Tag Archives: Mediterranean spread

A Mediterranean Party Snack Buffet with DIY Tahini Dressing

25 Mar

The parents have returned from their winter in Puerto Rico and that gives me a chance to make things that are a pain in the neck to do up for one adult, but seem like no work at all for a lavish spread for three grown-ups and a kid who likes couscous (especially seasoned with pesto) and asparagus. Plus, make loads and leftovers are guaranteed and you know I love that!

This sudden inspiration came straight from the pantry: jarred artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers, black olives, garbanzos from a can, that type of thing. From the fridge: feta, tomatoes, cukes, asparagus.

How fun would it be to lay out mezze (Mediterranean small dishes) with a variety of salad ingredients and sit all together for a change?

So I did and it was fun and crunchy and creamy and delicious.

“Look how pretty mine came out!” said the moms, who is a bit relieved to be eating with us again (because yes, the dad is still on that cockamamie up-and-down vegan diet that I want nothing to do with – although enabler that I am, I did make him some alternative tahini dressing with no garlic, since sesame seeds — the main ingredient of tahini — grow above ground and garlic grows under…seriously? Anyway, not worth discussing; the REAL recipe below is lovely and garlicky, as God intended)

Roasted asparagus: Rinse and break off bottoms of a 1 lb. bunch of asparagus. (They break naturally at the woody part; or break off one and slice off the rest at around the same place) Smear with two teaspoons of olive oil and roast at 450 for 10 minutes (skinny spears) to 15 minutes (fat spears). Finish with flaky sea salt.

Roasted eggplant: Rinse and cut a large eggplant into one-inch chunks (for older eggplant that feels a bit soft to the touch, put in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Put a weighted bowl on top and another bowl to catch the drippings. Leave for a half hour and pat dry before the next step). Smear with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and roast at 450 for 15 minutes or until cooked through and soft, turning once with tongs.

Garbanzos (chick peas) in tahini: Rinse and drain a 28 oz can of chick peas. Add a tablespoon chopped red onion. Add two or three tablespoons of tahini dressing (below) and serve.

Tahini Dressing

3 Tbs tahini (mixed ‘till relatively smooth)

¼ Cup fresh lemon juice

1 large clove garlic, minced fine

Pinch or two of salt

Cold water to thin

1 tsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Mix all ingredients except water and salt in a bowl (deeper is better to avoid splashing) or mixing cup. Salt to taste and thin with water to desired consistency. Add chopped parsley if desired. Thin for use as salad dressing. Leave it thick to use as dip for vegetables. Leave it medium dense and creamy as a sauce  sauce for falafel.

Couscous with (prepared) pesto: prepare one half cup couscous (Israeli or fine) according to package directions. Add two tablespoons prepared basil pesto (or your favorite) and serve warm.

Additional stuff: chunks of feta, black olives, halved or quartered cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, avocado and mixed greens, as desired. Try hard-boiled eggs. A drained and flaked can of tuna would be great too, with a bit of chopped onion if you are not into the vegetarian thing.

Party Snacks: Garlic Scape and Garbanzo Spread

6 Jul

This is the last of the recipes I used to make a recent Mediterranean Summer Buffet of appetizers and party snacks.

But I am only half as maniacal about DIY as you think I am — I also opened jars:  of artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers and I purchased good mixed olives which I arranged on a platter for grazing. My dad grilled asparagus, eggplant, red and green peppers and hunks of red onions a couple of hours ahead of time with a brushing of olive oil and we arranged those on a platter, finished with flaky sea salt for delicious crunch. Some crunchy bread toasts and we were good to go! You could also use a hummus and cubes of feta to round things off.

So try this spread if you’ve still got garlic scapes that need using. It has my favorite chick peas as well and the lemon gives it a very attractive bright flavor. Almost no prep required!

Enjoy the party!

A Gorgeous Summer Table

Garlic scape and chick pea dip

1.5 Cups chick peas (or 2 15.5 oz cans chick peas, rinsed and drained)

2 garlic scapes, topped and tailed

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil (plus extra if desired/for garnish)

2 Tbs plain yogurt

¼ Cup lemon juice and zest of one lemon

1 Tbs chopped parsley (plus extra for garnish)

1 tsp cumin

¼ tsp salt (may not be necessary if using canned beans)

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until reaching desired smoothness. You may add more olive oil if necessary or garnish with a drizzle of oil and sprinkle with parsley.

Look out for more party buffet ideas in future!

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