Appetizers are the course that stumps me the most often.
I want to have food available for my dinner guests when they arrive, but I don’t want to spend the 30 minutes before they arrive fiddling with little one-bite things that never look as beautiful as they do in my mind’s eye. And then at one of the first farm dinners, we stumbled into an inadvertent solution—dips.
In contrast to the delicate little things that I had made at every previous dinner, putting out a platter of delicious torn bread, broken crackers and large-cut veggeies with a bowl of beautiful spread was much more aligned with the style of food that was coming up. Plus, it took a tenth of the time to put together but didn’t feel like a short cut. Instead it put guests at ease because they could build their own bites and it gave them something to do with their hands while mingling with new people in a new environment.
And now I never make a fiddly appetizer for any party.
Throughout the summer I’ve relied on both of these two spreads for several rounds of appetizers. Beyond the first course, the leftovers can be recycled as a spread on a sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch.
Using dried beans for these dips will also work, but I haven’t found that the flavor is dramatically improved. That said, I always give the beans a good rinse after taking out of the can. The liquid that the beans are stored in never tastes that good to me but a quick wash in a strainer has worked fine.
Kale White Bean Dip
1 bu Kale
1 can Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
½ C olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
- Strip the kale leaves and give a good wash and dry
- In a food processor blend the beans and kale leaves until mostly smooth
- Add the salt, pepper and slowly drizzle in the olive oil
- Taste and adjust the seasoning. If it tastes a bit flat, add a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar
- Serve with crackers, pita, bread or any veggies for dipping
Beet Chickpea Puree
1 can chickpeas
2 beets, roasted
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ C cream (optional)
- Blend the chickpeas and beets until smooth
- Add the seasoning and taste
- This is a very basic recipe and can be altered by adding cream, olive oil, avocado and any additional spices that you like—dill, fennel, chili flake the list goes on