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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Mad skills…

Homemade broth is not only nourishing to the body, but also the soul.

If you spend any amount of time w my friend Heather, you’ll hear her refer to someone and their mad skills, usually referring to their cooking skills. If you have “mad skills’, you can cook just about anything and make it taste good.

We aren’t born with these skills. I’m fortunate enough to have mentors, such as my great-aunt, that love food as much as I do.

Using vegetable scraps in broth are a great way to reduce food waste and save money, but not all scraps are created equal.

She had a huge bookcase full of cookbooks and we’d read them on lazy Summer days, commenting on what looked good. She was my cooking mentor before OPB and Julia Child. I’ve always loved food and cooking and learning about it, using it in my daily life, and sharing it come easily to me. Do what you love, and the rest will fall into place, right? What if you don’t have a mentor, or someone to share your love of cooking? Well…that’s where we come in. The Master Food Preserver volunteers and staff in Clackamas County wanted to try something new and created skill sheets for folks and the farmers that feed them.

Green Sauces can be made from greens as well as herbs.

I’ve mentioned our stellar volunteer group. They’ve been patient during the pandemic, asking for ways to participate with the Family and Community Health program when we can’t provide in-person classes. Early this Spring we met via Zoom to discuss ways to support farmers selling their produce. I alluded to it in this post.

In case you thought pesto was the only green sauce.

We didn’t want to step on our well-respected peers toes, so we decided to focus on skills. Skill sheets are open-ended so you can apply them to many different foods. It opens up a world of options and decreases food waste. This idea originated with Zenger Farm’s CSA for Prescription Health program.

Fall and Winter root vegetables bring richness, flavor, and sweetness to your cooking. Try celery root this year!

Creating something simple and easy to use is harder than it sounds. These sheets represent months of brainstorming, researching, testing, editing, countless emails, and printing.

Big shout out to all of the Clackamas County volunteers that contributed, (I won’t list them here for privacy reasons), as well as Kelly, my friend and

Simple and tasty cooking ideas to help get you started. 

neighbor Kristina (lady, you have mad editing skills!) and Bryan and the Zenger peeps…y’all are rock stars. Thank you!!




Please, please, please, share. These aren’t meant to be a “best-kept secret”. A downloadable pdf is available on our webpage under Culinary Skill Sheets as well as our social media pages. If you find them useful, or not, please share your (constructive) feedback in the comments.


I can personally verify that trimmed basil stems kept in a glass of water will eventually sprout. 


As always my friends, keep up the good work. You’re doing a great job. I have to remind myself that 100% today may look different from yesterday’s (or tomorrow’s) 100%. Be kind to yourself. It’s been a little rough lately, but as Samwise Gamgee said to Frodo, “There’s some good in this world, Mr Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Do yourself a favor, if you have access to green (unripe) coriander seeds, keep them.  They freeze well and are great in a next veggie saute, green sauce, or curry. Mine are pickling in a fermented hot sauce. 🙂

Stay curious and be excellent to each other.

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

instagram icon download 24x24 - curved Healthy Together Newsletter  Website


Buckle up Buttercup, it’s Harvest Season!

Photo courtesy of Buffy Rhoades


It’s Harvest Season in the Willamette Valley and a busy time of year for anyone involved in local and seasonal food. This year has shown renewed interest in gardening and preserving and we’re all cooking at home more. Farms, farmer’s markets, local fishing industry, and consumers are in the midst of peak-season crops and harvest. But what do you do with all those tomatoes or peppers, or giant zucchini your neighbor left on your porch?

As my friend and mentor, Lin, is wont to say, “It’s Harvest Season Baby! Our day calendars are full of to-do lists. (They look different in 2020, but are still lists.) Today’s list includes canning peaches and dehydrating last year’s bread and butter pickles. Yes, dehydrate your pickles! Especially if they’re softer than you like, or you need the jars. We’re also waiting for our tuna fisherman to call back and say he has our order. (Stay tuned for a video on shopping the dock and canning tuna!)

I’ve been thinking about mentors a lot. We all need one. Some folks grew up with family members that preserved the season’s bounty but may need a refresher course on safe methods and recipes. Others are new to preserving and don’t know where to look or how to begin. Videos are helpful.

In addition to preserving, we like to eat and live well. OSU Extension’s Family and Community Health program is a great place to find budget-friendly, healthy recipes and cooking videos. Or exercise activities for your young ones. We’re part of Oregon State University’s Extension Services, a FREE, safe, and reliable public resource. Let us be your mentor instead of a “well kept secret.”

Extending the Harvest is a bi-weekly selection of science-based resources promoting food preservation, food safety, nutrition, wellness, using food dollars wisely, and strengthening local community food systems. With the help and support of Clackamas County Master Food Preserver/Family Food Educator volunteers, I’m looking forward to sharing stories, knowledge, and helping you Extend your Harvest.

Please look for us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, our website, and monthly newsletter.

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

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