The ending and beginning of each year brings with them plenty of gatherings among family and friends. With these legitimate excuses to come together and eat plenty of food, I find it extremely convenient to have a couple of easy-to-whip-up recipes on hand, you know, just in case friends suddenly pop over for a quick get-together.
I’m a big fan of finger food, or basically snacks that can be eaten without the necessity of cutlery. I especially love serving up a dip that is both tasty, colorful and put together without any fuss. I find that finger food is a great way to start a party while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive; and more than that, it gives guests the flexibility to move around without having to be stuck at one single spot.
One of my favorite appetizers is a rainbow guacamole that I serve together with taco chips. Some other times I whip up a garlic cream cheese dip that goes well with breadsticks or toast.
And once in a while, when I’m in the mood for something a little richer in taste, particularly during holiday season, I prefer to go with this amazing roasted red pepper dip.
This dip may require a bit of planning before hand; but hands-on time is really very little. Most of the work is done by the oven and processor.
You start by seeding and cutting red bell peppers into medium size cubes, and doing the same with the onion, eggplant and garlic. Toss the cubed vegetables with a generous glug of olive oil, then season freely with salt and pepper. Once that’s done, place the vegetables in a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 200 deg Celcius (400 deg Fahrenheit) for around an hour, flipping them every 20 minutes or so to make sure they don’t stick to the sheet.
When the veggies have been roasted, let them cool for a while before blending them together with a bit of concentrated tomato paste, which is meant to enhance the flavor of the dip. You may need to process the roasted vegetables in small batches depending on the size and power of your processor or blender. I find that breaking it up into batches also helps with the dip’s consistency. If necessary, add a little bit more of olive oil at a time, and blending until you get the desired texture.
And finally, since it’s a dip, we need something to eat the dip with, right? I suggest pita toasts for accompanying the dip – but you can also eat it alone.
If you take my advice and go with the pita toasts – rest assured that it can be ready in five minutes. Quickly slice the pita bread slices into six small triangles each, and toast them in the oven until golden brown and crusty.
Serve the warm pita toasts together with the roasted red pepper dip and you’re ready to party!
An amazing roasted red pepper dip. This dip may require a bit of planning before hand; but hands-on time is really very little.
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded
- 1 onion, peeled
- 1 small eggplant
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste
- 6 slices of pita bread, for accompanying the dip
- Pre-heat oven to 200 deg Cel (400 deg Fahrenheit)
- Cut vegetables into evenly-sized cubes
- Toss cubed vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper
- Place vegetables in a baking sheet and roast for one hour, flipping them around every 20 minutes
- Once vegetables have been roasted, allow them to cool for a while before pureeing them in a blender together with the tomato paste (if necessary, split the vegetables into batches if they don’t fit into the blender)
- Should the mixture be too dry, add a tablespoon of olive oil at a time, and pulse some more
- Cut each slice of pita bread into 6 triangle pieces like you would a pizza
- Toast the pita bread slices in oven for 5 minutes until golden brown and crusty