Spreading the love… Dips and Spreads

Many cultures eat beans daily, for BREAKFAST even! Don’t get me started on the joys of warm, whipped hummus or savory white bean spread, not to mention vegetable-based spreads and dips! They’re satisfying, nutritious, and versatile, and while I’m a big fan of morning oatmeal, I also love lemony hummus and toasted pita bread.

Image by Buffy Rhoades

When I think of warm, creamy hummus, I’m reminded of a woman I worked with back in the early 90s. Naget traveled from Warrenton, Or to NW Portland every week and made sauces and spreads for the restaurant Garbonzos. I cooked next door at the Cajun Cafe, (my first pro cooking gig) and as she taught me to make sauces and salads, she also shared stories of her youth in a farming community in Syria. She was our “mama” and the foods she shared were complete comfort. I’m so thankful for her.

Today’s post will be short and sweet; mostly a collection of recipe links and Naget’s hummus recipe, thoughts on seasoning as you go and how to cook garbanzo beans that yield a light and creamy dip. You can use this method with any style of beans you plan to mash or puree.  

This Tuscan White Bean Spread heralds from the perennially delicious restaurant in SE Portland, 3 Doors Down Cafe. It’s herby deliciousness is simple to make. If you can’t find cannellini beans, another small white bean is fine.

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Sauce from Ball. This video includes steps to preserve the sauce. (Please don’t alter the recipe or try to preserve the other recipes I’m sharing. They haven’t been tested for safety.) This sauce (slightly), reminds me of Romesco sauce. Romesco Sauce is made from ingredients common in Spain, but a very tasty version can be made from local ingredients, using locally grown hazelnuts instead of almonds. This recipe from the author of The Oregon Hazelnut Cookbook adds a few spicy ingredients, but traditionally Romesco is not a spicy sauce, so feel free to leave out the heat if you prefer. It goes great with fresh or grilled vegetables, pasta, poultry, seafood, lamb, and pork.

Ball/Fresh Preserving

Food Hero Hummus recipes:

With Tahini /Without tahini (contains dairy)

Food Hero hummus, without dairy

Naget’s Creamy Hummus recipe:

      • Cold water
      • 8 oz dried chickpeas (1 1/2 cups)
      • 2 T, plus 1t Diamond Brand kosher salt. (Morton Kosher salt is more dense, so use 1/2t. If using table salt, use even les.)
      • 1/2 t baking soda
      • 3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled and tough end trimmed
      • 3/4 c tahini, well stirred, at room temp. (This stuff is like natural peanut butter. It will be oily on top and dense at the bottom. Stir until it’s the same consistency throughout.)
      • 3 1/2 T lemon juice (fresh or bottled) If you like it lemony, you may need more. 


Dry beans soak up more water than you’d think.
Image from Buffy
      1.  Soak the chickpeas and 2T of salt in water, about 8 cups. The beans swell more than you’d think, so use plenty of water. Let soak overnight at room temperature. 
      2. Place strained beans in a large stock pot. Add about 10 cups of water, or enough to generously cover the beans, and the baking soda. The baking soda helps break down the skins. It’s science, but it’s also like magic.
      3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the skins start falling off and the beans are
        Tahini w lemon juice and salt added. Image from Buffy
        tender, about 45 minutes. (*Be prepared for the beans to foam. It’s normal.)
      4. While the beans are cooking, pour the tahini in the bowl of a food processor. As it’s running, add the lemon juice, 1/2c water, and 1 t salt. It’ll tighten up for a moment like peanut butter and you’ll wonder if it’s ruined. Keep at it, I promise it’ll work. Within moments it should be the consistency of pudding.
        Prepared tahini sauce.
        Image from Buffy
      5. Pour/spoon prepared tahini sauce into a bowl and return food processor bowl and blade to the machine base.
      6. Strain cooked chickpeas, reserving about 3/4c of the cooking liquid. Transfer cooked beans (and the pieces of garlic) to the food processor and blend until smooth. This may take up to five minutes. Stop the machine and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula periodically.
      7. Add the prepared tahini sauce to the pureed beans and blend well. Taste and add lemon juice and salt as needed. (It may seems like a lot of salt, but the beans absorb quite a bit. Do this in small amounts, as you can always add, but can’t take away.) Once you have the taste you want, if the sauce is too thick, with the processor running add some of the cooking liquid to thin it out. If you don’t love the taste of bean broth, use water or more lemon juice instead.

Serve warm or cold in a wide bowl and using a spoon, create a swirl pattern on top to hold a drizzle of olive oil and other flavors, such as paprika, parsley or mint. Eat with everything! Veggies, olives, in a sandwich! Stored covered in the fridge, it’ll keep about 5-7 days.

What are your favorite dips or spreads? Carrots and harissa? Olive tapenade? Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear about them!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I’ll be making oyster dressing and thinking of the people I love. This can be a tough time of year for so many reasons. Please be kind to yourself. We’re all doing the best we can. If you think you may need some help getting through this season, please call or text the NIMH. There’s always someone to talk to. You are important. 

As always my friend, stay curious and be excellent to each other. 

Buffy Rhoades| mom. forager. gardener. volunteer turned program assistant. a real busy beaver

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Sharing Your Extended Harvest


from citações org/minimalismo

Recently a meme floated through social media promoting clutter-free gifts. Raise your hand if you don’t need more stuff. (I’m in the back row with my hand raised!) Great ideas included gifting an experience (tickets to a favorite event or class,) memberships (in person or digital subscriptions), and DIY goodies like a jar of affirmations, old-fashioned mixed tapes, and consumables are mentioned in this sweet essay from Closed Loop Cooking.

DIY. (Yes! We love this category!) Not everyone loves receiving food gifts, but Lin (family/friend/mentor) actively encouraged a consumable gift exchange. The kids and I would drive over the pass in our ’69 Volkswagen bus with a basket of pickles, jams, and preserves and come home with a cooler packed with frozen venison or elk, salmon, and her amazing zucchini bread. I consider these gifts from the heart.

Image from Pinterest

Before joining OSU Extension, my former occupation was a cheese monger and produce buyer for a small grocery store in SE Portland. The store carried a plethora of local and imported specialty grocery items, perfect for gift baskets. I often heard folks say they could make “that” at home.


Caution: hard to find treats can be tempting to make at home, but may be unsafe. Commercial processing facilities have higher temperatures and processes to preserve foods, and are tested by a process authority for safety.

However, thanks to university research, there are safe options:

Herbs and Vegetables Stored In Oil Follow these instructions to the letter.

Photo by horst from Pexels

Oil’s oxygen-free environment is perfect for growth of bacteria. For this reason, herbs and vegetables in oil must be stored correctly to prevent botulism food poisoning. (Commercial garlic-in-oil mixtures are acidified to prevent bacterial growth. These products can be stored safely at room temperature.) Safe gift ideas in this publication include:

    • Dehydrated tomatoes in oil– Acidified for safety and to soften them a bit, they can be stored in oil. Adding herbs or garlic is okay but they will need to be stored in the fridge for 4 days max, or frozen.
    • Pickled mushrooms or hot peppers, stored in oil–  Pickled mushrooms and chilies in oil must be refrigerated and used within 4 days or frozen for long-term storage unless they have been pickled with vinegar or lemon juice. Pickled mushroom recipe here. Pickled hot pepper recipe here.
    • Pesto– Freeze it.

Making Garlic- and Herb- Infused Oils at Home –  Follow instructions exactly for a safe product. In a word- Acidify! Flavored olive oil is great w bread, but what about drizzling it over a bowl of rosemary-infused beans, or homemade butternut soup?

Image from PNW 664

Pumpkin soup and pepitas. Photo courtesy of Tina Vanhove on Unsplash.

Which brings me to Winter squash. In a previous blog post, we talked about food safety issues preserving purees. Because of density issues affecting thorough and consistent heat penetration, it needs to be frozen, but listen, frozen soup is a great gift! (Imagine having a selection of delicious homemade soup in the freezer!) It can also be dehydrated and ground into a powder.

Flavored vinegars– Safe, easy, and fun to make. Vinegar isn’t just for salad dressing, consider making a drinking vinegar or shrub to add to sparkling water or a more adult beverage. Infuse with berries, fruit, herbs, spices, or roots like ginger or turmeric. Get creative!

Finally, as we (rapidly) approach the gift-giving season, please consider taking some intentional time to be kind and patient with yourself and the world around you. It’s not only good for your emotional and mental health, but it’s good for your body too. And as a nod to my friend and former mail carrier, hug your loved ones a little more. Make sure your peeps know you love them.

Until next time, friends… embrace the rain and fruits of the season. Look for more OSU Extension Family and Community Health program information on our FacebookInstagramYouTube, website, and newsletter. And please subscribe!

Keep exploring, stay curious, and be excellent to each other!
Buffy | mom. gardener. forager. volunteer turned program assistant. a real busy beaver


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