Dip, Baby, Dip

| March 31, 2010 | 0 Comments
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Radish Dip
Radish Cream Cheese Dill Dip

All that balmy weather and sunshine last week had me jones-ing for a BBQ throwback. Chips, dip, some charred dogs, cold beer, and a boom-box blaring something from 1994 if at all possible.

boom-box
Let me see you Tootsee Roll

Those 69 Boyz, they knew a thing or two — about the universal popularity of dip, that is.

A party’s not a party without some chips and dip. A few crowd-pleasers that have made it to my Top Hits list:

Radishes
Radishes

I first sampled this utterly addictive Radish Dip at my friend, Amy’s house last summer. One Fritos Scoop in and I was hooked. The radishes are just perfect here, imparting a crispy, fresh, peppery crunch with each bite, not to mention, the gorgeous sparks of hot pink that peek through the creamy dip. The lemon and zest add a splash of brightness, and the dill is just the herb to tie it all together.

For a fancy re-mix, try spreading it over some slices of pumpernickel and topping with lox for an elegant brunch. Or, for a quickie dinner, try mixing it with some hot angel hair pasta and veggies for an impromptu cream sauce primavera.

Green-Olive-Dip
Portuguese Green Olive Dip

If you are the type of person who almost always chooses salty over sweet, then this Green Olive Dip will make you swoon.

I discovered this fantastic recipe on Leite’s Culinaria and fell head over heels for the stuff. David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table, came by the dish when he visited a lovely restaurant in the south-central region of Portugal. He suggests serving it with a platter of crudités, crackers or bread, or, even as a topping for grilled fish.

The rich, full-bodied, savory flavor of this dip comes from oil-packed anchovies that have been blended into the mix. Amazingly, it is also made without any of the usual suspects associated with dips (cream cheese, sour cream, or mayonnaise). Instead, the luscious, creamy texture is made from “milk mayonnaise,” created by whipping up whole milk and adding oil in a thin stream until an emulsion forms (similar to regular mayo, minus the eggs). For best results, be sure to heed Leite’s warning of using an immersion blender or small blender.

For extra olive-y flavor, I use olive oil rather than vegetable oil. Whip this baby up ASAP. Your savory-tooth will thank you. And, it is killer with a dirty martini.

Guacamole
You can never have too much guacamole.

Last, but not least, a classic staple — cool, creamy, good ol’ Guacamole. I’ll have to thank 10 for $10 Safeway for this one. That big bin of shiny, buttery avocados was just calling my name.

Avocados
Avocado green

I like to keep it simple with guac. Just some diced tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, salt and pepper to accent this big bowl of pale green gorgeousness. You can add some red onion if you’re into that kind of thing (I may keep my distance when you try to talk to me, but I won’t judge you).

Avocados are the star here. I prefer keeping some generous chunks of them in the mix. And the best part of this recipe? It makes a boatload. You can never have too much guacamole.

The weather may be on the fritz now, but when BBQ weather strikes back, don’t forget to dip. Oh, I feel a whoomp comin’ on…

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Radish Dip
Recipe courtesy of Amy Powers

Makes: 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped radishes
8 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced

Preparation:
1. Mix together all the ingredients and serve (preferably with Fritos Scoops).

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Green Olive Dip (Patê de Azeitonas Verdes)
Recipe by David Leite, from The New Portuguese Table (Clarkson Potter, 2009)

Adaptations: I’ve found that it is difficult to come by pitted Manzanilla olives that aren’t stuffed, and so I often use jarred green olives that have been pitted and stuffed with pimentos. The flavor isn’t as pure as Leite’s original recipe, but it sure beats tediously pitting olives all day. Also, I like to substitute the vegetable oil with extra virgin olive oil.

Makes: 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:
1/3 cup whole milk, more if needed
6 oil-packed anchovy fillets
1 small garlic clove
Leaves and tender stems of 6 fresh cilantro sprigs, minced
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup vegetable (or olive) oil
2/3 cup pitted green olives such as Manzanilla, rinsed quickly if particularly salty, roughly chopped

Preparation:
1. Using a hand blender or stand blender (not a food processor — most are too big to allow the mixture to whip up correctly), add the milk, anchovies, garlic, and pepper, and pulse to combine. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, thin stream. Keep blending until the oil is incorporated and the mixture begins to thicken into a mayonnaise-like consistency.
2. Add two thirds of the cilantro and whir again until it is mixed in.
3. Stir in the olives, top with the remaining cilantro and garnish with some olive slices.
4. If the dip thickens, stir in a little bit of milk to loosen it up.

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Guacamole

Serves: 10-12

Ingredients:
6 ripe avocadoes
3 plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
A handful of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
1. Slice the avocados in half, pit them, and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Mash them up a bit with a fork or large spoon, leaving some chunks if that’s the way you like your guacamole.
2. Dice the tomatoes and add to the bowl.
3. Using either a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a chef’s knife, grind together the minced garlic and teaspoon of coarse Kosher salt until you have created a paste. Add this to the bowl.
4. Add the lemon juice and cilantro to the mix.
5. Mix together until everything is incorporated and serve immediately. You can pre-make this, but I’ve found that the avocados tend to discolor slightly (despite the addition of the lemon juice).

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About the Author ()

Stephanie Hua is the creator of Lick My Spoon, a place for all things delicious. So far she has learned that she very much enjoys salted caramel anything, a good soup dumpling is worth a scalded tongue, and there is no room in life for non-fat cheese and crappy chocolate. Also, a barrel of cheese balls never ends well. Stephanie has been known to choose her company based on how much they can pack it down. Ability to endure cramped quarters, sketchy back alleys, and uncharted paths to seek out that special dish is also a plus in her book. If you fit the criteria, drop a note. You’ll probably get along just fine. Stephanie's writing and photography have been featured in Fodor's Travel, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Serious Eats, and Sundance Channel. Follow her on Facebook and @lickmyspoon.