Category: Dip

Happy Birthday Dip

May 18, 2010

How to write about a getaway with some of the coolest, funniest, most interesting, kindest women I have ever known?  A night spent in celebration of a truly special and life-long friend?  On a beautiful island in a beautiful setting?  Not easy.  So how about some photos.  And a win-friends-and-influence-people recipe for dip.

Signs near the farmers’ market in Bayview.

The birthday girl, setting the table for lunch.

The outermost point on the property.  If I had a better lens, you would see a full mountain range in the background.

So many lovely places to sit and enjoy the beauty.

One of the friends brought beads for each of us to make bracelets.  The charm says “Jen Zen”.

4pm yoga was optional.  It was amazing to practice outside.  That is me in the purple shirt off to the right attempting a handstand without help.  (Didn’t happen.)

The grass was perfect for a headstand though.

Jen requested cowgirl attire for dinner.

She was one of the most well-behaved (and beautiful) cowgirls at the party.

(This photo is actually from last week’s yoga retreat.)

And dip!  I made this dip twice in a week and both times it got devoured.    People dig in expecting something mildly sour, as so many dips are, and are surprised by the lusciousness of it.  This dip gets its rich texture from avocado, silken tofu, and yogurt.  The interesting flavor comes from curry powder and mint.  The mix sounds unpromising, but the empty bowls speak otherwise.   Jen’s sister, after learning about the healthy mix of ingredients, told me, “I’ve been dipping delicately since I assumed it was really fattening.  Now I’m going to dig right in!”.

Curried Tofu-and-Avocado Dip
Adapted from Food and Wine
Makes about 2 cups

1 12-ounce box silken tofu
1 large or 2 small Hass avocados, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 garlic clove
2 tsp. honey
1½ tsp. curry powder
3 tbsp. chopped mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper.

In a food processor, combine everything except the salt and pepper.  Process until completely smooth, then season the dip to taste.  Chill until cold.  This dip will keep for two days in the refrigerator, but the top layer will turn brown-ish because of the avocado.  I suggest storing it in a cylinder-shaped container (such as a large yogurt container) which has a smaller top surface area.



Cucumber Raita

February 23, 2010

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Whenever I make Indian food, or food that isn’t specifically Indian but that features those intoxicating spices, I make a raita to serve with it.  It is such a quick and easy thing to throw together and it complements the food so well.  The dhal I made the other night is, as I mentioned, very highly spiced so a nice cooling and and tangy raita goes perfectly with it.

My standard additions to the plain yogurt are cucumber, lime juice, and salt; but the other day I had some of this on hand.

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It’s called dukkah and it is a spice mixture that originated in Egypt.  I ground some for a dish that never made it to the table so, rather than waste it, I figured I’d just spice up my raita.  Although I mixed cultures and cuisines, the result was fantastic.  The dukkah stars coriander seed and cumin seed (among other wonderful things) and both of those spices are common in Indian cooking.  So I wasn’t that far off the mark.  It can be used, among other things, to garnish a bowl of your best olive oil for pita dipping, and it can also be used to coat soft boiled eggs that sit on greens which sit on toast (the original reason I made it).

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But don’t feel like you need to make dukkah to in order to enjoy the raita.  It is wonderful without the spices as well.  Oh, and those cute little boxes?  They are filled with a variety of sea salt courtesy of my good gift giver of a husband.

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One Year Ago: Palmiers

Cucumber Raita

Dana Treat Original
Makes about 1½ cups

Feel free to use full-fat yogurt here, or even Greek yogurt.  Just please don’t use that nasty non-fat stuff. If you are adding dukkah, use about 2 tablespoons.  If you are a cilantro hater, substitute the same amount of fresh mint.

1 cup plain low fat yogurt
½ English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
Juice of 1 small lime (or to taste)
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Taste for balance of flavor.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

(Can be made one day ahead.  Be sure to give it a good stir before using.)

Dukkah
The Modern Vegetarian

1/3 cup hazelnuts, skinned
¼ cup sesame seeds
5 tsp. coriander seeds
4 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. paprika
Large pinch of cayenne pepper

Heat the oven to 350° F.  Roast the hazelnuts and sesame seeds separately until golden.  Then, roast the coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor or large mortar and pestle, add the remaining dukkah ingredients, and blend until a coarse mix is formed.  (Don’t overdo it; otherwise you will end up with a greasy mess.)  Store the dukkah in an airtight container until required.



White Bean Dip

January 25, 2010

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We’ve all had white bean dip, right?  I’ve made it myself many times and have had it made by friends and in restaurants.  Hummus would still be my first dip choice, but I do enjoy a good white bean dip.  I love finding recipes that are familiar but with a twist.  In this recipe, you sprinkle a breadcrumb mixture over the top and bake it.  Not rocket science but I never would have thought that warm bean dip could be so good.  I consider this a pantry staple dish because I always have onions and garlic in my vegetable basket, white beans in my pantry, and rosemary growing in my yard.  I made this for a dinner party and adults and kids alike were crowded around the bowl.  What more could you want from a dip?

Baked White Bean Purée
Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook – The Original Classics
Makes 3 cups, serving 6-10

If you want to make this vegan, just leave out the tablespoon of Parmesan in the topping and up the amount of breadcrumbs slightly.

2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 15½-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon rosemary and salt and pepper and stir well to combine.  Scrape into a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

2.  Transfer the beans to the food processor bowl and add the vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 3 tablespoons water and purée until smooth.

3.  Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, remaining rosemary, and remaining olive oil in a small bowl, and stir until combined.

4.  Place bean purée in an ovenproof bowl; top with the bread-crumb mixture.  Transfer to oven; bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

(DT: I prepared this through step 2 and refrigerated it overnight.  Add 5 minutes to baking time.)



Of the Full Fat Variety

November 7, 2009

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Thank you everyone.  No really, thank you.  That post took me a long time to write – a long time to work it through both in my head and on the screen.  I so appreciate every comment, re-tweet, and email.  We are lucky people here in the Dana Treat house.

Let’s move on to food, shall we?  If you ignore all of the baked goods, cakes, bars, cookies, chocolate, desserts, tarts, candy, and ice cream on the side bar to your right, you will notice that most of the food I write about here is very healthy.  I know that sentence sounds like a joke but if you take a look through the main courses, you will see a lot of good-for-you things.  The truth is that I like healthy food and that is mostly how I cook.  It’s not spa food but I cook with lots of whole grains and beans plus tons of produce, with a little cheese and eggs thrown in now and then for good measure.  Now and then I make a galette or a tart of some kind but these are usually special occasion meals.  I don’t feel right if I eat a big plate of Fettucine Alfredo so I certainly wouldn’t make it for you.

I don’t take drastic measures to make things low calorie or low fat, I just find that I am drawn to things that are healthy.  Does that sound annoying?  I also tend to be careful with the richer stuff.  I would never use low fat cheese, but I might just use a little less of the good stuff in a dish.  Or if I am going to make something rich, I will balance it with something light.  I have always wondered why sauté in a half cup of olive oil when just a couple of tablespoons works just as well?

And then there is this artichoke dip.  Everything I said in the above paragraphs goes out the window with this one.  There are ways to make a dish like this much less bad for you.  Lofat mayo, lofat sour cream – maybe even using plain yogurt instead.  Maybe someday I will try that but for now, I’m going to enjoy this just the way it is.  Luscious, full-fat, and delicious.

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One Year Ago:  Fattoush (Pita Bread Salad)

Creamy Artichoke Dip

Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 8-12

The original recipe says to serve this with pita chips (it is excellent that way), but I have also served it with fresh baguette slices along with carrots and celery.

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
3 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 tsp. minced seeded jalapeño pepper

Using electric mixer, beat first 8 ingredients in large bowl to blend.  Fold in artichokes, mozzarella cheese, green onions, and jalapeño.  Transfer to a 11 x 7 x 2-inch baking dish.  (Can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Bake dip until bubbling and brown on top, about 20 minutes.  Dip is best served warm.



Muhummara Dip

July 29, 2009


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There are certain dishes that just pop up for me again and again.  Things that I love and I keep trying variations until I find the one that becomes “my” version.  I’m thinking of things like baba ghanoush and gazpacho.  I tried endless variations before I settled on the Greens cookbook’s and Cook’s Illustrated’s versions respectively.

Muhummara is one of those things.  What?  Something you may have not even heard of and here I am tracking down the perfect recipe?  Here is the thing.  I love dips.  Not like chips and dip (although I love those too), I mean like warm grilled pita bread and dip.  If a restaurant has some kind of Middle Eastern platter, I will without question order it.  I love hummus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki, and I love muhummara.  Well, now I do.

I have made four or five versions of this dip and always liked it.  It just never popped for me.  Eralda at The Split Pea recently posted a recipe that looked a little different from the ones I have tried.  I decided to make for last weekend’s lunch and everyone who tried it loved it.  I served it with crackers, but it would be great with pita and Eralda says it’s terrific with cucumber.  This is my new go-to recipe.

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One Year Ago:  Creamy Eggplant with Green Peas


Smokey Muhammara

Adapted from The Split Pea

I made a few changes here, mostly in method.  I also cut down on the amount of garlic because I don’t like a lot of raw garlic in my dips.  You can find pomegranate molasses at Whole Foods and at Middle Eastern markets – if you are lucky enough to have one of those where you live.  It’s flavor adds so much to this dip, so it is worth seeking out.  Along those same lines, the smoked paprika is essential here.  The flavor will just not be the same with regular paprika.

3  red bell peppers
1 cup of walnuts
¾ cup of pecans
1 ½ tsp. cumin
2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp. ground Chipotle Chile powder (or regular chile powder)
2 cloves garlic
1 ½ tsp.  salt
2 tsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. of honey
2 -3 tbsp. pomegranate molasses (substitute balsamic vinegar)

Preheat the oven to 500°F.  Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast, turning occasionally, until beginning to blacken in spots, about 15 minutes total.  Remove sheet from the oven and carefully wrap it in foil.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then remove the foil.  When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel away the skin and remove the membranes, stems, and seeds from each pepper.  Slice and place in food processor.

Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Place the walnuts and pecans in a rimmed cookie sheet and toast for about 3-5 minutes until fragrant (oven temperatures vary, so make sure to keep an eye on them).  Set a timer so you don’t forget about them.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Once cool, add to the food processor along with all the other ingredients.  Process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Taste for balance of flavor, adding more salt, honey, or lemon juice as necessary.  If the dip seems too thick, add more olive oil.

Keeps refrigerated for up to 3 days.



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