25 August 2006

La Festa al Fresco: Beetroot hummus

Our darling Cream Puff invited me to a late summer feast, co-hosted by Lis of Mia Cucina.

La Festa al Fresco (I love saying that--horrid accent et al) celebrates the end of summer with a bloggy potluck with all guests (and crashers) supplying just one dish that features one fresh ingredient.

I must admit that I find potlucks, at once, liberating and frightening. Liberating because I'm not the one soley in charge of feeding the ravenous hordes (okay, yes, I do like cooking for a crowd, but still). Frightening because there's a deep-down worry that everyone will bring the same dish, or platters of spray-cheezed crackers...or worse, everyone brings platters of spray-cheezed crackers...yeah, when I organize pot lucks (or cookie exchanges), it's a pretty organized event with limits as to the numbers of variations on a theme...

I don't expect this group to provide a plethora of the foresaid dreaded platter...unless of course, people brought home-made or artisinal cheese served on freshly baked crackers or melba toasts...now THAT would be good.

So, with invitation in hand, I thought about what could I possibly bring. I received the invitation at the same time I was perusing
Easy Summer Food for Canada Eats and I found what I believe to be a really good candidate for this soiree: Beetroot Hummus.

When I saw the gorgeous photo in the book, I knew I had to make it: a soft mound of puce-coloured loveliness. How could I not try it?

This recipe was a pleasant surprise for me. I fully admit to not liking boiled beetroot--too many childhood memories of my parents' garden and the mass of purpley-red tuberous veg they harvested each year. In recent years I've tried it roasted and grilled and I much prefer it (well, actually the golden ones) prepared that way.

It is ludicrously easy to make and the only time I had to turn on the stove was to cook the beets. The dip has a nice, slightly firm texture and hides a very distinctive bite (thanks to the addition of horseradish). The recipe came with a second recipe for pan-grilled bread. I decided against making the bread and opted to serve it with cucumber slices. I thought the two paired very well--clean, crisp and cooling veg with the creamy and slightly hot dip.

I took the dip to the office, where I knew beetroot lovers existed. A goodly number of people gravitated towards my filing cabinet (aka "the usual place")--those who like and dislike beets came out of the woodwork. Even those of us who aren't enamoured with the veg kept going back for more. I think that says it all.

Beetroot Hummus, from Easy Summer Food

Serves 6

250g cooked and peeled beetroot (about two), drained and cut into chunks
25g fresh breadcrumbs (or 50g dried)
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp grated horseradish
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Puree all ingredients, except for salt and pepper, until smooth. Season to taste.
  • Serve with a combination of crudite, grilled pitas or flatbread or chips.
  • Pressure-cooking the beetroot makes for a quick and easy way of preparing the veg. If you really don't want to boil or pressure cook them, I suppose you could use canned beets, but be sure to rinse off the liquid.
  • I used bottled, grated horseradish, but squeezed out the extra juice.




JuliaMazal said...

I've only started liking beets in the last two years, but I'm still afraid of horseradish. This looks interesting, though.

Ellie said...

I have a nervous tick that makes me terrified of beetroot, but I must admit that your dip looks divine! And the pairing with the cucumber sounds ideal, especially for a summer fiesta :)

jenjen said...

Jasmine, this hummus looks so good. I have to say I am beetroot all the way!!
This recipe sounds fantastic.

By the way I tagged you for the 5 foods to try before you die list that Melissa from The Traveller's Lunchbox is compiling.
Hope you can join in!

Here's the link to my post:

K & S said...

sounds very nice!

Lis said...

Jasmine this looks wonderful, truly! I absolutely love the color of it - it's gorgeous! I am glad you went with the cucumbers.. I think that's a great pairing with a slighly zesty dip like this. Thank you soooooooo very much for bringing it to the party!! This is going to be the best end of summer bash ever! :D

Ivonne said...

Let us never speak of sprayed-on cheez again! (Shudder!)

I just love this dish! The colour alone is stunning and I can't imagine a more appetizing and original offering for a potluck.

You my dear have a place of honour at any potluck I ever have!

Jasmine said...

Hello all!

Julia - Don't let the horseradish throw you off of this dish. You only really notice it as a "final" note. You could always reduce the quantity if you really aren't that sure.

Ellie - When I made it I grilled some store-bought pitas and tried those as well as the cucumbers...much prefer them with the cucumbers.

Jenjen - Finally a beetroot fan! Glad you approve. Thanks for the tag. I'm pulling my list together...

Kat - Yes, it was really lovely. A number of people asked for the recipe.

Lis - Welcome! I am so glad you approve. Thanks for the invitation--can't wait to see what the others bring :)


Tanna said...

I think this looks really wonderful - always looking for new ideas with beets.
Really enjoyed the book review but my connection wouldn't let me comment there.

Sara said...

Yes your review was great - just like this dip.

Jasmine said...

Hello again!

Ivonne - All you have to do is email me and I'll be there :)

Tanna - Glad you like it...I think everyone who tried it liked this dip. Re Canada Eats perhaps it was a glitch?

Sara - Thanks so much!


Kalyn said...

Sounds very interesting, in a good way!! One of my sisters hates beets, so I always eat her share.

keiko said...

Hi Jasmine - I'll definitely give it a try this one, it looks/sounds wonderful. I love beetroot :)

Hope you're feeling better now, look after yourself.

Pille said...

I love hummus, and beetroot, so this should be very much according to my taste. I'll give it a try soon.
Thank you, Jasmine!!