Lebanon is a country known for many things, like its history, its strategic geography and especially for their food. Though it is a small country, it has lots of variety in their cuisine. One of my favorite staples from Middle Eastern foods is Hummus, a dip that can be found everywhere, from fancy restaurants, to home meals.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I spent a season in Lebanon. During that time, we made very special friends who showered us with love and made us a part of their lives, allowing us to know them better and introduce us to their fascinating culture.
Lebanon is a small country whose terrain seems like a strip that moves along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. On the other side, it’s surrounded by high mountains where the famous Cedars of Lebanon are located. You can lie on the beach and swim in the sea, and then encounter snow in the cold mountains all in one day.
Most of our friends in the region speak English and Arabic, and some also speak French, Armenian, and other languages. They are very proud of their cultural roots, as they should be, as they are very passionate people who love their nation.
One day, our friends brought us to see the famous Cedars of Lebanon — those beautiful trees spoken of in the Bible. We drove through the mountains and saw some of the most unique and beautiful things I have seen in my life. It was like a movie scene!
The scenery was covered by fresh white snow and the Cedars stood tall and firm like giants who had been there for centuries. In those moments I was reminded how small humans are when compared to the dimensions of nature, and how great God really is.
That same day, I was excited to also go to the museum of Khalil Gibran Khalil, one of my all-time favorite authors, who was Lebanese. The time we spent with those friends reminded me of a quote from Gibran’s The Prophet.
He wrote, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
Every friend we made while in Lebanon were truly giving people, letting us into their lives and loving us like family.
We ended our adventure in the scenic mountains, seated around a table full of food: fattoush, tabbouleh, kafta, lamb, beef, many other sides and, of course, hummus! I think often about that trip, and my heart makes me long for the day we will see those friends again.
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” -Khalil Gibran
Today, I want to share a quick hummus recipe, which is a staple of the Middle Eastern cuisine. It is simply delicious, and I hope you enjoy!
1 ½ cups of dry garbanzo beans *
4-5 tablespoons of Tahini
1 clove of Garlic -smashed
Juice of 2 limes
Salt to taste
½ cup of olive oil
Paprika, to taste
*Dry beans are best, but if you don’t have access to dry garbanzo beans replace with canned garbanzo beans.
1. (If using canned garbanzo beans skip step 1). Soak garbanzo beans overnight. The next day, drain and boil them in water, baking soda and salt for about 40 minutes or until they are soft. Let them cool.
2. When the garbanzo beans reach room temperature, blend them (without the water), with tahini, garlic, lime, and salt with a few spoons of the water they were boiled in, and add oil little by little as it is blending until the mix is creamy and smooth. The longer it blends, the more air comes into the mix and the fluffier it becomes. If you notice it getting dry, add a few more spoonsful of the water where the garbanzos boiled and keep blending until it is the desired texture.
3. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. Enjoy with some pita bread and protein of your preference, or as a dip with veggies like carrots and cucumbers.
Enjoy this with the traditional Lebanese salad Tabbouleh!