I took this platter of veggies and dips to a BBQ recently, using jam jars for the dip holder — it made it easier to transport by fastening the tops to the jars.
Side note: For those of you who have ever driven in Montecito, you would know why you have to secure your dip in the car. It may be paradise, but navigating through six-way stop signs, ridiculous roundabouts, dodging the plethora of Prius-driving town-goers who think they are Dan Gurney, makes a two mile trip down the road a whirling maelstrom that sends your homemade goods-a-flyin’… okay, I feel better now — back to the food.
This bean puree is great smeared on flat bread or as a veggie dip. Flageolets are small, light green beans that are mild and delicate tasting. I buy mine at Tom Shepherd’s stand at the Santa Barbara farmer’s market. Some afternoons, after I pick up the girls from school, we go see Tom at his farm in Carpinteria. He has a beautiful antique wagon filled with produce. The girls mingle with the sheep and chickens, and I collect the “goods.”
Keep in mind that dried beans double in size when they are cooked, so for every cup of dried beans you get about 2 cups of cooked.
1 cup dried flageolet beans
2 bay leaves
1 chili de arbol, stem removed
3 cloves garlic, whole and peeled
¼ large white onion
Rinse the beans in a colander and dry on a kitchen towel. Check for rocks and clumps of dirt — yes, rocks and dirt. Put the beans in a pot on the stove and cover with water by about 3 inches. Additionally, discard any beans that float to the top of the water line. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and cook until beans are cooked and soft. In my experience, the fresher the beans, the quicker they cook. Usually they are fully cooked in about 30 minutes on medium heat.
Note: If you are just making beans and not the puree, be sure to add one teaspoon of salt after the cooking process.
For the puree, drain your beans and reserve the liquid. Next, pull out just the bay leaves and pour the beans (including the onion, chili and garlic) in the blender.
1 clove fresh garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid
Blend until smooth and serve at room temperature. This can be made up to two days ahead of time.