Monday, May 2, 2011

Two Dips: Black Bean Hummus and Salsa Verde

This week, I'm going to be posting recipes that can be used for Cinco de Mayo. I've never really celebrated Cinco de Mayo, to be honest. However, I'll use just about any excuse to try out themed meals made from scratch, and Mexican was sounding really good. So, I present to you the first of my Mexican posts, and it's appetizer time!

I made two dips over this past weekend; the first was one I have made before, but loved so much that I was eager to make it again. It's a great, unique spin on hummus. Instead of the traditional chickpeas, you use black beans, and you add in jalapeno for heat, cilantro for brightness, and lime juice for a nice, south-of-the-border punch. It's a fantastic dip, equally good on pita bread and tortilla chips, wonderful on fresh, crisp veggies, and a zesty treat on a sandwich. I can't get enough of this stuff.

The second dip I made was a salsa verde. Now, let me preface this recipe by saying that I am not usually the salsa-maker in our house. My husband has been making and perfecting his salsa recipe for years now. His finished product is always fiery-hot and addictive. But I wanted to try my own hand at it for a change, and this is what I came up with. I totally made it up as I went along, so all the measurements can be tweaked to your own personal tastes. Also, I call it a salsa verde because the color and taste of the dip ring truer to a green salsa, but this does contain some tomatoes. It's funny, you can't see them in there, but they are necessary for sweetness and balance. At least I think so. I roasted all the peppers I used prior to adding them. I really love the extra level of smokiness the roasting gives them. That's an optional step, though; feel free to skip it and just throw the peppers in raw.

Black Bean Hummus
adapted from Cooking Light
makes about 3-3 1/2 cups

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed (this time, I used a can of black beans w/ diced jalapenos)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (plus more for garnish, optional)
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with pita chips, fresh veggies, etc.

Salsa Verde
recipe by Bri
makes roughly 2 cups

1 poblano pepper
2 jalapeno peppers
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the poblano and jalapeno peppers on a baking sheet and roast in the oven, turning frequently, until all sides of the peppers are blackened (about 20 minutes or so). Remove to a heatproof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to cool slightly, until you can handle them. Peel the skin from the peppers, remove the stems and seeds, and place in the bowl of a food processor.

2. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and onions and place in the food processor. Toss in the garlic, cilantro, some salt, and pepper, and then blend everything to combine. You can make this as coarse and chunky, or as smooth as you like it. Add extra salt and pepper, to taste.

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