Category Archives: Dips & Salsas

Tzatziki (Greek Dip)

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I’ve searched for tzatziki recipes before and it seems this one is the most common recipe… every site I click on seems to have about the same recipe. So, this one is not my own, but we were so happy with the results that I want to share it here.

Ingredients

2 cups of thick Greek yogurt (I used some homemade yogurt I’d made the day before with great results.)

4-10 cloves of garlic, finely grated (I used 5 large cloves and thought it was perfect.)

1/2 cup grated cucumber

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions and Notes:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, and yogurt. Stir until the yogurt and oil are mixed completely.

2. Add the garlic and cucumber. Stir until evenly distributed.

3. Chill well before serving.

Optional: Add a little dill when you stir in the garlic and cucumber.

Oh, and here’s an article all about what do with tzatziki sauce. We added ours to pita pockets with lamb and pork soulvaki. It was amazing!

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Hot Pepper Cheese Dip

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I made this hot pepper cheese dip to accompany pitas, lamb, pork souvlaki, tzatziki, and hummus at this week’s Greek dinner date. It had a great flavor. To make the cheese, for the most part, I followed the same method I’d used for producing the cheese I used for paneer back at our India-themed dinner.

For the cheese:

Ingredients:

1 Liter whole milk

¼ cup vinegar or lemon juice

Directions and Notes:

1. Bring the milk to about 80 degrees Celsius (about 175 degrees Fahrenheit) and turn off the heat.

2. Add the vinegar or lemon juice one teaspoon at a time, stirring the milk as you add the acid. The curds will separate from the watery whey. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes until it’s cool enough to handle.

3. Strain the milk through a cheese cloth (or a steamer basket cloth from Chinese markets works as well). Rinse the curds with fresh water to help remove the taste of the acid. The whey can be discarded.

4. Use your hand to squeeze out additional moisture from the curds inside the cheese cloth. Then allow it to hang for 1-2 hours (optional) so more moisture can drip out from it. The more moisture that comes out of the cheese, the more firm the resulting cheese will be. The cheese for this dip does not need to be too firm, so a short dripping time is okay.

For the dip:

Ingredients:

1 batch of the cheese from the recipe above

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1 small red pepper (mild to hot, depending on preference)

olive oil

Directions and Notes:

1. Crumble the cheese into small pieces. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add the whole red pepper and saute until the skin is lightly browned.

3. Remove the stem. Add the whole pepper and the oil it was cooked in to a small blender cup and blend. Or use a mortar and pestle to mash until smooth.

4. Mix the oil and pepper mix with the cheese and mash until smooth, adding additional olive oil until it reaches the consistency of a thick dip. Salt to taste. Serve as a spread for lamb or pork pita pockets.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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In true China form, we managed to adapt a recipe to a point that tasted pretty amazing without several of the key ingredients called for by similar recipes (or the recipe name). On our recent “Applebee’s at Home” date night, I made this spinach and artichoke dip and it was a hit!Ingredients:

3/4 cup cooked, drained & squeezed, and chopped “spinach” leaves, packed (We don’t have spinach per say here, but we used some similarly shaped greens with great success. The 3/4 cup is the measurement after the leaves are cooked, chopped, and packed into the measuring cup.)

1/2 cup chopped asparagus (about 1/2″ long segments), boiled until very soft and drained (This was our substitute for artichoke, which isn’t the same but worked great here。)

1/3 cup Parmesan and Romano grated cheese

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup alfredo sauce (I used an alfredo packet for this and reduced the milk it called for by 1/4 cup to yield a thicker sauce.)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 block tofu (about 1/2 cup if packed into a measuring cup)Directions and Notes

1. In a blender or magic bullet cup, combine a little of the alfredo sauce and the tofu and blend until smooth.

2. Combine all ingredients and pour into a 9″ round baking dish.

3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until the dip is bubbling. Serve hot with chips, like these wonton chips.

 

Apple Butter {Crock Pot}

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Ingredients:

10 apples

A scant 2 Tablespoons cinnamon (or to taste)

Directions and Notes:

1. Cut clean apples into large chunks and place in a slow cooker. I opted not to peel mine and it turned out great.

2. Add 1 cup of water.

3. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours until the apples have softened.

4. Remove the cover and use a potato masher (or any other masher) to mash the apples partially, just to break them up a little more.

5. Keeping the heat on high, cook uncovered for 6-10 hours (depending on the strength of your slow cooker) or until the liquid has evaporated and the remaining mashed apple has started to almost caramelize a little bit. Be careful not to let it burn once the liquid is gone.

6. Combine the apple mixture and cinnamon in a food processor and process until smooth.

Because the apples reduced so much through the cooking process, the apple butter was plenty sweet enough without any added sugar.

Natural Peanut Butter {From Raw Peanuts}

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Ingredients:

2 cups raw peanuts (without hard outer shells)

1 teaspoon oil

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Directions and Notes:

1. Spread the peanuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, giving the baking sheet a little shake half way through the cook time. Be careful not to let them burn.

2. Allow the peanuts to cool, then transfer them to a food processor. It is not necessary to remove the paper-like red shells around the individual nuts. These won’t have any negative effect; they’ll just add a little color to the peanut butter.

3. Add the oil and salt and process 5-10 minutes until the oils of the peanuts have come out and the mixture is creamy. This takes a little time; at first it will just be crumbly and it may seem like it’s not going to work… just keep processing. Add more oil if greater creaminess is desired. Salt to taste.

Butternut Squash Butter {Or Pumpkin Butter}

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Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into large cubes

¼-1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Directions and Notes:

1. Place the butternut squash cubes in the bottom a slow cooker and add 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours until the squash is very soft.

2. Remove the lid, partially mash the squash, and continue cooking uncovered for 6-8 hours on high until the liquid has evaporated and what remains is thick. During the last hour or so, stir in the brown sugar (to desired sweetness), cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

3. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth.

Veggie Dip

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise (China friends, I just use the jars of stuff called “Salad Dressing” that they sell in most supermarkets… not the best quality or the stuff I wanna pump my body full of, but it works for this recipe & was such a handy resource for several dishes at our picnic themed party.)

1 Tablespoon garlic powder (optional: add up to another 1 teaspoon garlic powder to taste)

½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/2 Tablespoon onion powder

1/2 Tablespoon curry powder

½ Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Directions and Notes:

1. Blend all ingredients.

2. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving.

3. Serve with your favorite veggies for dipping.

Slightly adapted from Food.com.