Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. To sponsor this column, contact the Siskiyou Daily News at (530) 842-5777 or (530) 926-5214. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com.

Hummus is an essential Middle East and Mediterranean dip or spread that is a simple to make with multiple uses. It’s an easy potluck veggie dish, appetizer or sandwich spread. The ingredients are pantry items along with a couple of cans of chickpeas.

Recipe

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients – as always, purchase the best ingredients possible; organic and non-GMO

1 - 15-oz. can chickpeas – drained, but save liquid

1 lemon – juiced – about ¼ cup

1/4 cup tahini – you can make this without tahini or substitute with a nut butter

2 garlic cloves – or more to taste

2 olive oil, plus more for garnish

1 tsp ground cumin

Salt & pepper to taste – white pepper if you have it

2 to 4 tbsp chickpea liquid or water – as needed

Garnish – paprika, chopped parsley and olive oil

Optional additions

Add roasted garlic or red peppers

Kalamata olives – omit salt and add chop olives to the finished hummus

Jalapeno – seeded and minced, if you like spicy

Directions

Put all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the chickpea liquid, as needed to produce a smooth puree. If you don’t own a food processor, you can mash by hand or use a blender.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Place in a bowl and drizzled with the olive oil, sprinkled with paprika and chopped parsley or chopped red bell peppers.

Pita Bread Hummus Sandwich

Ingredients

Whole wheat pita bread – a bagel or any good bread works, too.

Hummus

Sprouts, shredded lettuce, cabbage or baby spinach

Assorted raw vegetables such as halved cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers or avocados

Spread hummus on pita bread and stuff with vegetables. You can warm the pita bread in a toaster.

Crudité Platter – Vegetable platter with humus

Place humus in a bowl and drizzle with a good olive oil. Surround the humus bowl with sliced pita wedges, corn chips, or crackers, olives and assorted vegetable carrots, sliced cucumbers and red, green or yellow bell peppers.

Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. To sponsor this column, contact the Siskiyou Daily News at (530) 842-5777 or (530) 926-5214. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com.