Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mediterranean Dip

Submitted by Heather 

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it.  But I've got to be choosy about when I make certain things - cookies and cakes go pretty fast around my house, but try to make something "interesting" and my five kids turn up their noses and I'm left eating the whole thing.  That's not always a bad thing, but not necessarily good for the figure either.  I finally got my chance, though, and brought it to a church potluck.

I was actually pretty surprised by the great reviews it got.  I took a polite spoonful on my plate and ate it and thought, "yes, this IS good," but by the time I got back to try it out again it was gone.  That and the fact that many people asked for the recipe, made it seem like a "keeper" in my book, but I wanted to taste it again to be sure (all in the name of testing and quality control, of course).  So I made it for a luncheon for my friends and finally got to take more than a polite portion.  And yes, it was very good.  All those distinct flavors were amazing as they melded into one delicious bite.  This would be a great dip to bring to any gathering of adults.  Actually, if there are kids there they'll try to eat all the pita chips and leave you with none to scoop up the dip, so watch out.  Then again, this is good enough to eat with a spoon.  I did.


Yield: 1 12-inch round plate of dip

For the cilantro pesto:
1½ cups fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 tbsp. pecans
2 tbsp. pine nuts*
¼ cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated if you have it)

To assemble the dip:
Hummus (store-bought or homemade)
Cilantro pesto (above)
Cucumber, seeded (or unseeded English cucumber) and diced
Red onion, diced
Banana peppers, chopped
Sliced olives (black or Kalamata)
Crumbled feta cheese
Oven-dried tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (I used sun-dried)

*If you don't have pine nuts, you can substitute all pecans with equally great results.  

To make the cilantro pesto, combine the cilantro, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, pecans, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse repeatedly until a coarse paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, add the remaining olive oil in a steady stream and process until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan. (If storing for later use, drizzle with a thin film of olive oil, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto, and store in an airtight container.)

To assemble the dip, spread a layer of hummus on a serving platter. Spread the cilantro pesto over the top of the hummus. Layer evenly with cucumber, red onion, banana peppers, olives, feta, and oven-dried tomatoes as desired. Garnish with an additional few tablespoons of minced fresh cilantro. Serve with pita chips.

Source: slightly adapted from Annies-eats.com

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