Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner why not get a little holiday help from yours truly! Today we start with a few holiday noshes and it just so happens that I entertained a group of 10 with a delicious spread the other day! What a coincidence!
So you need something to wow the guests before you actually WOW your guests with your fete de resistance! Here are three of my, easy to make, favorite dips that always start the evening off with a bang!
Now Im a guy who has never really been a fan of the olive, especially Tapenade, until now… It’s chunky, salty, flavorful & oh so delicious! (sounds like a good Friday night at the club to me!)
What you’ll need
1 lb pitted & drained Gaeta Olives (which are my new fav) or Kalamata Olives
2 tbs Capucine or Surfine Capers
(non-pareils are most commonly found as they are the tiniest varietal but I like something a little heartier like the two listed)
3 to 4 cloves roasted garlic
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup of EVOO (thanks Rach!)
+ 1 tbs EVOO to drizzle on at the end
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbs oregano (fresh or dried)
handful of cilantro leaves finely chopped
In your food processor or Bullet Express if you’re my mom (Gladys) add Olives, capers, garlic, 1/4 cup EVOO, pepper, Oregano (if the Oregano is dry crush with your palms to release its fragrance), Lemon juice. Pulse processor till Olives & ingredients are crushed and chunky. About 8x or so.
(I prefer a chunky spread to a pasty one)
once everything is nicely chopped and chunky move to a bowl and stir in lemon zest and cilantro! Drizzle on remaining TBS of EVOO and your done!
Next is my Oh So Delicioso Cannellini Bean Dip!
What you’ll need
15oz can of Cannelli Beans (low sodium is always best) drained
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp rosemary (fresh or dried)
2 tsp parsley (fresh or dried)
2 tsp paprika (fresh or dried)
2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
(use a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half if you like it spicy!)
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
3 to 4 roasted garlic cloves
3 Tbs of finely chopped, oil packed, Sundried Tomatoes, drained (save 2tsp for garnish)
3 Tbs of finely chopped basil plus a nice short leafy green sprig for garnish!
Fluer de Sel or Kosher salt to taste
In your food processor (or Bullet Express if you were Gladys) combine beans, sundried tomatoes, garlic, paprika, parsley, pepper, red pepper flakes, rosemary, & sour cream.
Pulse till smooth and creamy!!
Move to your Fiestaware bowl and stir in finely chopped basil. Taste and add Fleur De Sel or Kosher salt to your liking. Garnish with reserved sundried tomatoes and basil sprig & VIOLA it’s delicious!
You’re doin’ great!
Last but not least is the most favorite of my spreads!
Mushroom, Blue Cheese & Maple Walnut Spread(’em)
(Now this can be made one of two ways, as a pesto-like dip or as a chunky spread’em so hold on tight!)
What you’ll need..
6 to 8 large Portobello mushrooms cleaned, de-stemmed & chopped into small cubes
4 cloves of roasted garlic chopped
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (reserve 1tbs for garnish)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (reserve 1 tbs for garnish)
3 TBS of Quality Maple Syrup
1 Tbs Water.
1 tbs EVOO
Fresh Ground Pepper, & Fluer de Sel or Kosher Salt to taste
If you want to make a chunky spread here is what you do. Preheat a pan over medium heat lined with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Once pan is hot toss in chopped mushrooms and cook till tender. Mushrooms will turn a beautiful dark color maybe 8 to 10 mins. Keep watch over them and stir often. Once nice and tender stir in chopped roasted garlic and move to a fancy bowl and let cool completely.
While mushrooms are cooling in another dry skillet toast chopped walnuts over medium heat. Walnuts should get fragrant pretty quickly. At the first hint of a nutty smell (dont you get any ideas…) add in maple syrup and water, stir and let reduce for about a minute. remove from heat.
Once mushrooms are cooled stir in blue cheese (reserving about a tablespoon for garnish) and maple walnuts. Add salt & pepper to taste. Transfer to your Vera Wang serving bowl, add EVOO, garnish and eat away!
If you wanted to make this like a pesto once follow the recipe above but when mushrooms are cooked and cooled throw them into your food processor and puree. Make sure the walnuts are really finely chopped before toasting as well. Just like above add blue cheese and finely chopped nuts at the end. Follow the rest of instructions above and voila you’re done!! (this is also really great on pasta!!)
Your guests will be screaming in ecstasy and all you’ll have to do is put it in them to keep them happy!
Happy cookin folks! And remember cook fearlessly and have a blast doing it!
©2010 Michael Munoz
The Kitchen Gaily