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CHEF JEFF -- ONE BYTE AT A TIME:Yellow Split Pea Dip

If you like hummus, here's a nice change of pace.

Yellow Split Pea Dip

12 1½ cups dried yellow split peas

2 bay leaves

A few peppercorns

2 garlic cloves, peeled

5 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons (5 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon capers

Sea salt and pepper to taste

A handful cilantro, chopped

A handful scallions, chopped

Combine 5 cups water, peas, bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic in large soup pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered until thickened, about an hour, giving it an occasional stir. Peas should have absorbed most of water, be tender, not mushy, and retain their shape. Cool slightly. Remove bay leaves and peppercorns. Smash garlic cloves into peas by hand. Texture should be coarse and rustic. Whisk in olive oil, lemon juice, capers, salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro and scallions just before serving.

Yield: Serves 8.

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