Category Archives: Dips

Tzatziki

I have a mild obsession with Greek food at the moment, caused largely by the discovery of a fantastic new restaurant just a few blocks from my place.  I went to the Greek Souvlaki Shack two nights in a row because the food was so amazing and fresh, I couldn’t get it off my mind after my first visit.  But more details on that to come…

Anyways, it inspired me to post this tzatiki recipe, since it’s an essential condiment for any Greek feast.  Just line up a few simple ingredients…

Tzatziki Ingredients

…and turn it into this!  (Dill works nicely in this recipe too, just didn’t have any this time around.)

Tzatziki

Allow me to show you some possibilities for using this beautiful stuff….

Like along side chicken souvlaki and lemon rice pilaf, for example!

Tzatziki with Chicken Souvlaki and Lemon Rice Pilaf

But of course, it’s fresh, creamy goodness isn’t limited to just Greek food.  Use it as a dip for roasted potatoes, or spread it on falafel…mmmmmm!

Tzatziki and Falafel

Tzatziki Recipe

1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
1 clove garlic, minced
1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice, to taste
1 tsp salt
1 -2 tbsp fresh dill (optional)

1.  Mix all ingredients together.  Make a few hours ahead if possible, and refrigerate until serving.  If you let it sit for a few hours, the flavours will get really nice and strong.  Also, make sure you use a nice thick Greek yogurt to get good texture.

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Baba Ghanouj

Apart from being incredibly fun to say, baba ghanouj is incredibly fun to eat!  This would be a great mid-afternoon pick me up snack if you have it with fresh veggies or pita bread, but keep it in the fridge for a week or so and enjoy it in any number of ways.  Like as a spread to fancy-up a sandwich.  Or with black olives for a late night snack. You name it.

I also love that this dish is on the healthy side too;  nothing but smokey roasted eggplant, garlic and tahini goodness.  And some other spices, for good measure. 😉

And you get to take out any aggressions you may have on the eggplant, because you have to stab it with a fork multiple times so it doesn’t explode during the cooking process.  Delicious and therapeutic!  Talk about a good for you recipe!

Here are the fresh out of the oven ooey gooey roasted eggplant guts:

Roasted Eggplant

Pull out the eggplant innards and blend with garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne and salt in a food processor or blender, until well mixed and slightly creamy.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and start dipping!

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ghanouj Recipe

1 large eggplant (about 1 ½ lb)
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup tahini
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  1. Preheat oiled grill to medium-high and oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Prick eggplant with fork in several places and grill, turning frequently, until skin blackens and blisters and flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer eggplant to baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until very soft.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Peel off skin and discard.
  4. In food processor, blend eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, cumin and cayenne; process until smooth.  (If mixture is too thick, thin with a lemon juice or olive oil to desired consistency.)
  5. Transfer mixture to serving bowl and use back of spoon to form shallow well.  Drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle with parsley.
  6. Serve at room temperature with fresh veggies, olives or pita wedges.

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Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce

Peanuty perfection.  This dip hits on some amazing flavour points: salty peanuts, zesty lime, spicy cayenne, creamy coconut milk, sharp garlic, rich sesame oil and soy sauce.  Trust me, you need to find something to dip in this, STAT. Preferably Veggie Rice Paper Wraps. 

And since the creaminess comes from coconut milk, this recipe qualifies as vegan.  Imagine being able to accommodate your vegan friends with this gem of a dipping sauce?  Serve it with the above mentioned Veggie Rice Paper wraps and Pho Bo, and you’ll be sure to win the vegan dinner party!

Prepare your ingredients…

Thai Peanut Sauce ingredients

Load it all up in the food processor, and it turns into this:

Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce

Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe

1 Cup dry, unsalted, roasted peanuts
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or Thai chili sauce
1/3 cup Coconut Milk (the light stuff works fine, but makes consistency a bit runnier)

1.  Combine all ingredients in food processor. Add more liquid or spice to desired consistency and taste.

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Baked Brie with Pears and Pecans

I’ve been making this recipe for years and I’ve NEVER been disappointed.  Although the original recipe (which comes from a friend’s dad who is a chef – maybe that’s why it’s so good) calls for the whole thing to be wrapped up in puff or phyllo pastry, I got kind of lazy this time and left that step out.  Guess what?  It was still amazing.  I may or may not have had this for dinner one night……OK…..I did.

To start, chop some pecans and dice some pears, and stir it into a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar. Add some salt to taste.

Pears and pecans with melted butter and brown sugar

Slice the Brie in a few places, about halfway through the wheel to open it up a bit and allow for the pear mixture to fully infiltrate the cheese.   Put the Brie in an oven safe dish, and add the pear mixture on top.  Bake it for about 15-20 minutes until melty and bubbly.

Baked Brie with Pears, Pecans and Baguette

Smear it on that baguette and prepare your taste buds for edible heaven 🙂

Sweet, Melty and Savoury Baked Brie 🙂

Baked Brie with Pears and Pecans Recipe

¼ cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped pecans
½ cup diced Bartlett pear or Granny Smith Apples
Pinch Salt
Wheel Brie Cheese
Puff Pastry or Phyllo (Optional)
Egg Wash (1 Egg mixed with a few tbsp water) (Optional)

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.    Melt butter and blend brown sugar.  Add chopped pecans and fresh pears or apples.  Add a little salt to taste.
3.    If using pastry, roll it out and place sugar mixture into the centre.  Flatten and place Brie on top.  Using the egg wash, brush the pastry and fold around the cheese, ensuring a tight seal.  Place in oven safe baking dish.
4.    If you’re not using the pastry, place the wheel of Brie into an oven safe baking dish, slice cheese in a few places, about halfway through the wheel.  This allows for the pear mixture to infiltrate and mix in with the cheese.
5.    Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown or melty and bubbly.  Serve warm.

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Hot Artichoke Dip

You know this one.  It’s the appetizer that everyone wants to order at restaurants, and always gets devoured. It’s also the one you are happy to discover is in your friend’s oven when you arrive at their house.  Why not make someone else happy the next time they come over? And your own stomach too, by default!  And don’t forget, leftovers (wishful thinking?) the next day take a regular old sandwich to the next level.

Add some artichokes, cream cheese, mayonnaise, green onion and cayenne pepper to your food processor or blender.

Artichocke Dip Ingredients

Pulse it a few times, then add some more bite size artichokes pieces, and the rest of the ingredients.

Artichoke Mixture

Spread it in an oven proof baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or untily it’s slightly browned and bubbly.  And making your kitchen smell magical.

Hot Artichoke Dip

Now smear it on a fresh baguette and don’t hold back.  Or pita.  Or tortilla chips.  Or veggies.

Hot Artichoke Dip on a Baguette

Hot Artichoke Dip Recipe

Two 14 ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained
One 8 ounce block cream cheese
1 cup real mayonnaise
Cayenne Pepper
2 Green onions, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dash of Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add one can of the artichokes, the cream cheese, the mayonnaise and the green onion to the bowl of a food processor (or blender).
2.    Sprinkle in cayenne pepper to taste.
3.    Pulse the mixture 6 or 7 times.  You don’t want to liquefy it; just get the artichokes all chopped up and mixed with the other ingredients.  Mix Parmesan and salt and pepper to tase, and set aside.
4.    Roughly chop the artichokes from the remaining can.  Get them down to bite size pieces.
5.    Add the artichoke pieces to the dip and stir together gently.
6.    Pour the mixture into an oven-safe dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.  Serve with blue tortilla chips, crackers, or white button mushrooms.  Or a spoon.

From:  The Pioneer Woman

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Baked Brie with Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil

MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmelty cheese 🙂

You can put almost anything with brie, put it in the oven, and 20 minutes later you’ll be in a cheese coma.  Which is truly the best kind of coma. For this batch, I poked holes in the cheese and dumped a mixture of  garlic, diced tomatoes, fresh basil and few other yummy ingredients, on top.

Baked Brie Ingredients

After it comes out the oven, serve it with a fresh baguette and you’re friends will never leave.

Baked Brie with Fresh Baguette


Baked Brie with Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil Recipe

1 wheel brie cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
2 – 3green onions, diced
Handful fresh basil leaves, ripped into small pieces
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Olive oil
Salt/Pepper
1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice  

1.  Mix above ingredients in a bowl, and poke holes in top of brie.  Dump mixture onto cheese and allow marinade in fridge for a few hours.  
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, bake cheese for 20 – 30 minutes until cheese looks melty and bubbly.
3.  Serve with fresh baguette or crackers and enjoy!

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