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the weather gets nicer, the grills get dragged out of the garage, and
the party invites start piling up on your refrigerator door, it's time
for some fresh ideas for picnic food contributions. With a mixed crowd
of vegetarians and carnivores, I've found that it is always easier to
just bring a vegetarian dish. The key is to make something so full of
flavor, the meat-eaters will snarf it up too. Rather than fussy canapés
and other finger foods, my all-time favorite party foods are dips and
spreads. They take less time to prepare, are simple for guests to serve
themselves and hold up well either on the bar or the picnic table. Dips
and spreads are easy to make special too: just look to cuisines from
other cultures for inspiration, and your potluck dish is guaranteed to
stand out among the usual all-American potato salad fare. Here are some
flavorful and out of the ordinary ideas that everyone will love. Your
meat eaters might not even notice that the food they're so eagerly
devouring is vegetarian.
by Emily Meyer |
1 2 3
This is a Middle-Eastern dip that
is extremely addictive. The main flavors are roasted red peppers,
walnuts and cumin, an unlikely combo that proves really delicious. Serve
with veggies and homemade pita chips mentioned below, as a sandwich
spread, or even thinned out with a little water as a pasta sauce. If
you're strapped for time, you can substitute roasted red peppers in a
jar, drained well. If you use the pomegranate molasses* rather than
honey, this is vegan as well.
*Pomegranate molasses can be found at a Middle Eastern grocer, if you're
lucky enough to have access to one. Alternatively, recipezaar.com
tells you how to make your own. Or try ordering it online at ethnicgrocer.com.
6 large red peppers, roasted
2/3 c. breadcrumbs
1/3 c. chopped walnuts
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. pomegranate molasses (or honey)
1 t. ground cumin
½ t. red pepper flakes
¾ c. extra virgin olive oil
Toss all ingredients except
for olive oil in a food processor. Blend until combined. With food
processor running, drizzle in olive oil until the mixture is smooth.
Makes approximately 2½ cups.
These are so much better than
store bought! Cheaper, too. I like to use whole-wheat pita bread for a
little extra health kick.
1 package pocket pita bread
non-stick cooking spray
variety of spices ( I like the combo of garlic powder, dill and paprika,
but you can use whatever you like)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Split each pita, inserting a knife into the pocket to get the two sides
apart. Cut each half circle into three triangles. Spread the pieces
rough side up on cookie sheets and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Sprinkle on spices and bake for 15 minutes or until crisp.
along for more!
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