Hummus and pita bread.
We eat this once uncommon Middle Eastern dish all the time and this duo is available in many local restaurants and most supermarkets. However, once you taste Ash’Kara’s homemade hummus and pita bread, you’ll swear you’re tasting them for the first time.
Chef Dan Asher’s Boulder Restaurant specializes in modern Israeli cuisine combined with brotherly influences from other Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and North African cultures.
Ash’Kara hummus starts with dried chickpeas which are cooked, pureed and mixed with a generous amount of sesame seed tahini paste, fresh lemon juice, sea salt, ground cumin grilled, parsley and smoked paprika. The dip is coated in single-origin Californian olive oil.
This whipped delight is bursting with flavor and is light years creamier than this tub-chilled product made mostly of beans.
The typical flat, dry pita bread – or even the best softer pita breads – is basically tasteless but serves as a simple dip-carrying tool. Ash’Kara’s pita is made with locally grown ancient wheat freshly ground in Boulder with sourdough starter, yeast and local honey. Once the loaves have risen, they are slipped into a hot wood-fired oven and arrive at the table hot, fragrant and puffed up with moist steam. They are the definition of irresistible.
I also really enjoyed the grilled chicory and blood orange salad, the drunken mushrooms, the fried cauliflower with feta, the glazed eggplant and olive oil cake at Ash’Kara, but I would be happy to dip this warm pita in this creamy hummus for the rest of my life.
Boulder Recipe Flashback: How Janos Got Hot
Janos Wilder began his cooking career at the Gold Hill Inn west of Boulder before studying cooking and opening several award-winning restaurants in Arizona, including Janos in Tucson. Here is his salsa recipe from “Janos Recipes and Tales from a Southwest Restaurant” (Ten Speed Press, 1989). It’s the perfect way to use up the flood of fresh produce from Boulder County farmers.
Janos Salsa Fresca
6 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, peeled, seeded and diced
1 poblano pepper, peeled, seeded and diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients, mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with tortilla chips or baked pita triangles.
Note: To peel fresh peppers, roast them over high heat or in the oven until blackened. Once blackened, place them in a plastic bag to steam for 10 minutes. The blackened skin should peel off easily. Be sure to wear gloves!
Culinary calendar: the first bite arrives
La Festa, Louisville’s annual celebration of its Italian heritage, is Aug. 14 in Memory Square Park. On the menu, sausage sandwiches, pizzas and pizzelles. … The first Nederland Jazz and Wine Festival will take place on August 20 at Chipeta Park in the Netherlands. Tickets: nedjazzwine.com … Boulder County First Bite Restaurant Week dates are September 30 through October 9. firstbiteboulder.com … Events this week: Vail Wine Classic, August 11-13, vailwineclassic.com; and the Palisade Peach Festival, August 12-13, palisadepeachfest.com… Upcoming: Cidermass, August 20, Snowmass, cidermass.com; Watermelon Day, Aug. 20, Arkansas Valley Fair, Rocky Ford, arkvalleyfair.com; Colorado Polish Food Festival, Aug. 27-28, Denver, polishfoodfestival.org; and the Boulder Library Main Branch is hosting a free garden seed exchange on August 27 as part of the Free Seed Library. …Send information about upcoming food and drink events, classes, festivals and restaurant openings to: Nibbles@BoulderWeekly.com
Boulder County Farm Stand Guide
Look for the 2022 Boulder County Roadside Farm Stands Guide at: boulderweekly.com/kitchen/down-on-the-farm-stand.