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Dips - Dressings

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Chick peas are the usual suspect in hummus, a flavorful dip that takes to all sorts of legumes (lentils, beans, any sort of dried peas) and various seasonings. This recipe is a classic but  take note of the other possibilities, from sweet potatoes and squash, to ground beets, and and different spice approaches you can create a new hummus every day! Hummus is a staple of the Middle Eastern kitchen but even classic chick pea based hummus recipes vary. I like  cumin in my hummus but feel free, as I do, to experiment with other spices when yo umake a new batch of hummus. For serving, do as they often do in restaurants -  fill a shallow dish with hummus. Then, using the back of a spoon, make a concentric trough in the puree and then drizzle in some olive oil. Serve with fresh pita wedges or raw vegetables.

Don't you love imitations that are almost perfect, let alone easy and fun? This fits the bill. Don't tell Kraft.

Just like the real thing
Great flavor for pasta
A "pile-it-on" dip
(Part of a series on "commercial foods")Chicken lovers were shaking and baking long before the commercial product came along. Make your own variations.

I have a few tricks to make my turkey gravy. This is ambrosial slathered over biscuits, turkey or mashed potatoes. It is one of those blue ribbon recipes that a pro will appreciate and a Thanksgiving newbie will win kudos for. Grandma approved…almost.


This is what I use on my ‘house’ pizzas to sass things up. If you bought it, it would be $7-$20 depending on the brand. Homemade it’s custom tailored to your taste and a bargain gourmet item from your own pantry. You can make other flavors of this oil, using the method in the recipe (Asian ginger garlic, or Thai or Greek, etc.)

The trouble with most bought salad dressings, low and no fat et al, is that they lack flavor. The second part is unless they are cream style, the vinaigrette separates. But making your own vinaigrette can get tiresome (if salads are a daily thing). What’s more – salad is low fat until you add the dressing and then calorie hell breaks out. Hence, this wondrous recipe. This recipe is brilliance – it is no or low fat, robust of flavor and has a magic ingredient that makes it hold together. I make it by the gallon.  

Hummus is what you’re used to but this North African spin on the chick pea, Middle Eastern approach to a bean spread, is dynamite. It uses fava beans (canned are fine). Touches of dried chili pepper, cumin, plenty of paprika an a touch of lemon makes this a deep brownish-red, spicier hummus. It’s a nice change from the tahini (sesame seed paste) laden ones. Use this on crackers, flatbreads, or alongside grilled chicken or fish. Or eat it plain, by the spoonful – it is smooth as silk, spicy, a little hot and just outstanding.  

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