Today is my 31st birthday. Turning 30 felt like a semi-big deal, but 31 really doesn't feel like a very important birthday at all. To be honest, 30 has been a really, really hard year. Parts of it have been incredibly happy, but much of it has been a challenge. I'm definitely ready to start a new year. I'm (cautiously) optimistic that things are looking up, and that 31 will be a happy year...What does all of my rambling have to do with hummus? Not much, I have yet to think of a great tie-in. I do know that I love, and have come to rely on, the constancy of food. When I was younger and unhappy, I would go through phases where I would eat nothing but cereal, bananas, and cookies (or brownies!) for long periods of time. Now, no matter what happens, after a couple of days of wallowing I force myself back into the kitchen. To actually make something from scratch. Better than anything else I've found, cooking forces me out of my own head. For the time it takes me to cook dinner I am focused on the act of cooking (this works best if I'm making something complicated, or making several dishes at once), and have a break from the constant thoughts that swirl through my mind.
This bring me back to hummus, and homemade hummus in particular. You can certainly buy hummus at the store, and may brands are actually very good, but I love the act of making it. I started with dried chickpeas this time and still, the hardest part was remembering to soak them the night before. After I cooked the chickpeas and waited for them to cool, I processed them with the other ingredients and some sun-dried tomatoes that I added for color. During halftime of the Redskins game, I started work on the rest of the dinner. I made falafel with tahini sauce and a cucumber and tomato salad to go with the hummus. After the game was over (the Redskins