Wednesday, October 31, 2012

32 dips in 28 days: a retrospective

Happy end of MoFo everyone!  I'm finishing up today with a retrospective of the dips I pulled off this month.  I didn't quite hit 31 dips in 31 days because I took 3 days off.  But actually, I did 32 dips anyway.  Here they are:

I started out with a sort of mish-mash-mezze:
1. Hummus, 2. Lebenah, 3. Muhammara, 4. Skordalia, 5. Baba ganoush, 6.  Tzatziki

Dips and dippers day 3
Check out this feast from days 3/4.

Then it was the Emperor's birthday so I made a mildly-mexi trio of dips for his party and then continued in that vein for one more day:
7.  Salsa, 8. Guacamole, 9. Creamy bean dip, 10.  Queso blanco dip

Mofo dinner 8
There's the queso blanco dinner.  Yum!

Then we had nice fall weather for a couple of days and I made some autumn-centric dips:
11.  Nutty Pumpkin Pie Dip, 12.  Pomegranate-lime-ginger applesauce, 13.  Cheezy beer dip, 14.  Pizza dip (okay, that's not autumn-centric!), 16.  Kabocha-shiitake dip

Nutty Pumpkin Pie dip
That pumpkin pie dip haunts my dreams.  Ugh, so good.

Threw in another sweetie on a lazy day - 17.  Chocolate-raspberry dessert dip

Then a quick jaunt over to asia for a few fusion dips:
18.  Peanut satay, 19.  Nuoc cham dip, 20.  Cilantro-coconut pesto

Whole lotta kebabs
I take back everything bad I've ever said about kebabs.

Things got crazy in my life around here so I stopped grouping and started just making whatever I could whenever I could!  Including:
21.  Carrot cake dip, 22.  Buffalo dip, 23.  Bleu dip, 24.  Chip Shop Curry Dip, 25.  Cheezy nacho dip, 26.  Creamy pumpkin caramel dip, 27.  Avocado pesto dip, 28.  Roasted eggplant & cashew dip, 29.  Several layer dip, 30.  Super Lazy Bean Dip, 31.  French Onion Dip, and 32.  Peanut Butter Mousse.

Avocado pesto dip
Mmmm.  Pesto.  Dip.  Avocadopestodip.

Some statistics:
Number of things I had never made before this MoFo: 18 (64%)
Number of dessert dips: 5 (%18)
Number of times I had ever considered making a sweet dip before this: 0
Number of times I now think about it daily: a billion
Number of days I posted:   29
Number of times I posted: 31 (including this post)
Number of MoFo-related regrets: 0

It's been fun!  High five to everyone who participated, and thanks so much to everyone who commented or even just lurked and read.  Seeya around!  Happy end-of-MoFo (and Halloween!) from these guys too:

Halloween boys

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    MoFo #28: Peanut Butter Mousse

    Okay, remember back when I did the chocolate mousse?  Well, I have something sad to admit about it: it wasn't very good.  When I tried it the next day, it was all weird and grainy.  I kept eating at it for most of the week, trying various things in it, and the texture was just so bad.  (I even let the Emperor have a taste and he was like, um, yuck.  He never turns down chocolate, so I knew it was really that bad.)

    I was bummed that what is reportedly the easiest vegan recipe ever didn't work out for me, so I decided to try again.  With peanut butter this time.

    Peanut butter mousse dip

    Vegan peanut butter mousse is even easier than chocolate mousse.  Literally all I did to make it was mix a box of silken tofu, 1/2c of peanut butter, 2 tsps of powdered sugar (for a hint of sweetness and to thicken it a little), 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tbsps soy milk in the food processor for about 5 minutes.  The result is a smooth and creamy peanut butter whip that's quite good for dipping in.

    We had it for dinner, because it's just that kind of a night.  We dipped in an apple, a large pear, and a couple of these guys:

    Chunky apple muffins

    Some healthyish (whole grain, low sugar, low fat) chunky apple muffins!  Why is it that people can eat muffins for breakfast but when I say I'm having muffins for dinner, they all look at me like I've lost it?  Muffins for dinner = good.  Dipping chunks of apple muffin in peanut butter mousse = very very good.

    Still lots of mousse leftover.  Not sure what I'll do with it all... the recipe made a lot.  I don't think it'll freeze well.  Hmm.

    Oh yeah, pumpkins.  Did I mention we were up carving pumpkins until like, 8:30 last night?  For E, that's big-- he's generally falling over tired by about 7:30 now that he doesn't nap.  But he stayed up and worked on his pumpkin and was a bit crazy by the end but did well considering... here he is today examining his pumpkin:

    Grey and pumpkin 2012

    He was a little upset because, in his words, "my pumpkin looks crabby.  I don't want a crabby pumpkin.  I want a happy pumpkin."  Tell me about it buddy, we've all been there.  He stuck a bunch of My Little Pony stickers on one side of it and I think that's made it more acceptable to him, because he spent most of today handling the pumpkin and talking to it or about it.

    Here are the rest of our pumpkins:

    Pumpkin party

    J did the teeny tiny one.  I'm the ghosts on the pale pumpkin.  Turns out I have some sort of skin allergy to whatever kind of pumpkin this is... I was burning and red all over by the time I finished the thing, but I do like to finish what I've started.  It looks pretty nice with a candle in it.  The bumpy pumpkin is the Magician's... I keep meaning to draw a face on it for him and forgetting.  He's a baby, he doesn't mind.

    Oh, and the flowers there are from our garden!  We have a gigantic African marigold that started out as a tiny $1 transplant from a plant sale.  It's now about the same height as me (around 5 feet) and about as wide.  And covered in blossoms everywhere.  Unfortunately, it's been windy lately and the wind is really battering it-- these stems broke off so I brought them in and made the best of it.

    I have no good segue at all to this picture of the Magician:

    The food is taking forever to arrive

    And I've got nothing else to say!  Good night!

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    MoFo #27: French Onion Dip!

    Okay, this is going to be the worst MoFo post ever.  Hey, I can own it!

    Tonight we made French Onion Dip for dinner.  From a packet.  The picture is so gruesome that I'm not posting it.  Oh, here's a picture of the packet, in case you're in the market for such a thing:

    We mixed it up with 2c of Wildwood plain unsweetened yogurt, which is pretty much the tangiest and awesomest plain soy yogurt I've ever come across.  (For vanilla yogurt, I'm Whole Soy all the way, and for fruit yogurt, I pine for the Alpro that was around in 2009 or so... I've heard it's changed since then, not that I'd know in the US, but I eat that vintage of yogurt in my dreams.)  Perfectly passable, if ugly and unexciting.

    Part of why I'm posting so late tonight is that we carved pumpkins!  woo!  They actually turned out great and I'll probably post pictures tomorrow.

    Part is that I'm just tired.  Not tired of dip (never!), not tired of MoFo (never!  I can't believe how it's flown!), just plain tired.  I'm beginning to pine a little for mid-December, when things should slow down for a little bit.  Ah, December...

    Well, that's all for tonight.  Better post tomorrow.

    Saturday, October 27, 2012

    MoFo #26: Super Lazy Bean Dip

    Today we had a big lunch out, so no one was really hungry at dinner time.  Aaah!  What to dip do?  Well, I banged out a quick dip that we'll actually have for snack tomorrow, this super lazy bean dip:

    Super lazy bean dip

    It's basically a can of fat-free refried beans + 3 cloves of garlic + 3/4c loosely packed cilantro + some salt + a hot pepper from a friend's garden.  I crushed everything but the beans in my mortar and pestle, then mixed the paste into the beans.  Et voila.

    Not fancy, but tasty, and I'm looking forward to snacking on it with some of the miscellaneous vegetables in the fridge.

    I failed at taking any still photographs of the children today, but here's a video of the Magician waving. (Please pardon the Emperor and I making squeaky baby voices in the background, M just started waving a few days ago and we're still all quite excited by it.)

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    MoFo #25: Several layer dip

    Quick post today!  The Magician did something he never does last night-- he woke up in the middle of the night and STAYED UP.  All he wanted to do was party from about 3 a.m. until, oh, 5.  Guess who he was partying with?  Yeah.  So I opted out of making dinner tonight and instead let Josh try his hand at a dip, and this is what he made:

    Josh's several layer dip

    Several layer dip.  Mmmm.  Layers.  There's a layer of refried beans, a layer of guac, and a layer of tomatillo salsa.  And olives on top.  Not just any olives!  Check these bad boys out:

    Josh vs plating

    They are chipotle stuffed olives.  SERIOUSLY.  I was skeptical that they'd work here, but they're perfect.  (And they look pretty cute in J's plating, which I had no hand in, guys.)  Smoky yummy good.

    The whole thing was crazy good.  I'm not just saying that because all I ate the rest of the day was coffee and toast.  (Well, I don't think that's why.)  We had it with breakfast radishes, carrots, cauliflower, and tortilla chips.  Yummm.

    The Emperor loved it-- he ate the salsa AND the beans and either didn't notice or didn't care that the olives were pretty spicy.  That's thrilling to me.  Also thrilling:  he was just in a great mood today.  Here he is showing off the two tiny pigtails he had in his hair today (thanks, preschool):


    And here's his brother pulling his innocent sleeping baby act... uh huh, you're not fooling anyone guy!

    Sleeping squishily

    Til tomorrow!

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    MoFo #24: Roasted eggplant and cashew dip

    When life gives you a cold, misty day, a sinus headache, and crabby children, what do you do?  Well, you could just have a pity party... I'm sure it's very tempting... or you could get in the kitchen and roast some things.

    Like the 2 lbs of eggplants that I roasted this morning and then converted into this Roasted Eggplant & Cashew dip:

    Roasted eggplant and cashew dip

    Fact:  roasting things always improves the situation when it's cold outside.  You know what else always cheers me up?  Pounding things in my mortar and pestle.  That's how I prepared the herbs and garlic for this dip:

    Just crushing some stuff

    The dip is based on one in Deborah Madison's (non-vegan, though largely vegetarian and generally easily veganizable, if you just rip out the chapter on eggs & cheese, bleh) Local Flavors.  It's actually supposed to have pine nuts but when I went to get mine out of the (totally sealed) bag today, there were moths in it.  Moths.  In my pine nuts.  Is it not bad enough that pine nuts cost like $14/lb??  Moths.  Sigh.

    (Did I mention I'm having a day?)

    So I pulled out the closest thing I have in my cabinet right now, cashews.  And I toasted them in a pan and you know what... they're fine.  Most of the flavor in this dip really comes from the tons of fresh herbs.  I used cilantro, basil, and mint.  The latter two were from my landlords' garden-- they just gave me a HUGE bag of basil from their final harvest and I am working through it with delight.

    I had some of the dip with a piece of bread before it was time for me to head out the door, and J and the Emperor will have the rest tonight with crackers and veg.

    Speaking of the Emperor, here he is with the weirdest free thing I've ever seen on the curb in Santa Cruz:

    New!  Free!

    And here's the Magician doing something he hasn't been doing much of lately in the past few days:

    Crib nap

    I'm hoping to pop back in with a second post later tonight, but we'll see how I'm feeling when I actually get back home.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012


    This is just a post to say that I'll do two!  two!  two! MoFo posts tomorrow.  Today was a super hectic day-- hosting friends for lunch in the morning, going to the farmer's market, going to a work social thing with J and children, etc.  There was no time for dip.  (I know!  No time for dip!)  But we'll pick up again tomorrow.