As the frost begins to melt and we enter the best month of the year, February, we are well overdue for our Winter Guest Countertop Series. This month I interviewed Gabrielle Obeji. She’s my childhood mate, and a fellow Encinitas expat in San Francisco. Gabrielle is a home cook extraordinaire with solid roots in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Today, she shares her family hummus recipe – it’s creamy, citrus-y, and hard to put down. Read on!
+What are your favorite ingredients to use?
I definitely have my go-to’s to make anything taste better: garlic, chopped parsley or cilantro, and ginger. These can take any dish to the next level.
+Essentials you must have stocked in your kitchen at all times?
Now that I’m living on my own, without the beautifully stocked kitchen of my mother, I know what I can’t live without. These include but are not limited to: an assortment of seasonal fruits for breakfast, crushed red pepper flakes for pizza (a must for any Obeji woman) and to add spice to any boring dish, salsa of any sort for eggs, this family hummus for snacking, a can of any type of beans when the times get rough and grocery shopping seems much too daunting (ask my best friend/roommate), and always some red wine for inspiration in the kitchen.
+ This hummus recipe has been passed down in your family. Any other family recipes you visit often?
We have a few middle eastern dishes that have been staples during the holidays including this one and my mom’s delicious Tabouli salad. The other half of our family is Italian, so I always love the homemade meatballs and pasta. It can be pizza take-out or a meal cooked from scratch, but nothing beats the holidays when the whole family gets to sit around and eat all day. I just love it!
+We both grew up in Encinitas and then moved to San Francisco. What foods do you miss from home? Anything you can’t get your hands on up here?
Mexican food… hands down! And I am not talking your nice sit-down Mexican. There are so many weekends I find myself a tad bit under the weather from the night before and all I want is a California burrito. I have had some semi-okay imitations up here, but nothing even comes close to our little hole-in-the-wall spots back home. I am drooling just thinking about Juanitas.
+What’s the best meal you’ve had so far since moving to San Francisco?
Wow… tough to say. I’ve had so many memorable meals up here. I think it is practically impossible to live here and not become somewhat of a food snob. We are surrounded by so many cultures and delicious food! I’d say my favorite meal up here is the Cioppino at Soto Mare (a mere stones throw from my apartment). It is my all time favorite! You know you go somewhere too often when the staff hugs and kisses you upon your arrival 🙂
+You’re pretty active on Pinterest. Anything you’ve pinned that you’ve been dying to try out?
I do love to pin! There are so many great recipes circulating on there, I just love it. Many of them counteract the clothes and exercise boards I have going (oops!). However, there are a few Indian dishes I’ve pinned that I’m dying to try. Follow me! 😉
+Guilty Cooking Show Pleasures?
Too many to name… my roommate hates it! Top Chef, Iron Chef, Chopped, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, Paula Dean, Giatta at home, Barefoot Contessa… my mom got me started and I have really run with it. Food Network is my guilty pleasure.
+Celebrity Chef Crush?
Well everyone loves a man that can cook. This last season of Iron Chef All Stars featured Spike Mendelsohn as one of the contestants. Babe alert!
- 1 can garbanzo beans (leave half of juice in can)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped (coarse is okay since food processor will do most of the work)
- 2 green onions, chopped (coarse is fine)
- 1/8 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tsp. soy sauce (to taste for saltiness)
- 2 twists of salt
- green onion, chopped (for garnish)
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Modify as needed (I usually add extra lemon and garlic!) .
- For best consistency, let chill before serving.
- Serve with warm pita bread, pita chips, or fresh vegetables.