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Harvest Crudite with Yellow Split Pea Dip

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What to do with a random smattering of peppers, pole beans, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes to harvest on any given day? Well, one of the easiest things you can do is to put them out, fresh, as a fresh salad or crudite platter. After doing this a couple times this late summer, it occurred to me that they would do better with a thick, tangy dip on the side than a thin coat of dressing, so people could snack on them on their own time.

The first dip that came to mind was hummus. But garbanzo beans take so long to soak and cook when you start off with them dry. So I took a gamble on a package of dried yellow split peas, and cooked them just until tender in about fifteen minutes. To this, I added the classic hummus accoutrements — crushed garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. It looked a little more yellow than hummus tends to, but it tasted pretty much the same.

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As a last-minute flourish, I plucked some of the white blossoms off the tall shoots of chives that had begun to bloom this early fall. These are tasty, and attractive garnishes, and they’re also great to use as a seasoning, too. So I picked apart some of the chive blossoms and dropped them into the hummus in its final stirs. Another plucked chive blossoms was placed on the crudite platter for garnish.

When staffers dunked their fresh veggies into the stuff at the brewery the next day, nobody questioned what was in the “hummus.” And the vegetables were all eaten up.

Yellow Split Pea “Hummus” with Chive Blossoms
(makes about 1 pint)

3/4 cup dry yellow split peas
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame paste)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

Cover the split peas with about 1 inch of water and bring just to a boil. Reduce and simmer on low heat covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water has all been absorbed and peas are tender. Let cool uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Transfer the split peas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic to a food processor and pulse several times, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil and blend until smooth. Add the chive blossoms and stir once more. Taste for seasoning, adding any more seasonings as desired.

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