Monday, November 21, 2016

Spicy Hummus Recipe

A couple days ago a recall was announced for over 50 varieties of Sabra brand hummus over concerns about Listeria. This follows another recall of several varieties of Sabra brand hummus a year and a half ago.

So I thought now would be a good time to share my spicy hummus recipe. I've been making hummus weekly for about 2 years now. The recipe was originally copy and pasted off a website, but I've made a lot of changes over the 100+ times I've made it.

A few main differences between the original recipe and my current recipe are 1) I don't eat garlic if I can help it, so no garlic 2) Spice! Between the serrano pepper, the cayenne pepper powder, and to a lesser extent the crushed red pepper flakes, this hummus really brings the heat. I was never into spicy food before (e.g., as a kid I couldn't eat Hot Tamales candy because they were too hot), but have become a fan thanks to this hummus.

Anyway, here is my current recipe. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare.

Spicy Hummus


1 can garbanzo beans (the beans and 1/4 cup of the liquid)

1 serrano pepper

1/8 red bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

X dashes cayenne red pepper powder

2 tablespoons tahini

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Slice the red bell pepper into strips, 12 to 16 depending on the size of the pepper. I use 2 strips, and then freeze the rest for next time. Also halve the serrano pepper the long way down the middle. Put them on a baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes if fresh, 12 minutes if frozen.

2. Open the can of garbanzo beans. Save 1/4 cup of the liquid in a measuring cup, and drain the rest. Empty the beans into a blender.

3. Add in the blender 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, and several dashes of the cayenne pepper powder. The number of dashes depends on how spicy you want the hummus to be, and how strong your cayenne powder is. My previous bottle was very spicy, and 3-5 dashes was plenty, but my current bottle is not nearly as strong (my tolerance for spiciness has also gone up, I'm sure), so I currently use 15 dashes or so.

4. Add 2 tablespoons tahini. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds, and tastes a little like peanut butter. It has the consistency of jarred natural peanut butter with the oil on top, so you'll have to stir it really good the first time you open the jar. I like Once Again brand organic salt free hummus because it has a better consistency than the other brands I've tried, but any brand should work fine.

5. Add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. 1 medium sized lemon usually yields a little more than that amount, but if I don't get 4 tablespoons I supplement the fresh juice with preserved lemon juice from one of those little yellow bottles they always have next to the fresh lemons & limes at the grocery store. But lemons are cheap, and fresh is better so it would make more sense just to juice 1/2 of another lemon.

6. About here is when the peppers are usually done baking, so add them to the blender.

7. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the 1/4 cup of garbanzo bean liquid saved from the 2nd step.

8. Blend until the hummus reaches desired consistency. On my blender I use the 2nd lowest setting for 2-3 minutes or so.

The hummus is edible right away, but I think it tastes best after a few hours in the fridge.

One great thing about making your own hummus is how easy it is to adjust it to your preference, whether making it thicker or more liquidy with the liquid from the garbanzo beans, more or less spicy with the cayenne pepper or using other kinds of fresh peppers (I've never tried a habanero pepper before, but I'll have to try one in this recipe eventually), or more or less tangy with the lemon juice.

If anyone makes this recipe I'd be interested in hearing how it turned out, as well as any suggestions for improvement (besides adding garlic, of course).

Sunday, April 3, 2016

My favorite albums of 2015

Honorable Mention: jj - death

10. Chungking - Defender

9. Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon

8. Florence + The Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

7. Of Monsters And Men - Beneath The Skin

6. HEALTH - Death Magic

5. Halsey - Badlands

4. CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye

3. Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars

2. Beach House - Depression Cherry

1. Purity Ring - Another Eternity

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Toilet paper: An update

Back in October 2013 I wrote a blog post about Charmin toilet paper and its significant decline in quality and also quantity per roll (a reduction in both the width and number of sheets per roll).

For over a year now I've meant to make a follow-up post since some of the information in that post is out of date, but I've never gotten around to it. This morning I just approved a new comment on that post, so I guess people are still stumbling across it when they realize how awful Charmin is now. So, here is an update.

In my original post I recommended Wal-Mart's Great Value Ultra Strong toilet paper as a good alternative to Charmin, similar in quality and value to the old, pre-shrink ray formulation. I think I managed to get 2 12-packs of Great Value Ultra Strong toilet paper in October and November of 2013 before I made a trip to Wal-Mart only to find they were completely out of stock of Great Value toilet paper. Several weeks later I went back and it was back in stock. But now instead of 10.8cm wide, each roll was now only 10.1cm wide. Also, the number of sheets per family roll had been reduced from 200 to 192. I never bought the new version, so I don't know if the texture was changed for the worse like Charmin.

Within a month or two, I think almost every single brand of toilet paper that's locally available went from 10.8cm wide to 9.9cm to 10.1cm wide. I did find two exceptions, however. The first is Cottonelle, which was 10.6cm wide both before and after other other companies changed. Cottonelle has a unique stripe texture, due to which I don't think I've ever tried the brand. The second is Target's Up & Up brand, which didn't change their toilet paper at all during this time period, keeping the same 10.8cm wide and 165 sheets per double roll, with a very good texture. Unlike Charmin which offers separate Strong and Soft formulations, Up & Up had only Premium Soft And Strong, which offered the upside of each (Strong so it doesn't fall apart in your hand, Soft so it's not too rough).

So for a year or so, Up & Up Premium Bath Tissue: Soft And Strong was easily the best combination of quality and value for toilet paper.

Unfortunately, a few months ago Target discontinued the Up & Up Premium Bath Tissue: Soft And Strong and replaced it with Up & Up Ultra Soft Bath Tissue. The new version is significantly thinner than the old version. The difference is immediately noticeable when comparing the two versions, with the old version being superior. When actually using the two different versions, though, the difference isn't as obvious. While the old version was better, the new version is still good. Fortunately, they didn't change the quantity per roll at all, as it's the exact same 165 sheets and 10.8cm wide. Considering the reduced quality and pathetically narrow rolls of most every other brand,
I recommend Target's Up & Up Ultra Soft Bath Tissue.

Also, it's worth noting that you might still be able to find the old, superior version at Target for a limited time while they exhaust old stock. For the last couple months my local Target still has had 12-packs of double rolls of the old Up & Up Premium Soft And Strong version in stock. While the 12-packs of double rolls of the Up & Up Premium Soft And Strong bath tissue have a higher per roll price than the 24-packs, in my opinion the higher quality makes them worth purchasing if you can find them.

For reference, here are pictures of the packaging of the old and new versions.

The old version that's great and highly recommended if you can find it:

The new, not as good version, that's probably still better than anything else currently available:

I think that's everything I have to add. If anyone has found a good alternative that I've missed, please leave a message in the comments.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My favorite albums of 2014

Honorable Mention: Thievery Corporation - Saudade

10. Asha Ali - Loud And Out Of Place

9. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

8. Nina Persson - Animal Heart

7. Lily & Madeleine - Fumes

6. Röyksopp - The Inevitable End

5. Stars - No One Is Lost

4. Wye Oak - Shriek

3. Lykke Li - I Never Learn

2. JJ - V

1. Tove Lo - Queen Of The Clouds

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Worst Company in America 2014

Today The Consumerist launched their annual Worst Company in America tournament.

This year they made a big improvement over previous years' tournaments, as the first round is no longer mostly companies in the same field facing off against each other. For example, last year in the first round they had Bank of America vs. Capital One, and Chase vs. Wells Fargo, with the winners then facing off against each other in the 2nd round, so 3 were of them were guaranteed out before the 3rd round started. But those 4 companies were all deserving of #1 seeds, and would have made an excellent final four.

The new system is still not perfect, as they haven't adopted a complete seeding system, and there's some bad early match-ups with strong vs. strong and weak vs. weak (e.g., Sallie Mae could have easily made the final four, but was gifted with a first round match-up against Koch Industries). It's definitely a step in the right direction, though, and a good sign that things will continue to improve in the future.

Anyway, here are my brackets:

Follow all of the action at The Consumerist:
Worst Company In America 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brooklyn Nine-Nine GIFs

2 GIFs from "Operation: Broken Feather," the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode that aired after the Super Bowl.

Peralta Guarantee Achieved


Saturday, January 4, 2014

My favorite albums of 2013

Honorable Mention: The Lonely Island - The Wack Album

10. Juno Reactor - The Golden Sun Of The Great East

9. Glasser - Interiors

8. Gary Numan - Splinter

7. Lily & Madeleine - S/T

6. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

5. M.I.A. - Matangi

4. Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time

3. Lorde - Pure Heroine

2. CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe

1. Lily & Madeleine - The Weight Of The Globe EP