It has just been brought to my attention that it’s Super Bowl Sunday. Tastespotting and the rest of the blog universe are abuzz with dips, hot wings, and soft pretzels with beer cheese. It’s the pseudo holiday I forget about every year. Don’t get me wrong, just like many of you, I’ll be “watching” the game; ie: eating the food and socializing, with the occasional distraction of a funny commercial or a shell shocking manly shout when something important happens on the field. It’s evident that football isn’t really my thing, but being as it’s practically an undeclared holiday, it would be un-American of me not to take part in the festivities!
This year, we’re heading over to the Mister’s sister’s house (I couldn’t resist) for pizza and beer. I wanted to make something fresh and healthy, but still irresistibly snacky to go along with the rest of the typical Super Bowl fare. Growing up, a Super Bowl favorite in my house was the seven layer dip, and mom usually assigned me the job of putting it all together. I have fond memories of sprinkling cheddar cheese, green onions and tomatoes over layers of refried beans, sour cream and guacamole. I always garnished the center with a tortilla chip. I was quite the food artist at the age of twelve.
When a co-worker at school brought in a greek seven layer dip for Food Friday (we teachers have to reward ourselves), I promptly dug in, and made a mental note to recreate it. Hers was layered with hummus, cucumber, tomato, feta, kalamata olives, spinach, and red onion, and we all tore off pieces of pita for dipping. The beauty about all of this is that it isn’t an exact science. Some of my friends with more type A tendencies may be bothered by the fact that you don’t even need seven layers to make a seven layer dip. 6 layers? Still a seven layer dip. 8 layers? You got it, still a seven layer dip. Most of your partakers won’t be counting, and it could be an interesting social experiment to see who’s worried about the discrepancy between the title and the contents. I’m all about entertaining myself with arbitrary social experiments.
What I’m really saying is, take this idea, and customize it to your heart’s delight. This time, my seven layer dip includes homemade hummus, a mix of olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, parsley, spinach, and a couple drizzles of olive oil all scooped up by a batch of spiced, baked pita chips. Dairy is not my friend anymore, but if your body is dairy-friendly, please, for the love of God, add some feta or lemon-spiked greek yogurt!
I wish you a happy Super Bowl day today. Please enjoy the touchdowns, and, er…field goals and other football-like things. I’ll be there to show my utter lack of football knowledge, 7 layer dip in hand to enjoy your food and your company, and of course, a commercial or two.
- !]For the Hummus:
- 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup tahini
- finely chopped red onion
- spinach or arugula, cut into thin strips
- diced cherry tomatoes
- diced peeled cucumber
- chopped kalamata olives
- chopped parsley leaves
- olive oil, lemon juice and powdered sumac to garnish
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic, smashed into a paste with the salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 large whole wheat pita pockets, cut into 8 wedges (use gluten-free pita or crackers if needed)
- For the Hummus:
- Blend all the ingredients except the tahini in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed, until smooth. Add the tahini and blend for an additional minute or two, until silky smooth.
- For the Pita Chips:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Whisk the olive oil and spices in a large bowl until combined. Toss the pita wedges well until lightly coated. Spread the pita wedges in a single layer across two baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp.
- Assembling the Dip:
- On a medium serving platter or in a bowl, alternate layers of hummus and vegetables, ending with a small layer of hummus topped with olives. Garnish with parsley, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzling of olive oil, and the powdered sumac. Serve with the pita chips (recipe below)