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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Four Dips Worth Double Dipping

When it comes to parties or anytime snacking really - one of my favourite foods to make is the humble Dip.  Now, granted, you can go to the supermarket and pick up a tub of processed, preservative laden, not-so-natural dip, and you could eat it to your heart's content.  But I can really vouch for home-made dips as nothing is as fresh, or for me, tasty. I must confess that I do buy the ocassional pesto every now and then, though. The sundried tomato and cashew kind is my favourite and even though I have made it at home it just seems to taste better from a delicatessen - I am yet to perfect that! 
But on to four dips worth double dipping. These are four of my favourite dips in no particular order and each of them have different elements guaranteed to please your hungry guests, or to satisfy that craving for something good. 
French Onion Dip
This is by far one of the best dips I have made and tasted, and it was loved by all who's palettes acquire a taste for sweet caramelised onion, and even some whose don't.   (Probably why I featured it first!)
Ingredients
1 large x Brown Onion, finely diced
2 cloves x Garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp x Olive Oil
½ cup x Stock x Beef or Chicken works well
2 tsp x Dark Soy
1 tsp x Balsamic Vinegar
½ tsp x Dried Thyme
300ml x Sour Cream
2 tbsp x Whole Egg Mayonnaise
Directions
Heat oil in a heavy pan and gently fry the onions for 5 minutes
Add the chopped garlic and cook gently for a further 5 minutes
Pour in the stock, soy, vinegar and thyme and reduce liquid to almost dry
Remove onion mixture from heat and cool in the fridge
When chilled fold in the sour cream and mayonnaise and stir well to combine
Dip is ready to eat right away, but it tastes better after standing for some time. (If you can wait!)
Olive Dip
I feel bad posting a recipe for this dip since it is so easy to make.  The first time I tasted an olive dip was from a supermarket shelf - but it was surprisingly tasty and seemed quite complex to even attempt at home. This was until I actually paid attention to the ingredients and realised that it was basically just two ingredients that made up this dip - so here goes, this will be the easiest dip you make.
Ingredients
200g x Mixed Olives, pitted and preferably in an oil based marinade rather than a brine.
½ cup of Whole Egg Mayonnaise
Directions
Chop the olives into small diced pieces and reserve some of the marinade
Stir through the mayonnaise, folding to combine the olives and their marinade
Dip is ready to serve. (Told you it was easy!)
Crab Dip
This is a bit of a cheat as it does not contain an abundance of crab.  You could substitute all the seafood extender for cooked crab meat and you would get a more smoother dip.  For the sake of time, convenience and budget I used canned crab meat with the fake crab stuff from the supermarket and found that it wasn't too shabby.
Ingredients
250g x Seafood Extender (or alternatively 350g x fresh cooked crab meat)
1 small can x Crab Meat (omit if using the above)
200g Cottage Cheese
½ tsp x Garlic Powder
1 tsp x Dill 
½ tsp x Cracked Pepper
½ tsp x Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp x White Wine Vinegar
Directions 
Combine the cottage cheese with the spices then mash with a fork to a smooth consistency
Fold in the crab meat and/or seafood extender mixing well to combine then a splash of the vinegar
Allow to stand for an hour before serving
Cannellini Bean with Roasted Garlic Dip
Now, I love my garlic a little bit more than the next guy.  I love its sharpness in usual suspect dips like Hummus and Tzatziki, but when it comes to this bean dip, it is the mellowness of the garlic, when it is roasted that really takes centre stage - it is unlike any garlicky flavour that I am normally accustomed to.
Ingredients
4 whole bulbs x Garlic
Olive oil 
1 tsp x Dried Rosemary
1 Onion, finely diced
400g can x Cannellini Beans, drained  (Any white bean would work in this dip)
2 tsp x Cumin powder
4 tbsp x Sour Cream
½ tsp x Salt, extra for seasoning
Cracked Pepper, to season
Directions
Preheat oven to 190 C
Peel the outer paper from the garlic while still keeping the bulb intact
Use four sheets of aluminium foil big enough to wrap the bulbs in 
Drizzle each garlic bulb with a little olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary and salt and pepper then seal the foil tightly
Roast in the oven for 45 minutes then remove and allow to cool slightly
Meanwhile, saute the onions with a little olive oil until softened and transclusent
In a large food processor bowl place the onions, beans, cumin and sour cream.
Press the soft roasted garlic flesh out of the cloves and into the bowl
Add the salt and cracked pepper to season
Blend to a medium coarse paste and adjust seasoning if required 
Serve at room temperature         


Notes:  Where possible I have used home-made Mayonnaise and the dips are a lot creamier than the store bought variety.
Most fresh dips will keep in the fridge for up to three days after which time I would recommend a smell test (just in case!) 
One of my favourite things to dip is baked pita bread that has been brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with a little sea salt - the wafer thin crackers in the pics are also another favourite

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