Dips and Spreads

As a college student involved in clubs (aka quidditch) I tend to go to a number of get togethers and sometimes I don’t feel like baking double batches of pumpkin bites or butterbeer cupcakes. So instead I’ll whip up some dips and spreads. True I could just buy guacamole or salsa, but I think that there’s a few dips that I like to fall back on. So this post is just going to be a few quick and easy recipes for two of my go to dips and spreads: pimento cheese and sun-dried tomato cream cheese. It’s great for both parties or just to keep in the fridge. This week I made both spreads/dips so that I could  use them to make lunch for myself and for Patrick. I didn’t take photos of them, but I do have photos from past cooking adventures.

We’ll start with the sun-dried tomato cream cheese:

What you’re staring at is my sun-dried tomato cream cheese spread over some toasted bread and topped with slices of avocado. This is definitely one of my favorite things to snack on. I got the idea for it after I fell in love with the sun-dried tomato cream cheese I got with my bagels last year. When I was in Japan I couldn’t find sun-dried cream cheese at the grocery store so I decided to make it myself and personally I like it better than the ones I get at the bagel stores in NYC (but I’ve only been to a few so I can’t really tell). Anyway let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-1 tub (I use about 8-9) sun dried tomatoes
-1 8oz box of cream cheese
-3-4 tbspn hot water
-Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Let the cream cheese reach room temperature and soak the sun dried tomatoes in the hot water. Remove the sun dried tomatoes from the water and mince them to small pieces. I usually cut the tomatoes into slices and then cut them into small squares. You don’t want them to be too big, but at the same time you don’t want to make a paste. Now the number of sun-dried tomatoes are based on the amount of cream cheese and your  taste preference.
  2. Add the chopped sun-dried tomato and the water they have been soaking in to the cream cheese. Mix until well combined. Add in the salt. Make sure that you taste your spread. If you feel like it needs more sun dried tomato, feel free to chop up some more.

I’ve made this a couple of times and each time, everyone’s loved it. For dinners, I usually serve it with a cheese platter or a vegetable platter so people can eat it spread on a cracker or with some stick veggies. For lunch I either top it with avocado or salami. I’ve also added bacon, either way it’s delicious. I have added some basil and oregano before. It’s added a new depth to the flavor, but I like having the simple flavor of the sun-dried tomato.

Bacon, Avocado and Sun-dried Tomato Tartines:

Ingredients:

-Sun-dried tomato cream cheese
-1/2 avocado
-4 slices of bacon cut in half
-Two slices of wheat bread

Directions:

  1. Prepare the sun-dried tomato cream cheese.
  2. Cook the bacon until they’re nice and crispy. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Dump out most of the bacon fat (or preserve in a jar, trust me you’ll be glad you did). Toast the bread in the rest of the bacon fat.
  3. Slice the avocado while you toast the bread. Cut the toast into triangles (cut diagonally across), spread with the sun-dried tomato cream cheese. Place the bacon on top of the cream cheese and top with the avocado slices.

If you’re a vegetarian, you can easily remove the bacon from the recipe and toast your bread with butter (or just toast it).

Our next dip is a pretty popular one:

Pimento Cheese:

So the photo isn’t exactly the best and it kind of looks like cheesy goop at the moment, but trust me this is a crowd pleaser. I first had a taste of it at a family friend’s (they’re like my grandparents) house in Atlanta, GA. Like the sun-dried tomato cream cheese, I’ve made this multiple times for parties, events, just for myself. It’s another great thing to find in my fridge when I’m hungry or craving something cheesy.

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-1 red bell pepper
-Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (about 1/4 cup)
-Shredded cheddar cheese (one block or one 8 oz packet)
-Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the bell pepper in foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes to an hour. You want the roasted flavors. Meanwhile, shred the cheddar cheese. Remove the bell pepper from the oven and let it cool in the foil.
  2. Once the red pepper has cooled, drain the pepper in the large mixing bowl. Remove the stem and the seeds. Carefully peel off the skin. If the pepper is properly roasted the skin should come off easily. Dice the peppers into pea sized pieces and place them in the same large mixing bowl that you drained the pepper in. Add the shredded cheese, the mayonnaise and the salt. The mayonnaise works as the glue, holding together the cheese and the pepper.

Again, you can use this as a dip or you could use it in a sandwich. I find that it makes an excellent grilled cheese. Simply butter two slices of bread (or use bacon fat if you aren’t vegetarian), spread one slice with the cheese and top with the other slice. Cook until the bread browns and then remove it from the heat. Wrap the sandwich in foil and pop in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes at 350 degrees. The oven will melt the cheese within without burning the bread.

Well that’s it two of my favorite go-to dips and spreads! Have fun!

Hugs and Puppies,

Mimi

One thought on “Dips and Spreads

  1. Pingback: Sweet Italian Sausage Rolls « Les Saveurs De Mimi

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