Jazz up that Hummus

Roasted red pepper hummus covered in parsley, pine nuts,
more red pepper, sumac and olive oil. 
Chances are you will be either hosting or attending at least one backyard bash this summer. So, you need ideas on what to make, right? Well take my advice and whip up a big batch of hummus--almost everyone loves it and there are endless flavor variations to get your taste buds a dancin'.

Basic Hummus Recipe: Combine 1-- 15oz. can drained CHICKPEAS in a food processor along with at least 1 clove of GARLIC, juice of 1 LEMON, big pinch of SALT, OLIVE OIL and 2 tablespoons TAHINI. Blend until really smooth and the thickness of peanut butter. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed.

For the love of god do not stop here. Unless you want your guests to fall asleep, you had better add at least a few flavorful garnishes such as:

herb or lemon-infused olive oil
preserved lemon
lemon zest
roasted garlic
Fresh or dried oregano 
sundried tomatoes
roasted red peppers
Kalamata olives
chopped fresh parsley, chive and/or mint
pine nuts
Chipolte in adobo (very spicy) 
ground Sumac berries
smoked paprika 
toasted and freshly ground cumin seed
feta cheese 
plain Greek yogurt 
Maldon, black Hawaiian, Himalayan pink or flaky sea salt

Ok, so now that we're clear on adding awesomeness, we also need to consider the dipping apparatuses involved with hummus. Pita chips are great, but they aren't the only ones that get to have fun.  Try tossing your pita or other flatbread with some flavorful oil, any dried herbs and spicessalt and pepper before toasting in the oven or slapping on the grill. Any Crudites would also be a welcome change--think sugar snap peas, fresh baby carrots with the greens still on, jicama sticks, mini bell peppers, or endive scoops.  

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