Welcome to Cooking Skool, a four-week series designed for young cooks. Each week serves up three themed recipes and how-to videos. Your kitchen guide is LNP | LancasterOnline food writer Kim O’Donnel, who walks you through every step of the way. Together, we’ll try new things, get creative and learn some math, science and history in between. Belly up to the counter and join us for our kitchen adventure!

We know it has been a REALLY long time since you ate in the school lunchroom. It might even feel like forever. On the other hand, a long staycation means maybe you have had more time to whip up a few lunchtime concoctions. While many of you were home schooling, many adults (including yours truly) have been home working.

Lunch is my way to take a break, step away from a screen and recharge for the second part of my day. This week, we are serving up three of my favorite dishes for lunch, or even a late afternoon snack. On the menu: Hummus, Basil Pesto and Guacamole.

Check out last week's recipes and videos:

Hummus

Hummus is a dip or spread eaten around the world, but it originally comes from countries throughout the Middle East. Its two main ingredients are chickpeas and tahini.

Kool Tidbits:

  • The word “hummus” is Arabic for chickpea. The chickpea goes by many other names around the world, including garbanzo, bengal gram, ceci, chana and shimbra.
  • Chickpeas have a nutty flavor and are really good for you; 1 cup of cooked chickpeas contains 14 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
  • Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It kind of looks and tastes like peanut butter.

Tool Kit:

Sharp knife; hand-held juicer or citrus reamer; measuring cups and spoons; food processor or heavy-duty blender; can opener; rubber stirring spatula; medium bowl.

Tips:

  • To get the most juice from a lemon, try one of these tricks: 1) place the whole thing in a microwave oven for 20 seconds; or 2) press and roll on the counter before cutting.
  • Just like peanut butter, tahini paste often separates and the oil rises to the top. Stir really well with a fork or a butter knife before measuring.

HUMMUS recipe

Makes about 2 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Serving ideas: toasted pita bread or crackers; cucumber spears, carrot sticks, celery stalks or bell pepper strips

Directions:

Cut 1 lemon in half and squeeze both halves by hand or with a hand-held juicer. Measure out 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of lemon juice. If you run short, use the other lemon.

Pour the juice into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, along with the peeled garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Process until the garlic has broken apart into little pieces. Add the tahini paste and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend again; you may notice that the mixture gets really thick, like peanut butter. Add 2 more tablespoons of water plus the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and blend once more. If the mixture is still really thick, add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of water. You are looking for a creamy sauce.

Add the chickpeas and blend until everything is really smooth and creamy. This might take a few minutes. That’s OK. Get a spoon and taste the hummus; decide if it needs more salt and if so, add just a pinch at a time. If the sauce still needs water to become creamy, add gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Scoop the hummus out of the food processor and into a serving bowl. Serve with pita bread or any of your favorite raw vegetables.


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