Saturday, February 6, 2010

Party Dips! The Appetizers, not the Guests!

This is one of my favorite dips to make and bring to parties! It’s just disgustingly easy to make and is always a huge hit. It’s sweet and savory and even little kids will eat it! Oh! And I saw the best tip ever that could come in handy for this recipe, if you, like me, sometimes forget to prep ingredients! I just saw this on Butter Yum’s blog and it had me shouting, ‘Hallelujah!’ If you forget to set your cream cheese out to come up to room temperature you can just stick the naked brick into a zip top bag (I’d use a freezer one, it’s thicker.) and knead it with your hands for a few minutes. How brilliant is that???

Edited to add: These two dips are also great party food because you can easily make them ahead of time. Just press plastic wrap onto the surface so the onion dip doesn’t form a skin and the pesto doesn’t darken. Then, for the pesto, take it out about an hour ahead of time and let it come up to room temperature. For the onion dip, just pop it into the oven to warm it back up and before serving stir it up a little to incorporate any browning. Easy peasy!

caramellized onion dip

Caramelized Onion Dip
6 onions, about fist sized
1 stick of butter (you’ll thank me later)
2 ROOM TEMPERATURE bricks of cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper

Slice your onions all up. (If you aren’t going to be using a food processor later, then chop them very finely.)
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions. Stir it every so often. This takes about 30 minutes.
When the onions have caramelized to a beautiful golden brown turn them off and let them cool a bit.
In a food processor, pulse the softened cream cheese a few times to get the party started.
Add the caramelized onions and sour cream and pulse until it is all combined.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm with thick chips (like Ruffles) or crackers. Enjoy!

This next dip came about because I had a craving for my favorite quesadilla (thank you, Miranda! lol!) and Jay picked up the large container of basil for me. I needed to use it up before my trip to Utah and while I was getting ready for the birthday party I decided to whip together a quick pesto. When it was done I was looking around the kitchen and saw the extra softened cream cheese (I had overestimated how many I was going to need.) so I decided to add it to the pesto and just serve it at the party! It turned out GREAT!

creamy pesto dip

Creamy Pesto Party Dip
1 batch of fresh pesto (recipe to follow)
2 bricks of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup parmesan
1 clove garlic, grated with a microplane

In the food processor, pulse the softened cream cheese with the pesto.
Add the parmesan and the garlic.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve at room temperature with crackers. Enjoy!

This is a pretty standard recipe for basil pesto. I’ve been using it so long, I have no idea where I got it. I usually fudge it based on what I’ve got on hand. (A little more parmesan, a little less pine nuts, or whathaveyou.)

Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup parmesan
2 garlic cloves, grated with a microplane
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

In a food processor, add the basil, pine nuts, parmesan and garlic.
Pulse several times to combine.
Turn the food processor on and drizzle in the olive oil until you get a loose paste.
Scrape down the sides, add salt and pepper to taste and pulse to combine.

1 comment:

Moxie said...

Your title SO cracked me up :) The dips look and sound really yummy, especially the first! I sometimes caramelize onions and eat plain as a side dish especially with roasts or pork...YUM!