You know that feeling of excited trepidation and possibly even downright fear that comes from introducing people from different facets of your life? Your best work colleague to your college roommate or a new romantic interest to an old confidante. What if what makes them unique and special to you keeps them from getting along, or what if they hit it off so well that you become nothing more than a distant memory in their lifelong journey together? Well that last example seems silly, who could possibly forget about someone as amazing as YOU? But the first scenario is well, a real possibility.
When it comes to what we eat I think a little fear is healthy. It’s what keeps us from serving our guests raw chicken or something else equally risky. But past food safety, I’d say that fear is something best kept out of the kitchen. Creativity and collaboration of ideas in food is generally a positive thing in my opinion. Not because it always points us to a genius flavor combination or recipe, but because it expands our knowledge of how things go together. How did the French ever figure out that salt and caramel were so well matched? Well I’m guessing someone either made a mistake, or took a chance on a ‘crazy’ idea. Now you’d be hard pressed to find caramel sans salt – hell it’s even made its way to McDonalds. The point is that you needn’t be afraid to try a new combination every once in a while. You never know what you might stumble upon. And if it turns out horribly, then you can say with all certainty that mustard and brownies just aren’t meant for one another and move on with your (culinary) life.
This dip is a nice, easy road in to co-mingling ideas in the kitchen. Take our old pal guacamole – spicy, zesty, hit of every party, and introduce him to our new friend white bean hummus. Hummus made with white beans is a little mellower, a little more easy going, while guac is typically the center of attention. They’re different, but they compliment each other nicely. It’s got the fun of guacamole, but with a solid, savory foundation. This dip fits in well on a tortilla chip of course, but the roundness of flavor from the white beans also makes it great for spreading on crostini with a drizzle of olive oil or piled on a pita and topped with bright, crunchy vegetables. I slathered it on my breakfast sandwich this weekend, and let’s just say it didn’t suck. So if you are in the mood for something a little different, maybe try this. And if it doesn’t inspire you to try some new combinations in your own kitchen, well at least it’s good with chips and who doesn’t like chips?
Avocado White Bean Hummus
Servings: 2.5 CUPS Time: 10 MINUTES
What I like about this dip is that you can really play it to one side or the other. If you lean towards the guacamole aspects of it, add some more jalapeno, dial up the lime juice and maybe sprinkle in some ground cumin. If the hummus direction is more up your alley, maybe swap the lime juice for lemon, double down on the garlic and throw some tahini in the mix The recipe as written walks the middle line, with the advantage being slightly towards guacamole. I like the addition of something crunchy at the end (hence the cashews) but I wouldn’t scoff at some pickled red onions, a sprinkling of dukkah, or chopped pistachios as welcome substitutions – garnish at will!
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for garnish (I would avoid using extra virgin olive oil if you’re really trying to play up the guacamole aspects, as it’s a little too strong in flavor)
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1 15 ounce can of cannellini (or other white beans), rinsed and drained
1 large handful of parsley (about 1/2 cup chopped)
2 ripe avocados
1 jalapeno roughly chopped (you can remove the ribs and seeds if you want it milder)
2 T lime juice
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ C toasted cashews, chopped (optional)
In a skillet over medium heat combine olive oil and garlic. Cook until garlic starts to sizzle – one to two minutes.
Add beans and salt. Cook stirring frequently, about five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In a food processor or blender combine the beans (including the garlic and oil) with the avocado, parsley, jalapeno, lime juice and chili powder. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
If you want a looser consistency add a little warm water a teaspoon at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, lime juice, etc to your taste.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cashews (or other garnish) if using. Serve with tortilla chips, pita or vegetables.