10/19/09

Apple Hummus!?

Roasted apple hummus.

That's what he said, when I asked him what the new Hummus special for today was going to be. Seeing as how we'd just come down from the roasted garlic hummus, I didn't really know where he was going with this. Also, who the heck would think to put apples in hummus? It makes no logical sense at the outset, but like so many works of genius, it doesn't right off the bat. I didn't make the face I had prepared, because by now, I know better than to question Cliff when he goes off on one of these tangents for a couple of reasons:

  1. he's been doing this a hell of a lot longer than I have

  2. he doesn't try something in person until he's tried it ten times over (and then some) in his brain, and seen it in every iteration and combination, until he's worked open the whole glorious inside and outside of the recipe, and figured out how it'll work.

So there he was, coring and slicing the apples, as we chatted about various things on my to-do list today (and, for that matter, on his; only ... he can work with a mental to-do list, while I tend to jot mine down on any handy work surface), when it struck me: he's happy again.

I remember seeing him in the kitchen, with that little glow that all great food masters get when they're creating, just whizzing through the work. It was inspiring, and a little scary, because who ever heard of apple hummus?

Either way, as you do, he followed it through to its natural conclusion. A hint of nutmeg, the tart apples, a touch of clove, some salt, a bit of roasted garlic, some smoky toasty cumin, and just a splash of lemon later, and the hummus was there, in big fluffy clouds of wonderful-smelling creamy beauty. He let me try a bit.

Time stopped for a moment, as I heard the shouts of storekeepers in Cairo, in Jerusalem, in Delhi, in New York! It was all coming together in a harmony of flavour and texture. The apples sort of melted away into a mild sweetness, while the spices and garlic were gentle in their nudging of your tastebuds.

Who knew that apples would work with hummus? Not I. But at the hands of an artist, all things are possible.

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