Saturday, March 9, 2013

Layered Mediterranean Dip

This dip was "lick the plate clean" good.  

It really was.  There was nothing left on the plate after my gathering last night.  I will be adding this into the regular rotation.  It's like the old school layered taco dip, sort of, in its assembly, but the flavors are totally different.  And awesome.

I had pinned this, and finally got to make it - it's a keeper.  I just changed a few things, mostly because of what I had on hand. I totally guessed on the amounts - I know I prepared 1 cup of the chopped veggies, but didn't use all of it, because I thought it might get too moist or too loaded to eat on a chip.  Do whatever you feel like!

Layered Mediterranean Dip

1 container of hummus (make it if you like, I used Trader Joe's Garlic flavored hummus)
1 recipe cilantro pesto (see below)
1/3 c. seedless cucumber, chopped
2 tbsp. red onion, diced
2 tbsp. chopped Kalamata olives (I don't like olives, so I put them on 1/2 and barely used any)
3 tbsp. banana peppers, chopped
1/3 c. grape tomatoes, chopped
1/3 c. Feta cheese crumbles
fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

Make your pesto - be sure to cover it tightly when you're done, or it will dark and a little creepy looking if exposed to air for a long time.  Start with the cilantro, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor and process until a paste forms. Add the nuts and cheese then process until well-combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. While the processor is running, slowly stream in the remaining olive oil through the food chute and process until smooth.

Spread the hummus onto a plate, pie plate, or whatever you like.  Spread on the pesto, and then build your veggie layers. to and the rest of the ingredients in the order listed, topping with the crumbled feta and cilantro.  Serve with pita chips, bread or veggie slices.  I served with Trader Joe's whole wheat pita crackers  - they were sturdy-enough to really load on the dip - and some pita chips.

Cilantro Pesto: (just make it - it's easy)

1-1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, halved (about 1 tbsp.)
1/3 cup olive oil, divided (I used about 4 tbsp.)
1/4 c. roasted, unsalted almonds (it's what I had)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Marbled Potatoes Two Ways

Tried a new recipe for a side dish recently...

I made some twice-baked potatoes the other day using a combo of russet potatoes and sweet potatoes - so good!  I had a lot of filling left over and just served that as a mashed potato side another night.  The kids didn't mind it, either, which is always a bonus!  Sorry for the pics - it's a phone pic, taken before I baked them.  You get the general idea... 

Marbled Twice-Baked Potatoes

4 large russet potatoes
1 large sweet potato (I had 2 medium-ish ones, and used those)
1/4 c. sour cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbsp. fresh chives, minced (could also use scallions, sliced thin)
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but I like it!)
salt & pepper to taste

Poke your potatoes a few times, and bake them at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until they're tender.  Take them out, and let cool for a bit.  Slice the sweet potato in half, and then squeeze the delicious insides right into the bowl.  For the russet potatoes, slice off the tops (length-wise), and then scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Combine the rest of the ingredients and potato with a fork, and then spoon back into the hollowed out shells.  Bake about 30 minutes more at 350 degrees, or until they're kind of browned and crispy on top, and heated all the way through.  You can make them in advance, too - I made mine in the morning, put the stuffed potatoes in the fridge and then baked them later for dinner.

You can just serve the filling as-is, like a mashed potatoes-type side, or fill the potato shells and make twice-baked potatoes with this recipe.