We’re watching the first season of Mad Men these days (don’t spoil it, friends), and just saw the episode where Pete Campbell exchanges a wedding gift–a ceramic  lettuce leaf and red pepper atrocity of a “chip and dip”–for a shotgun. Now how will they serve the sour cream and onion dip?

While it’s hard to beat a good sour cream and onion dip (with a bag of Ruffles), it’s not exactly a snack I’d feel good about offering on a regular basis. Enter the bowl of hummus. I’m sure hummus was unheard of by most people in the Mad Men days, but now it’s everywhere, and every grocery store has competing brands and multiple flavors. Roasted garlic! Red pepper! Mild! Spicy!

Hummus, pita chips and baby carrots was standard fare at playgroup gatherings when my kids were toddlers. My kids still love hummus, and we do, too. I like to make my own, because it’s easy and significantly cheaper, especially when I start with dried chickpeas instead of canned (though canned work perfectly fine). I also know exactly what’s in it, and can season it to our taste.

I usually cook beans in the slow cooker, preferably overnight. It takes about one minute of prep, and the next morning you can let it cool and divide the cooked beans into containers to freeze or use right away. It takes half of a one-pound bag of dried chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) for a single batch of hummus. No need to soak ahead of time, either–10 hours on low and they are just right.

Some people prefer to remove the skins, but I find it an unnecessary step.

Rinse 1 lb. dried chickpeas, and put them in a slow cooker with 8 cups of cold water and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, until the chickpeas are tender. Use about half of the cooked chickpeas for the following recipe. Freeze the rest or make falafel to go with the hummus!


3 cups cooked chickpeas

3/4 cup-1 cup cooking liquid or water

juice of one lemon

1/2 cup tahini

2 garlic cloves warmed in 2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 cup fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor (start with the smaller amount of liquid and add more if necessary) and process until smooth (or leave it a little chunky if you prefer). Taste and adjust the seasoning.


Food processor mango sorbet

Did you know you can make fruit sorbet without an ice cream maker? We do have an ice cream maker, and I was ready to use it yesterday to make mango sorbet, but stumbled upon this easy method because I began with frozen mango (an impulse buy at Aldi) instead of fresh. If you have a food processor in your kitchen, but no ice cream maker, this recipe is for you.

The texture of the mango lends a creaminess to the sorbet, and the lime juice is a tangy contrast to the sweetness. Miss Six doesn’t like mango (she’s not a big fruit eater), but she asked for an extra scoop of sorbet. I’m not sure the food processor method would work with just any frozen fruit, but it might be worth experimenting. And if you want a sugar-free fruit “ice cream,” try this one made with frozen bananas. That’s next on my list!

Into the bowl of the food processor, put 1 lb. frozen mango chunks1 cup of simple syrup, and 2 Tbsp. lime juice. Purée until smooth. Serve immediately (it will be like soft serve ice cream), or transfer to a covered container and freeze until ready to serve. Best served within a few days.