Saturday, January 7, 2012

Queen of Dips has returned from her holy hiatus.

Someone bestowed the above title on me on New Years Eve when I proudly displayed four variations of dips for my party guests.  I shrugged.  Mostly because I've only transcribed one dip recipe and generally just wing it and taste, taste, taste until it goes somewhere I like.  Here are the four I made for NYE that are perfect for football playoffs, awards show parties and a bevy of other occasions that will be coming up in the next few months.

To lighten up the below, use lower fat cream cheese or tofutti soy cream cheese in place of full fat cream cheese or creme fraiche and consider 0% greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  Keep the ratios the same.  Daiya's super stretchy cheeses are great in the black bean dip in particular, to keep it vegan friendly.

Black Bean Dip

2 cans of black beans with their liquid
3 green onions, thinly sliced from root to tip
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
8 oz extra sharp cheddar
8 oz creme fraiche
1/2 cup of salsa verde

Preheat oven to 350.

Reserve a small handful of sliced green onion, a pinch of cilantro and about an ounce of cheddar for the top of the dip.

Add black beans + liquid, salsa verde, creme fraiche and remaining cilantro, onions and cheese to an 8x8 baking dish. Mix until combined.  If you have an immersion blender, puree mixture in baking dish until at least half of the beans are creamy.  If you'd prefer a creamier dip, you can certainly continue. I like to leave some beans whole for texture and presentation. Otherwise, you can use a potato masher for a rougher consistency or use a blender. Before baking, top with reserved ingredients.

Bake for 20 minutes or until top is browned and dip is heated well throughout.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

9 oz box of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry of water
9 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, or 2/3 jar of marinated artichokes, chopped
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until dip is browned and bubbling.

Carmelized Onion and Shallot Dip

2 medium to large onions, thinly sliced into long pieces
2 shallots,  thinly sliced
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot hungarian paprika (or 1/4 tsp cayenne and a tablespoon of reg paprika)
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons of butter
1/8 cup vegetable oil

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet.  Add onions and seasonings and sautee for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Lower heat to low or medium low and cook until the onions are browned and caramelized (about 20 minutes).  While the onions cool, place cream cheese, sour cream and mayo in the bowl of a mixer and beat until all three are one cohesive mixture.  Add onions and mix well.  Optional: bake for 15 minutes at 350 to combine flavors.

Garlic Shrimp Dip

16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of shrimp
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 green onions (or 1 yellow onion), chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add shrimp and sautee.  After first turn of the shrimp (once one side is pink), add in yellow onion (if using), red pepper flakes and garlic.  Sautee until shrimp is cooked and then roughly chop. Add chopped shrimp mixture (scrape the skillet for extra flavor!) to a baking dish with room temperature cream cheese, herbs and parmesan cheese.  Stir well to combine.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 and serve hot.

All of these can be served with your favorite veggies, chips or crackers. I love Mary's Gone Crackers black pepper crackers in particular with dip. I also love using left over black bean dip as a spread for sandwiches or on toast as a snack.

Hope you'll all enjoy them as much as my guests do.  My boyfriend is salivating just watching me write this post, if that is any indicate of what is in store.  Cheers to your next gathering!

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