There was a time in my life when I couldn’t eat anything that had wheat in it — no crackers, no bread, no pita, no gravy, no biscuits, no cookies, no croissants…you get the idea. I got pretty creative with some things. Like hummus. I really, really like hummus, but if you don’t have pita to put it on, what can you do?

Corn chips. Yes. They work very well. Sometimes, though, if you have company you want something a little fancier. Something a little unexpected. Maybe even something a little healthier.  And sometimes you’re having company and you forgot to buy the corn chips and you don’t realize it till the last minute so you look in the fridge and the pantry for something to use to eat the hummus with besides a spoon.

That’s how I first came to make this. We were having dinner guests and I totally forgot to make something to munch on before dinner. Here it’s called an amuse-bouche, literally something to amuse your mouth. I like that idea…

So the next time your mouth is bored, or you forgot the chips or it’s too hot to cook or you just want to have something a little different, you can make this hummus flower. You’ll thank me. You will.

Hummus Flower

1 cup of hummus
2 large Belgian endives
paprika for color

  • Cut the bottom off the endives (to free the first couple of rounds of leaves).
  • Put the hummus in the center of a large, pretty plate and place the largest endive leaves around it like petals on a daisy.
  • Cut the bottom off the endives again to free the next couple of rounds of leaves, and place these IN the hummus.
  • Continue to put the leaves in the hummus (each new set of leaves will be smaller then the ones before), finishing with the smallest ones in the center. Now it should look more like a chrysanthemum than a daisy.
  • Sprinkle some paprika around to add a little color.

Hummus

1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic
salt

  • Put the chickpeas in a food processor and blend. (Reserve the liquid from the can).
  • Add the tahini, lemon juice and garlic and blend some more. I like it really smooth, but you can leave it a little lumpy if you like. Add the reserved liquid from the can if necessary to get the consistency you want.
  • Taste and add salt if necessary. I don’t usually need it if I used canned beans.

NOTES:

  • I use canned chickpeas for this. I think they taste fine here, and the difference between the canned ones and the dried ones is not worth the effort in this dish, in my opinion.
  • If you have a plate that’s prettier than mine you may not need the paprika. If I’d had a red plate that was large enough I would have used that…
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Kate McNally

Kate McNally

Born and raised in Atlanta, with degrees from UGA and UT Knoxville, Kate never lived above the Mason-Dixon line. That is, until she moved to Belgium. She now lives in the Belgian Ardennes, near Germany and The Netherlands, in an area where three cultures clash and co-exist. She used to have a stress-filled life, living in Washington DC and working as a management consultant all over the US and Canada. About 9 years ago, Kate and her husband Dan quit their jobs and moved to Europe. Now they teach English as a second language to business people there. They went there for two or three years. They're still here. Kate loves to cook, to travel, to paint and to write. She tries to do all of those as often as she can, and she shares tales of her life there in her blog. Kate says, "My blog is called 'Serendipity'. That pretty much sums up our life here in Belgium: serene with a little ‘dipity’ added. You’ll find here tales of our life as we sometimes struggle with other languages and other ways. You'll also find some paintings. And more than a few recipes, because I love to cook. My husband loves to eat. Perfect!" You can find her blog at http://serendipity-kate.blogspot.com/