Hummus, other cold mezze dips also freeze well

My summer celebrations, particularly where kids are guests of honor, start with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies before chips and other salty snacks make an appearance.

Memorial Day weekend was no different, kicking off Saturday with my younger son’s birthday party. Fresh strawberries and pineapple were an easy choice, along with the cucumbers that he recently has favored. I never would have guessed, however, that hummus would beat out ranch dip for his affections.

My homemade hummus is both more lemony and garlicky than commercially prepared versions, a fact that doesn’t impress my husband but apparently appeals to a 2-year-old who will gnaw a lemon wedge down to its pith. While commercially prepared hummus is handy, it’s many times over more expensive than spending 15 minutes to blend up a batch in a food processor. And because hummus, baba ghanoush and other dips of their ilk freeze so well, they can be prepared in quantity at the beginning of outdoor-entertaining season and frozen in smaller portions for use all summer.

A sweeter option to consider for your spread is this Hesandin Dip, a Kurdish dish similar to Syria’s Muhammara, a puree of roasted peppers and walnuts. This recipe comes courtesy of Nîroj Kurdish Cuisine in Agoura Hills, Calif. It’s a traditional component of a cold mezze platter accompanied with warm bread.

I particularly appreciate the instructions for easily peeling roasted red peppers, a maneuver that gave me a bit of trouble while preparing a salad for the holiday weekend.

Tribune News service photo

Hesandin Dip

4 to 6 red bell peppers

6 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

9 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) walnuts

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely grated

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, or to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper, or to taste

To roast the peppers, place on a rack set over a gas stove-top burner at high heat. Roast, turning frequently, until skin on all sides of each pepper is charred, for about 5 minutes. (Alternatively, roast peppers in oven using broiler setting until charred on all sides.) Wrap each pepper in plastic wrap and set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel skin (skin should stick to plastic wrap). Rub plastic wrap against skin to loosen and remove it. Do not rinse peppers to remove skin, as rinsing will remove flavor. Stem and seed each pepper.

In bowl of a food processor, place peppers, along with the carrots and walnuts; pulse until mixture is finely chopped.

Transfer pepper mixture to a bowl; stir in the garlic, molasses, oil, salt and Aleppo pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning and flavorings if desired. This makes about 1 quart dip, which will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

Makes about 1 quart.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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