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Summer and Peeling Skin

April 26, 2018

I can’t remember the last time a post has gotten up this late. It’s been a long time. Last night was a late night. Not because I was out and partying with the creative set at Savoy.

Nope. I got caught by the cooking bug.

It’s totally spring now. The rain should be a good clue. As are all the buds on the trees, and the increasing greenery of the grass. It’s still going to be a couple of months until we start getting in fresh local produce from the CSA. But the warmer weather has an impact on both my cooking style and the dishes that I prepare.

Large boiling pots of pasta will soon be a thing of the past. The large scale production of chicken stock isn’t going to happen much any more. Maybe, if I’m lucky I’ll get in one more batch on an unseasonably cool night.

Right now, I’m trying to get ahead of the game. That was part of the logic of buying an Instant Pot. Sure, I haven’t been using it a lot in the winter and the unlocking. But my hope is that I’ll be able to keep on cooking beans, instead of having to resort to opening up cans.

That said, the bean dishes I make are going to be changing too.

We must have talked about hummus on the FLB in the past, as this is one of my favorite warm weather bean preparations. It’s delicious, comforting, and relatively easy to make. It’s high in protein, high in fiber, and uses plenty of olive oil. Hummus even helps me get garlic into my diet, which is one of those ingredients on my “to eat” list.

Recently, I went to a potluck, and was inspired by a hummus dish that was brought by a fellow congregant. And I’m rarely impressed when other people make hummus.

More than anything I prize smoothness in this bean spread.

Well, this one was remarkably smooth. So I found the maker and asked, “Did you skin the chickpeas?” And she had. More than anything, what I found inspiring about our exchange was that even though it’s a lot of work, she did not see the task as an ordeal. Rather, it was just the cost of making the dish and making it special.

Skinning chickpeas?

Yep. Both the standard dry garbanzos you buy, as well as the canned ones you might open have a translucent skin surrounding the bean. There’s nothing wrong with the skin per se. I’m sure it’s high in fiber. It must be, because no matter how much you grind, pulverize, or puree the damn thing, it always leaves hummus lumpy.

It’s a lumpiness you might not even see unless you’ve ever experienced the apex of creamy hummus made with skinned chickpeas.

Last night I was working with the first batch of dried beans cooked in the Instant Pot.

A few weeks ago I had cooked a pound of dried beans and was able to divide those into three two-cup portions, with a few extra beans left over. Two of those portions, were submerged in bean water and frozen. The third was made into hummus when it was still warm.

Naturally, being inspired, I tried to peel the skin from the beans.

In under five minutes, I had completely given up on the task. I don’t know if it was because I was out of practice, or maybe it was the temperature of the beans, but the process was incredibly slow going.

The resulting hummus was delicious. The only one who noticed the lumps was its maker.

Well, last night I tried again with one of the thawed containers of frozen beans. The difference was extraordinary. Instead of resisting every attempt to slide off, the skins were able to be removed with a gentle pinch.

And it wasn’t nearly as onerous as it sounds. Actually, it was quite satisfying. Both the process of removing all the skins, as well as the resulting super smooth and silky hummus.

Now, I’m not sure if this is a function of time, temperature, or the freezing process. More research is going to be required. But I am cautiously optimistic that by the end of this summer I’m finally going to have this all figured out.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin permalink
    April 27, 2018 11:05 am

    I’ve read that adding baking soda to the cooking liquid helps to loosen and dissolve the skins.

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  1. 7 and 7 on Saturday, April 28, 2018 – Chuck The Writer

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