Summertime: when the serving and the cooking should be easy. Dips and spreads fill the bill; all you need is a handsome serving bowl, a basket of chips and/or crudites and a pile of cocktail napkins. And dips and spreads taste even better if made ahead.
The following variations on popular themes are spreads if you make them thick, dips if you thin them out. Either way, stir them well before serving.
Here’s a shortcut for recipes calling for minced garlic or shallots. Drop the cloves or shallots through the feed tube of a food processor while it’s running, then measure them. Return the measured amount to the processor bowl without washing it and finish the dip in the bowl.
Mandel is a cookbook author.