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Chips and Dips
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I was invited to a friend’s house over the weekend for Rosh Hashana dinner and she asked me to bring some light hors d’oeuvres. A cheese board always looks impressive and it’s relatively simple to put together, but it can be easy to fill up on cheese and crackers before dinner. I’ve been serving a lot of dips with drinks before dinner. Most of the time, they can be prepped the day before and served with both crackers or chips or raw vegetables, which is great if you don’t want to overdo it. Here are some of my favorites and some presentation tips:
I made this Baba Ganoush over the weekend and it was the best recipe I have ever tried! Honestly, it was not quick, but a great technique. I didn’t think the dip had quite enough smokiness, so I added ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke. So good. This is also a great recipe for anyone who is dairy-free or Whole30, which a few of the guests were over the weekend.
Vegan Queso: You can make it vegan with plant butter or with regular butter, but people can’t believe it’s made of vegetables and has no dairy. I serve it as a warm dip in a bowl or as a condiment for tacos or nachos or baked potatoes.
Dressed up guacamole: I prefer guacamole without tomatoes, but Hubs likes to add tomatoes. In the fall, I will omit tomatoes and fold in pomegranate seeds. Sometimes I’ll top with toasted and salted pumpkin seeds.
Muhammara: This is an old recipe of mine but it’s still a favorite and delicious! Use jarred roasted bell peppers to make it easy. Swap in sunflower seeds for the walnuts to make it nut-free.
Loaded Hummus: you can make your own or buy it, but I prefer to spread it in a shallow bowl and top it with different things like diced tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and fresh mint; caramelized onions, feta, toasted pine nuts, a dusting of sumac and minced fresh parsley; or prepared olive tapenade. You can also take basic store-bought hummus and blend an ingredient into it to change it up like a small cooked beet (hot pink!), roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, or pesto.
The above link also has links to twists on Hummus like Butternut Squash Hummus. Again, I think it’s more delicious, more interesting and a prettier presentation to spread out a creamy dip and dress it up a little, even if it’s just with a drizzle of olive oil and some herbs or microgreens.
This 7-layer Italian dip is so much fun and great for a game day. It’s a bit heartier than the other dips but good for a crowd.
Tzatziki is often served with gyros or souvlaki, but I also love it as a dip.
I could list a hundred dips, but I’ll keep it short. I just don’t want you to overlook Pinzimonio, a small bowl of good olive oil with a drizzle of thick, aged balsamic vinegar and a good pinch of flaky salt! Perfect with crudités for a light snack.
Graza olive oil in a squeeze bottle is the trendiest food item right now and to be honest, it’s fabulous. You know I dislike plastic but this oil is so good and the squeeze bottle is such an easy way to finish dishes. My son is kind of obsessed with it so I did some digging for the best price which I found on Vitacost.com. At the time I am writing this newsletter, it is also on sale PLUS 3% off with Rakuten. Time to stock up!
What to Serve with Dips:
Crackers and Chips
This is obvious but not all crackers are great. Here are some of my favorites:
Any of the crackers by Ines Rosales. They’re fun and different and super delicious.
Chica’s Chips are our favorite tortilla chips. They’re not too thin or too thick. The blue corn and the lime are also delish.
For guests who are gluten-free or grain-free, I serve Simple Mills almond flour crackers. My Costco has a big box, which is a great value because they’re pricey. I just tried their herbed seed crackers and did not love them though.
I will make another plug for Thrive Market because I love it and buy from them more than any other food retailer. I love saving money LOL. Here’s a link to sign up and get 40% off your first order.
My favorite crudités to serve with dips:
Carrots, especially different colors
Sweet bell peppers
Little Gem leaves
Watermelon radish slices
Sugar snap peas
Sometimes I’ll serve cooked vegetables with dips at room temp like roasted sweet potato rounds, roasted baby potatoes, blanched broccoli and cauliflower.
If you make dips ahead and refrigerate them, allow them time to come to room temp unless it’s supposed to be served cold (like tzatziki.)
You don’t have to make everything from scratch including dips. Many restaurants sell good dips, as well as supermarkets.