June 22, 2024


Food & Travel Enthusiast

Skip turkey. How about hummus, dumplings, ancient grains, cocktails?

This Thanksgiving, Press Play is revisiting interviews with the authors and chefs behind some of our favorite 2021 cookbooks. 

If you’re hosting the big get-together, you need snacks to serve when guests start arriving, unless you’re one of the very few people who can perfectly time cooking a turkey. Enter: hummus from one of LA’s best Middle-Eastern restaurants, Bavel. Chef Ori Menache’s hummus recipe is inspired by one specific hummuseria in Jaffa Israel — called Abu Hassan. Menache told us how he tried to recreate the hummus from Abu Hassan — and why it’s so good.

Appetizer: Hummus

Makes 6 cups

Hummus and pita bread are seen at Bavel. Photo by Nicole Franzen.


  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • garlic cloves, grated with a Microplane
  • cups cooked Garbanzo Beans (see right)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin 1⁄2 teaspoon citric acid
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons reserved garbanzo bean cooking liquid from cooked Garbanzo Beans 
  • 1 1⁄4 cups raw tahini paste
  • 1⁄4 cup tahini (page 67) for serving 1 tablespoon olive oil for serving
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, for garnish
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon paprika for garnish


-To make the hummus: In a small bowl, add the lemon juice and garlic and let sit for 3 minutes.

-In a food processor, add the garbanzo beans, the lemon juice and garlic mixture, salt, cumin, and citric acid. Puree this mixture for 5 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add the garbanzo bean cooking liquid in a steady stream while blending.

-Continue to blend for another 2 minutes after the liquid has been added. This will aerate the puree so that it becomes light and creamy. Turn the food processor off and add the tahini paste. Blend for 10 seconds; turn off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then blend for 10 more seconds.

-Let the hummus sit until it reaches room temperature. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

-When ready to serve, in a shallow bowl, add 3⁄4 cup of the prepared hummus in a flat layer. Then, while rotating the bowl, use the back of a spoon to spread the hummus up the sides of the bowl to create a large well in the center. Add the tahini to the well and top with the olive oil and lemon juice.

-Garnish with parsley and paprika.

Main course: Dumplings

Most of us had to skip Thanksgiving with our families last year because of the pandemic. And because cooking a turkey is often a one-person job, why not opt for a main dish the whole family can help make? For this, we recommend making soup dumplings. Chef Hugh Amano and illustrator Sarah Becan talked about their comic cookbook “Let’s Make Dumplings,” and the mystery of how soup dumplings are made. 

Makes about 2 dozen xiaolongbao

Need advice for making dumplings at home? Turn to the new cookbook “Let’s Make Dumplings!” Photo by Shutterstock.


  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 3 green onions, trimmed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup chilled Chicken Stock (recipe below)
  • 2 dozen Dumpling Wrappers


-Place pork, green onions, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, white pepper, and sugar in a medium bowl. Use your hand to vigorously mix until thoroughly combined, 20 to 30 seconds. Then “knead” the filling by folding it over on itself repeatedly for another 90 seconds. Finish emulsifying the filling by continuously picking it up and slapping it back down into the bowl for another 30 seconds. To try the filling, microwave about a teaspoon of it for 20 to 30 seconds and adjust seasoning to taste. Add the chilled chicken stock and mix well with a spoon until well incorporated. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour before filling the wrappers.

-Working in batches to keep the filling as cool as possible, place a third of the filling in a small bowl and keep the rest refrigerated. Fill each wrapper with about 2 teaspoons of filling and shape as a Momo, making sure to give the top a pinch to guarantee it is sealed. Cook as shown under Steaming (p. 000) and serve immediately. Alternatively, freeze uncooked as directed (p. 000).

Chicken stock
Makes about 2 quarts soup stock and 1 quart concentrated stock


  • 3 pounds chicken backs or wings
  • 4 ounces smoky bacon (optional; only if making for use in Xiaolongbao, p. 000)
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 4 ounces ginger, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 quarts cold water 


-Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook for 3 hours, skimming any scum that rises to the surface of the liquid, and agitating the bones every half hour or so. The stock will reduce to about 2 quarts during the cooking process; this is normal. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain, picking meat from wings and reserving for another use. Discard all other solids. 

-If using for Xiaolongbao or Sheng Jian Baozi (p. 000), return the stock to a pot and simmer over medium-high heat until the gelatin content has concentrated and the stock has reduced to about 1 quart. Refrigerate the stock overnight, tightly covered.

-The next day, remove the congealed fat from the top of the stock and refrigerate for another use, up to 1 month. Refrigerate the stock until you’re ready to use it, up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Dessert: Baked goods with Mother Grains 

We have a suggestion for how to tweak some of the baked goods you already love to pack in more flavor and texture. That suggestion is to sub out some of the all-purpose flour in your recipe for an ancient grain like sorghum, sonora wheat, or buckwheat. You can do this with your pie crusts, cakes, pancakes — most anything really. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 16 cookies

LA pastry chef Roxana Jullapat, who runs the East Hollywood bakery and cafe Friends and Family, wrote a whole book on baking with these grains. It’s called “Mother Grains: Recipes for the Grain Revolution.” Jullapat talked about ways to use them when her book came out in April. 

Aiming for an adult chocolate chip cookie? Use buckwheat flour, suggests baker Roxana Jullapat, and pair it with a strong, black cup of coffee. Photo by Kristin Teig.


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed (112 g) dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (100 g) sorghum flour
  • ¾ cup (105 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (175 g) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Coarse sea salt such as Maldon or fleur de sel (optional)


-In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium- high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

-Add the baking soda and kosher salt and mix for another minute.

-Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.

-Add the flours and mix on low speed until a uniform dough forms.

-Add the chocolate chips and mix until well distributed in the dough. The dough will be very soft at this point.

-Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap.

-Flatten it into a disk, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 2 days) — chilled dough will be much easier to work with.

-Place two oven racks in the middle positions and preheat the oven to 350ºF.

-Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

-Divide the chilled dough into sixteen equal portions, about 1½ ounces (45 g) each.

-Working quickly so that the dough doesn’t warm up, round each portion with your hands. You can freeze the cookie dough balls for up to 2 weeks in a freezer bag to be baked from frozen at a later time. Keep in mind that frozen cookies may take longer baking time.

-Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart to prevent the cookies from touching as they spread when they bake. If desired, top each cookie with a few flakes of coarse sea salt. Exercise restraint — it’s still salt.

-Bake for 8 minutes. Then rotate the sheets, switch their positions in the oven, and bake for another 8 minutes, until the cookie edges are brown but the centers are still a little gooey. Rotating and switching the sheets halfway through the baking process will ensure that the cookies bake evenly.

-Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets or enjoy while still warm. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


Ahead of Cinco de Mayo, we talked to Good Food host Evan Kleiman about mezcal, and she shared some cocktail recipes from LA mixologists featuring the smoky spirit. She told us about a drink called “The Inside of Italy” from Eat Your Drink’s Matt Biancaniello. 

“The Inside of Italy”
tart | fresh | savory

Matt Biancaniello offers a recipe for “The Inside of Italy.” Photo courtesy of Matt Biancaniello. 


  • 2 oz 123 Tequila Blanco
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz agave syrup ( 1:1 ratio of agave nectar to water)
  • 1/4 of a Cara Cara orange ( from JJ’s Lone Daughter)
  • Healthy pinch of  fresh oregano ( from Coleman Farms)
  • 1 oz white balsamic
  • Garnish: Dehydrated and Smoked Grapefruit slice from Windrose Farm


-Muddle everything except the tequila.

-Add the tequila and ice and shake and strain into a rocks glass with nugget ice and garnish with grapefruit slice.

savory | tart | refreshing

Adam Flamenbaum offers a recipe for Petunia. Photo courtesy of Adam Flamenbaum. 


  • 2oz Mezcal
  • ¾ oz Lime juice
  • ½ oz Aperol
  • ½ oz Red Wine Syrup
  • Several dashes of Orange Bitters


-Shake, strain, and serve over ice. 

-Garnish with a lime wheel.