We live in this incredible neighborhood. We’ve been in the same house for over 24 years and many of our neighbors have been in the ‘hood for that long too. We moved in on Kyle’s second birthday (he’s now 26) and I was pregnant with our daughter Ally.
We have a Fourth of July block party and a holiday progressive party where we go from one house to another for different courses. Kyle tagged it the “holiday REgressive” because, well, in addition to really great food, there’s a lot of wine involved too and the final house (Arnie & Adrienne’s) always serves Glug (or Gløgg?), a very potent mulled wine.
You’ll often find a box of lemons or limes or grapefruits or zucchini with a sign that says, “free…take some” by the mailboxes. We bring each other fish from fishing trips and herbs from our gardens, pickles and baked goods from our kitchens.
We take care of each other when there’s a surgery or a health issue or the loss of a loved one. About a month ago, Arnie had knee surgery and then his wife Adrienne was out of town for a couple days, so we brought him all the fixings for a carnitas dinner. I saw Arnie driving the other day (yay…he’s driving!). He stopped me to thank me for the carnitas and said he really needed help getting tangelos and Meyer lemons from his trees. So of course I sent Tony, who after climbing a ladder to help pick fruit, came home with two grocery bags full!!!
AND a little container of Arnie’s homemade Avocado Cilantro Hummus. Wowee. Pleasant (and very delicious) surprise. OMG. I couldn’t stop eating it. He even included the recipe and told Tony, “tell Cheryl its from my blog. Ha ha.” (Everyone’s a comedian).
So here it is. Arnie’s recipe. (But I’m not sharing the Meyer lemons!)
Avocado Cilantro Hummus
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15-ounce can, drained)
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 medium sized lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon tahini**
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium Haas avocado, cut in half, pit removed, and flesh scooped out
1 cup cilantro leaves (don’t skimp on the cilantro…I noticed that my batch was not nearly as green as Arnie’s. When I asked him about it, he said, “did you really pack the cilantro? Really pack it. Don’t skimp.”)
Pinch of cayenne (optional – I did add it and a good sized pinch)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor and puree until smooth, Add the avocado and cilantro, and puree until very creamy. Add more olive oil or a couple of tablespoons of water for thinner consistency, if desired). I do like my hummus a little thinner, and ended up adding about two additional tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons water. My lemon was small, so I squeezed another half.) Season to taste with salt & pepper. Chill the hummus before serving.
**Arnie says “don’t buy ready-made tahini. Buy several ounces of sesame seeds and toast them in the oven at 350 degrees until just golden, not brown. Add a little olive oil and puree in food processor. Store in fridge for subsequent batches.” Sorry Arnie. I used store-bought.