Roasted rosemary fries and spicy tomato hummus

Roasted fries & tomato hummus

When I was in high school, I used to come home from school, heat up some frozen french fries and read Tintin. The bright, beautifully drawn world was such a perfect escape from the confusion of reality. I loved those books, from when I was little, with a sort of attachment I don’t feel for inanimate objects any more. I loved the perfect ink-lines – they’re so pleasingly precise – exactly where they should be. I love the colors – the various blues that HergĂ© uses resonate like few other colors in my memory. I loved the way Tintin dresses. I’m ashamed to think how much time I’ve spent trying to decide if I prefer the short-sleeved yellow shirt and black sock combination, or the one with blue sweater and white socks. I love Snowy – so smart and funny – the perfect comic foil to Tintin’s earnestness. I like Tintin himself, and his little pale apartment. He’s a boy, but he has his own place, his own job (he’s a journalist, but he never writes anything, does he?) He’s so calm, and kind, and curious, and fearless, and surprisingly strong! He’s such a rational, average sort of person in many ways, but he’s surrounded by a universe of eccentric friends. The disappointingly racist and xenophobic books weren’t available when I was younger (or maybe my parents wouldn’t let us have them) so that didn’t cloud the lovely clarity of the pictures and stories. I love the light, deft style and subtle humor, so thoroughly stomped on by Spielburg’s gruesomely heavy-handed, Hollywood platitude-laden mess. He shouldn’t have done it!

Well! I have to get to work, so I’ll stop chattering on about my lifelong affection for the boy reporter and his best canine friend. This is my sort of version of french fries and catsup, except that it’s a sweet and spicy and smoky hummus instead of catsup. Fear not! If you don’t like catsup, you’ll still like this (at least David did, and he won’t eat catsup!) It’s a little sweet, and it has some sweet spices (cinnamon & allspice) but it also has smoky savory smoked paprika, and garlic and shallots. Hummus and french fries is one of our favorite simple meals, with a big green salad. It’s sort of a tradition that when we’re out for the day, and we start to feel our energy lag, we’ll stop for a glass of red wine, and a plate of french fries and hummus!

Tintin catches a train

I don’t really know of any songs about Tintin, but one of the things I love about the books is the effortlessness with which he travels all over the world, so here’s Donald Byrd with Places and Spaces.

HUMMUS
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 T olive oil
1 shallot – minced
1 clove garlic – minced
1 T brown sugar
1 tomato, roughly chopped (or 1/2 can diced tomatoes)
1 t smoked paprika
1/4 t mustard powder
pinch each allspice, cayenne and cinnamon
small handful fresh basil, chopped
3 T olive oil
2 t balsamic
salt & freshly ground pepper

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook till the garlic starts to brown, and then add the brown sugar. When that’s melty add the tomato and the spices. Cook till the tomato is softened and warmed through – about five minutes.

Combine the chickpeas and tomato mixture in a food processor. As it’s whirling around, add the olive oil and balsamic. Add about 1/4 cup water – start with less, and add more till it’s just as thin as you like it. Process till smooth. Season with salt and pepper, dust with paprika and serve.

THE POTATOES

preheat the oven to 425

Slice 6 or 7 medium-sized potatoes into long wedges. (Scrub them first, but you don’t have to peel them) I like my wedges to be about 1/3 inch wide, but you can make them thinner or thicker if you like.

Coat the potatoes with a thin layer of olive oil – a few tablespoons should do it. Sprinkle rosemary over and mix that in. (I find it easiest to mix everything with your hands.)

Cook till they’re brown and crispy on all sides. You’ll need to turn them as they cook. After the first couple times of scraping and turning with a metal spatula, you should be able to just shake the tray.

About 30 – 40 minutes should do it, depending on the thickness of your fries. If they’re very thin, keep an eye on them, because they’ll take much less time.

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