Updated: Jan 14
So what makes a meal great? The flavor, and that is one of the hardest things for home cooks to develop. So here is the first installment of blogs about how to liven up or change up your food.
I recently watched a Jane & Anne Esstylsyn podcast about a Better Board. I loved the idea and thought it would be a fun way to explore creating flavor profiles. So here we go, let's talk about the idea of a hummus board (a terrific appetizer and more) and how to create one to match the theme of the meal.
So let's get started, there are four components to you hummus board.
Pick a flavor profile
Make you hummus or base
Select your toppings
Pick a vehicle for serving or eating
Then we will talk about leftovers and evaluating your dish for next time.
1. Pick a Flavor Profile
This is always the first step. So here are some ideas of picking the overall flavor profile for your dish. What is being served for dinner? Who will be eating your luscious appetizer and what are their favorites? There are so many profiles, but some general ones are:
and Different Ethnic Cooking Styles
2. Make Your Base
For a hummus board, this would be a hummus and there are hummus recipes for just about any profile, but here are a couple of thoughts. I like to start with a basic hummus, not too fancy since I am going to be using toppings and sometimes simpler is better. If you were just going to serve a hummus, you can flavor away. But for my examples, they are going to be pretty simple tasty hummuses focusing on one main flavor.
For this blog were are going to a lasagna dinner party, so we have selected Italian for our theme. So what kind of hummus should I make. Well, let's consider the different types of beans used in Italian cooking. Some that come to mind for me are chickpeas, cannellini (white kidney beans), borlotti (I haven't found these in my area), lentils, and fava beans. Some things I would consider in picking my beans are: texture, taste, and availability. For this board, I am using a chickpea hummus, since I already have some lovely hummus. You can make your hummus from scratch or buy it at the store. Here is a link to my basic hummus recipe, you can use this recipe with different beans. https://www.plantpoweredpayson.com/post/garlic-festival-ideas-recipes I just used some Italian spices to add some depth to my hummus.
I want to point out that you could also use something other than a hummus for your base, seed and nut spreads, and vegetable spreads can work too.
3. Pick Your Toppings
Here is where we start to really build some flavor. So in our example here, what are your favorite toppings on a pizza, toppings in spaghetti, or ingredients in your favorite Italian dish. Who is eating the hummus board and what do they like or dislike? So, pick them out and cut them in to dipping size pieces, this is really important..... what are you serving this on and you want every bite to have all the elements of board. You can make the board simple with just a few ingredients or you can load it up. It is your board and your flavor profile. Just make sure that if you combine all the toppings together, that they complement each other and don't clash. You can also put certain toppings on just part of the board, if there is a topping that only part of the eaters enjoy.
You can also use a balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, or spices on the top to add a little more depth to the flavor. I like to make a little test before I make my real board. That way you can make sure it is yummy and make adjustments before you build your board.
4. Taste Vehicle
How are you going to serve the hummus board? There are lots of things you can use, here are just a few:
whole grain bread
whole grain crackers
halved picnic peppers
baked tortilla chips
romaine lettuce (make a wrap)
For my Italian board, I used whole grain bread and whole wheat Tricuits.
So here it the video on how to put it together and more:
If you have any leftovers, there are several things you can use them for:
they make a great sandwich spread, instead of mayo
you can use them a spread inside a tortilla wrap
you can use as a dip for snacking on your favorite veggies
Evaluate for Next time
It is great to document your creations and some people, like me even take notes. And then afterwards, I evaluate the dish to see what I would do different next time or other ideas for another great board. Here are are couple of things to evaluate:
Did the bean you selected go with the profile of the toppings?
Was the hummus seasoned properly?
Where there the right amount of toppings?
Is there anything I would add next time?
How did my vehicle for serving work, size wise and taste wise?
Now, don't beat yourself up with you evaluation. Cooking is fun and exploring flavors will have its ups and downs. We just need to learn from what doesn't turn out just right. Bon Appetite! And Eat More Plants.