Friday, April 9, 2010

I Never Seem To Post About Holidays (Lemony Bean Dip)

It was Easter recently.  We celebrate Easter here, although we'll never turn down a Passover Seder invitation.  Love that apple/honey/nut stuff...  Anyway, my mom asked me to bring hors d'oeuvres to the lunch she was serving, and as I was thinking about what to bring, I realized I've never really posted anything holiday-ish here.  Mainly because the things I post are last minute dinner ideas, rather than the long thought-out recipes that one cooks up for a fancier meal.  However, it turns out that the dip I brought kind of covers both - ok, scratch that, it wasn't thought-out in any way - I cribbed the whole idea from an Oprah Winfrey magaizine (don't judge until you've read of copy - there's good stuff in there-) - and I used ingredients I had in my fridge, freezer and pantry.  

Since we were having lamb for the main meal, I went with a kind of Greek theme.  In my fridge were all kinds of olives because I love olives and no one else in my immediate family likes them as much as I do.  So I marinated the olives in some oil, vinegar (I used red wine because that was what I had) a dash of Vermouth and some parsley and some thyme.  

I did dash out to the store because I had a sudden and intense craving for Feta - bought a block, came home, broke it up some, sprinkled it with cracked pepper, as well as good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.  Very yummy.

Finally, I made this dip.  In the magazine, they used it as a spread for a club-style sandwich with sliced tomatoes, avocado and bacon, but I felt that if I doubled it I could make it into a yummy dip and top it with all those things.  And then, of course I didn't have quite all of the ingredients called for so I started substituting here and there.  Let me tell you, it was good.

Here's what it looked like when it was all done:

Here's how I made it:

Lemony Bean Dip:

2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced 
1/4 cup of dry vermouth (or white wine if you have it, which I didn't)
1/2 cup of broth: chicken or veg, (or            add another 1/4 cup of vermouth plus 1/4 cup water)
Juice of one medium lemon
peel from that same lemon, diced
2 tsp of thyme (O calls for rosemary which I simply didn't have - but could be good - you could also use parsley, chervil, or even some basil or better yet, a bit of mint)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or tabasco, or any hot sauce you have - you can leave this out too)
cracked pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
1 avacado diced
1 large diced tomato - or a handful of cherry tomatoes quartered
2 slices of crisply cooked bacon, crumbled (also optional- but I always have bacon because I freeze individual slices on a cookie tray, then drop the frozen slices into a ziploc and keep them in the freezer.  Easy-peasy.  However, to my horror I did not have bacon the saturday before Easter, I guess we must have eaten it all right before we left for Spring Break, and so, no bacon was crumbled on my dip.)

Heat oil in a large skillet, drop in garlic for a couple of minutes, but don't let it brown because garlic burns really quickly, toss in the zest, then the 3 cans of beans.  Cook a few minutes, then add the vermouth, broth, lemon juice, herbs and cayenne.  Let this all cook a bit until it gets thicker.  Then whirr it up in a food processor.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

So, let your dip cool until it reaches room temp.  When you go to serve it, put the dip in a shallow bowl, chop your avocado and tomato into manageable chunks and stir them in, reserving some for the top.  Sprinkle the top with the crumbled bacon.  If you have it.  Which I didn't.  Which was a damn shame.

I served it with pita chips from the grocery store, as well as some thickly sliced cucumbers and carrots

The whole thing really complemented my Mom's lamb dinner: grilled lamb, green peas, mashed potatoes and salad.  

Yesterday, I had a left over lamb sandwich with some of the bean dip and the remaining feta on top.  As my 13 year old would say: OMG.