Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Dip That Has No Recipe

How can this be?!?! How can something so savory be denied a recipe? John's friend made an ocean of this dip, and John brought some leftover pita wedges and dip home. I loved it so much I ate it with a spoon after I finished the pita. When I begged Mark for the recipe, this is what he close to tastebud heaven yet so far away. You see, we rarely shop at Wegman's (though it's the best grocery store in the entire world), and we most certainly don't buy things from their food bar (though I bet the food is scrumptious). For those of you who can or do or would like to take my word that this dip is wonderful and try your hand at it, here's what Mark offered me.

Here's as close to a recipe for that dip as I can remember. This will probably make way more than you need so you could probably halve it. This is really a free form project so if you stumble across some great flavor combo while experimenting, let me know. It's much harder to overwhelm the cucumber than you think, so you can kind of go nuts. Peel, seed and roughly chop 3-4 cucumbers. I had one fairly big one (like almost a foot long) and three smaller ones (5-8 inches each). I have no idea how much total weight because i got them from the garden. Put the chopped cukes in the blender a handful at a time, with a pinch of salt scattered between handfuls. Let it stand there while you prep everything else so the salt can draw out water which will make things smoother later. Chop 8 roasted or sun dried tomatoes. For some reason I am certain that I actually used 8. I used pre roasted ones from the wegmans olive bar. Don't worry to much about draining the oil. If you use sun dried, use oil packed ones or soak them in hot water for a few minutes first if you use dry. If you roast your own, you won't need 8, but the ones at the store are small. Mince 3-4 cloves of garlic depending on your taste. I also added 8 or 9 peppers. I think they're called Lombardo peppers or something similar. They're on the olive bar at Wegmans, they're really long and skinny and red and are in oil with pickled garlic cloves. Chop those up too. Feel free to adjust the amounts. This is where the heat comes from, but individually, they're not terribly hot. You will also need half a pound of crumbled feta and a couple tablespoons of chopped herbs. I used oregano, basil, and thyme. In a pinch though you could probably get away with the Mediterranean herb feta. Have some red wine vinegar and olive oil on hand. When everything's ready, turn on the blender and liquefy the cukes. If they didn't release much water, add a little olive oil to keep things moving. Add the garlic, tomatoes and peppers and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Puree. Add the cheese then the herbs. If you're feeling brave, just take the top off the blender while it's running and feed it in that way, otherwise add it a bit at a time. Everything should thicken up. Drizzle a little vinegar in. How much is really a matter of taste. Probably around a teaspoon, maybe a little more. Just do a little, run the blender and taste. It should have just a hint of the vinegar which is really there to sharpen the other flavors (kind of like salt does in most foods). When your satisfied with the taste, pour it into a container and chill it for a couple of hours before serving. It'll thicken up a bit more in the fridge, so don't worry if it's slightly runny coming out of the blender, as long as it's not liquidy. Good luck!!

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