Suzi's Blog

Caramelized Poblano Chile and Onion Dip

Onion dip, anyone? Yes, you can take a package of onion soup mix and that container of sour cream, and you can make something very good. [Especially if you double soup mix goop!]. It’s real comfort food.

But, comfortable or very good is not exceptional. It is not excitingly different.

From the August 2012 edition of Martha Steward Living here is a recipe that Suzen and I cannot wait to share with you. To get the onion flavor, use real onions. To get some heat for a different flavor profile, caramelize some poblanos. To intensify flavor, add lime juice. And to add richness, pair cream cheese with the standard sour cream.

Ah, is it healthy? No, not exactly. But, is it satisfying? Yes, magnificently yes. The fact is that you can, and possibly should, eat everything. You just need to do it in moderation. Our brains tell us when “enough is enough.” The problem with processed foods, or that classic onion dip made from a bag, is that we too used to it, and the real flavors of the food are buried in salt, preservatives, and gunk. Your cravings are actually good experiences to have, and those craving are for real food.

If you crave onion dip, then this is the one you should try.

Caramelized Poblano Chile and Onion Dip

Yield: 2 cups serving 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup safflower oil
  • 3 cups diced white onion
  • 3 fresh poblano chiles, seeds and ribs removed [3 cups]
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • Coarse salt
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice [from 2 to 3 limes]
  • 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Cayenne pepper for garnish
  • Dipping things: chips, cucumber slices, radishes, baby carrots ….

 

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, chiles, coriander and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion and chiles are tender and caramelized, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely. [Yes, 25 to 30 minutes. Open a bottle of wine.]

Stir together the lime juice, cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl, using a rubber spatula, until smooth and evenly mixed. Add the onion mixture and stir to blend. Season with salt if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. Sprinkle with cayenne for color.

Source: Martha Stewart Living

 

Multitasking with Veggies: Brian’s Dip, Dressing, and Condiment

You may be familiar with Alton Brown and his entertaining show Good Eats on the Food Network. Alton is zany, brilliant, and, at times, opinionated. His number one kitchen faux pas? Having something in your kitchen that can only do one thing. He wants you to only have tools and gadgets that multitask.

Suzen and I like to go one step further: make basic ingredient combinations that can be multitasked. Those veggies in the picture above can be used at least four ways:

  • A smooth, subtle dip
  • A salad dressing
  • A condiment for burgers and hot dogs replacing mayonnaise
  • A key component in a Mexican squash soup [coming tomorrow!]

The idea here is simple: create a great vegetable base that is available for multiple combinations. The recipe for the “base” below gives you about 2 cups of cooked vegetables, enough for the dip/dressing/condiment being presented today. And there’s enough left over for the soup you’ll see here tomorrow.

While I often preach here about doing everything from scratch, the truth is every cook needs some solid shortcuts. Here I use some store-bought salad dressing. I like the Marie’s brand, found in your refrigerated foods section. The Blue Cheese and Ranch dressing are delicious by themselves, but actually a tad overpowering. Just dipping a chip in straight salad dressing can be eye opening. Here, that striking flavor is extended with veggie tones and then muted with the addition of sour cream.

Brian’s Veggie Dip and Dressing and Condiment

Yield: 1 ½ cup

Base Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, washed and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed

Additional Ingredients for Dip/Dressing/Condiment:

  • ½ cup salad dressing [such as Marie’s Blue Cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Base Preparation:

Put the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized cast iron skillet and heat on high. When the oil is hot, add the onions, shallots, carrots, and celery. Cook for 5 minutes on high, then another 5-10 on medium until the veggies are soft. Add the garlic and cook for two more minutes.

Turn off the heat and transfer the cooked veggies to a 2-cup glass measure cup. You should have about 2 cups total.

Dip/Dressing/Condiment Preparation:

Put ½ cup of the cooked veggies in a blender, ideally a Vitamix which produces a much more homogenous mixture. Reserve the remaining veggies for other recipes, or just increase the proportions here to make more dip/dressing/condiment.

Add the salad dressing. For the Vitamix, set the speed to Variable 1. Turn the machine on, then increase the speed to Variable 10 over about three seconds. Process until very smooth, just a few seconds more.

Transfer the blended ingredients to a bowl. Add the sour cream and pepper, then whisk to mix. Store until using.

Source: Brian O’Rourke