Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Appetizers: 3 Delicious Dip Recipes

Bell peppers. Crackers. French bread. Carrots. Pita chips. Celery. Your Finger.

All of these are appropriate dipping apparatus for these beauts:


Hummus

1 cup dried chickpeas
several cups cold water
2 Tbsp. whey (the watery stuff on the top of yogurt and sour cream) or vinegar

Soak chickpeas in cold water and whey (or vinegar) overnight. The next morning, rinse well in a colander.

large pinch baking soda
2 cloves garlic
pinch of thyme

Put soaked, drained and rinsed chickpeas in a pot and cover with water. Add baking soda, garlic and thyme. Cook on a low/medium simmer for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, skimming all of the foam off during the first 10-15 minutes of cooking.

When extremely tender, drain, reserving a few tablespoons of liquid.

2-3 Tablespoons of tahini sauce (ground sesame seeds, usually found next to the peanut butter in the grocery store)
1 tsp. cumin powder
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
salt to taste
garlic powder to taste

Place all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor. Process while drizzling in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary -- if it's too thick you can add the reserved chickpea cooking liquid to thin.

Garnish with paprika (or cayenne pepper) and drizzled olive oil.


YES, you can skip the first two steps and use canned chickpeas, but if you're going to go to the trouble of making your own hummus, why not make it from scratch? I've made it with both canned and dried chickpeas, and I much prefer dried -- there's a distinctly fresher flavor and a decadently smoother consistence.


Wow.


Now this one was a major surprise to me, because I don't like eggplant. But something magical happens on the grill and transforms the plebeian eggplant into gourmet aubergine bliss.

Baba Ghanoush

I followed the recipe exactly from Pioneer Woman Cooks, except I downsized the recipe to use 1 eggplant and I processed it in the food processor to be smooth instead of mashing it with a fork to be chunky.


I'm addicted to the stuff.


I like it so much I'm going to plant eggplant in my limited-space garden this year just so I can make more. That's love.


"Did somebody just come in from nearly dying in the desert and tell his wife 'Make me something cool and refreshing?' I mean, how else could they come up with something this light and refreshingly good?"

Apparently my sister-in-law likes this as much as I do. And I wholeheartedly agree with her sentiments. Tzatziki is a cucumber yogurt dip that belongs on every party menu. It tastes like Summer in a dish.

Tzatziki

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (or 2 1/2 - 3 cups regular plain yogurt, strained through a coffee filter or cheesecloth for a few hours)
juice from 1 lemon
handful chopped fresh dill (dried will do)
handful chopped fresh parsley (dried doesn't really cut it, but you could try)
handful chopped green onion (or minced regular onion)
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Chill for several hours (the flavor improves with time).

Any or all of these would be wonderful appetizers for a party, but... um... well... they're great afternoon snacks, too!


9 comments:

Nadja Van der Stroom said...

My three all-time favorites.  Just today I was looking at a couple of cans of chickpeas in the cabinet and thinking: Hummus.  but I have no tahini and my son used the rest of the lemon juice for an experiment...sigh...

Emily Sparks said...

Wow!  I love Greek food.  Thanks so much for sharing these!

Pam Elmore said...

I have tried doing chickpeas from scratch with limited success -- I had no idea about the whey! Thanks for these recipes!

Pam Elmore said...

Also -- I think the red stuff that's sprinkled on top of hummus in middle-eastern restaurants is sumac -- it's part of what gives it that tart flavor. But I don't have it, so I skip it. :)

Farmer's City Wife said...

Oh, Pam, you're a genius! That is exactly what it is! I don't have sumac in my spice cabinet, but I have green za'atar, which has sumac in it. I wouldn't have guessed that was the secret ingredient :).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Oh, Pam, you're a genius! That is exactly what it is! I don't have sumac in my spice cabinet, but I have green za'atar, which has sumac in it. I wouldn't have guessed that was the secret ingredient :).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Hope it works for you! This was my first try with the dried chickpeas and I was really impressed. The cooking liquid smelled rank, but I'm glad I didn't throw in the towel 'cause it was the best hummus I've ever had. I read somewhere that the pinch of baking soda in the cooking liquid makes a pretty big difference, too.

Farmer's City Wife said...

You're welcome, Emily! Hope you can try some of 'em! :)

Farmer's City Wife said...

sigh, indeed! I don't care much for chickpeas as chickpeas (the chalky consistency, mostly), but somehow they really morph into something good as hummus :).

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