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Red Lentil, Shallot & Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

It's amazing what can happen when you look through your cupboards sometimes. A few weeks back, as I tried to catch my breath from the holidays, I wasn't yet ready to relax as I was hosting a baby shower for one of my very best friends in the world.

On the long list of tasks to do when throwing a party, inevitably 'making dip' has to fall in somewhere. Dips are a stand in for serving with all manner of things, and alongside a cheese plate (or instead of) can make the first hour of a party seem like the best part (or at least can get everyone in the mood for what's to come). I didn't feel like walking to the store to gather anything, and so a foraging journey through the McDermott cupboards was in order.

This is what I found: fast cooking red lentils, sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, cumin. Limes. What fun! In 30 minutes, I had a new creation that had been cooked from scratch, and a day later I had enough dip to feed a whole army of beautiful hungry women, ready to take on the world (or at least share a few laughs & tears together). It was a great time indeed!

Red Lentil, Shallot & Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

(1) cup red lentils, uncooked
(2.5) cups water
(1/2) tsp salt for cooking with lentils
(1) cup sun-dried tomatoes, *preferably without oil
(1-2) cups boiling water
(2) shallots
(1/2) tsp salt for cooking with shallots
(1) tbsp cumin
(1-2) tbsp olive oil
(1/4) cup roasted sesame tahini
(3) tbsp lime juice
(1) tsp salt
(2) tbsp olive oil

    Combine the lentils, water, and (1/2) tsp salt in a saucepan with a lid and bring to a boil covered. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.

    *If using tomatoes not packed in oil, put up some water to boil in a kettle. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water on them and let soak for 5 minutes or so to soften. After 5 minutes, drain the tomatoes and set aside. If using the oil-packed kind, simply skip this step.

    Peel and chop the shallots. Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the shallots and (1/2) tsp pf salt. Cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until the shallots are soft. Add the cumin and cook for 3-4 more minutes, until the cumin is fragrant. Remove the shallots from heat and set aside. When all of the ingredients are ready, in a blender or food processor combine the cooked lentils, cooked shallots, drained tomatoes, tahini, lime juice, olive oil & remaining (1) teaspoon of salt and blend all to combine. This mixture should whip up no problem in a regular blender and only requires a little agitation from a spatula.

    Remove the (likely still hot) mixture from the blender into a clean container or serving bowl, drizzle lightly with olive oil and allow to cool. This recipe makes a generous amount and will keep in the fridge for up to a week or more.Enjoy with crackers (I served them with baguette and Mary's gluten-free crackers), or chopped raw vegetables. I also enjoyed this on an open-faced sandwich smothered in sauerkraut.

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