Anyway, my favorite dip has always been chummus (or hummus, if you prefer). But if, like me, you spent years loving that stuff that rhymes with shmabra, you really don't know what you're missing because that stuff is really just nasty. It tastes like someone spilled a science experiment into my chummus (a la Reese's peanut butter cups). And if you have actually moved on to real chummus (at places like Pomegranate), then you have to decide whether you can afford the stuff. Seriously, you get like half a cup for five bucks. But if you don't mind expending a small amount of effort you can make your own chummus that is cheaper (about two cups ends up costing like $1.50 max) and better than that pricey stuff anyway! This is really like ten minutes of actual work. The rest is just waiting for the beans and garlic to cook.
And speaking of the beans, it is NOT OK to use canned chickpeas for this. Trust me on this one. The first time I made this, I used the canned and it tasted pretty bad. You can't use junk for the main ingredient and expect it to taste good. I don't know what I was thinking. So do yourself a favor and cook the chickpeas. Also, I found that there are differences in quality and salt content between varying brands of tahini. Find one you like and stick with it. Finally, use a fresh lemon instead of the bottled stuff. It'll be worth it.
1 cup dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans (2 cups cooked), cooking liquid reserved
1/3 cup tahini paste
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika or to taste
1 head garlic
olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (for the garlic)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (for the chummus)