Saturday, July 17, 2010
Although I have always loved to go out to dinner at a restaurant, I also love to go to a friend’s house for dinner. In many ways, it is more relaxing, and in these difficult economic times, it is a much less expensive way to get together with friends. There are always plenty of laughs, great conversation, and of course, there is usually a new dish or two, something you have never had before. People tend to surround themselves with friends who have similar interests, and many of our friends are excellent cooks and entertainers who enjoy really good food. My friend Denise is one of these excellent entertainers. She and her husband Marc are great cooks, but their true strength is in the appetizers. Denise always puts out a great antipasto platter, cheeses with fruit and crackers, some warm bites, and a dip or two. It is my favorite way to eat, because you get to try a little of a lot of different foods. One of my favorite things to make for an appetizer these days is something I first had at Denise’s house. It is a hummus dip that is just assembled from prepared items and chopped vegetables, so it is super easy to put together. It is also relatively healthy, so there is not a lot of guilt to deal with. It is easily prepared ahead of time, and can be popped in the fridge until your guests arrive.
8 oz. low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 10- oz. package hummus (I like Sabra brand – it is very creamy)
¼ small red onion, chopped
1 small tomato, or about 15 grape tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
3-4 oz. good feta cheese, crumbled
1 package multi-grain pita chips
In the bottom of a small pie plate or similar dish, mix lemon juice with the softened cream cheese, and spread evenly in bottom of the dish. Next, layer the hummus on top of the cream cheese, spreading evenly as well. Toss the chopped onion, tomato, and cucumber in a bowl, and spread evenly over the hummus. Top with crumbled feta cheese, and serve with the pita chips for dipping. You can add different veggies, or olives if you like.