Thursday, March 1, 2007

Yummy Tapas Dinner

Apologies for being somewhat incognito as of late, have been a bit (sometimes more than a bit) under the weather with some kind of nasty bug. Wine country this weekend probably did not help, but what is a girl to do? Can't cancel on such an engagement right? Anyhow, wanted to pass along my idea for a fabulous tapas meal at home, since spring (as well as rain), seems to be in the air, and small plates are perfect for a celebratory occasion or time of year.


Chunky White Bean Dip
2 cans of cannelini beans, liquid drained
2 heads of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
Kosher or sea salt
Black pepper
Whole wheat pita bread
Vegetable crudites (any variety will work, but try sliced celery, cumcumber, carrot, broccoli, and red or yellow bell pepper for color)
To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tops off of two heads of garlic so each clove is exposed. Wrap the garlic in foil and drizzle each clove with about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Wrap up the heads of garlic in the foil and roast in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the garlic easily squeezes out of the cloves.
For the dip, pour the drained beans into a medium-size mixing bowl. Mash the beans with a spoon for a minute or so, just to lightly break them up. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the beans, add two tablespoons of olive oil, one sprig of rosemary chopped finely, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Mix to combine, and serve with toasted whole wheat pita triangles and vegetable crudites.

Why not enjoy with a couple of other simple tapas, such as mushrooms sauteed with garlic, chopped flat-leaf parsley and olive oil and served piping hot. Add to the mix a hearty hunk of Manchego cheese placed in a shallow, earthy and oven-safe bowl and bake at 400 degrees for a few minutes until melted, and voila. Enjoy with the pita wedges and crudites (or with a spoon once cooled a bit!), as well as a delicious red wine such as a Malbec or Carmenere. For dessert, put a few dollops of Greek yogurt (look for Pace brand in the market) in a wine or martini glass and top with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, sliced strawberries and finely sliced basil. Yum!

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