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After our new neighbors moved in, it took us a while to meet the sweet and fabulous family – and we were so glad we did.
Rolf and Jesse became work out partners – heading to the gym most mornings, the talented couple turned a  ramshackle property into an absolutely beautiful home, they gave us wonderful suggestions and advice when we took a recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina, we got to try Wisconsin treats such as cheese curds and Garretts Popcorn and it was always such a pleasure to see them around the neighborhood.
They insisted on hosting their own farewell party when they moved back to Wisconsin, something to do with an immovable vat of beer, but they did welcome appetizers. The Bean and Bacon Dip initially called for white beans, but since I was making Dolmas, I decided to go for more of a Mediterranean theme and substitute garbanzo beans.
Although we miss our friends, I don’t miss the moaning and inertia from my husband after he returned from a particularly grueling exercise session.


1/2 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pita breads, cut into wedges
4 bacon slices, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can of garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Heat oven to 350F.
To prepare chips, combine dried rosemary, salt, garlic powder and black pepper. Arrange pita wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly coated with cooking spray and sprinkle evenly with rosemary mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
To prepare dip, cook bacon in a small pan over medium heat until crisp. Remove and set aside. Add garlic to the pan, cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add broth and beans, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Combine bean mixture, green onions, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and paprika in a food processor, and process until smooth. Spoon mixture into a bowl, stir in bacon.
Serve with pita chips.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, May 2003


1/4 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
grape leaves

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add beef and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until no longer pink. Set aside.
Heat grill to high. In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, beef, goat cheese, thyme, basil, rosemary, parsley, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Place a grape leaf on a work surface. Scoop a spoonful of goat cheese mixture into the center. Fold the sides over the filling, starting from the end closest to you, gently roll up into a packet. Brush with olive oil and set aside. Continue with remaining leaves and filling.
Place packets seam side down onto the hot grill and cook for 1 minute, turn and cook for another minute, or until cheese is soft.

Recipe adapted from Shape, July 2012