In the mood for a Dip!

I’ll be heading to Mississippi for a family reunion this week…three days of visitin’, playin’ and eatin’.  I see “catfish n’ fixins” on the itinerary as well as picnics and barbecues so I think I’d better step away from this computer and get in some serious exercise in preparation. Today I offer three great chip and dip combinations that should cover the bases for any type of 4th of July celebration that you may be hosting this year.

Barbecue Potato Chips with Peppered Feta Dip

I find this combination of flavors positively addictive! The dip is best at room temperature and I think that Cape Cod brand BBQ potato chips work really well as they are nice and sturdy and won’t crumble into the dip. I cut this recipe out of a magazine several years ago and didn’t note the source.  My apologies to the creator.
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise, or plain yogurt
1/2 cup pickled peppers (pepperoncini and/or Sweet red cherry peppers) sliced (see note)
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Coarse ground black pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
BBQ potato chips
Blend feta, cream cheese, and mayonnaise in a food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl periodically.  Transfer to a mixing bowl,
Fold in peppers, scallions, lemon zest, and pepper.  Transfer to a serving dish and chill at least 1 hour to let flavors develop.  Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.  Drizzle dip with oil and garnish with additional pepper.  Serve with BBQ potato chips.
note: I’ve used both types of pickled peppers in the recipe and while both are good, I prefer the red.  In the photo I used Peppadew Mild whole sweet Piquante peppers.

Marie’s Herbed Cottage Cheese Dip

Sometimes it is nice to have a healthy, no guilt, option.  Especially on a weekend that is sure to be full of hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue and all those “fixins”.  This dip is light, clean tasting, and chock full of vegetables and fresh herbs.  I’ve served it here with carrots and pretzel chips but it is also good with others vegetable crudities or pita bread. This recipe is from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table.

2 cups cottage cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and cup into tiny dice
2 small cucumbers, peeled and cut into tiny dice
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into tiny dice (optional)

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve.


Tuna Ceviche with Avocado and Cilantro


This lovely little dip is elegant in its simplicity yet casual enough for any barbecue.  It is from the July 2001 issue of Food and Wine magazine and is offered as an example of what one might find around the southern tip of Baja.  In the photos here, I have minced the red onion instead of slicing it and I also doubled the amount of avocado.
1 pound Sushi grade tuna
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large Hass avocado, cut into 1/3 inch dice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
tortilla chips for serving
Cut the tuna into slices, 1/4 inch thick.  Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap.  Arrange the tuna slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and freeze until fairly firm, about 15 minutes.
Stack the slices of tie using a very sharp chef’s knife, cut the tuna into meat 1/4 inch cubes.  Transfer the cubed tuna to a medium glass or ceramic bowl and stir in the red onion, lime juice and black pepper.  Cover the tuna with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring gently with a plastic spatula every 15 to 20 minutes (the diced tuna will change color slightly as the lime juice “cooks” it)
Just before serving, gently fold in the diced avocado and chopped cilantro and season with salt.  Transfer the ceviche to a bowl , garnish with cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

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