Here's a low-fat alternative to fatty dips and salad dressings: Make up a batch of hummus and use it for dipping fresh garden things like tomato wedges or chunks of cucumber.

With the food processor at hand, this is a ridiculously simple procedure. Take one 15-ounce can of garbanzos (chickpeas or ceci) and pour off the nasty canning liquid. Rinse them very well in several changes of fresh water, then set aside.

Put two or three cloves of garlic in the processor bowl and whack them a few times with the steel blade until well minced. Then drain and add the chick peas; 2 or 3 tablespoons of lemon juice; 2 tablespoons lukewarm water; 1 teaspoon salt; and 3 tablespoons of tahini (Lebanese sesame-seed paste). Process until it's very thick and creamy, adding a little more water in very small increments until the texture suits you. Pour into a serving bowl, and garnish with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika and freshly ground black pepper.

It's traditional to dip it up with pita quarters, but as I said, fresh veggies make a tasty and healthful alternative.