Chips and Dip … Revised

From book clubs to movie nights to prayer groups, I love inviting people to come into my home, drink wine and be together. While there is something profoundly delicious about the standard “chips and salsa” fare for such occassions, I have added a few additional dips and and dippers to add color and diversity. This is not so much “cooking” as it is an idea for a quick way to create a vibrant, colorful spread for a party.

Book Club Chips & Dip

DIPPERS:

  • Tortilla Chips (look for the 3 – 5 ingredient chips: corn, oil, salt, touch of lime)
  • Mini Bell Peppers, halved with the tops cut off
  • Jiama, skinned and cut into flat strips, spritzed with fresh lime and chili powder

DIPS:

  • Guacamole (fresh avocados, garlic, salt and pepper, and some fresh salsa)
  • Fresh Salsa
  • Cowboy Caviar (available pre-made at Trader Joe’s or Costco; bell peppers, black beans, and corn)

Eggplant Caprese

As the cool spring sunshine gives way to a warmer summer blaze, the really good tomatoes are returning to us. The gritty, hard tomatoes in the winter are hardly satisfying, but those sweet juicy summertime tomatoes are just delicious! This is one of my favorite summer recipes, bringing the delicious open-faced caprese sandwich to a veggie-loving palate, offering a grilled eggplant disk in lieu of a crusty bread.

Eggplant CapreseINGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Eggplant, cut in discs, 1/4″ thick
  • 2 Beefsteak Tomatoes, cut into discs
  • 4 oz Soft Mozzarella
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Balsamic Vinegar, drizzled

PESTO INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 Tomatoes (chopped to 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Lime, juiced

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Combine all the pesto ingredients and puree in a blender until smooth.

2.  Heat olive oil on grill (or in a flat bottom pan on the stove top.

3.  Fry eggplant on both sides in the olive oil. Season with salt.

photo 2

4.  Spread pesto on the eggplant, then top with tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.

5.  Top eggplant stacks with freshly ground pepper and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


photo 3

Peanut Butter Mousse Dip

For some reason, the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is just magical. This recipe uses Vanilla yogurt as the sweet, creamy base for a peanut butter mousse. It works deliciously well with apples as a dipping sauce. Or, for a more decadent desert, I do a scoop of mousse with a small scoop of French Silk ice cream for a peanut butter chocolate pie flavor.

Peanut Butter Mousse (1)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 oz nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (no sugar or oil added)
  • 2 oz dark chocolate (72% cocoa)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Whisk yogurt and peanut butter together until well blended and whipped.
  2. Break chocolate into small pieces and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Melt in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is smooth.
  3. Drizzle chocolate over the cold peanut butter yogurt mixture. Wait 10 – 15 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
  4. Break the hardened chocolate with the whisk to break into smaller bites.
  5. Serve with finely chopped apple slivers or with a small scoop of ice cream.

Makes 8 servings of 1/4 cup each, 155 calories per serving.