Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Quartet of Dips

Ok, ok, so I went a little crazy here. But when you’re house-sitting (read: squatting) in a house with such a fantastic kitchen, how do you not go overboard? The real impetus behind my food processor frenzy was really my totally dip-able wholewheat version of Nigella’s flatbread. It deserves more than (God forbid) store-bought hummus. No, I stand resolutely by my lifelong motto that anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

First, the bread:
Wholewheat Flatbread
(adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess):
200g strong white bread flour
300g wholewheat bread flour with grains or spelt in it (Allinson’s make a nice one)
7g (1 packet) easy-blend yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing
Approx. 300ml warm water
To glaze:
1 egg
1 tsp. water
1 tsp. yogurt
Seeds for topping such as poppy or sesame (optional)
Combine the flour, salt, yeast in a large bowl and make a well. Mix together the wet ingredients then pour into the flour mixture. Fold in the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together then turn out on a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl in a warm place, covered with plastic wrap until doubled in size; a little over an hour. Divide the dough with a knife into about 6 pieces (more or less depending on the size you want the final flatbreads to be) and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C/425 degrees F. Roll out the pieces with a rolling pin or the heel of your hand into an oblong egg-shape about 2cm thick and lay out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for about 20 minutes, until puffy. Mix the glaze ingredients together (minus the seeds, if using) and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with seeds then bake 8-10 minutes. While still warm, wrap the flatbreads in a tea towel to prevent a crust forming (if desired).
Now that you’ve got your delicious bread ready to dip, take a gander at some of these traditional and not-so-traditional delicious dips. Except for the tzatziki, the directions for these combinations are all the same: simply place the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and push the little button with your index finger. To make these, we roasted about 2 ½ heads of garlic along with the butternut squash while the dough was rising, so it was all ready to go when we were.

Roasted Garlic Hummus:
1 can chickpeas, drained (water reserved for thinning, if necessary)
Garlicy mush of 1 head of roasted garlic
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds (we didn’t have tahini on hand, but this worked a treat and added a scrumptious texture to the final product)
¼ tsp each cumin and coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili flakes (optional)

Roasted Butternut Squash, Parmesean and Nutmeg Dip (I know, it needs a snappier name!):
Flesh of ½ a medium butternut squash, cut into cubes and roasted until soft
½ cup Greek yogurt
3 cloves roasted garlic
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup freshly-grated parmesan
1 hearty grating of nutmeg (well, it depends on how much you like nutmeg…)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sundried Tomato Cannellini Dip:
1 can cannellini beans drained (water reserved for thinning—you’ll need it)
½ cup sundried tomatoes in oil, packed
½ a head of roasted garlic
½ tsp each dried tarragon and thyme
Handful fresh basil
¼ tsp each cayenne, smoked paprika and chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Tzatziki (just mix these together in a bowl, no need for a food processor here):
1 cup grated cucumber
1 cup Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ each chopped fresh mint and parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for finishing


Ali said...

ooooo aimee it all looks yummy! you're more than welcome to house-sit here anytime!!

Emily said...

I can attest to the fact that that tadziki was the best I have ever had....and in my 23 years as a greek person ive had a lot of tadziki.

Emily said...

what an incredible mezze plate!! the flat breads look incredible. i like the way you updated/switched up some old favorites. very beautiful presentation as well. felecitations. thanks for posting!!