When time is short, I have to keep the shopping to a minimum, and that means no driving across town to that day's farmers market or hitting three different supermarkets for the best this or that, stopping at the cheese store, the wine store, the spice store. You get the picture.
For a quick appetizer I always keep canned garbanzo beans in the cupboard (I like the Goya brand) to make a bowl of hummus. I may pull a package of pita bread from the freezer too.
Recipes for hummus don't differ all that much, though London chef Yotam Ottolenghi has a lengthy discussion of all the variations and their passionate advocates in his new book "Jerusalem: the Cookbook" out October 16.
Basically, hummus is pureed garbanzo beans with garlic, lemon and a touch of tahini. For one can, in a food processor, I puree the garbanzo beans with about 2 tablespoons tahini and 2 garlic cloves crushed with a little salt. Transfer to a bowl and season with freshly squeezed lemon juice (at least one lemon's worth) and salt to taste.