Recently my editors at Edible Long Island asked what we contributors were doing to eat local in the middle of winter.
Hmmm. Embarrassingly, I am not doing enough. Except drinking Long Island wine and using up the home-grown tomatoes, and CSA peppers, garlic scapes, and berries I froze this past summer when the getting was good. I must do better next year!
But, I am reading about cooking local…my godson, Sean, who understands me better than most, got me Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook with a forward by Martha Stewart for Christmas. For those who don’t know, The Barefoot Contessa is a specialty food store in East Hampton, Long Island, owned by Ina Garten, a former White House nuclear policy analyst and now Emmy-winning Food Network host. She is very charming, very Hamptons, and that makes her very local to me! Bonus, Martha Stewart also has a home in East Hampton, which makes her local too, at least part of the year.
Anyhoo, I do like Ina Garten and her relaxed style. She’s forever cooking up special treats for her beloved husband, Jeffrey, who seems to enjoy it very much. And since Super Bowl is coming up and that means a lot of entertaining, I adapted one of her signature recipes from the book to what I had in my fridge to see what happened.
This sun-dried tomato dip is one of the most popular items at the store and now I know why. Creamy and piquant and ready in five minutes, it was everything I could do not to stand up at the counter and eat it all up (who needs carrot sticks when you can just use your fingers?) without telling anyone. But I restrained myself and am sharing with others. But only those who are very nice to me.
I did lighten it up just a bit; where she calls for sour cream I used nonfat plain yogurt to very good effect. It’s still incredibly lush; I did not skimp on the mayo or the cream cheese!
So, admittedly, today the inspiration was more local than the ingredients, but one does the best one can. And this was pretty damn good.
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Dip
¼ Cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 8 tomatoes), drained and chopped, plus one for garnish
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
½ Cup plain nonfat yogurt
½ Cup mayonnaise
½ – 1 tsp harissa paste (more to taste)
½ tsp sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
Purée the tomatoes, cream cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, harissa, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal blade (you won’t get it creamy and smooth enough hand-stirring it). Add the scallions (reserving some for garnish) and pulse twice. Serve at room temperature.