Tuesday, March 29, 2011

France: Tapenade D' Aubergine...Eggplant Tapenade

 A tapenade is a delicious french paste. There are endless variations to the basic ingredients of black olives, capers and olive oil. This recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook "The Bistros, Brasseries and Wine Bars of Paris" and it is one I go back to often because it is just soooo good! Make it for a get-together and serve it with fresh sliced baguettes or keep it on hand and spread it on your sandwiches instead of butter or mayonnaise....give it a try!

1 large eggplant
olive oil
1/2 cup oil packed sundried tomatoes, coarsly chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted black olives
2 tsps drained capers
1/4 tsp or more piment d'Espelette or other hot chili powder
freshly ground black pepper

-preheat oven to 375F
-peel eggplant and slice into 1/2 inch rounds
-brush rounds on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
-arrange rounds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake about 30-40 minutes or until soft
-place the eggplant in a food processor, add the sundried tomatoes, olives, capers, 1/3 cup olive oil, piment or hot pepper and some freshly ground pepper to your liking
-puree to a paste, about 30 seconds 
-serve with baguette slices or crackers as an appetizer/hors d'oeuvre or store in fridge and use as a sandwich spread

*will keep refrigerated for at least a week
*makes 2 cups

*from the book "The Bistros, Brasseries and Wine Bars of Paris" by Daniel Young

Monday, March 28, 2011

Italian Salsa Verde...perfect with your grilled meats!

*a recipe seen on  CityLine by Massimo Capra

This is a great salsa to serve over grilled meats, chicken or fish....or serve it on the side with some fresh bread slices for spreading...delish!

Servings:         about 1 1/2 cups
Prep time:       10 minutes
Cook time:      refrigeration time

1 small bunch italian parsley
1 small bunch mint
1 small bunch basil
2 oz capers
4 anchovy fillets
6 small gerkins
2 cloves garlic
2 slices white bread
red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

-soak the bread slices with some vinegar and set aside
-wash and dry herbs and set aside
-put all the other ingredients in a food processor and blend, adding oil a little at a time
-add the bread and blend until creamy
-season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for a few hours before serving

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fabulous Dips & Spreads Recipes Around The Web...

In my search for inspiration I often come across wonderful recipes on other blogs and websites...today I am sharing a few I recently discovered that sure sound great and that I plan on making soon....check them out, and if you try them let me know your thoughts....enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Caramelized Onion Dip
Roasted Fennel White Bean Dip
Crab Cake Dip

*ps...if you have posted a fabulous dip, spread or salsa recipe on your blog or website please post your link in the comment area below...share with us your great ideas!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Italy: Bagna Cauda ...for garlic lovers

Bagna Cauda is a fabulous italian dip made with lots of garlic and anchovies. Yes, I know not everyone is a fan of those little fishes, however the star of this dip really is the roasted garlic and I urge you to give it a try...you might just fall in love!

Here are a few links to some terrific versions of this delicious appetizer. Take your pick and enjoy!

Saveur.com Bagna Cauda recipes  

Canadian Living.com Bagna Cauda recipe

Whats Cooking America Bagna Cauda Recipe

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Australia: Cob Loaf Cheddar Bacon Dip

* jcsmama's version of a popular australian dip

This dip idea is very similar to the popular north american spinach dip served in a hollowed out pumpernickel loaf. In Australia the bread is a "cob loaf" and can really be any type of round artisanal bread. There are many different dip recipes that are served in this way,all are sour cream and cream cheese based. This is my version of a popular combination, however you can also add spinach, sun dried tomatoes & herbs and spices to your liking...anything goes! 
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 8oz block cream cheese
  • 1/2 packet french onion soup mix
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 green onion, including stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cob loaf

-in a food processor mix together sour cream,cream cheese, soup mix and mayonnaise
-add  cheddar, bacon, green onion and pepper  and blend together with a spoon
-transfer to a lidded bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavours to meld
- hollow out centre of bread to create a bowl, reserve the bread you remove and cube it to be served as dipping pieces
-when almost ready to serve, preheat oven to 350F and transfer bread to a cookie sheet
-scoop dip in the centre of bread and bake for about 10 minutes or until dip is warmed
-serve with reserved bread cubes

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Croatia: Ajvar...A Delicious Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant Dip

*a traditional croatian recipe adapted by jcsmama

1 large eggplant
2 large red bell peppers
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
a good grinding of black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

-heat oven to 375F
-slice the eggplant in half and place cut side down on a cookie sheet along with the 2 peppers
-roast in oven for  40 minutes
-allow to cool  for a few minutes, then peel the peppers, remove stem and seeds and cut pepper into a few pieces and add to a food processor bowl 
-scoop out centre seeds from eggplant and toss, then scoop out remaining flesh and add to peppers
-add remaining ingredients and process until well blended
-refrigerate Ajvar for at least 1 hour to allow flavours to meld
-serve in a bowl, garnished with chopped basil, with chunks of fresh crusty bread, crackers or cut up veggies of your choice

*as an alternative you can also serve a spoon of this alongside grilled meats, or use it as a spread for sandwiches or burgers

*traditionally this dip was made by hand by chopping and mashing the ingredients together and you may opt to do it this way if you prefer a more textured dip...either way the taste is fabulous!

*makes about 1 1/2 cups and serves 8+

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fresh Spinach Dip

To read this recipe, please visit the new
Spreading Good Tastes blog at:


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cuba: Pasta De Jamon....Ham Spread

* jcsmama's version of a typical cuban recipe

This is a popular spread for making finger sandwiches or spreading on crackers. Its a great way to use leftover baked ham, but you can also use deli ham or canned deviled ham.

1 lb ham, cubed
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 pickle, quartered
1/2 cup green olives stuffed with pimentos
salt and pepper to taste 

-add all ingredients to a small food processor bowl and blend until well mixed and creamy
-serve with crackers for spreading or alternately spread on crustless bread and cut into small finger sandwiches 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Venezuela: Guasacaca...Guacamole Style Salsa

*jcsmama's version of a traditional Venezuelan recipe

If you look at the ingredients they are very similar to those used to make guacamole. And this is really what this is, the venezuelan version of guacamole. The main difference being that rather than blending the ingredients together to create a creamy dip, the ingredients here are finely chopped and mixed by hand. It is very flavourful and fresh tasting and goes well with everything! Enjoy!


2 ripe avocados, pitted and flesh cut out
1 large tomato
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp hot sauce (adjust to your taste)

-chop avocados, tomato and onion with a knife and mix together in a bowl
-add remaining ingredients and using a spoon mix together well
-refrigerate for at least 1 hr to allow flavours to meld

*serve with fried plantains or tortilla chips as an appetizer, or as a side salsa to grilled meats and chicken

*if you prefer you can blend all the ingredients together to make a creamy dip, it is also delicious!

*this salsa is best used the day it is made, as it does not last well due to the avocados

Egypt: Hummus...A Very Versatile Dip

This blog has moved.
Please visit the new Spreading Good Tastes at www.spreadinggoodtastes.com

To see this recipe click on this link: 
Traditional Hummus + Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Greece: Kopanisti...A Whipped Feta Spread

* jcsmama's version of a traditional greek recipe

This versatile dip/sauce/spread is great with toasted pita wedges or veggies, and also delicious served with grilled meats and chicken.

Servings:  makes 1 & 1/2 cups
Ready in: about 5 min.

1 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup plain yougurt, preferably greek
zest of a whole lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomato

-in a food processor bowl add all ingredients and puree until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
-transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil
and serve

*in Greece they also make a spicy version of this by adding either more pepper or a bit of a spicy hot pepper...experiment to come up with your own version

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chocolate Strength...

Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands, and then eat just one of those pieces.

~judith viorst

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Carrot Garlic Cream Cheese Spread

*an original recipe by jcsmama

 Easy, quick and delicious, this is a great spread to have on hand. Spread it on a bagel for a quick lunch or serve it up with some cut up veggies for a kid friendly snack.

1 8oz pkg light cream cheese
1 large carrot, quartered
1 large clove garlic
2 sprigs fresh parsley

-in a small food processor bowl add carrot, garlic and
  parsley and pulse until finely chopped
-add cream cheese and mix until well blended
-transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate
* this will keep well for at least 1 week

*use as a spread for your bagels or crackers, or as a
 dip for celery sticks and other veggies

*jazz it up with some fresh basil and thyme, freshly
 ground black pepper, and voila you have yourself a
 great tasting spread for your guests too!