Mint & cannellini bean dip
A dip ideal for pre-dinner drinks or handing out at a party. The cannellini need to be soaked overnight, thus prepare in advance.
1 (scant) cup dried cannellini beans
1 small garlic glove, crushed
1 bunch scallions, chopped coarsely
A handful of fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp of ground cumin
1 Tsp of ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
For garnish: Fresh mint sprigs
Place cannellini beans into a bowl, add sufficient cold water to cover. Soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Rinse and drain beans, place into large pan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil and rapidly boil them for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer covered until tender.
Thoroughly drain beans and transfer them either to a bowl and food processor. Add mint, tahini, scallions, garlic and olive oil; process mixture for about 15 seconds, or manually mash well until smooth.
Transfer mixture into a bowl (from food processor), stir in coriander, cumin and lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper. Thoroughly mix and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place bowl in cool place (not refrigerator) for 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
For individual servings, spoon dip into individual bowls, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint. Place bowl on plates and surround with vegetable crudités. Serve at room temperature.
Fresh vegetable crudités, such as carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, cauliflower florets, broccoli, radishes.
This garlic mayonnaise is a constant in may traditional Provençal recipes, yet also makes a delicious dip, surrounded by fresh vegetables.
4 large garlic gloves or to taste
2 large egg yolks
1 ¼ cups of extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh white bread crumbs
Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
Finely chop garlic, add a pinch of sea salt and use the tip and broad side of a knife to the work garlic and salt into a smooth paste.
Transfer garlic paste to food processor, add egg yolks and process until well blended. (Scrape down sides if necessary while processing.)
Keep motor running and slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Continue processing until a thick mayonnaise forms.
Stop processor, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and bread crumbs, process again. Taste and add more lemon juice if necessary; season to taste with salt and pepper. Place aioli in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, chill until serving time. To serve, place aioli bowl on large platter and surround with selection of raw and/or blanched vegetables.
Selection of raw vegetables – zucchini slices, whole scallions, tomato wedges and sliced red bell peppers.
Selection of blanched and cooled vegetable – green beans, broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, baby artichoke hearts.
A thick Greek almond and garlic sauce making an ideal dip to be served with crudités, grissini or sesame breadsticks.
2 oz day old bread (about 2 slices)
1 ½ cups (scant) almonds
4-6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley sprigs for garnish
To serve: Sesame Breadsticks*
Cut crust of bread slices and tear slices into small pieces. Place in a bowl and cover with water, let soak for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze bread try and set aside.
Blanch the almonds by putting them into a heatproof bowl and add just enough boiling water to cover them. Let stand for 30 seconds and then drain. The skins should slide off easily.
Transfer almonds and garlic to a food processor and process until finely chopped; add the bread and process again until well blended.
With motor running, gradually add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until a thick past forms. Then add the vinegar and process again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer mixture into a bowl, cover and chill until needed. Refrigerated it will keep up to 4 days. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley sprigs, add sesame breadsticks on side.
* There are different varieties of this rustic dip. Try it by replacing the bread with 4 tablespoons of well drained canned cannellini or fava beans, or use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of wine vinegar.
Double-olive tuna spread dip
This appetizer will keep up to a week in the refrigerator. It can be served as a spread with crackers or pumpernickel, or makes a delicious appetizer spooned into cherry tomatoes.
1 can (6.5 oz) of flaked white or light tuna, drained
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup pitted black olives
½ cup pitted green olives
¼ cup drained capers
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 anchovy fillets
2 tsp dried basil
1 clove garlic
½ olive oil
Combine tuna, parsley, black and green olives, capers, lemon juice, anchovy fillets, basil and garlic in food processor.
With motor running, add olive oil in a thin steady stream until mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.
Makes about 3 cups.
Marinara dipping sauce
This dipping sauce goes well with chicken fingers.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
¼ tsp dried oregano, crushed
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
One 28-0z can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil, oregano, garlic and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, until garlic is sizzling and very fragrant, 2 – 4 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt and crushed tomatoes; increase heat to medium until sauce simmers. Reduce heat to medium-low, but make sure sauce continues to ‘lazily’ bubble, continue cooking by stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Add basil and continue cooking until sauce is thick, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and a few grind of pepper if needed. Serve with fully cooked meat.
Juice of 1 lime
3 ripe avocados
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
2 fresh green chiles, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sour cream
Cayenne pepper for garnish
Tortilla chips to serve
Halve avocados, remove pits and scoop flesh directly into a blender. Add the lime juice, garlic, scallions, chiles, olive oil, sour cream and season with salt. Process until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with more salt or lime juice if necessary.
Spoon guacamole into a serving dish and dust lightly with cayenne pepper and serve with tortilla chips.
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature when preparing the aioli.
3 large cloves of garlic, fine chopped
2 egg yolks
1 cup extra virgin oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
Salt and pepper
Place egg yolks and garlic in food processor and process until well blended. Keep motor running and add the olive oil, teaspoon by teaspoon, until mixture starts to thicken; then add the remaining oil in a thin stream until a thick mayonnaise forms.
Add lime and lemon juice, tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue blending until smooth and then transfer to a non metallic bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill until needed.
Herbed feta spread dip
This dip is best served with warmed pitas and olives.
7 oz of feta cheese, crumbled
2 oz of Greek-style yogurt
2 tbsp extra-virgin oil
Juice and zest of 1 small lemon
Fresh mint, small bunch, chopped
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, small bunch, chopped
½ red chile, seeded and chopped
Combine cheese, yogurt and olive oil in food processor and blend until combined, approximately 30 seconds.
Scrape mixture into a bowl, add lemon zest and juice, parsley, chile and mint. Season with pepper and mix well.
Chill for at least 30 minutes in refrigerator before serving.
This tapenade keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days as long as you cover the surface with a layer of olive oil and tightly wrap the bowl with plastic wrap, to prevent to paste from drying out.
3 ½ oz of canned anchovy fillets
12 oz of black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp of capers, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp extra-virgin oil
2 tbsp of lemon juice
Drain anchovies and reserve oil from can. Chop fish coarsely and place in blender, add reserved oil all other remaining ingredients. Process to a smooth paste. (Stop and scrape down sides during process if necessary.)
Transfer the tapenade to bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until required.
Makes about ¾ cup
Red bell pepper dip
2 red bell peppers
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp lemon juice
½ cup fresh white bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Place bell pepper halves and garlic in a pan and add water, enough to just cover them. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and gently simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes until soft and tender. Drain and let cool.
Once cooled, coarsely chop the peppers and garlic and place in blender with the olive oil and lemon juice and process to the consistency of a smooth puree.
Add bread crumbs and process briefly until just combines and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer dip to bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let chill in refrigerator until required.
Beet and hazelnut pesto dip
This pesto dip goes very well with crudités.
9 oz of whole beet
3 ½ oz extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz of roasted hazelnuts
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 oz of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sprinkle beet with salt and pepper (small amount) and drizzle with some olive oil. Wrap in foil and place oven, cook for 1 hour. To test whether beet is cooked, use a small knife to pierce. The beet is cooked when knife goes in easily. Remove beet from oven and let cool, then peel away skin and discard.
Process hazelnuts and garlic in a food processor for 30 seconds.
Now add the beet and salt and pepper to taste, process again while adding the remaining olive oil a little at a time, until completely combined.
Transfer pesto into a bowl and mix in the Parmesan cheese and serve with crudités or bruschettas.
Selection of crudités or bruschetta.
Why is olive oil so good and yet so healthy at the same time?
We're used to having to choose between the two. For example, when we're presented with food that tastes like cardboard but we're told is full of organic, unsweetened fiber. ;-)
Well, olive oil is mostly composed of mono unsaturated
fatty acids. These acids can help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. They can
also help normalize blood clotting and be beneficial to blood sugar control (re: diabetes). Olive oil is rich as well in antioxidants and in vitamin E, which are believed to play a role in cancer prevention.
So, enjoy olive oil in its many uses, mainly culinary ... and remember that the secret is to add olive oil to other quality ingredients (e.g. tomatoes, feta, arugula, bocconcini, etc) to end up with absolutely delicious and healthy food!