"Would you like to go to Virginia Plainfield's?"
It was a reward. If Virginia Plainfield's was on offer, my sister and I knew we'd been good children.
Known more commonly as Plainfield's Restaurant, this landmark eatery near my hometown of Lake Oswego, Oregon, was a nothing more than a small house with a few dining tables in 1978, when they first opened. My mother always had her finger on the pulse of the food scene in our Pacific Northwest home, however, and could spot a winner from several miles away. A break-out ethnic venue for the area, this iconic Indian restaurant eventually moved to a larger Victorian-style building, and sadly, closed in 2013.
Age was never a consideration when my parents chose to take us out to eat. Chicken fingers and mundane, child-sized greasy cheese pizzas weren't an option. They took us to real restaurants, with no children's menu. A booster seat was usually the only nod these restaurants gave to pint-sized humans. Like any child, I was fidgety. Food was fine, but I usually longed to explore the establishment's bathrooms more than anything. Regardless of my scattered juvenile mind, the culinary exposure soaked into my developing soul, and as a young adult sought out flavor-packed and intriguing dining adventures, instead of the humdrum and homogenous chow-halls so commonly (and increasingly) available.
Trying Lebanese hummus for the first time, I licked the plated clean. It's since been number one on my hit-parade of all-time favorites. Everyone knows the base for hummus is chick peas, and in fact the word 'hummus' means chick pea in Arabic. Like so many other terms, though, 'hummus' has come to be less of an identifier, and more of a descriptor- much like 'Xerox', or 'Weedeater'. Many legumes- and other food products- can be whizzed in a food processor and made into 'hummus'. I've even seen tofu hummus!
Today's recipe card is a mystery. I cut it out of a magazine back in the early 90s, but I can't seem to identify the publication. For the time, black-eyed pea hummus was wildly innovative. To me, the original hummus will always be the gold-standard, but as always, variety is the spice of life, and will bring me back to the table again, and again.
The Rediscovered Recipe Box #23- Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
3 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained*
1/2 cup commercial tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add first 4 ingredients. Process 20 seconds, stopping once to scrape down sides.
Add black-eyed peas and next 4 ingredients; process the mixture until smooth.
Pour olive oil gradually through food chute with processor running; process until combined. Cover and chill if desired. Yield: 1 3/4 cups.
*1 (16 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained, may be substituted for black-eyed peas.
Note: tahini is a thick paste made from sesame seeds. This product may be found in the peanut butter section at large supermarkets.