Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taco and Salsa Dip

Everybody has a 'recipe' for Taco Dip, don't they?

But we believe that this is the Best Taco Dip there is and that's why we want to share it with you!

This recipe came together one day when I wanted to make a taco dip for a party in December, and unfortunately, tomatoes are completely tasteless during winter in Ohio. So, I decided to use Salsa as a tomato substitute - but not just any salsa - raspberry salsa.

I chose raspberry because this dip has the 'Oh' so wonderful, but strong flavors of taco seasoning and sharp cheddar cheese and I wanted something hot and sweet to bounce off the intensity and spice of the cheese and seasonings.

My favorite salsa brand is Jose Madrid and it used to only be sold at the North Market downtown, but now Whole Foods and Andersons carries it also - wahoo! Choose your own favorite brand, but know that using a sweeter salsa, even if you don't typically like the fruit salsas, is a huge part of the fabulous contrast that makes this taco dip the best!

One of the other key ingredients used is the beloved herb, cilantro. Nothing smells more like summer than cilantro. The cilantro adds the sunshine!

Taco Dip with Raspberry Salsa

8 Ounces Cream Cheese
1/2 Envelope Taco Seasoning
One Tablespoon Mayonnaise

Beat cheese, seasoning, and mayo until smooth. Spread evenly over one large plate or platter or two regular sized plates.

Generously layer the following ingredients in the order given:

2 Green Onions, cut into tiny pieces
Cilantro, cut into tiny pieces
(I place these two items on top of the cream cheese to help it to stick. If there's too many items layered on the lettuce it just falls off the chip - and that's a crime!)
Raspberry Salsa
1/2-3/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded - then shredded even smaller
(I place the first layer of cheese over the salsa to keep it from wilting the lettuce)
Finely Shredded Lettuce, preferably field greens with radicchio
One Red Pepper, chopped tiny
One Cup Taco Cheese, shredded - then shredded even further

Serve with Blue Corn Chips

Note: Did you happen to notice the terms and phrases, "tiny" "shred smaller" and "finely shredded"? If you want your guests to swoon all over this dip, you've got to shred and dice and chop everything tiny because there's nothing better than every ingredient that you've stacked on this dip to be collected on each and every chip and each and every bite!

Nothing worse than scooping some dip onto your chip and big pieces of lettuce and friends falling by the wayside and leaving you with half the dip in your mouth and half still on the plate for the next lucky dipper. Chop everything small and your guests will get to enjoy all the dynamite flavor you've created for them.

Note: You may have also noticed that some of the ingredients are missing their recommended quantities - that is not an oversight. We would hate to limit your creativity in the kitchen by giving you precise measurements on this one. Feel your way to the dynamite flavor and make it your own!


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