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Spicy Hummus and the Kansas City Market

Kansas City here we come! Again! I love Kansas City! WooHoo!

Kansas City is about a 3½ hour drive northeast of Wichita, which is just a smidge too far for a casual day trip. But my daughters usually fly out of the Kansas City Airport to visit their father in Canada, so we have a built-in excuse for a visit at least 4 times a year. For most of the drive, the view out the window is of rolling plains of grass with the occasional rocky outcrop. And cows.  Many, many, many cows. Brown cows, white cows, spotted cows, little cows and big cows. Now I wish I had taken a picture of the cows on the way up there for a visual reference, just in case you missed the whole “many, many cows” thing.

Moving right along.

I love the vibe of Kansas City. It’s one of those places that just ooze history and culture.  Oh and did I mention the barbecue? Oh baby. I drool as I type. I didn’t know what real barbecue was until my first trip to Kansas City and a visit to the original Arthur Bryant’s restaurant.  Gates Barbecue and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue are also on the rotation of restaurants I use to get my KC BBQ fix.

Another place I just have to visit each trip, or I pout in the car for the whole ride home, is the Kansas City Market.  With its combination of open air farmer’s market, permanent merchants and restaurants, the 150 year old City Market always has something interesting to see, do or buy.

Fruits…

Fungi…

And veggies of all shapes, sizes and colors.

On our last trip, I found the blue potatoes I had been looking everywhere for, and had a lovely conversation with the farmer selling them about how they should be cooked. We ate lunch at a small, quaint (and packed full of people) Middle Eastern restaurant located right in the market that served some pretty darn good shawarma and hummus. I bought three bags of gloriously soft, fresh, and still-warm pita bread from their little shop next door. I didn’t even come close to pouting on the way home. 

The spice merchant has a huge selection of whole seed spices, like cardamom, coriander, cumin and star anise, that can be hard to find here in Wichita. I should have bought some sumac…

This tiny Asian lady could throw together a perfect bouquet faster than ice cream melts in a frying pan. I watched her put together three in the time it took my husband to go to the bathroom.

Speaking of Asian, the Chinatown Food Market is located just outside the City Market. It’s huge! It has a meat and seafood counter where three guys clean, chop and hack such hard to find delicacies as shark, duck feet and pig uterus. When was the last time you had yourself some really good pig uterus? I would have taken more pictures, but it was so crowded I was afraid my camera lens might take out somebody’s eye.

Random bags of stuff  with not a single word of English to be found on any of them.  I need an iPhone with a magic scanning/translation app.

Um…cooking wine. Don’t drink it.  The label says so.

All that fresh pita bread needed to be put to good use, so I made up a double batch of spicy hummus, invited a friend or two over, and ate until the bowls were empty.

Spicy Hummus

½ cup tahini (see note 1)
3 large cloves garlic
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
3/4 cup water
6 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
2 x 15 oz cans chickpeas, 2 tbsp reserved for garnish
Paprika or sumac (see note 2) for garnish

Blend together the tahini, garlic, cayenne, cumin, salt, water, and olive oil in a blender until smooth.  A food processor will work, but I find a blender yields a smoother texture. 
Add the chickpeas, about a half a can at a time, blending well between each addition. If the mixture starts to get too thick, add more water, about 1 tbsp at a time. 
The hummus should be smooth and creamy when completely blended. Pour onto serving plate and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with paprika or sumac and garnish with the reserved chickpeas.  Serve with fresh pita or toasted pita chips.  This is also a great dip for veggies.

Notes:
1-Tahini is a paste made of ground, lightly roasted sesame seeds that is used in Middle Eastern cooking
2-Sumac is a tart, deep purple-red spice used in Middle Eastern cooking. It adds a sour element, similar to lemon juice.

(Printable Recipe)