap – and it kind of grossed me out.

I don’t know if it’s an effect of getting older, but the idea of having fewer, prettier, higher quality things appeals to me more and more every time I pull a warped and shrunken forever 21 tee shirt out of the wash. It’s not that forever 21 doesn’t have a place in my heart and my closet. I just feel like it’s time I built a solid set of basics that don’t need replacing every couple of seasons.

I want to start collecting staples like the classic trench coat, the perfect ankle boot, the basic black pump. I feel like I need to start investing in these things if I want to stay sane and, in the long run, save money.

I don’t love shopping. I like looking at Pinterest and ogling store windows, but serious purchase-minded shopping is kind of exhausting for me, because working within a budget while trying to get great stuff is hard work. That said, I figure the more effort I put into searching and making smart choices upfront, the less I will have to shop, and the easier it will be to get dressed in the morning (that’s another thing I don’t especially love). I’m after the highest quality I can get for the best price – that sweet spot where longevity and affordability meet.

I want to crack the code on the point of diminishing returns here too, which I assume exists in fashion. For example, I have a feeling there comes a point where the price of a leather boot has more to do with prestige than actual quality. I have a pair of riding boots from Madewell and, though they are the most expensive shoes in my closet, they have held up beautifully, and I’m quite certain I will keep them for years and re-sole them several times before I buy new ones. Are Jimmy Choo boots that cost four times as much as my Madewell boots four times as good? I kind of doubt it.

Anyway, it turns out there are a lot of companies out there that agree with the idea that quality pieces can be affordable. Here are a couple I’ve found:

cuyana tote

Cuyana is mostly about leather goods and accessories. My sister was gifted a monogrammed tote from Cuyana for her anniversary. It’s gorgeous and feels like it will last for years.

everlane ryan tee

Everlane is one of those companies that make just a handful of things, but they try to make them really well. They seem to be obsessive about soft fabrics and perfect, slouchy fits – plus they’re made in the USA. I haven’t tried Everlane myself, but I’ve heard good things and have already ordered a few tees to test (I’ll get back to you on how they rate after a wear and a wash).

So I’m beginning a quest – for timeless, essential, investment-worthy wardrobe pieces that will simplify my life and polish my “look” (whatever it is).

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Back in April Cody and I took a trip to New York to see the sights and hang out with my friend Amy.

nyc skyscraper

She’s studying to become an art appraiser at Christies auction house and she took us to the MoMA where we learned a lot about the art there. I have to say I recommend bringing an informed friend to museums if you can, its better than a tour. I studied a bit of art in college, but definitely forgot most of it. The whole time I kept saying “Oh, that’s that painting, who’s that by again?”.

starry night at the met

The famous Starry Night by Van Gogh. This is an accurate representation of how close we were able to get.

the scream at the met

The Scream by Edvard Munch. Feeling so cultured right now.

contemplating art at the met

Apparently I was struck by this beige number. I can’t for my life remember what it’s called. I even just googled “big beige painting in the MoMa” – no luck.  NEWSFLASH: I asked Amy, she found it (of course she did) it’s by Arshile Gorky and it’s called Summation.

madonna at the met

This one is the Madonna by Edvard Munch again. I found her quite brazen for a Madonna and I like that sort of thing.

art pile at the met

That’s one big pile of art. We totally get it (we don’t get it).


cody and courtney in central park

That’s me and Cody stopping to pose in Central Park, as we do.

trees in central park

The trees were just barely thinking about budding at this point.

grand central station

Grand central station.

friends at grand central station

Posing in Grand Central Station, as one does. We tried to stay out of people’s way, but when you’re a tourist in NYC, it’s kind of impossible to not feel like you’re in everyone’s important way.

sun on buildings in bryant park

Bryant Park.

sitting in bryant park

Having a little sit down in Bryant Park.

high line window in nyc

Window art on the High Line.

I think I love New York. All the Gossip Girl episodes I’ve been watching on Netflix have made me want to return for a little fall city action. I want to stroll down a sidewalk with a paper cup of something hot and wear couture to my expensive prep school. Or since I’m not a rich teenager, maybe wear Zara to Vanessa’s Dumpling House, but definitely with that cup. Fall excites me more than most seasons.

A million thank yous to my darling friend Amy for hosting Cody and me, touring us around, and helping us navigate the subway. You did such a good job you’ve earned a repeat visit! And we’re thinking about moving in. Lucky you.

  1. That looks like so much fun. Wish I could have been tucked in your purse along for the ride. Would have loved to seen the paintings. One of these days....

    Lisa — September 12, 2013
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