Creating something out of nothing. I'm always drawn to recipes and articles in magazines boasting a gourmet meal from nothing other than pantry staples and odds and ends. It's a great concept. It falls in line with that "use it up, wear it out, or make do without" philosophy. Sometimes I'll find a hidden gem when I'm shopping in my own pantry, tucked away in a corner cabinet, long neglected.
In my grandmothers' basement, you will find rows of canned goods, organized and stacked according to like vegetables and fruit. Shelves of boxed rice and pasta. Salad dressings, olives, multiples of ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. This is the area my family lovingly refers to as the fallout shelter. You just never know. Better to be prepared. Granted, some of these goods may be past their prime. But they were on sale. Not to be wasted. I love my grandmothers' preparedness, her attempt to always use up what she has, to recreate. What's old is new. At eighty-two, a child of the depression, she appreciates everything she has ever had, truly. It's a great lesson to remember in our throw away era of wastefulness.
In an effort to use up what I had in my own kitchen, I created what could qualify as a snack or appetizer. I love simple ideas that taste special. The trace of thyme and fried capers add a unique touch to this garlicky dip. It's similar to hummus, but is much lighter, with a whipped consistency to it. Give the ingredients a whirl in your food processor and serve it up alongside crostini, crudite, or your favorite crackers or chips. Before you run out to the store, take a peek in your own kitchen and use up some staples. You might be surprised at what you find, or what inspires you.
~Garlicky Tuscan Thyme Dip Recipe~
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 1 can)
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt
few grinds from pepper mill
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tsp more for frying capers
1 tsp capers, drained and patted dry
Combine beans, garlic clove, garlic powder, thyme, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor, scraping down the sides if necessary. Stream in the olive oil. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Over medium heat, fry capers in olive oil. Garnish the dip with fried capers and a drizzle of olive oil before serving. I like to make the dip ahead of time and leave it in the fridge to allow the flavors to combine. Then, right before serving I add the capers and olive oil. Serves 4.