I went to a local market and came across a delectable loaf of fluffy garlic-infused bread (not to be confused with buttery cheesy greasy garlic bread) and thought to myself, what oh what oh whaaaat can I do with this? I could make paninis, or serve it up with a nice omelet. Maybe make bruschetta or another delectable hors d’oeuvre… Hmm. I had been having a strange hankering lately. My funky little taste buds have been dreaming up dips, yes dips, of all things, ever since I made those fusion wraps. I had used a store-bought pepper eggplant dip, and wanted to make my own for a long while. Unfortunately I couldn’t find eggplant that day for some reason. No matter, we improvise!
And so I decided to try something fresh and new, with bell peppers and zucchini, as well as some guacamole and simple lime-zesty chicken. It turned out to be a light, bright, and dipped up delight of a night! And by slicing the bread very thin, I could toast them lightly in the oven drizzled with olive oil and serve them up as the perfect dipper. We had lots of fun that night, to be sure.
Roasted Pepper and Zucchini Dip
Over a stove flame or in your oven set to BROIL, roast the red bell pepper and zucchini. First coat them in a olive oil so that they have a thin sheen of oil on every surface, but not dripping excessively off. If you’re cooking them on an open flame, consistently watch them and flip them over so each side has a nice char to it, and the veggie is totally moist. If in the oven, check every few minutes to rotate them and let every side cook, again going for the char.
Once done, remove from heat and let them cool down. Once you’re capable of handling them, run each veg under cold water and using your hands, a knife, or a spoon, gently peel off the waxy outer-layer that has the darkened char. It should be relatively super easy to do this; the skin should come off easily. Just be careful not to peel away the juicy meaty insides, or else what oh what would your dip even consist of??
When you have that done, roughly chop or mash up the veggies in a bowl, and add 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and red pepper to taste. I added a bit of sugar to brighten up the palette, just ½ tsp or so.
You can either keep it as a rough mash up, or put it all in a blender (which I did) to bring it all together into a beautiful vibrant red consistency. Garnish with a little cilantro and bam! Good to go! Now on to round 2… Guacamole!
- 2 avocados
- ¼ onion, diced
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- Handful of cilantro
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Round two is even simpler! I love homemade guacamole more than restaurant-style nine times out of ten because of the freshness, the consistency and honestly the mass quantity in which restaurants make it seems to drag it down under the gutter, bestowing it with a neon green exterior and frighteningly pasty interior. Unless they go fresh too. So the key here is to use nice fresh ingredients. Make sure your avocados are perfectly mushy and soft. If you slice into it too early it may be too firm and yellow. Not nice for the senses. Steer clear of that horrible mistake.
Anyhoo, by any means necessary, scoop out the fleshy insides of your avocados and mix them in a bowl with onion (I used red onion for the color and taste!), tomato, chopped cilantro, salt, and a generous squeeze of your lime (pretty much used all of it) and the garlic. Then I got down and dirty and just mashed it all up with my hands, to ensure it kept some of its chunkiness but also that all the ingredients blended like magic.
And let me tell ya honey, they did. OH MAN!
If you do this ahead of time, place it in a bowl or container and cover with plastic wrap, pushing down to actually touch the surface of the dip. This will keep it from browning until ready to serve.
Zesty Chicken Tenders
- 1 lb thinly sliced chicken breast
- One lime
Really, all I did was marinate the chicken in all the ingredients, and when I lightly fried them and took a bite out of one sliced piece, oh my kit n caboodle, if that wasn’t the zestiest “quick” chicken I ever made, I don’t know what is. Did I mention I only marinated it for 20 minutes (whilst making the dips)?? Yeah, something about the lime (and lime zest I used) made it so fantastically powerful, like a mariachi band in your mouth.