Post-Independence Humus Situation
Here’s the perennial question: What do you do with your left-over humus after Israel’s Independence Day? If you are lucky enough to have a friend named Ken who loves to cook and share his creations, you make Ken’s amazing Meat and Humus.
Our family has a tradition of getting together with our University of Maryland friends who have also chosen to live in Israel. Even my parents have joined in some years (though this year, Daddy decided to stay close to home), making it a three-generational eating extravaganza. This year we ate wonderful salads, home-made salsa, cold eggplant salad in tomato sauce (not to be confused with ratatouille), and lots of grilled meat. Our ever-growing cadre of vegetarians ate grilled tofu, which, actually, if I am really honest, looked appetizing.
We chose to meet in Jerusalem at the far end of the Haas Promenade overlooking the Old City. What a view! It’s hard not to take it for granted, this privilege of living in Israel. This is the first year that several of us have children serving in the army, so Memorial Day, which falls the day before Independence Day, had special meaning. It was such an easy step to see my son’s face in the photos of soldiers his age who have given their life for the Land.
My soldier and his wife of three months made it to our big shindig. Hadas had met many of these friends at the wedding, but she was a little too preoccupied at the time to really take notice of so many new faces. It felt good to include her in this best of traditions.
I called my parents when the holiday was over to ask how they had spent it. They had been to a funeral the previous afternoon that went on into the early evening. When they got home, overcome with exhaustion, they decided to take a short nap. Three hours later, they rose to discover they’d missed all the city’s Independence Day celebrations!!
Daddy told me that Mom has been asking about her children lately. Where are they? she wants to know. Did they go out to play? I’m actually amused by this. I can’t really imagine what play looks like anymore. Perhaps that’s what I’ve been doing these last few years when I’m making dinner, washing dishes or clothes, or even on my way to see her. It is a comforting thought that the energy we expend on all our chores might just be part of an amusing game. The holiday interrupted our weekly visits, but I’ll be back there next week. It doesn’t matter if we even just sit and stare at each other, Mom is just so happy to see me.
Meat and Humus
Israel has greatly influenced our cuisine. We make cucumber and tomato salad with the vegetables cut into tiny pieces. We add pomegranate seeds to food. We cook with chickpeas. And hummus is a staple on our tables. Our dear friend Ken introduced us to this dish. Its combination of flavors is very Mediterranean.
1 lb ground beef
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ cups store-bought humus
Sauté onions and garlic. When onions become translucent, add meat. When meat is cooked through, add spices and pine nuts. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Spoon hummus into a serving dish, making a concave area in the middle in which to place the meat. Pile meat on the bed of hummus. Serve hot.