Monday, July 9, 2012

Snack Dips and Kale Chips

Summer is the best time to make my favourite snack - cruditee.  This is just a fancy way of saying vegetables and dip.  It's a very simple snack which I serve at most gatherings, and even though a lot of people profess not to like vegetables, this is the dish that seems to empty the fastest.  This and the plate of fresh fruit.  These are my two entertaining staples.  They are quick and easy to do and always disappear fast.

The key is to have a few really good dips to serve with your vegetables, and today I'm going to give you a few of my favourite.

Serving your dip in hollowed out vegetables always looks spectacular but really takes little effort.  Peppers are commonly used for this ....

.... but using cabbage or squash can be very effective as well.

If you don't want to waste vegetables, you can get a dip container that looks pretty much the same but can be used time and time again.
Casafina Farmer's Market Divided Vegetable Dip Dish Multicolor 14 dia.

Lastly, if you take dips and vegetables to  parties and gatherings frequently, something like this might be just the thing for you.
Ceramic Tray 14 1/2" Diameter

Mexican dip

Ingredients :

-  1 cup salsa
-  1 cup grated cheddar cheese

This is one of the simplest dips I've found and also one of the most popular whenever I've served it.

Combine the salsa and cheese and microwave for one or two minutes, or until all the cheese is melted.  Mix to completely combine and serve.

Onion dip

Ingredients :

-  1 cup of sour cream
-  1 cup of mayonnaise
-  1/2 cup of dried onion flakes
-  salt and pepper

This is best when combined and refrigerated for at least a couple of hours so the onion flavour can really sink in.

If I don't have onion flakes I chop up a couple of fresh onions and then saute them slowly in a couple of tablespoons of butter (about 10 mins. on low heat) until they are nice and brown. Let cool before mixing with the sour cream and mayonnaise.

Sundried tomato dip

Ingredients :

-  1 cup of sour cream
-  1 cup of mayonnaise
-  1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes

Soak the tomatoes in hot water for 10 minutes, then put into a blender with the sour cream and the mayonnaise and blend until smooth.  You can also use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, but cut the mayonnaise to 1/2 a cup so your dip doesn't end up being too oily.


For those who miss the salty crunch of potato chips, Elana at has come to the rescue yet again with her terrific recipe for Kale chips.

These are great on so many levels.  Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, but it's also one of the hardest to get people to eat.  Making chips out of it is sheer genius.  I know there are all kinds of versions out there now, but I saw it first on her website so - rightly or wrongly - I'm giving her the credit.

Elena's Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

First you need to prepare your kale, and she shows you step by step how to do that here.  Preheat your oven to 375'F, spread the kale out on 2 parchment lined baking sheets so the pieces don't touch, and bake for 10 to 13 minutes until crisp.  Make lots because they will disapear quickly.  Check here for Elena's complete recipe complete with lots of photos.

And here they have gone one better with their spicy cheesy kale chips that they claim taste like Doritos,  Worth a try.

Spicy and Cheesy No Cheese Kale Chips

Ingredients :

1 red bell pepper
1 cup of cahews (soaked at least 4 hours)
juice of half a lemon
2/3 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 bunch of kale, prepared as above

Directions :

-  Place all the ingredients except for the kale into a blender and blend until you get a smooth sauce.  Add extra water if needed.  Place the sauce into a large bowl and add the kale.  Massage the sauce into the kale and let marinate for 20 to 30 minutes, then cook as above.

You can also dry these in the dehydrator if you have one at 105 degrees for up to 24 hours until they are crispy.

Vegetables are one of the healthiest snacks you can eat, and also one of the easiest to make for a party.  After all, Nature has done most of the work for you!

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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