An artist has a love hate relationship with a blank canvas, the writer with a blank page. The chef, perhaps it’s an empty bowl or bland ingredient.
I often think that there are a few “carrier” bases that can be customized to your tastes, much like a painter would paint what he/she envisions on the blank canvas.
In the world of dips and spreads, avocado, garbanzo, and beans of many sorts provide a creamy blank canvas for the cook.
One day I was thinking about a way to reduce the fat in a guacamole recipe and decided to use Lima Beans as the base or at least a portion of the base. The recipe has taken on many forms, and is adaptable to many different herb or seasoning choices.
Here is a dip recipe from my book Carolina Wine Country Cooking that uses wine in cooking the Lima. Beans.
Creamy Lima Bean Dip
1 cup light white wine, Pioneer White Westbend
1 cup water or vegetable broth
2 cups fresh or frozen lima beans
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley 1 tsp. dried thyme 1/4 tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Bring wine just to a boil and immediately reduce to simmer. Place fresh limas, 2 Tbsp. butter, and salt & pepper into the mixture and simmer for 10 minutes or until beans are cooked to be tender but not mushy. If using frozen limas, cooking time should be increased to at least 30 minutes over moderate heat. You will have to add more wine and water in equal parts to be sure that the beans are always covered.
Remove beans after they are very tender and increase heat to high. Reduce remaining wine and broth/water by half. Add another tablespoon of butter and remove from heat. Add beans and parsley to blender, or food processor and pulse adding just enough liquid to combine smoothly into dip consistency desired. Use caution with hot items in the blender.
Place dip in serving container, and stir in the remaining ingredients and chill for at least two hours. Serve with salty crispy thick pita or white tortilla chips.