Cooking Cove: Cool landing for new fries and crudités

By Barbara Beltrami

Can anyone forget sour cream and onion dip, spinach and artichoke dip or clam dip? They were all holiday staples in my youth, and as they are, I can still remember their taste and never turn down the chance to go down memory lane and enjoy them whenever they appear in a party. Back in the day we choked on chips that inevitably broke and left runny bits in the dip, but today there are so many new types of batter-plus chips to choose from, from celery to carrots, that I think it’s time to ate some new dips too. Here are some somewhat different inventions.

Goat cheese dip with fresh herbs

RESULT: Makes 1 1/2 cups


1/2 pound fresh soft goat cheese

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


In a food processor, blend goat cheese, oil, and yogurt until smooth; add herbs, salt and pepper and pulse a few times. Transfer to a bowl and serve with bagel chips, toasted baguette slices or crudités.

Baba Ghanoush (Burned Eggplant Dip)

RESULT: Makes 2 cups


1 head of garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 medium eggplants

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup light tahini

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling


Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the broiler. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Slice the head of garlic and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then wrap in foil. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork; place them and the garlic on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cook, turning occasionally, until the garlic is soft and the eggplant is charred on the outside and very tender in the center, about 35 minutes. When it cools down enough for it handle, open the eggplant and remove the flesh; put it in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes; discard the skin; finely chop the eggplant if some thread remains. Remove or remove the garlic cloves from their skin and mince them.

In a large bowl, combine them with the remaining olive oil, eggplant pulp and lemon juice and mix vigorously to further break up the pulp as much as possible. Add the tahini, lemon juice, and more salt and pepper, if desired. Mix vigorously again, transfer to a serving plate and garnish with parsley, red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita chips and crudités.

Muhamarra (roasted red pepper)

RESULT: Makes 6 servings


2 red bell peppers

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces chopped toasted walnuts or almonds

1 chopped clove of garlic

2 – 3 spoons of tomato paste

2/3 cup unflavored breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

1 teaspoon sumac

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425 F. Lightly oil a shallow baking dish. Brush the peppers with a spoonful of olive oil, place in the prepared dish and bake, turning once or twice, until the skin melts and the centers turn black, about half an hour. Place in bowl and cover for 5 to 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, pull and scrape the skin and remove the seeds and discard. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pepper flakes, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, walnuts, garlic, tomato paste, breadcrumbs, molasses, sugar, sumac, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate, but serve at room temperature with flatbread and crudités.

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