Kate Jerome: Almost anything goes for outstanding bean dip

Kate Jerome: Almost anything goes for outstanding bean dip

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Bean dip is standard fare at potlucks. You can make yours stand out by adding all manner of vegetables and seasonings.

This is a great chance to use your imagination. Traditional hummus is made with chickpeas and tahini, but you can make a delectable spread or dip with absolutely any type of bean and just about anything added to it.

Vary your recipe with seasonings as well as what you serve it on. Try it spread on toasted baguette slices and topped with chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil as a riff on bruschetta. Or simply try it on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise. Delectable!

If you’re willing to experiment:

Puree 2 cups cooked garbanzos, cannelini beans, even black-eyed peas. You can use tahini or any other type of butter such as almond, walnut or pecan butter. Peanut butter does make it a bit strong, but still good. Add roasted peppers, cooked pumpkin, spinach or chard and season with garlic, cilantro, parsley or thyme. Add sriracha, chipotle tabasco or other pepper for a kick. Leave it somewhat chunky or puree until smooth, according to your taste.

The basic recipe for hummus (substitute at will!):

HUMMUS

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups freshly cooked

1/2 cup tahini

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon cumin

1 clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Olive oil

Salt to taste

Blend all but the olive oil. Gradually add enough olive oil to make it creamy but not runny. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature with toasted pita chips.

Other combinations:

Black beans with sour cream, cumin, garlic and chopped chipotle chiles in adobo. Serve with tortilla chips or toasted corn tortilla wedges

White beans with almond butter, roasted peppers, roasted garlic. Serve with pita chips or toasted baguette slices.

Black-eyed peas with crumbled crisp bacon, sweet onion and sweet peppers. Serve with cornbread squares

To traditional hummus, add chopped roasted red peppers and a couple of tablespoons of cooked pumpkin.

Kate Jerome, a Kenosha writer and teacher, holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and is the former Urban Farm director at Gateway Technical College. She is the owner of the consulting business Kate Jerome’s Garden to Kitchen. Her website is www.kjerome.com.

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