Well, it snowed AGAIN yesterday (is this grating on your nerves as much as it’s grating on mine?* I mean, it is now March 19th. Like, what’s up with that? Snow is just. . . so. . . wrong at this time of year. In either hemisphere).
I am yearning for spring like the Tin Man yearns for a heart, like the artist formerly known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” (now known just as “Prince”) yearns for purple, like Hillary yearns for the nomination–but it’s all for naught. It’s still miserable outside. I’m still miserable inside. Oh, woe, oh boo hoo, oh woe is me (shouldn’t that actually be “woe is I”? Ach, whatever.)
Well, if I can’t have a dip in a pool, I’ve decided to just have a dip.
Dips evoke warm weather in my mind. I love me a good hummus, smoothed languidly over falafels on outdoor patios, or lolling atop baby carrots as the HH and I enjoy a relaxed preprandial interlude, watching The Girls
fight wrestle frolic on the lawn during summer evenings. Traditional spinach and onion dips, bean dips, veggie dips, even sweet fruit-and-nut dips–they’re all served at outdoor Bar-B-Qs, weekend picnics, or summer wedding buffets.
(“We love dips too, Mum. Especially skinny-dips. How long till we can play in that wading pool again, Mum?”)
As soon as I began to search for dips on other food blogs, I was rewarded with a treasure trove of recipes. A few that intrigued me included Kalyn’s Slow Roasted Tomato Hummus ; Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen’s Shiny Happy Hummus; Farmgirl Fare’s Hot Artichoke-Chard Dip (how can you go wrong with chard?); Green Gourmet Giraffe’s Spiced Carrot Dip; and The Good Eatah’s Super-Simple Magic Bullet Bean Dip (partly because I’ve been fascinated by that Magic Bullet ever since I first saw that cheesy infomercial starring Mimi and Mick, at home with their annoying, hung-over friends).
Still, the dip that beguiled me the most was the Creamy Aspara-Dip from Chocolate Covered Vegan. Brilliantly green and smooth; glossy, even–how could I resist that emerald harbinger of springtime after all these months of desolate winter wasteland?
“The Ugliest Food You’ll Ever Love,” trumpeted the blog entry, and ”If you aren’t a vegan, this dip will most assuredly NOT convince you to become one.” I remained undeterred, and not just a little entranced by the radiant, grassy hue. Katie promised to share the recipe with those who asked, so I asked away.
I should pause at this juncture to explain something. I feel extremely fortunate to have begun cooking and baking quite early on, and equally fortunate to have developed a concomitant ability to virtually “taste” a recipe just by reading the ingredients. This sense comes in handy when I want to decide whether or not to try something I’ve never eaten before (pears and balsamic vinegar? Yes. Smoked tofu? Yes. Kale and seaweed salad? Okay. Goji berries and mint? Not so much.)
The HH, on the other hand, was not blessed with this particular brand of sensory imagination. On Sunday mornings (okay, more like afternoons), we’ll sit across from each other at the brunch table, leisurely perusing the National Post, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star as we sip on our respective hot beverages (his: hazelnut-flavored coffee with 10% real cream; mine: Krakus coffee substitute with chocolate flavored almond milk–like a mochaccino!). We’ll occasionally pause to read something of interest to the other across the plates and mugs.
Mostly, the HH reads me stories from the Business section, about how an economic disaster (the likes of which we’ve not seen since 1929) looms, say, or where to find the latest ultra-exclusive audio gadgets (did you know you can buy stereo speakers that cost over $100,000, for instance?). I read to him from stories in the Arts and Life section, about how workplace bullying is more harmful to employees than sexual harrassment, say, or how women who rate their relationships as happiest are the ones whose spouses share at least 50% of the household chores.
Every once in a while, though, I’ll forget that he lacks an ability for conceptual cooking and may emit a remark such as, “Oooh, listen to this: watermelon and basil salad. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?” To which he’ll counter with a response such as, ”Bwwwffffzztttt!” (that’s a spontaneous spraying of hazelnut-flavored coffee and 10% real cream over the Business section of the newspaper). Of course, he simply can’t imagine it.
Well, as soon as I read the list of ingredients in Katie’s dip, I knew I’d enjoy it, despite her dip-deprecating comments. And it was, indeed, lip-smackingly, lick-the-spoon delicious: creamy, with a citrusy tang and sweet, green undertones. Though he couldn’t imagine it beforehand, the HH was happy to consume a hearty portion. And it provided us both with a little dip into virtual springtime.
Because this recipe contains not one, but two veggies, it’s the perfect dish to submit to Cate’s weekly ARF/5-A-Day event, over at Sweetnicks. She posts the roundup every Tuesday evening, so feel free to check it out then!
Katie’s Creamy Aspara-Dip
This dip is quick, easy, and, as Katie wrote, “this stuff tastes terrific.” While it’s great on crackers or crudités, I bet it would make an excellent pesto-like dressing for a summer pasta salad as well. If summer ever arrives, that is.
7 or 8 oz. (about 225 g.) cooked asparagus spears
5 oz. (about 140 g.) frozen peas
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) fat-free Nayonaise (I used homemade tofu-based mayonnaise)
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) fresh lime juice
1 tsp. (5 ml.) minced garlic
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) ground cumin
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) red onion, chopped
Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until desired smoothness is achieved. Serve immediately. Makes about 2 cups (500 ml.). Store leftovers in airtight container in the refrigerator (we ate the rest of ours the next day).
* Or perhaps it’s just my incessant daily mention of it that’s getting on your nerves? Apologies. Will try to stifle.