One of my favorites things about a good dinner party is l’apéro. It’s something that they do really well in France and my french family can sit around for hours before moving à table. It’s never rushed or hurried and I love that it gives people time to get settled in before the big meal, to get nice and cozy (and sometimes quite honestly a bit tipsy).
We’ve recently moved to a new area so we don’t have many people knocking on the door for a casual afternoon visit just yet (if you’re ever close by come say hi and we can share some snacks), but we were lucky enough to welcome a visit from some west coast friends last weekend. Matt mentioned many times that they would arriving right after a mother’s day brunch so there was no need to prep any food, but the thought of having people over and not offering them something to eat didn’t seem like something I was capable of. So I made up some snacks and set them on the table. Of course he was right and they came in saying how stuffed they were after the most elaborate Quebecois brunch. We sat in the living room and drank tea and chatted for a long time while the snacks sat alone in the dark on the kitchen table. It was when they were just about the leave that we got onto the topic of bread making and I offered up my lonely snacks, which happened to include some homemade sourdough. Suddenly we were all standing in the kitchen, laughing and chatting and eating our way through the food. I couldn’t help but smile.
All this storytelling just to say that there are two things in life I know for sure; the best moments always happen around the kitchen table, and few people can resist the taste of homemade bread. Food, you guys, it should be never be rushed and always be shared.
TOASTED PUMPKIN SEED DIP WITH FRESH HERBS
This pumpkin seed dip so much better once chilled in the fridge (min. 1 hour), so plan accordingly if you want to serve it to guests. The toasted seeds, the mint, the bright lemon – it’s everything I love about fresh spring food. You can serve it with crunchy vegetables, I like cucumber or radishes, and some toasted sourdough bread. Your favorite crackers would be delicious as well. It also makes a great spread on toast and sandwiches, as well as a creamy addition to your next salad bowl. One tasty dip, endless ways to enjoy it.
Adapted from Life in Balance, Donna Hay
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup fresh herbs ( a mix of mint, chives + flat leaf parsley)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon tahini
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice (juice from 1 large lemon)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
Pumpkin seed dukkah, to serve (optional)
Fresh herbs to garnish
Bread, crackers or vegetables, to serve
Toast pumpkin seed in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning. As they toast, the seeds will start to jump and crack in the pan, continue stirring until most of the seeds are a very light brown. Reduce heat if necessary. Remove from heat and let cool.
Add garlic to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to break it up into small pieces. Add the fresh herbs, lemon zest, salt, pepper and tahini and blend until pesto like. Add the toasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice and water and blend until smooth – you may want to add another tablespoon of water. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Serve with vegetables, crackers or bread.
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