Lima Bean Hummus
In a medium pot, add 12 ounces thawed baby lima beans and cover with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil, and add a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook until the beans are tender, but not mushy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve about ¼ cup cooking liquid, then drain and cool a bit. In a small frying pan, heat about ¼ cup oil over low heat. Once warmed, add 2 large garlic cloves and fry gently for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until light golden brown. Do not let the garlic burn. Add a pinch crushed red pepper to the oil, and cook for one more minute to infuse the flavor. Cool for a few minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic and oil mixture, drained lima beans, 2 tablespoons tahini, ½ teaspoon salt, fresh cracked pepper, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Purée until mixture is smooth and creamy. If it appears dry or lumpy, add a couple tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid or a little additional olive oil, and continue to process. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with pita chips.
Green Goddess Veggie Dip
In a medium bowl, mix 8 ounces soft cream cheese, ¼ cup sour cream, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 small diced shallot, zest and juice from 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of each: finely minced tarragon, parsley, and dill. Add 1 tablespoon minced chives, ½ teaspoon anchovy paste (optional). Using a wire whisk, silicone spatula, or large spoon, blend until smooth. Refrigerate until needed. Taste and adjust to your preference, adding salt and pepper. It’s best made a few hours or a day ahead as the flavors have time to meld and develop. Serve with crisp veggies, or in greens bowls.
Combine ¼ cup bulgur and ½ cup warm water in a bowl, and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain bulgur well and transfer to a large bowl along with 1 large finely diced tomato, 1 small cucumber (seeds removed), 3 to 4 cups minced flat leaf parsley, ½ cup minced mint leaves, juice of 1 lemon, 4 scallions (white and light green parts diced), ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ teaspoon each of allspice and cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few turns of cracked pepper. Toss to combine, taste, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.
In a medium saucepan, combine 6 ounces dried misson figs, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and juice from 1 lemon, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has thickened slightly and has turned a rosy, golden shade, about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and cool the mixture for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and purée until smooth. Store in an airtight container (I use mason jars) in the refrigerator for up to a week. Serve with soft cheese on crostini.
Photos: Jenny Tremblay West