There are two parts of my brain. The passionate impulsive part and the scientific part.
The passionate part of my brain falls madly in love with recipes. It courts them with great fervor, spending hours upon hours day dreaming about what the recipe would be like. Writing its name plus mine in cute little hearts upon the back of my cook book covers.
In the mean time the scientific part of my brain wants to dissect a recipe. It wants to turn the recipe around, unscrew the cover poke around the insides and rearrange the inner workings. My scientific mind wants to know why a recipe works. Why choose this combination of ingredients or that? What does this flavor do with that? What makes the recipe tick.
Either way, between these two halves of my brain, I can’t ever seem to make any recipe that I see until I have thoroughly dissected it.
It is the same way with cook books. No matter how intoxicating, tempting or lovely I can never bring myself to cook from a book until my mind has had time to turn it over, digest it in my head until I am bursting with the desire to make something.
It is the same way with blogs. We bloggers are verbose people; even the briefest of us wants to convey the experience of what we are eating. And us the audience with our vivid imaginations aching to take that same experience and make it our own pounce on each other’s recipes with great gusto sending waves of empathetic entries through cyberspace.
It is a beautiful thing to watch. Virally a spice or a cooking method catches on and suddenly it springs up like tiny white mushrooms cautiously at first then in clusters and fairy rings.
But even then I can’t quite seem to bring myself to immediately make that viral recipe. I may long for it, it may invade a significant portion of my thoughts but until I can turn that recipe around in my head, imagine what it tastes and feels like in my mouth. What each flavor lends to the whole and most of all, how I can modify it to my own tastes, I cannot bring my hand to actually make it.
It was like that with Orangette’s recipe for Chickpea Salad which she over three weeks ago. I knew as soon as I read her beautiful description of the combination of Parmesan, olive oil, and chickpeas. Even though the flavors were familiar I still had to mull over how it would feel. Biting into each little chickpea, marinated lovingly in flavorful olive oil and pungent, salty cheese.
Almost immediately I knew that I would not be happy with it in its natural state. Even after an overnight marinade in garlic, olive oil, salt and Parmesan the chickpeas flavor was still bland. Perhaps it would have been different if I had actually cooked my own. But canned the marinade simply couldn’t penetrate the pressure cooked bean flavor.
There was also the texture element to consider. Garbonzo’s, unfortunately have a thin outer membrane and while it doesn’t affect the flavor the sensation of separation as you bite into each little cici is not exactly pleasant.
Fortunately salvation was at hand. Fed into a food processor with a tiny bit more olive oil, lemon juice and water the salad became a lovely hummus. Tahini rounded out the sharp nearly discordant edges marrying the favors into a lovely whole.
Dusted with a dash of cayenne this vanished quickly and without question from my mixing bowl somehow finding its way onto pita chips and random slices of vegetables. It was the perfect amount for an afternoon of snacking.
And while the Parmesan isn’t strictly necessary in this hummus I love the slightly salt bite it brings.
Next time I might just have to add avocado though.
The recipe can be made vegan by removing the Parmesan.
Chickpea Salad come Hummus
Adapted from Orangette
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon tahini or peanut butter
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Scant ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and Cayenne Pepper to taste
Water or stock as needed to thin
Combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and parmesan in a small container and allow to marinate for four hours or over night.
Place the chickpeas into the food process along with the marinade, add the tahini and process until smooth, adding water a teaspoon at a time to reach the desired consistency.
Taste and adjust seasoning by adding salt and cayenne pepper.
Server with chips, vegetables or just a spoon.
 I made mine with the lovely lemon zest and olive oil combination which gave it a deeper lemon flavor. But any good quality olive oil will work.