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Join in a summer potluck

It’s summer and the living is easy – especially easy if you keep an array of dips and spreads on hand that can be used a variety of ways. The following recipes are popular additions to an appetizer or dinner table. All can be made ahead and kept at the ready for that unexpected guest. Enjoy summer to the fullest with tasty, simply made but delicious food like this.

Hummus

This is my version of hummus, quite green in colour because of the addition of fresh parsley and green onions. Because of the colour, many people think it is an avocado dip, not the usual chickpea spread. However, it is a chickpea base with added parsley to give a freshness in taste. Serve as a dip with homemade tortilla chips, crackers, or veggies, or use as a spread for soft tortillas to make a sandwich.

1 19 oz (396 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil (more if necessary)
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh lemon juice (equal to 1 lemon)
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper

In a food processor combine chickpeas, garlic, chopped parsley, oil, lemon juice, green onions, cumin, lemon rind, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Combine until smooth. Taste; if required add a little more olive oil for a creamier texture. Spoon hummus into a plastic container; cover and refrigerate for up to three days.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

These super simple low-fat chips are an ideal dipper for the hummus.

3 10-inch (23 cm) tortillas
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Using pastry brush, brush each tortilla with olive oil. Stack tortillas and using sharp knife, cut into 16 even wedges. Arrange in neat rows on baking sheet and bake in oven about 10 to 15 minutes or until a golden brown. Cool before using. Store at room temperature in cookie tin for up to two weeks. Makes 96 chips.

Tortilla Sandwich or Appetizer with Hummus

This sandwich is the answer for a vegetarian lunch – tasty, colourful and sustaining, it can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and packed easily in a lunch bag. The wrap makes an enticing appetizer if sliced on the diagonal at one inch (2.5 cm) intervals and arranged in rows on a square plate.

1 10-inch (23 cm) flour tortilla
3/4 cup (175 mL) hummus
1 ½ cups (375 mL) finely shredded romaine lettuce
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded carrot
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded old cheddar cheese (optional)
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped cucumber
2 tbsp (25 mL) favourite vinaigrette

Spread a 10-inch (23 cm) soft tortilla with hummus. Along one edge arrange finely shredded romaine lettuce, top with half red pepper, half shredded carrot and 1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded old cheddar cheese and cucumber. Drizzle vegetable mixture with your favourite vinaigrette and roll up tightly. May be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to one day. May be cut in half on the diagonal to serve as a sandwich or cut into inch (2.5 cm) slices on the diagonal and served as an appetizer. Serves one as a wrap, makes five to six appetizer pieces.

Dill Mustard Sauce

This is a “must have” for barbecued fish such as salmon, trout, or cold smoked salmon. It is equally good as a condiment for grilled ham or sausages. For the vegetarian, it is delicious served as a toss for steamed new potatoes. Any leftover can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

1 bunch fresh dill, washed, dried and stems removed (about 2 cups dill sprigs)
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (150 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 cup (50 mL) red wine vinegar

In a food processor, combine dill and sugar until dill is finely chopped. Add vegetable oil, mustard and wine vinegar. Puree until smooth. Spoon into a jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes two cups (500 mL).

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