Party Planning Day 1: Hummus and Eggplant Spread

I am SO Martha Stewart.

Lauren and I are having our traditional psychic twin birthday bash this Friday (for those late to the game: we were born 3 hours apart in the same hospital and didn’t meet until college) and with 16 people already RSVPed and other late bloomers, I felt I better get cracking on food ideas. So I decided to make 5 different dips. Dips are good party food because you and your conversation partner can have a shared visceral experience–the lowering of the arm, the scoop, the lift, and the bite. Dips bring people together.

At my party, though, hummus eaters will be forced to stick together—there’s so much garlic in here, they’d have to suck a mint tree to ever make themselves kissable again. But check out the contents of my hummus: (well not my hummus, The Barefoot Contessa’s hummus–all my dips come from her cookbooks! She’s the ultimate party food go-to person):


I made this picture really big and clickable because (a) I really like the way it came out and (b) it tells you everything you need to know about the BC’s hummus. Here’s what goes in it. Just take all the following, throw it in your food processor and process and then you have it:

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

1 1/2 tsps kosher salt

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)

6 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

2 Tbs water or liquid from the chickpeas

8 dashes Tabasco sauce

That’s it!


Now when I tell you this hummus is packed with flavor, I mean it more than Seal means it when he sings: “I’VE BEEEN KISSED BY A ROSE ON THE GRAVE.” (What does that mean, anyway?) It positively crackles with lemon and garlic and tabasco–but in a great way. In fact, I’m scared I barely made enough for the party. I think this is going to go WAY fast. I better buy more chickpeas tomorrow.

(Then again, I have 4 more dips to go. Well the Eggplant spread is done too—let’s talk about that now.)

Eggplant spread. This is the healthy dip. (It’s not a dip, it’s a spread.) Quiet, they don’t know that. (Respect your audience, punk.) Sorry.

This one’s also really easy to make. You cut up vegetables, roast them, and put them in the processor. Since I’m feeling generous, I’ll give you the specifics.

1 medium eggplant, peeled

2 red bell peppers, seeded

1 red onion, peeled

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbs good olive oil

1 1/2 tsps kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbs tomato paste



Ok. With that said, you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet.


Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly. Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste (SHIT I TOTALLY FORGOT TO DO THAT) and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper. (I DID THAT.)

Well here’s the pretty result, minus tomato paste. I think it tastes really good. Maybe I can work the tomato paste in there somehow before the party:


And those are tonight’s dips. What dip will I make tomorrow? Well, if I can find cayenne pepper somewhere in my day (I have a busy day tomorrow) it will be pan-fried onion dip. Then, the day of, I’ll make sun dried tomato dip and guacamole. And maybe an almond cake. I’m the most generous party thrower ever. (Well, I have a reputation to uphold! Now everyone’s like “You have a fancy food website, let’s see you cook, cookboy!” So I have to do it. I must. Ok, it’s late. I’m off to bed.)

P.S. I forgot to include this picture in the above post, but at Gristedes tonight there was this crazy corn puppet show that took place over the produce. Lisa was terrified by it:


The corn came alive and said “Eating fresh vegetables is part of a healthy diet!” How and when and why this was thought up, I have no idea, but it’s really–umm–quirky marketing. David Lynch meets Walt Disney by way of Orville Redenbacher.

10 thoughts on “Party Planning Day 1: Hummus and Eggplant Spread”

  1. I second the cumin comment. I also like a drizzle of olive oil over or in the hummus.

    Next time you do an eggplant dip, baba ganoushe is great, and easy. Roast the eggplants, roast some garlic, have some salt and freshly ground pepper. Peel both roasty things, cut up the eggplant, toss it in the food processor with the garlic and some salt and pepper. Add two cloves of raw garlic. Glop in about a tablespoon full of tahini per big eggplant. Squeeze a bit of lemon over it. Process, and while processing, pour in some really good (none of that store brand crud) extra virgin olive oil. Scoop it out, and garnish with minced mint or flat leaf parsley.

    Even folks who say they hate eggplant gobble this up.

  2. The BC’s pan-fried onion dip is the bomb — I don’t know if you’ve made it before, but here are a few tips I’ve learned from making it for many parties:

    1. Don’t worry about buying cayenne powder, you can use a dash of Tabasco or even paprika instead. It’s just for a subtle, subtle heat to cut the richness.

    2. As with many BC recipes, though I love them they are LADEN with fat. I caramelize the onion in olive oil and *one quarter* the amount of butter she calls for, and they come out rich and delicious — I find the original version makes for oily, separated dip that doesn’t keep as well. Try sprinkling a teaspoon of (brown) sugar on the onions too.

    3. Once the onions are caramelized, chop them in the food processor (she says use the paddle attachment) for a moment to break up, then add the s.cream and mayo to blend — better consistency, no long onion strings. I also add S&P and paprika here.

    Sorry to noodge, this is a great dip and maybe you like it the way it is…enjoy!

  3. A recipe I use is pretty much the same as the one Barbara wrote above with one notable difference. I roast the eggplant (or grill it whole on the BBQ) and once it’s cooled slightly I slice it down the middled and scoop out the eggplant, preserving the two halves and put the babaganoush in them. It’s looks cool and always impresses. It’s eggplant-tastic!

  4. Oooh, neat idea, Harry. I must try it.

    Though, I figure the way some of my friends eat the baba ganoush, someone near the end of the evening would end up with the eggplant shell in her face licking the last remnants of the dip out of it.

    Just so long as my camera is nearbye.

  5. Happy Birthday Adam! Mine is today actually, although festivities began early this week and are likely to be ongoing for a while…I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to post fast enough or often enough to deal with it (after all, we can’t all be as prolific as the fab and darlingly witty AG ;). Anyway, enjoy your day.

  6. Oh my god. The BFC’s eggplant dip is my all time favorite! I could eat a whole bowl of it myself. With no crackers or anything. Just gimme a spoon and I’m a happy camper. Well not quite – but you get the picture. FYI it’s especially good with pita crisps or melba toast.

  7. P.S. Red pepper flakes are a nice addition to the eggplant dip if you like a little heat. Sometimes I also like to throw in a splash of balsamic vinegar as well.

    P.S.S. You can add the tomato paste whenever.

  8. i love your website. i found it today by accident. but i cannot come back here b/c it is making me feel sad that i’m not living your life. about the seal song, i have no idea what it means, but in 1995, while i was giving birth to my daughter, this song came on the radio – “kissed by a rose on the grave” – just as i was put on the operating table for the cesarean. and i FREAKED out and thought it meant i was going to die. so i made them put on my enya tape ;-)

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