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A few days ago, I was sitting on the subway when one of New York’s iconic subway mariachi bands boarded and began to play. As I stared around at the bemused and tolerant faces of the passengers around me, I thought to myself, “this could never happen in D.C..”

It couldn’t. For one thing, it’s forbidden to drink coffee on the D.C. subway, let alone sing, dance, and make merry. For another, D.C. doesn’t quite have New York’s adoration of street artists and musicians; “bohemian” isn’t the word I’d use to describe the city. The words I usually use are “Ann Taylor Loft” (not that there’s anything wrong with ATL, whence my Mom just got me a holiday gift. It’s just a very sensible look).

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve come to like my life here in the District. I really have. And it is a city with plenty of fine arts, which I’m lucky to be around. It’s just…well, it’s not New York. At the tail end of my publishing career, I remember sometimes feeling annoyed with hipsters. Having now been in D.C. for about eight months, let me tell you: I’d pay good money to see a few more hipsters around these parts. Or unconventionally dressed folks. Or mariachi bands on the subway.

But I digress. The point is that I came home yesterday, to D.C., in a state of some wistfulness. I thought about how I wouldn’t see my mother, my childhood friends, or Candle Café for another few months. Let alone an efficient public transportation system. And then I came home to this:

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Hello, Hobbit House Smile

I also came home to about ten texts from the other post-baccs, who are filing into the District for another semester. And as it occurred to me that I’d be seeing them all today, tomorrow, and all semester long, I was also struck by how much I’ve missed them. The other post-baccs are like family to me, and they’re one of many reasons that I can now call D.C. “home” without hesitating.

In the spirit of homecoming, I decided to make a recipe that screams “comfort” to me. Inspired by the extraordinary zucchini and almond hummus I gobbled down at Gingersnap’s Organic, I decided to pay homage to with a zucchini almond concoction of my own. I’ve made both zucchini hummus and almond hummus (Karen Knowler’s recipe) and I thought this was a really lovely in between: very rich, but lightened up by the zucchini base. Thanks to the chef at Gingersnap’s for planting the idea!

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Zucchini Almond Hummus (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes about 4-5 servings

1 cup almonds, soaked for about 8 hours (or overnight)
2 small zucchini, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 clove garlic (optional–I didn’t use, but it’ll taste traditional)
2 tsps cumin powder
1 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
Black pepper to taste
Juice of 1 large lemon (2-3 tbsp)

1) Place all ingredients in a Vitamix or other high speed blender, putting the zucchini at the bottom.

2) Blend on high, using the tamp attachment, till the mixture starts to get smooth. Resist the urge to add water. You’ll want to, but try first to let the tamp do the work, so that you don’t end up with a watery mix. If it’s not blending, then go ahead and add water very slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon, to get the hummus moving!

3) Keep blending till mixture is very smooth. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt or pepper if desired. Remove from blender and serve with raw crackers, in a wrap, with salad, on toast, with raw veggies, or however you like to eat your hummus.

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This hummus is truly delicious: lemony, fresh, and fragrant from the cumin. It’s also great to know that there’s a vegetable packed into every single bite!

Zucchini hummus holds a tender place in my heart, because it was one of the first recipes I made for myself when I was in my “experimental” early phases of raw foodism. I remember being so sure it wouldn’t work, and then so happy when it did. I can’t think of a better recipe to welcome myself home to D.C. with—a raw food classic, a personal favorite, and a recipe that is loaded with sentimental value.

With that, CR readers, it’s back to the grind I go. Tomorrow begins a new semester, and Orgo II is at noon. I won’t be able to be quite as present as I’ve been on the blog and on Twitter, but I’ll be here. And I’ll be back to tell you how the first day of Spring 2012 went tomorrow.


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