A few weeks ago I was up visiting my best friends and her husband and pugs in San Francisco. They have the cutest farmers’ market right around the corner from them on the weekends and we took a visit before I had to head home. One of the stalls (Hummus Heaven) was selling absolutely delicious hummus and pita chips. They also had some incredible dips and spreads. I fell in love with the tomato basil spread. It was light, tangy, garlicky and fresh. It was delicious with pita chips, but I also used it for dipping veggies, crackers and as a sandwich spread. All wining combinations.
Since I (tragically) have no clue when my next visit to San Francisco will be, I decided I needed to attempt to recreate it. I will say that the original was a little more creamy (almost mayo/aioli like), but I wasn’t really in the mood to keep adding oil or mayo to get mine to the same consistency. I thought that some greek yogurt might take it more in that direction, but it didn’t. It did help it make it more like a dip or sandwich spread, which was perfect for me. I did save a little of the original to do a side by side taste test and that my version is just as good as the original, if not a little bit better.
Tomato Basil Spread
4+ cloves garlic
6 ounce can tomato paste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
10-15 basil leaves, roughly torn
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine until desired consistency is reached (I did mine so it was very smooth).
So apparently this March Madness business is finally coming to an end this weekend. Finally. I used to care about sports, but now I am more or less completely apathetic (with one exception). I think this is partially due to the false advertising of surrounding professional and college athletics in America. “March” Madness. We are now a week into April. Stop encroaching on a perfectly innocent month NCAA. However, I will consent to watching sporting events mainly because they allow for drinking at otherwise inappropriate hours of the day and snack foods, both of which I am a fan of.
Creamy ranch, a little kick from the jalapeños, tangy lime. It’s pretty much perfect the perfect dip in my book. I used mild jalapeños and mild green salsa, and while I did increase the amounts from the recipe I based my dip on, I didn’t find the jalapeño flavor or spiciness to be overwhelming at all. If you are a little more hesitant about spicy, you might want to cut back on the jalapeños and salsa and add to taste.
Oh, poor little neglected blog, how I have missed you! Last semester was so crazy and so interesting (microbiology!) that I barely had time to procrastinate and since most of my blogging is born out of procrastination, things just kind of stopped around here. Luckily, I have a much easier course load this semester and I have already been accepted to nursing school (yay!), so hopefully things will start looking a little more normal around here…
I made this dip at the beginning of football season to go with some football watching. It was an instant hit in my (play)book and since the season is now only one game away from being over, I guess I better share it before it’s too late (I’m not even going to apologize for those horrible football puns).
Chipotle and ranch are probably two of my favorite flavors. Combining them resulted in what I think is the world’s best dip. This dip is the perfect combination of slightly spicy, tangy and absolutely delicious. I served the dip with some veggies and kettle chips, but I think it would be a great dipping sauce for chicken wings if they are your thing.
Greek Yogurt Chipotle Ranch Dip
1 3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
1/4 high-quality mayonnaise (I recommend Hollywood Safflower Mayo)
3 Tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
4 green onions, finely chopped and some reserved for garnish
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
1+ canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (add more if you like it spicy!)
In a medium sized bowl, mix together yogurt, mayonnaise, ranch mix, almost all the green onions, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and chipotle. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate until needed. Serve with veggies or potato chips.
Now that I’m kind of, sort of , nearly over my never-ending mystery illness (just can’t shake this sore throat), let’s get back to business.
It’s the Super Bowl next Sunday. Normally, I would be super excited and looking forward to it, but considering I have not watched a single football game (of any kind or level) this year, I’m really not into it. That being said, I do love any excuse for a party and parties must have food and drinks. I can always get behind party planning. This week I’ll be sharing some recipes perfect for your Super Bowl weekend.
Apparently there are people in this world who do not like garlic and don’t care for brie. Fortunately, I don’t know anyone like that, but if you are a little wary of the amount of garlic in this dip, fear not. When garlic is roasted, it gets this more caramelized, almost nutty flavor, which is much more subtle than fresh garlic. If you don’t like brie, well I really can’t help you all that much. Maybe substitute goat cheese? This was the first time I had ever used pimentos in anything or even had them outside of stuffed olives. I was hoping they would give the dip just a little extra kick or something to keep the taste buds happy. Maybe they just got too chopped up in the food processor, but they didn’t really bring much to the overall taste. I think I would stick with real hot sauce or chili powder if a subtle heat.
You could actually serve this dip two different ways. I decided to go with hot, but the end result was a little more fondue-y than I would have like. Once it cooled down about 5 or 10 minutes, it was the perfect consistency. I also tried it before I baked it and it was pretty close to perfect. I should have left it, but I really wanted a hot dip… You can definitely make this ahead of time, but remember to take it out and let it soften. It is brie base, so it will definitely need to soften.
Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip
2 heads of garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1-20 ounce round of brie, rind removed
1 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
1 cup baby spinach
4 green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons diced pimentos, drained
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (or freshly ground pepper, to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut top 1/2″ off the top of the garlic heads. Remove some of the loose, papery skin, leaving the heads intact. Place each on a square of tinfoil, drizzle each with the olive oil (about 1 teaspoon each), and wrap well. Bake 50-60 minutes, until the garlic is very soft and begins to brown. Cool until easy to handle. Squeeze each head to into a mixing bowl to remove the soft roasted cloves. Be careful to avoid getting any of the garlic skin/paper in the bowl.
In a large skillet, add the remaining olive oil and heat over medium. When oil is shimmering, add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add in the green onions and cook until just softened. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. Attempt to drain any excess oil if necessary.
In a food processor, process Brie cheese and cream cheese with the seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. (You can also cream these ingredients together using the back of a spoon and a lot of energy.) Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors. Serve with crackers, crostini, and sliced French bread.
In a food processor, combine Brie cheese and greek yogurt with the seasoned pepper, garlic cloves and pimentos. Add in the spinach and green onions. Pulse in the food processor until blended.
This dip can be served either hot or cold. For cold: Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend. For hot: Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
Serve with crackers/sliced bread/tortilla chips/veggies.
It’s Super Bowl weekend! And I am quite excited and a little nervous. My beloved New England Patriots are playing! And I really, really dislike any and all members of the Manning family, so needless to say, I am really looking forward to the game.
Snacks are a very essential part of the super bowl. Since I will be very antsy on Sunday, I tried to come up with some ideas that can more or less all be made ahead of time or that will require very little effort apart assembling and sitting in front of the t.v. to cheer on the Pats!
Pulse shallot, garlic, and water chestnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pulse until just combined. Add spinach and chives and pulse until incorporated.
I really wanted to make 7 layer dip, but none of the recipes I found were really doing it for me. I decided to just throw what I was in the mood for all together and hope for the best. It worked out perfectly!
I had intended to include guacamole in this dip as well, but only one of my avocados was ripe. I mashed up the avocado with a little Kosher salt and some lime juice and spread it out as best I could. I also decided to dress up my diced tomatoes a bit by making pico de gallo. Simplest salsa ever. Tomatoes, diced white onion, cilantro, lime juice, kosher salt, done. I also like to include a bit of garlic (minced or powder) and freshly ground pepper to make it even tastier.
Cheesy Bean Dip
2 cans of refried beans
1-4 ounce can of diced chiles
1 cup of shredded cheese, divided (I would recommend sharp cheddar or a Mexican blend)
1-2 avocados, chopped, or guacamole
2-3 tomatoes, chopped, or pico de gallo
1/2 of a red onion, diced
3-4 green onions, sliced
mix of green and black olives, sliced
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. In a small bowl, mix the beans, chiles and 1/2 cup of cheese together. Spread on the bottom of a large baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven and spread remaining cheese over beans. Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese on top is melted.
Remove dish from oven and top with remaining ingredients or anything else that makes you happy.
I’ve already discussed my caramelizedonionproblem many times. If you can think of it, I’ve probably come up with a way to put caramelized onions in it. But it’s not my fault, caramelized onions are so delicious. They belong on everything.
This dip can definitely be made the day before since it should chill before serving, but be warned, once you get your first taste, there might not be much left over.
Caramelized Onion Dip
3 large yellow onions, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
4 ounces neufchâtel (reduced fat cream cheese), room temperature
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft and beginning to release their juices. Continue to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the onions are lightly browned and caramelized. Allow to cool. There will be about 2 cups.
Place the onions in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop. Remove half of the onions and transfer them to a bowl. To the remaining onions in the food processor, add the onion powder and process until pureed. Add the cream cheese and yogurt and process just until smooth. Transfer the mixture to the bowl and fold into the chopped onions.
Taste and season as needed. Chill for at least 1 hour. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley leaves, if desired.
This is the easiest appetizer in the world. It’s a welcome twist on your usual sour cream dip. The cheese makes the dip a little more decadent, but the tang of the lemon just helps balance it out perfectly.
Lemon, Pepper and Pecorino Dip (adapted from Real Simple)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Pecorino
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
cracked black pepper
chips and veggies for serving
In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, pecorino, lemon zest, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ to 1 teaspoon cracked pepper. Serve with the potato chips or veggies.
There’s something that makes sweet potato fries that much better than regular fries. But it is quite easy to make bad sweet potato fries. They are soggy and gross and no one likes them, but good sweet potato fries are phenomenal.
The secret to great sweet potato fries is to soak and double fry. When you cut the fries, you have to make sure to soak them in cold water to remove excess starch. Soak them 20 minutes, soak them overnight, just make sure you soak them. Now the next step to achieving the best sweet potato fries, is the double fry, which is covered in the directions below.
The cranberry ketchup is phenomenal. The tangy, tart bite of the cranberries goes so well with the sweet potatoes. I would imagine that with a bit of extra chopping instead of blending, that the cranberry ketchup would make a great Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.
Sweet Potato Fries
Oil for frying
Preheat oven to 200F/95C and line large baking sheets with paper towels.
Peel the sweet potatoes, rinse and cut into fries. When cut, soak in cold water to draw out the starch, at least 20 minutes. Make sure to dry the fries very well and remove as much water as possible.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot (place a popcorn kernel in the oil and when it pops, the oil is hot enough) place the first batch of fries in the oil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the sweet potatoes from oil, drain for a few seconds and place on towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Repeat with the next batch of fries.
Return the original batch of fries to the oil and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until golden and crispy, then remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain for a few seconds and place on towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Place baking sheet in the oven. Repeat until finished with all the batches.
Sprinkle the fries with a bit of kosher salt. Serve while still hot and enjoy!
Cranberry Ketchup (from Cooking Light, Nov. 2011, p. 272)
1 2/3 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Combine cranberries, brown sugar, chopped shallots, cider vinegar, water, salt, and red pepper in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Pour into a blender; process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl; cover and chill.