Food: Dip into this sun-dried treat for summertime

Kate Lawson
The Detroit News

Now that summer is finally here I’m amping up to do nothing. The best part about the season, besides everything, is that entertaining is a breeze. No one expects a fancy dinner party – shorts and flip-flops the manner of dress and the food is light, portable, colorful and easy to prepare. No fine china or silver here – paper or plastic, please but I insist that the utensils be substantial (no fork breakage in the potato salad).

Last month my husband bamboozled me into inviting guests (for Mother’s Day, no less). At first I balked but when one person offered up making an appetizer and another the dessert I figured I could fill in the blanks without any heavy lifting. Plus, the people are just so much fun none of it is considered work – all play. And it was.

The appetizer was the hit (OK, the bourbon chocolate brownies were pretty fantastic as well) while my middle offering of Caesar salad and flank steak paled by comparison. But the wine flowed and that’s all that really matters.

The appetizer, a sun-dried tomato dip, was scooped up in Belgian endive leaves and crackers and we made quick work of it. The small amount remaining became my sandwich spread the next day. I have now made it twice, just in case one of my amazing neighbors stops by to gossip and guzzle. It’s a perfect do-ahead dip that is guaranteed to please, even if it’s just the two of you on the deck and you’re too lazy to make dinner.

Kate Lawson is a former Detroit News food writer. You can reach her at katecook@comcast.net.

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

This flavorful, rich red dip is terrific with fresh vegetables, especially nice smeared inside Belgian endive leaves. Also terrific as a sandwich spread or with crackers or pitas. Fresh basil leaves or roasted garlic can be added as well for a nice variation. “From Vegnaomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.”

2 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed)

2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup white beans, drained

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl, pour the boiling water over them and cover and soak for about 15 minutes.

In a blender, grind the almonds until they are small crumbs.

Remove tomatoes from water and reserve soaking liquid.

Add tomatoes to blender along with the rest of the ingredients.

Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add up to 1/4- 1/2 cup of the tomato liquid as needed for consistency.

Chill for an hour before serving. Makes 3 cups.

12 servings.Per serving (per ¼ cup): 142 calories; 12 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat; 76 percent calories from fat); 9 g carbohydrates; 4 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 72 mg sodium; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber.