Dips and salsas are instant party food and summer favorites – they are a breeze to make and can usually be prepared ahead of time which guarantees you more time to enjoy your guests and share in the fun. Sure crowd pleasers, kids and adults are always happy to scoop and nibble and they’re the perfect solution to keeping ravenous appetites at bay while aromas from whatever is on the grill hint at what’s to come. Each of the delectable dips featured here are more nutritious and lower in fat than traditional cheesy or heavy on the mayo/sour cream dips and the salsas highlight vibrant, fresh produce of the season – why settle for heavily salted store bought salsas when it only takes a few minutes to make your own! Summer is in full swing when stone fruit begins arriving in the markets and the Los Angeles warehouse of Melissa’s Produce who throws me a peach now and then 🙂
About this time last year I was on an whirlwind, two day, three-farm growers tour with Melissa’s Produce , road-tripping to the Salad Bowl of America, Central Valley, CA. I’ll never forget the miles and miles of orchards stretching before us we navigated to Masumoto Family Farms for the second harvest for Adopt A Tree owners. We gathered around David Mas Masumoto, enthralled by his evocative stories and his spirited voice lifting us up in words of poetry. Farmers for a day, excited to get to pickin’ some peaches, we beamed from ear to ear as we bowed down to scoop up fallen orbs of fragrant golden peaches and crimson nectarines, marveling that nature bestowed a gentle breeze that softened searing heat.
David Mas Masumoto, passionate organic farmer, and the author of seven books including: Heirlooms, Letters to the Valley, Four Seasons in Five Senses – Things Worth Savoring, Four Seasons in Five Senses, Harvest Son, Epitaph for a Peach, and Wisdom of the Last Farmer, now adds cookbook author to his legacy. More than a cookbook, Marion Nestle describes writing, photography, essays and topics of The Perfect Peach in one word – luscious – “The Masumoto family has produced a glorious paean to the fruit they raise…”
I’m leading off this roundup of Skinny Dips & Salsas with an homage to passionate, hardworking farmers everywhere.
- 2 firm but ripe peaches (about ⅔ pound), peeled, halved, pitted, and diced
- 2 nectarines, pitted and diced 1
- /2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, finely minced
- Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- Chili powder*
- Salt and Pepper*
- In a bowl, combine peaches, nectarines, cilantro, bell pepper, onion, and jalapeño. Drizzle with lime juice and season to taste with chili powder, salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day.
From The Perfect Peach by the Masumoto Family.
Greek-style Eggplant Spread (Melitzanosalata)
In Greek: μελιτζανοσαλάτα, pronounced meh-leed-zah-no-sah-LAH-tah – A deliciously refreshing dip that’s easy on the calories and comes together faster than you can say Melitzanosalata 3 times.
Goat cheese adds a delightful tangy bite to the delicate flavor of zucchini in this low-calorie creamy dip.
Of course, you can buy hummus at any store, but for the cost of a can of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) you can make your own in 5 minutes — that’s right, 5 minutes! And, it’s worlds better!
A chunky, chilled dip of cauliflower with warm Indian flavors. Like raita, tzatziki, and other sour cream and yogurt dips, it has a cool, lingering taste that’s so refreshing. Satisfying and healthy, especially when served with the colors of the rainbow veggie dippers in lieu of crackers or chips.
Grilling pineapple mellows the acidity and accentuates the pure sweetness of the fruit – you have to try it!
No ho-hum hummus, you’ll delight in the exotic pairing of curry with creamy cashew nut butter and sweet ripe banana and served with crisp wonton chips. Genius!
Hoppin’ John is a New Years tradition in our house and many others, especially in the South. But there’s no reason to relegate it to once a year. We could all use good luck throughout the year, right?
Sparking up purple potato tacos here, but plenty good for scooping too!
Beets and orange salads meld beautifully in salads, so it’s no wonder that they make a shockingly delicious salsa.
There’s enough here to keep you and the family sunny, bright, and eating healthy all summer with very little time required in the kitchen 🙂