Spinach and herb hummus

Spinach and herb hummus

Spinach and herb hummus

The memorial day parade goes right by our house. We live in a small town, so it’s a small parade, but people come early and set up lawn chairs. They line the streets, waiting, with their early morning Italian ices. The band marches by, loud and raggedy and perfect, followed by the city council members, then a small group of girl scouts and boy scouts, and then the ladies auxiliary drives by. The town’s veterans walk by, followed by a car-full of veterans of foreign wars. And then every single fire truck for miles around rattles by our house. Everybody throws candy, and my boys sit on the stoop waiting, and scramble around to pick up the pieces as they fall. This is what memorial day is about for my boys. I think they miss the bigger meaning of the day and think it’s sort of a small-scale halloween–a twin celebration that strangely combines remembering the dead with eating candy, just like halloween does. And it’s a good day for me to try to turn off that part of me that’s resistant to any kind of flag-waving, pom pom shaking show of school spirit or patriotism, that’s always been distrustful of what could easily become unthinking support for any cause, which has gotten us into too many wars in the first place. A good day for me to try to silence my inner cynic, and recognize the value of remembering, as a community, and sharing our gratitude. After all there’s something very moving about our scruffy little parade, something solemn and joyful and beautiful.

I worked a long weekend, too, because aside from everything else, Memorial day is a holiday and people go out to eat. Lots of people. So I was too tired to cook when I came home, and we made one of my favorite quick and tasty dinners. Oven roasted french fries and hummus! I blended some baby spinach into the hummus for flavor and greenness. And I added some herbs. I used dried, but obviously fresh would be far better.

Here’s Dancing at Whitsun by Jean Redpath.

    The fields they stand empty, the hedges grow free
    No young men to tend them nor pastures to seed
    They are gone like the forests of oak trees before
    Have gone, to be wasted in battle.

    Down from the green farmlands and from their loved ones
    Marched husbands and brothers and fathers and sons.
    There’s a fine roll of honour where the Maypole once stood,
    And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun.

    There’s a straight row of houses in these latter days
    All covering the downs where the sheep used to graze.
    There’s a wreath of red poppies a gift from the Queen
    But the ladies remember at Whitsun,

1 plump clove of garlic, roasted or toasted (You can toast with the skin on, but remember to pierce it so it doesn’t explode)
1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach, cleaned and dried
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 t dried basil, or small handful fresh
1 t rosemary
1/2 t dried thyme, or pinch of fresh thyme leaves
1 t dried sage or 4 or 5 fresh
1/2 t dried oregano, or pinch of fresh oregano leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 t balsamic
salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
smoked paprika for garnish

In a food processor combine the spinach and garlic, process briefly, and then add everything else. Process till smooth. Add enough water to make it just as thin and smooth as you like it. I think I added about 1/3 cup.

Garnish with smoked paprika and more black pepper.

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