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Archive for Spreads/Dips/Salsa

APRIL FOOL’S DAY: Faux Cookie Dough Dip

This is not a cookie dough dip, ready to be devoured.

It has the texture of homemade cookie dough, and it does have chocolate chips. But it’s actually a better-for-you chickpea dip in disguise.

April Fool!

Thanks to our friends at Parents.com, who sent the recipe our way. Whip it up and see how many people you can fool.

RECIPE: FAUX COOKIE DOUGH DIP

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups chickpeas (canned or cooked from scratch)
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (look for a natural, unsweetened variety)
  • 3 tablespoons oats
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • For dipping: apple slices
  •  

    bean-dip-like-cookie-dough-MarkMantegna-FamilyFun-230

    Not chocolate chip cookie dough! Photo courtesy Parents.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. BLEND in a food processor the chickpeas, brown sugar, peanut butter, oats, milk, vanilla, salt and baking soda.

    2. FOLD in the chocolate chips. Serve with apple slices or other fresh fruit. And don’t tell anyone until they’re finished eating. Then you can say: April Fool: It was bean dip!

    The recipe, developed by Katie Higgins of ChocoalteCoveredKatie.com was originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun.

    Here’s last year’s trompe-l’oeil April Fool recipe, “Grilled Cheese Sandwich & Tomato Soup.”
     
    APRIL FOOL’S DAY HISTORY

    The origin of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is obscure. The most accepted explanation traces it to 16th century France.

    Until 1564, the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year in April, was in use. According to The Oxford Companion to the Year, King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January first.

    Some people continued to use the Julian Calendar, and were mocked as fools. They were invited to bogus parties, sent on a fool’s errand (looking for things that don’t exist) and other pranks.

    The French call April first Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

    What a fish has to do with April Fool’s Day is not clear. But in the name of a kinder, gentler world, we propose eliminating this holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)
      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Guacamole Recipe

    What’s Irish about guacamole, the quintessential Mesoamerican sauce, we wondered as we saw the headline in the email for St. Patrick’s Day Guacamole, sent to us by the California Avocado Commission.

    The answer: the integration of Irish ingredients—bacon, carrots, Cheddar, onion, parsley—into conventional guacamole. The idea was developed by Sabrina Modelle of TheTomatoTart.com.

    Alas, conventional Irish crackers (cream crackers, digestive biscuits, oat cakes) don’t go well with guacamole. Instead, default to tortilla chips.

    Food Should Taste Good makes Guacamole Tortilla Chips that have a slight green tinge, but we’re going with their Yellow Corn Dipping Chips.

    And some Irish beer.

    Prep time is 20 minutes. For a beautiful presentation, set aside a small portion of the Step 2 ingredients to use as garnish.
     
    RECIPE: ST. PATRICK’S DAY GUACAMOLE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 3 ripe Hass* avocados, seeded and peeled
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  •    

    guacamole-sabrinamodelle-calavocomm-230

    Guacamole with “Irish” ingredients for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy TheTomatoTart.com.

  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ cup very finely diced carrots
  • ¼ cup very finely diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ jalapeño, seeded and very finely diced (optional)
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • ¼ cup very finely chopped parsley
  • 2 ounces Irish Cheddar cheese, crumbled (substitute other sharp Cheddar)
  • Tortilla chips, crudités or other dippers (how about green endive leaves?)
  •  
    *While there are much larger varieties of avocado, the Haas has the creamiest, most delicious flesh. As a result, 98% of the avocados grown in Mexico are Hass, a variety discovered as a seedling by Rudolph Hass, a California postman who planted it in his front yard in the 1920s. He patented the cultivar in 1935.

     

    avocados-board-hassavocado-230

    The avocado was long considered too sexual for “proper” people to eat. Photo courtesy Hass Avocado Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. MASH the avocado with lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

    2. STIR in the bacon, carrots, cheese, garlic, jalapeño, onion and parsley.

    3. GARNISH and serve.
     
    THE HISTORY OF GUACAMOLE

    Mesoamericans cultivated the avocado, a fruit which had grown there for millions of years. The conquering Aztecs called it ahuacatl; the “tl” is pronounced “tay” in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1519 under Hernán Cortés, they heard ah-hwah-cah-tay as “aguacate,” the spelling and pronounciation they adopted.

    Guacamole was compounded in a molcajete, a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic stone.

     

    The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via the Nahuatl “ahuacamOlli,” a compound of ahuacatl [avocado] + mOlli [sauce]. The chocolate-based mole sauce comes from that same word, mOlli.

    Ahuacatl means “testicle.” Aztecs saw the avocado as resembling testicles and ate them as a sex stimulant. According to Linda Stradley on the website WhatsCookingInAmerica.com, for centuries after Europeans came into contact with the avocado, it carried its reputation for inducing sexual prowess. It wasn’t purchased or consumed by anyone concerned with his or her reputation.

    American avocado growers had to sponsor a public relations campaign to dispel the myth before avocados could become popular. After then, their dark green, pebbly flesh also earned avocados the name, “alligator pear.”

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Hummus Beyond Dipping

    We are a huge fan of hummus. We can easily eat one 8-ounce package a day. We often make a meal of hummus and crudités. It’s a nutritious* meal when we don’t want to cook or eat anything more elaborate.

    But there’s so much more to do with this versatile spread than dipping vegetables or pita chips, or garnishing falafel. Here are some of the ways we’ve used it. Feel free to add your own!

    20+ WAYS TO USE HUMMUS BEYOND DIPPING

    Hummus For Breakfast

  • In an omelet with diced tomatoes, olives, bell pepper, onions, mushrooms or other favorite.
  • On a breakfast tostada, topped with sautéed greens and a fried egg.
  • In scrambled eggs or omelets: Stir a spoonful of hummus into the beaten eggs.
  • On an English muffin sandwich with fried, scrambled or hard-boiled eggs and some raw spinach or arugula leaves.
  • On toast or bagels, instead of butter or cream cheese.
  •    

    cucumber-hummus.angle-230

    Serve crunchy hummus cucumber cups with wine or cocktails. Photo courtesy Eat Well Enjoy Life.

     

    *Hummus is loaded with vitamins and minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc; vitamins B6, C, E, folate, K and thiamin (B1); plus 20 essential amino acids. It is low glycemic. Calories are 27 per tablespoon, according to Caloriecount.about.com.

     

    hummus-wrap-sandwich-dontknow-230

    Use hummus on a sandwich instead of mustard or mayo, and check out these 20+ variations on a hummus sandwich.

     

    Hummus For Lunch Or Dinner

  • As a healthier sandwich spread, instead of mayo (or mix some mayo into the hummus). Check out our 20+ ways to make a hummus sandwich.
  • In tuna, chicken or egg salad instead of mayo.
  • On a turkey burger or veggie burger.
  • On flatbread or pizza, with artichoke hearts, mozzarella or jack cheese, olives or sautéed vegetables—bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes; top with fresh herbs.
  • As a garnish for grilled or roasted fish, lamb, pork, portabello mushrooms or poultry. Alternatively, spread a light coat of garlic hummus, olive oil and sea salt over the protein before cooking.
  • As a sauce for kebabs.
  • In a vegetable pasta salad, instead of mayonnaise.
  • As a sauce for hot pasta: toss with hummus and season with cracked black pepper and fresh chives or parsley.
  • As a salad dressing: Mix with vinegar, and salt and pepper.
  • On a crouton (toast a slice of baguette) with a salad or bowl of soup.
  •  

    Hummus For Appetizers & Snacks

  • On a mixed appetizer plate: Mediterranean inspired with babaganoush, tabbouleh, feta and Greek olives; or with conventional favorites like pickled beets and other pickled vegetables, three bean salad, deviled eggs, etc.
  • In deviled eggs: Mix the yolks with hummus instead of mayo; or stuff them entirely with hummus.
  • As a filling for an avocado half.
  • In stuffed mushrooms and any variety of hors d’oeuvre.
  •  
    Hummus For Dessert

  • Dessert hummus (recipes).
  • Hummus ice cream (recipe).
  •  
    These should keep you in hummus heaven for a while.

      

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    RECIPE: Strawberry Salsa

    How about something special for National Strawberry Day (February 27th): strawberry salsa.

    In addition to serving with tortilla chips, strawberry salsa is delicious over grilled chicken, fish or pork.

    This recipes was adapted from TasteOfHome.com. You can customize it by adding other fruits to the strawberries. Mango, grapes, pineapple, pomegranate arils and stone fruits are a few options.

    TIP: Wear disposable gloves when cutting and seeding hot chiles; then clean the cutting board and knife, wash your gloved hands and dispose of the gloves. Accidentally touching your eye with the most minute amount of capsaicin fom the chile is an experience you never want to have.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SALSA

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (do not substitute)
  • Optional: green, orange, red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  •  

    strawberry-salsa-tasteofhome-230

    Strawberry salsa made with optional bell pepper. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients. Refrigerate and let the flavors meld for an hour or more.

    2. SERVE with chips or as a protein garnish.

     
    Variations

  • Chunky Strawberry Salsa With Quartered Cherry Tomatoes Recipe
  • Strawberry Mango Salsa Recipe
  • Strawberry Salsa With Grape Tomatoes & Corn Kernels Recipe
  • Strawberry Salsa With Plum Tomatoes Recipe
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Eggplant Caponata

    Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant relish or eggplant salad, made from capers, eggplant, onion, pine nuts and tomatoes, usually served as a side dish or relish, part of an antipasto. In Sicily it’s called capunata.

    As with any recipe, there are numerous variations, including the addition of carrots, celery, green bell peppers, olives, potatoes, or raisins.

    According to food writer Clifford A. Wright, the famed Italian dish may be of Spanish origin. He quotes the Sicilian food authority Pino Correnti, that the dish is derived from the Catalan word caponada, a similar type of relish

    Th Catalan word means “something tied together like vines.” In Sicily, it first appears in 1709. Another contender is the word capón; capón de galera is a gazpacho or a caponata-like dish.

    A Sicilian cuisine scholar, Giuseppe Coria, suggests that the word derives from the Latin caupo, tavern, which served cauponae, a tavern food for travelers.

    Wright notes: “The earliest recipe I am familiar with of … a kind of caponata is the cappone di galera alla siciliana in Francesco Leonardi’s L’Apicio Moderno (The Modern Apicius), published in 1790. Here is his recipe:

       

    salmon-on-caponata-olionyc-230

    Caponata moves from appetizer dip or spread to a sauce for fish or poultry. You can place the caponata on top of the protein or use it as a bed, as shown in this photo. Photo courtesy Olio e Piú | New York City.

     

    “Dip a few fresh new beans [freselle maiorchine, an esteemed bean from Majorca] in Malaga wine, then arrange them on a serving platter, and put over them a garnish of anchovy fillets and thin slices of tuna salami, rinsed of its salt, capers, pieces of citron zest, stoned olives, fried shrimp and squid, oysters poached slightly in their own liquid and several fillets of fried linguattola [Citharus linguatula, a kind of flatfish] until the platter is well garnished and full. At the moment of serving pour over it a sauce made as follows: in a mortar pound two ounces of peeled green pistachios soaked in olive oil, vinegar, and tarragon or vinegar, salt, and ground pepper.”

    Whatever the origin and ingredients, today’s caponata easily moves from antipasto relish (our grandmother favored it with crackers or toasted baguette slices) to the main plate.

    This delicious and healthful garnish adds bright color to pale proteins. It works well on grilled, poached or sautéed fish, poultry or tofu.
     
    RECIPE: EGGPLANT CAPONATA

    Use fresh tomatoes in season. In the off season, use diced, canned tomatoes.

    Caponata tastes best the day after it is made, once the flavors have had a chance to blend and mellow. The recipe can be made two days in advance and refrigerated, covered. It can also be frozen.

    You can serve caponata warm, chilled or at room temperature, or cold.

     

    eggplant-caponata-black-bass-davidburkefromagerie-230

    Grilled bass with eggplant caponata. Photo courtesy David Burke Fromagerie.

     

    Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 eggplant (about 1-1/2-pounds), unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, cubed
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can (14-1/2-ounces) diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, including the juice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Pine nuts, toasted
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in heavy pot over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Sauté until the eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes.

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in heavy pot over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Sauté until the eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes.

    2. ADD the diced tomatoes, vinegar and drained capers. Cover and simmer until the eggplant and onion are very tender, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    3. SEASON the caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the basil. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

    This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com.

     
    MORE WAYS TO USE CAPONATA

  • On bruschetta or crostini (the difference).
  • On omelets (or as a filling), or other egg preparations.
  • In a grilled cheese sandwich or panini.
  • Atop pasta, rice or other grain.
  • In a baked potato.
  • In crêpes.
  • In tartlets or phyllo pockets.
  • In lettuce cups.
  •   

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