Dips & Spreads

Dips & Spreads

DIY Hummus Recipes: Fall/Winter Edition
During the autumn and winter months and throughout the Holiday season, having friends and family over is one of these seasons' best parts. You may love coming up with what will be on the menu, or it may send you into a spiral of confusion. Whichever way you lean, there's one thing that is simple, delicious, and never disappoints -- hummus. 
Hummus is a healthy dip for fresh, raw veggies, crackers, and can even be a great companion for a dollop of flavour on your meal. You can feel good about serving hummus because it's packed with protein, fibre, and antioxidants, and with how versatile it is, it leaves you with many options. 
Before you swing by the store and grab it ready-made, you may want to think about making your own hummus to impress everyone at the table. Hummus might seem exotic, but it requires very little work. In its most basic form, hummus uses chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. How you season it from there varies, but there is great potential to go beyond basic hummus and get even more creative.
A way to experiment with this is by creating a hummus bar at your next gathering or even a hummus tasting plate with several varieties of hummus to enjoy. Want to make hummus that's unique for fall and winter flavours? Try these ideas.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus
This one will take a little more time, but it's so worth it. You'll need to roast your butternut squash and some garlic first. Then you can add them to your food processor with fresh minced garlic, chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper. To give this a more wintery feel, add cinnamon and cumin. Finish with a touch of smoked paprika.
- Savoury Pumpkin Hummus
Another one that will require some oven-roasting first is pumpkin hummus. Once the pumpkin has been roasted, you'll add it to your food processor with chickpeas, minced garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, ground cumin, salt, and a little water to get it into a nice, creamy texture. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a perfect garnish.
- Beet Hummus
Beets are so bright and cheery, perfect for that red holiday look. You can roast them yourself or buy them ready to go. Add the beets, garlic, olive oil, chickpeas, lemon juice, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of water to even out the texture. With some roasted almonds and fresh rosemary sprigs, it will have that wow-factor on your table.  
- Sweet Potato Hummus
Try a savoury spin on your sweet potatoes for a winning snack treat this holiday season. You can even cheat by using your microwave for cooking your sweet potato. Once it's ready, blend it with your can of chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, a chipotle pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of water for that creamy texture. Drizzle olive oil on top before serving, and it's ready to be enjoyed.
You can also make regular hummus to contrast with these flavours and see which one everyone gobbles up the fastest. Serving any of these with fresh veggies such as carrots, celery, bell pepper, jicama, broccoli, or snow peas is a fantastic way to get healthy veggies on the table people easily will be excited to pile on their plates. 
Tomato Salsa with Cilantro and Lime 
 
My friend Laura and I made this awesome batch of salsa a couple years ago and since then this recipe has become a family favourite.  Salsa takes some time to make, so getting together with a friend and doubling the batch makes the work that much more fun.  You will eat this stuff by the jar!  
 
 
 
 
12 to 14 500ml jars
8 to 12 hours - 2 1/2 to 3 hours working
 
8 quarts plum tomatoes
pickling salt
6 large onions (red are good if you can get them)
2 to 3 heads of garlic
450 grams (1 pound) Jalapeño peppers
6 large yellow peppers
2 1/2 cups minced cilantro
1/4 cup cumin seed, ground
1 156ml (5 1/2 ounce) can tomato paste
PER JAR 3 tablespoons lime juice
 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the tomatoes by dropping them in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. You will need to do them in batches. Transfer the tomatoes to a sink or tub filled with cold water.
 
Peel the tomatoes, and chop them coarsely. Layer them in a large strainer - such as comes in a set for cooking spaghetti - with the salt. I try to use about 4 tablespoons, but a bit more is okay. Much of it will run out with the water. Let the tomatoes drain for several hours to overnight, in a cool spot (but not in the fridge.) Don't forget to keep them a little raised from the bottom of whatever pot you strain them into, so they are not sitting in their own water.
 
When you are ready to proceed, put the canning jars into a large canner with water to cover them by one inch at least, and bring to a boil. Boil the jars for 10 minutes. If your water is very hard, add a shot of vinegar to the water to prevent lime build-up on the jars.
 
Meanwhile, peel and chop the onions, de-stem and deseed the Jalapeños (wear gloves!) and other green peppers, and peel and mince the garlic. Squeeze the juice from the limes and set it aside.
 
Take the strained tomatoes, and chop them to the texture you would like - a food processor is fine for this. Mix them with the chopped onions, garlic, and chiles in a large canning kettle or other large, deep pot. Chop the cilantro and mix it in, along with the ground cumin seed.
 
Mix the tomato paste with a cupful of the salsa, until it is lump-free. Mix it into the pot of salsa. Taste the salsa, and add some salt if you think it needs some more. Bring the salsa to a boil.
 
Lift the sterilized jars from the boiling water bath and empty them. Half should be emptied into the sink, and half should be emptied back into the pot to keep the boiling water level up.
 
Add three tablespoons of lime juice to each jar. Fill each jar with salsa, to within 1 cm of the rims. Wipe the sides of the jars.

If you like apple butter then this is the simplest way you could make it.  I don't use a lot of it so I canned the leftovers since it won't likely last more than 3-4 weeks in the fridge.  I used small jars to keep it fresh.

Ingredients:

8 large apples, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste

Peel and quarter the apples. You may want to chop them smaller to decrease cooking time. Place apples, sugar and spices in a crockpot and cover with the lid.

Cook on high for about 4 hours stirring occasionally, then remove lid and continue to cook on high till the water evaporates to desired consistency another hour or two. Blend till smooth, place in Mason's jars and process.

Enjoy!

 

 

No need to have a special seasoning package on hand, this is the real thing.
 
3 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup finely minced red onion
 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, to taste
 
 Combine all ingredients, except lime juice, in a medium bowl. Mash to desired consistency. Add lime juice to taste; mix well and serve.