Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seven (or so) layer dip

I made this the other day for a tailgate party, and it was such a hit that I thought that I'd better write it down. This is a lighter and fresher version of the old 7 layer dip which is delicious itself. You should definitely improvise with this recipe, adding or subtracting layers according to your taste. I'm not a big fan of lots of sour cream, so I only add a little. Also, take advantage of what your grocery store has prepared. If their guacamole is pretty good, buy it and add some lime juice to brighten and freshen its flavor. Then use it instead of homemade. You can make this ahead, but I don't add the tomatoes until the end, otherwise it can get watery. This makes enough for about 6 people, but it's easy to double it for a party. I use a 6x6 pyrex dish for this.

Layer 1: Bean dip

1 tbl olive oil
1/3 cup rotel, salsa, or sofrito
1 can refried beans, preferably low or no fat
1/4 tsp cumin

Heat oil in pan, add rotel or salsa and fry lightly for a couple of minutes. Add the beans and the cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Pour into serving dish and let cool.

Layer 2: A sprinkling of chopped red onion

Layer 3: A sprinkling of finely chopped pickled jalapeno

Layer 4: Guacamole:

1 ripe avocado, chopped
2 tbl chopped red onion
1 tsp chopped, pickled jalapeno
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbl juice from pickled jalapeno
salt, pepper to taste

Mix all together and plop on.

Layer 5: Sour Cream drizzle

1/2 cup low fat sour cream
juice of 1/2 lime
salt & pepper to taste

Mix and drizzle

Layer 6: Fresh chopped tomato
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
I do this ahead and leave it in a strainer to strain off excess liquid

Layer 7: fresh chopped cilantro

Side Salsa:

Pace picante sauce (medium hot)
fresh lime juice and cilantro, to taste

Mix together and serve on the side. (You could also use this as a substitute for layers 6 and 7.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


A friend at work asked for a recipe for tiramisu, so I went home and started looking for my favorite. Well, after searching for some time, I decided to look on epicurious.com. Since I take both Gourmet and Bon Appetit, I was hoping that I got it from one of them. I think this is the recipe, but I have modified it somewhat. It originally called for cream cheese, and I use mascarpone. I also add some kind of liquer to the coffee mixture. I like Kahlua, but you can use whatever you like. I also use a Pepperidge Farm pound cake because a loaf pan shape is easiest to cut into fingers.

* 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
* 1 cup sugar
* 4 egg yolks
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
* 8 ounces mascarpone, cut into pieces, room temperature

* 1 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream

* 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder diluted in 1 cups hot water, cooled
* 1/4 cup of Kahlua, Marsala, or dark rum

* 1 12-ounce prepared pound cake, cut into 3 1/2x1x1/2-inch strips

Finely chop chocolate in processor. Set aside.

Mix sugar and egg yolks in processor 30 seconds. Add vanilla and process until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add cheese in batches and blend until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Beat whipping cream until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.)

Pour espresso into large shallow dish. Dip cake strips in espresso, turning to coat all sides lightly. Arrange strips on bottom of 10-cup shallow dish, smoothing with fingers to mold together. Sprinkle with half of chocolate. top with chilled cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining chocolate over. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)