dip

Tzatziki

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In my last post I mentioned that my New Year’s get-together is an all-day, all-hors d’oeuvre event. A dairy fest and, several hours later, a meat-fest followed, several hours later by dessert.

Some of the tidbits I serve are homemade, some not, some fancy, others plain, some elaborate, some easy.

This one is amazingly easy and you can to make it ahead, in fact, you have to make it ahead. It’s refreshing, looks pretty and fits in perfectly with some of the other stuff I’m thinking of serving: Herbed Feta Cheese with Sundried Tomatoes and Olives, Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Rollups, Herb and Cheese Gougeres (Choux Puffs), Fresh Tomato Puff Pastry Pizzas.

Happy New Year everyone.

Tzatziki (Cacik)

  • 3 cups thick, Greek style non-fat yogurt

  • 3 medium cucumbers

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

Place a double layer of cheesecloth in a strainer. Spoon the yogurt into the lined strainer and set it over a bowl. Let rest in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Place the yogurt in a bowl (discard the liquid that has accumulated in the bowl). Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop and discard the seeds. Grate the cucumber in a food processor or by hand. Strain the cucumber through a sieve, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible. When the yogurt is ready, stir in the cucumbers, garlic, mint, dill, salt, lemon juice and olive oil.  Stir to blend all the ingredients thoroughly. 

Makes about 4 cups, serving 10-12 people.

 

Tropical Salsa

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In our family, Mother's Day involves a cookoff. Everyone participates in some way. We pick a theme, some people cook, some set the table, some help clean up and so on. Then we all eat what we have cooked and everyone wins a prize for something, like: best looking; most delicious; most unusual.....

It's been so much fun over the years and we all believe it beats going to a restaurant which, because it's a holiday, is usually crowded and noisy and the service awful.

This year's theme was "dips."

My son-in-law and one of the grandkids made a hot French Onion Dip; one daughter and granddaughter made a spicy Red Pepper Dip; another daughter and child made a chocolate dip for dessert.

It was all awesome.

This was my entry, which got the award for "most refreshing" and "most attractive" as well as "most perfect for summer" awards.

It's so easy to make too.

Also, it really is perfect for summer.

And it is actually refreshing and attractive.

So -- for summer company or just for yourself, try my award-winning Tropical Salsa. Serve it on Father's Day. Or July 4th!

By the way, this is also a good side dish with grilled meat, poultry or fish and can be used to top a hamburger.

Tropical Salsa

  • 2 cups diced fresh papaya
  • 2 large mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lime peel
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • corn chips or other favorite chips

Place the papaya, mango and avocado dice in a bowl. Add the jalapeno pepper, lime peel, lime juice and cilantro and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Taste and add salt as needed. Serve with chips.

Makes about 3 cups

Easy Guacamole

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Recently I posted a recipe for an Avocado, Egg and Tomato Sandwich with Pesto Mayonnaise, in which I mentioned that I eat a lot of avocados. In fact there are always 4-5 avocados in my house, some in the crisper bin of the fridge, others ripening on the counter top.

Besides eating avocados as a snack, I find that when I am at a loss for a vegetable side dish or when I am rushed, stressed or busy, an avocado comes in really handy (not to mention delicious and also healthy). Just peel and cut it up and serve with anything: chicken, beef, eggs, whatever. Maybe sprinkle a little lime juice on top.

But of course, as I mentioned in that previous post, there's always Guacamole! One of the tastiest, easiest, well-loved dips there ever was.

Here are some ideas for guacamole in addition to serving it with chips:

1. spread on top of toast for a sandwich (by itself or with tomato slices, chicken or turkey)

2. use instead of ketchup for burgers

3. use to replace the butter on a baked potato

4. tuck inside eggs within an omelet 

5. stuff inside hollowed tomatoes

Here's my easy recipe for guacamole. It will take you far.

Guacamole

  • 2 medium avocados
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small serrano chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro, optional
  • 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • chips

Peel the avocado and scoop the flesh into a food processor (or bowl or molcajete). Chop the tomato and add the tomato pieces, chili pepper, garlic, cilantro, if used, juice and salt to taste to the food processor. Process to desired texture using pulse feature (or mash with a fork or tejolete). 

Serve with corn chips.

Makes about 2 cups

Hummus with Dried Chick Peas and Tahini

My dad, who was in the fabric business, always had to be thinking six months ahead. In June, for example, he asked himself what sort of material women would want to buy to sew a dress or skirt the following December.   It’s the same in my business, food writing. I’m already testing recipes for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, even though the sun is brilliant, the leaves are still green and it’s 90 degrees outside.  All this means that I decided on my Break-the-fast menu several weeks ago, even though Yom Yippur doesn’t end until sunset October 4, 2014.  I always serve a new hummus version for this occasion. Hummus is usually the first bite that people eat when they come to my house. And because I work ahead, I’ve already completed all my hummus experiments for the year.  The recipe below, made with dried chick peas, is the winner for this year’s get-together. Dried chick peas give hummus a rounder, richer, nuttier flavor than the kind made with canned beans. The hummus tends to be drier too, so I keep some of the cooking liquid available to stir in at the last minute, just in case.  Don’t be surprised by the addition of a tiny amount of baking soda. It helps soften the chick peas and make the hummus smooth and creamy.        And by the way, you don’t have to wait until October to make this. Hummus is a treat any old time as a snack, sandwich spread, party dip.  You know.                                                                                                                                        Hummus with Dried Chick Peas and Tahini   1 cup dried chick peas  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1/3 cup tahini  6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice  2 tablespoons olive oil  3 cloves garlic  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin  1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste  1/2 teaspoon salt  1/2 cup cooking liquid from chick peas, approximately  zatar  cut up pita wedges  Place the chick peas in a bowl, cover them with water and let soak overnight or about 10 hours. Or, place the chick peas in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the peas for 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pot and let the chick peas soak for 1 hour. Drain the chick peas. Place them in a pot, cover with water (by about one inch), stir in the baking soda, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about one hour or until the chick peas are tender. Drain the chick peas but reserve some of the water. Place the chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt in a food processor. Add about 1/4 cup reserved bean liquid and process until well blended. Add more bean liquid depending on desired consistency. Place the hummus in a serving dish and sprinkle with zatar. Serve with cut up pita wedges.  Makes about 1-1/2 cups      

My dad, who was in the fabric business, always had to be thinking six months ahead. In June, for example, he asked himself what sort of material women would want to buy to sew a dress or skirt the following December. 

It’s the same in my business, food writing. I’m already testing recipes for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, even though the sun is brilliant, the leaves are still green and it’s 90 degrees outside.

All this means that I decided on my Break-the-fast menu several weeks ago, even though Yom Yippur doesn’t end until sunset October 4, 2014.

I always serve a new hummus version for this occasion. Hummus is usually the first bite that people eat when they come to my house. And because I work ahead, I’ve already completed all my hummus experiments for the year.

The recipe below, made with dried chick peas, is the winner for this year’s get-together. Dried chick peas give hummus a rounder, richer, nuttier flavor than the kind made with canned beans. The hummus tends to be drier too, so I keep some of the cooking liquid available to stir in at the last minute, just in case.

Don’t be surprised by the addition of a tiny amount of baking soda. It helps soften the chick peas and make the hummus smooth and creamy.      

And by the way, you don’t have to wait until October to make this. Hummus is a treat any old time as a snack, sandwich spread, party dip.

You know.                                                                                                                                  

 

Hummus with Dried Chick Peas and Tahini

1 cup dried chick peas

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup tahini

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cooking liquid from chick peas, approximately

zatar

cut up pita wedges

Place the chick peas in a bowl, cover them with water and let soak overnight or about 10 hours. Or, place the chick peas in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the peas for 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pot and let the chick peas soak for 1 hour. Drain the chick peas. Place them in a pot, cover with water (by about one inch), stir in the baking soda, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about one hour or until the chick peas are tender. Drain the chick peas but reserve some of the water. Place the chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt in a food processor. Add about 1/4 cup reserved bean liquid and process until well blended. Add more bean liquid depending on desired consistency. Place the hummus in a serving dish and sprinkle with zatar. Serve with cut up pita wedges.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups