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3 Summer Dips for Chips Give Plain Old Hummus Some Competition

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In the grocery store I was tempted by a sea of hummus, tubs of every size, tinted by all sorts of extras, demanding way too many dip-related decisions. Then it occurred to me that I had a can of garbanzos in my pantry and I could make my own hummus. When I got home and looked for the garbanzos I came across a shiny-topped can of butter beans and, shiny objects being a source of attraction, my attention was diverted. I made Butter Bean Hummus and it was good.

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On the second day I pulled a package of Melissa's pre-cooked lentils out of the fridge and made yet another hummus-inspired dip. On the third day, being on a roll of sorts, I made a hummus-like dip with corn. On the fourth day (my stamina being very un-godlike) I rested.

Hummus is actually the Arabic word for chickpeas, so calling dips made of other pureed legumes hummus is a bit of a misnomer. On the other hand "Butter Bean Hummus" has a culinary ring to it while "Butter Bean Dip" falls rather flat as a recipe moniker. If you can't find butter beans you can substitute cannellini beans. I put the butter beans into a food processor with some chopped marinated pepperoncini peppers, diced onion, a dollop of tahini, and a splash of olive oil. I thinned the mixture with a few extra teaspoons of olive oil and a little water. I had some store-bought naan in the freezer. Toasted and cut into strips it made the perfect scoop.

For my Chutnied Lentil Hummus I used my Ninja to make the puree. The Ninja did a reasonably good job, but required more scraping down than a food processor. I used a leftover half- jar of mango chutney and tablespoon of minced onion to flavor the lentils. I chose plain Greek yogurt to thin the mixture because it added flavor without being heavyhanded. In addition to being a dip, the lentil humus would be a great base for a wrap (spread on a tortilla and topped with shredded vegetables).

Roasted Corn Hummus was the least creamy of my trio, and thus the least like hummus in texture, but it was my favorite. I started the recipe by holding a couple of ears of corn over the flame on a gas stove just long enough to get a little roasted-brown color. I did the same with a pasilla chili. (A grill, grill pan, or a broiler will get you similarly browned produce). I put the corn kernels, chopped pasilla, a small sliced shallot and a little chili sauce into the food processor. A few tablespoons of olive oil and a little salt gave me a whole lot of chip-ready flavor.

Is the corn recipe really hummus? Maybe not, but whatever it is, it was gone way before we finished debating the issue.

Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.

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