Hummus with pita chips is my go-to snack (anyone else?). Until recently, I lived off the storebought variety, with my homemade hummus never being up to snuff with the likes of Sabra. But then I had a revelation in hummus-making.
'holiday dips' on Serious Eats
Do we really need a spread that's primarily cheese and mayonnaise? In the case of pimento cheese, the answer is yes.
In Texas, whipping up a bowl of the cheesy dip known as Chili Con Queso can be as simple as melting a block of Velveeta with a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. This is a upgraded version of it using cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.
This gooey, cheesy crowdpleaser comes together in barely any time. It's a super simple blend of frozen spinach, mayo, sour cream, and cream cheese with a little bit of garlic and chili flakes to give it a kick. Topped with crunchy panko and Parmesan and baked until bubbling, it's the sort of dip that could easily spoil more than a few appetites.
While in Napa recently, I found and loved a white bean dip at Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Yountville, which came served with pain epi. It was creamy, mild, and mellow, but not bland at all. And it had a distinct advantage over butter—I could slather on as much as I wanted without guilt.
[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]...
This is a seriously simply appetizer recipe. Feel free to jazz it up by topping with a few sliced figs, olives, or (if you're feeling fancy) shaved truffles. If you can't find sheep's milk ricotta, use the best cow's-milk ricotta...
Although in theory this dip should serve six, I find that people get a little strange around artichoke dip. They elbow each other out of the way and scoop a little too much onto their bread. Be ye warned, you...
You only need to follow a recipe once or twice when making tzatziki before the process becomes almost automatic. Thick tangy yogurt; crisp, sweet cucumber; pungent garlic and dill; sunny lemon. The formula, a staging ground for countless dip platters and a condiment for the thousands of gyros dished up daily, is as familiar to us now as salsa and ketchup. And its preparation is about as intuitive—recipes matter less than solid ingredients and a willingness to dip a tasting finger along the way.
Just because I like my white bean spread simple doesn't mean I like it boring. My favorite seasoning is za'atar, a blend of dried herbs (usually thyme, sometimes with others), sesame seeds, and spices like sumac.
Baba ghanoush is a late summer dream, a brilliant balance of flavor and texture. It's light but creamy, kissed by smoke, lemon, and garlic. Tahini gives it body and olive oil lends a fruity finish. And once you get the technique down—which is really just roasting an eggplant to death—you can vary it however you like. This is my version, but different tastes prefer different balances. Taste frequently and make this your own. I've suggested some add-ins to heighten specific dimensions of baba ghanoush's complex flavor profile.