Category Archives: dip spread

kabocha coconut curry dip

Kabocha Coconut Curry Dip

kabocha coconut curry dip

I made this for a little while ago and it was a hit. I was a little worried because the day before I cooked a kabocha that was so dry I couldn’t eat it. While the creaminess varies a lot, I’ve never had such dry kabocha. Luckily the one I used for the dip was nice and creamy.

Kabocha Coconut Curry Dip

1/4 kabocha squash, cooked
1/2 can white beans, drained
18g coconut milk powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt

Put everything in the food processor and puree until you get a desired texture. You may need to add a bit of water if it is too thick for your liking.

edamame-tofu-dip

Dip Love

My last post was a quickie dip recipe and this entire post will be devoted to dips. I love veggies and dip. I’m pretty sure that I could eat veggies and dip every warm day of the year without tiring. I’ve rounded up four of my dip posts in one place to get you started.

avocado-tofu-ranch-dip

Avacado Tofu Ranch Dip

silky-smooth-soy-bean-dip

Silky Smooth Soy Bean Dip

edamame-tofu-dip

Edmamae and Tofu Dip

tex-mex-hummus

Tex Mex Hummus

edamame-tofu-dip

Dip Love

My last post was a quickie dip recipe and this entire post will be devoted to dips. I love veggies and dip. I’m pretty sure that I could eat veggies and dip every warm day of the year without tiring. I’ve rounded up four of my dip posts in one place to get you started.

avocado-tofu-ranch-dip

Avacado Tofu Ranch Dip

silky-smooth-soy-bean-dip

Silky Smooth Soy Bean Dip

edamame-tofu-dip

Edmamae and Tofu Dip

tex-mex-hummus

Tex Mex Hummus

quick-onion-tofu-dip-ingredients

Quick Dip: Onion Tofu

quick-onion-tofu-dip-ingredients

It’s now dip season. As I am not a hot dip person, dip season is only when it is warm. This is a quickie – only two ingredients. All you need to do is blend them together using the tool of your choice whether it is a whisk, blender, food processor or immersion blender (my tool of choice).  In the picture you can see my onion consome (オニオンコンソメ onion consome) of choice, Knorr – I love their chicken and beef stock cubes as well.

Quick Onion Tofu Dip

1 small block soft tofu
1 packet onion consome soup

Blend and serve. You may need to add a bit of water to get your desired consistency.

sakura an on pancakes

Sakura An

sakura an on pancakes

For some reason I am somewhat obsessed with sakura flavor this year. This is my eighth sakura season but the first time I have been interested in sakura flavored anything. I asked on Facebook and Twitter about the best flavoring to use and was told that the flavor is in the leaves, which are preserved in salt and need to be rinsed well. I bought both the leaves and the flowers (also preserved in salt) as well as some extract but it smells too floral. I decided to make sakura an (bean paste) and put in on pancakes (see above picture). I replaced 1/2 cup of the flour in the pancakes with kinako powder (soy bean powder) to make them match better with bean paste. I added a preserved sakura flower on top (rinsed with boiling water as they are very salty).

Apparently it takes a little while for the flavor to come out so I made the bean paste the night before. Many visitors to Japan don’t really like bean paste because it is sickly sweet. The great thing about making it yourself is that you can control the sweetness. I put just enough sugar to make it sweet but not so sweet that I couldn’t eat is as part of my breakfast.

Sakura Bean Paste

1 cup cooked white beans
1 preserved sakura leaf
enough water to puree the beans
sugar to taste
red food coloring

Rince the sakura leaf in boiling water to remove most of the salt. Puree the beans and the sakura leaf in a food processor adding only as much water as necessary to get a smooth paste. Blend in sugar to taste and add a bit of red food coloring to get that nice pink color (if desired). Let sit overnight for the flavour to blend.

Kabocha Butter

I found a new pumpkin butter recipe on Oh She Glows this week that I had to try with kabocha.  I have a kabocha jam recipe that I make all the time and decided to combine the two recipes – ingredients from the pumpkin butter recipe and cooking method from my kabocha jam recipe.  I have to say that I love the results.  I usually use orange juice to make kabocha jam but this recipe uses apple juice.  I love them both equally.  You can see above that I made little effort to get the air bubbles out of the jar.  There are two reasons for that; one, my son was sleeping at the time and it would make him jump (but luckily not cry) and two, I don’t expect this to last longer than a week.  I made it yesterday and have already polished off a quarter of it.  I actually made a half batch of Amish White Bread using 1 cup of rye flour just to accompany it.

Kabocha Butter

Inspired by Oh She Glows

1/4 kabocha squash, cut into small chunks
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1/3 cup sugar (will skip next time)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
juice of half of a lemon (I forgot to add this)

Put all ingredients except the lemon juice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Turn down to medium heat and simmer until the kabocha is soft and there is not much liquid left.  Cool until just warm.  Put in a food processor or blender along with the lemon juice and process until smooth.  When cool, put in a storage container of choice and remove as many air bubbles as possible.  This will not keep as long as a regular jam so eat it up soon.

My first nut butter

Nut butters are all the rage in the healthy eating/lifestyle blogging community.  I’ve wanted to try making nut butters for a while but worried that my food processor would die in the process.  I inherited it from my old manager and I’m not sure how old it is.  I finally tried one and discovered why nut butters are all the rage.  I made cashew butter and was blown away.  I found a simple recipe for Homemade Cashew Butter from Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network.  This recipe only has three ingredients as I skipped the one optional ingredient.  So good.  I did a half batch as that is how many cashews came in the bag I bought.  I can’t wait to try a more complicated one.

Homemade Cashew Butter

Emeril Lagasse, 2003

2 cups unsalted roasted cashews
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar, optional

In a food processor or blender, combine the nuts, 2 tablespoons of the oil, the salt, and the sugar, if desired. Process on high speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and process to desired smoothness, adding more oil, 1 teaspoon at a time, if a smoother butter is desired. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Transfer to a bowl to use as a dip, spread, or in other recipes, or place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

This was how I ate it.  Half of a cored apple topped/filled with with cashew butter and topped with granola.  Amazing!  I found this idea on Oh She Glows.  Her apple cupcakes look more glamorous but I think this amount of nut butter is more my speed.

Tex Mex Hummus

Up until quite recently I avoided making hummus because I thought you had to add tahini, lots of garlic and raw onions, three things I don’t enjoy.  While you can add them, you don’t need to.  I have been inspired by all of the healthy living blogs I have been reading to add more beans to my life.  I think this is my third hummus.  I used cannellini beans purely because I had never tried them before – I’m sure I’ve eaten them in restaurants but have never cooked with them before.  This one is really easy to make.  You may notice the green bits in the pic.  My food processor doesn’t seem to be able to get herbs down to small pieces.  This one tastes best if you let it sit for a while and let the flavors meld – especially if your herbs don’t get chopped as small as they should.

Tex Mex Hummus

1 can beans of your choice (the standard can in Japan is 12oz)
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (seems to be readily available in Japan)
1 glug of olive oil (probably 1-2 tablespoons)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
a few dashes of black pepper
juice of half of a lemon

Put everything in the food processor and whir until smooth.  Let sit in the fridge a few hours before serving.

Note: If you like raw garlic and onions in dips I would add some.  I don’t but think it would add to the flavor.

One way to eat is on a bagel.  I topped it with roasted eggplant.

I also had it on flat bread and stuffed in green peppers.  Sorry for the poor pic quality.

Two more dips

My obsession with dip is still in full swing.  At least it is all healthy.  I made two dips this morning.  The first dip, Edamame and Tofu Dip, I had at the house of the lovely Keitai Goddess who got the recipe from Cerebral Soup.  The dip is really healthy and packed full of protein.  I won’t put the recipe here because I didn’t make any changes.  Head on over here to get it.

The next dip I made was Black Bean Guacamole.  I happened to have bought a can of black beans the day before with no specific purpose in mind.  It must have been fate.  I found it here on the Closet Cooking blog. This is going to taste great on the home made bread that is rising as I type.

I made two changes:

  • I used Italian parsley instead of cilantro because of availability – for those of you in Japan who have a hard time finding cilantro/coriander, mitsuba is a good substitute in some recipes where the cilantro is not the main flavor.  The taste isn’t all that similar but it is quite strong like cilantro.
  • I didn’t have a jalapeno pepper so I used a couple dashes of Tabasco sauce – I don’t use them enough to buy a jar but the dip would have tasted even better, I’m sure.

If you are looking for another good dip, I made Silky Soybean Dip/Spread at the end of last year.

Quick Dip: Avocado and Tofu Ranch Dip

I have become a veggies and dip fiend.  I really have no problem with this as I have never made dip with mayo (for myself anyway) and have only made dip with sour cream once in the seven years I’ve lived in Japan.  My solution: tofu.  I tried out soft tofu as a dip base a couple years ago when I suddenly remembered that dip for veggies exists.  It’s interesting that when you live in a foreign country with a food culture drastically different from your own, you often forget about everyday foods back home.  I went about four or five years without having dip for veggies.  Now I am a fiend.  It must be the combination of the periodically warm weather and living near the beach.  You can’t have a beach picnic without veggies and dip.  Generally I just mix onion consomme powder (aka french onion soup mix back home) or ranch dressing mix with soft tofu.  I added something else today – avocado.  It was a good idea.  You can also use this as chip dip.

Avocado and Tofu Ranch Dip

1/2 an  avocado, cubed
1/2 an envelope of ranch dip mix (approx. 1tbsp)
1/2 block of soft tofu (the softer, the better)
1 splash of water (depends on how thick you like your dip)

If you want a smooth dip you need to use a food processor or blender.  I used my immersion blender for this.  If you don’t mind a less smooth dip, use a whisk.

Wash the tofu and make a note of the expiry date, this is your dip expiry date.  Add the avocado, tofu and water (if you want it) to your mixing device.  Or put them in a bowl for manual mixing or an immersion blender.  Mix until smooth.  You can mix in the ranch dip mix with your machine or use the spatula you will use to clean out the machine to mix the dip mix.  You are now finished.  Put in serving dish of choice.

Note: As it is a tofu base the dip will separate a little when refrigerated.  Just stir it up before you serve it next.

Alternate option: Use a sleeve of onion consomme powder instead of ranch dip mix.  In Japan, onion consomme powder is sold in the cup-of-soup section and is often on the bottom shelf.  Any onion soup mix should suffice.