Quick and Easy Dips

Instead of opening a jar of olive tapenade or a dip from the refrigerated section of the market, consider making your own. If you keep some key ingredients on hand and have a small food processor or blender, you are in business!

The olive tapenade is so easy and so much better when made fresh. The beauty of it is that you can make a small amount if you are just having a few friends or more for a party. It can be used on top of chicken or even in a sandwich. And when you make it yourself, you can control the salt, garlic and rosemary (or even omit one of these).

The white bean spread is a great starter and really healthy. This recipe calls for canned beans but you could easily cook your own. Use this method to produce fresh beans, done in about 3 hours:

Rinse 1 cup of dried beans (e.g. garbanzo) with water and place in pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cover, turn off heat and let sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse. Cover with fresh water and bring to a boil and then simmer about 30 mins-1 hour, checking for firmness. Add salt to taste. 1 cup of dry beans will yield about 2-3 cups of cooked so keep that in mind when cooking.

I hope you like these recipes. These seem to be real crowd pleasers!

ps: and thanks to some friends for the use of their counters during the “photo shoot”. They were very patient while we were taking the pictures. But, we made up for it by feeding them the dips!

Olive Tapenade

1/2 jar of pitted kalamata olives, drained (about 1/2 cup)
2-3 Tbl good quality olive oil
1 clove garlic
Fresh rosemary (start with 1 tsp or so)
Good pinch of salt
Fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small food processor. Pulse until olives form a paste. Add more oil if necessary. Serve with crackers or bread.

IMG_6362White Bean Dip

Makes about 2 cups-great with crackers or raw veggies

1 16 oz can of cannellini or white beans
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1-2 garlic cloves (remember, the bulb is the whole piece; a clove is one part that you pull off)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 Tbl fresh parsley
1/4 – 1/2 cup liquid from the can of beans
1. Drain beans and set aside liquid from can. Rinse beans with water.
2. Combine beans and everything else except the liquid from the can in blender or food processor for 1 minute.
3. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from beans. Blend for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add more liquid or salt if necessary.

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