My White Bean Dip

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Hummus is wonderful. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. But when one makes hummus, one is limited to garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon. With white bean dips, you can add anything and everything because there’s not one recipe!

You can add herbs like rosemary, or seasoning mixtures like harissa, paprika creme, pumpkin or carrots, pesto or sun-dried tomatoes. There are limitless options.

I also prefer white beans for their texture. I’ve ordered many a hummus, even at Middle Eastern restaurants, and it’s often dry and mealy. To me, a soft creamy texture is preferable, which is what you get when you use canned white beans.

Don’t buy Italian Canellini beans because they’re twice as expensive as Great Northern.

Today I’m posting on a dip I created ages ago, using cumin, coriander and cayenne. It is the most popular with my family, and was actually published in Gourmet magazine.

It was on my blog quite a few years ago, but the photos were terrible. These are somewhat improved although, not being good at styling, I can’t seem to make an attractive swirl.

Mimi’s White Bean Dip
printable recipe below

1 – 16 ounce can Great Northern beans
1 clove garlic, germ removed if necessary
Good extra-virgin olive oil, about 1/4 cup, plus more
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Pinch of salt
Flatbreads, pita crisps, crackers

Drain the beans in a colander and lightly rinse.

Place the beans in a food processor jar and add the garlic and seasoning.

Begin processing the beans, adding olive oil until the beans are smooth and the garlic is fully processed.

Scrape out the bean dip into a serving bowl. The mixture should be fluffy.

Add a little drizzle of good olive oil.

Serve with bread, crackers, pita chips, or whatever. I used baked Terra chips because they’re pretty.

The dip recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. One can of beans is enough to make a dip for two people.

Not only does this dip take a few minutes to make and is easy, it’s also extremely inexpensive to make, which is why during our lean years I often made it for company. But, it was always enjoyed and appreciated, especially by people who’d never heard of a bean dip.

No dips are really beautiful. If you want to make a prettier presentation, spread some dip on crostini to make canapés of sorts. Sprinkle with a little paprika for color, some chives, or a little basil leaf.

Years ago, my husband and I used to enjoy sandwiches on road trips with this dip as the sandwich spread. Our car always smelled like garlic!

 

Better than Nutella?

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Many years go I purchased a Vitamix, Professional Series 300. Having gone through various brands of blenders, I was excited to finally get one with a strong reputation.
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I also purchased a smaller blender jar for dry ingredients. I’d always thought it would be fun as well as economical to make nut butters. But have I? No.

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While on a road trip in November, I read many food magazines (doesn’t everyone?) and came across this recipe. Chocolate hazelnut spread that is better than nutella. Nutella is pretty darn good, but home-made is always better of course. So I knew this would be the recipe to christen that dry blender jar.

I used my cell phone to photograph the recipe and unfortunately do not remember from which magazine this recipe came, but I did find it on Epicurious.com.

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Here’s what I did to make the “real” Nutella, based on the above ingredients; my verdict below.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, or Gianduja

2 cups (heaping) hazelnuts, preferably skinned (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Toast the hazelnuts on the stove in a cast iron skillet. Let cool.

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Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until a fairly smooth, buttery paste forms, about 1 minute.

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Combine the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Melt slowly and stir until smooth and shiny.

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So here’s the deal – my hazelnuts and sugar never formed a “buttery paste” like they were supposed to. So I added all of the cream to the blender. You can see from the photo, the blender was working hard to combine the hazelnut mixture with the cream.

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The resulting mixture was stiff and thick, but smooth and not gritty.

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The recipe says to “whisk in cream and salt, then hazelnut paste.” Since my hazelnut paste already contained the cream, I simply folded the hazelnut mixture into the chocolate, gradually, stirring well.

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Pour gianduja into four clean 8 ounce jars, dividing equally. Let cool.

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Gianduja can be made up to 4 weeks ahead; keep chilled.

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Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours to soften. Can stand at room temperature up to 4 days.

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If you don’t know what to do with chocolate hazelnut spread besides eat it with a spoon, I’ve got a few suggestions:

1. Spread in warm crepes, roll and eat.

2. Thin with cream and serve drizzled over a fresh-out-of-the-oven Dutch Baby or Crespella.

3. Fold gently with beaten whipped cream for an instant mousse.

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For a treat, I spread some chocolate-hazelnut spread on buttered toast.

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verdict: I’m befuddled as to why my hazelnuts didn’t grind into a hazelnut butter. Secondly, the recipe claims that the nutella will thicken; mine was already really thick, and definitely not “pourable.” My husband said that the spread reminded him of cupcake batter, which I think is an excellent comparison. Also, I would suggest 12 ounces of chocolate instead of 16 ounces, or use bittersweet chocolate instead of semi-sweet. It was too chocolatey for me.

So is this stuff good? Yes, but I will tweak the recipe next time.

Indian-Inspired Sliders

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I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.

husband: You’ve just got to try these!
me: What are they?
husband: She calls them Bombay sliders. They’re Indian!
me: After a bite… You do realize there’s mayonnaise in them, right?

My husband hates mayonnaise. Or, I should say, he thinks he hates mayonnaise. He was raised on Miracle Whip, which I find extremely inferior in flavor to real, good mayonnaise. But he thinks all mayonnaise tastes like Miracle Whip.

So for years, I’ve been banned from using this substance. When I started cooking for him he also informed me that he hates cream cheese. Which is funny, because he eats cheesecake.

Anyway, the above conversation took place years ago at a food and wine event in Park City, Utah. My husband had come across a woman at a booth handing out these Bombay sliders, and just knowing that they were Indian, he accepted one and ate it. And went back for another, completely ignoring the white creamy sauce inside the slider.

These little Indian-inspired turkey sliders really were fabulous, so I went to the woman’s booth and asked her about them. She told me she found the recipe on Epicurious.com, and that I could, too. At this moment I don’t remember if the woman was a representative of a turkey company, or something else. But I did go home and look up the recipe. And there was the mayonnaise.

We’re not a huge sandwich family, but occasionally, just for fun, I will make these sliders. First of all, sliders are just cute and fun. And, these days, you can actually purchase slider buns at the grocery store. But most of all, if you love all flavors Indian, you’ll also truly enjoy these little sandwiches.

I’ve altered the recipe slightly, but you can find the original here.

Indian-Inspired Sliders

sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons good curry powder, I use this one

sliders:
1 pound ground pork
1 pound 2 ounces ground turkey*
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece, 1″ square, of ginger, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt

Slider buns

For the sauce:
Firstly, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce; set aside. If you’re wary of curry powder, start with 1 teaspoon and taste first.

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For the sliders:
Place the pork and turkey in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients.
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Mix everything together using your hands, but don’t overmix.
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Make uniform-sized burgers with the pork-turkey mixture to fit into the slider buns.
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Heat a griddle over high heat. Add a little olive oil. Cook the burgers on the first side for about 3-4 minutes. They should be nicely browned.

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Then turn them over, reduce the heat slightly, and continue cooking them for about 5-6 minutes. These times will vary, of course, depending how thick your burgers are.

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Place the burgers on a serving platter, and continue with the remaining meat.

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To serve, place the warm burgers on a room temperature bun, and top with the sauce.

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I always serve extra sauce as well, before the combination is just so good.

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* You can use 100% ground turkey in this recipe, or even use lamb instead.

note: Unless you’re against doing this for safety reasons, I always make sure the burgers are a little pink in the middle. That way they’re nice and moist.

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Enjoy!