Spicy Quesofrijole Dip

ENTRY #2
1104.03

For my first recipe, I thought I would go with something relatively easy.  I think I can usually make it in about 20 minutes or so, plus chilling time.

As I at least hinted in my previous entry, I love using my kitchen as a mad scientist’s laboratory.  I enjoy getting the idea of a recipe, then seeing if I can bring that idea to life.  Fortunately for me, those ideas have favorable results most of the time.

I think this recipe is one of my better creations.  It has its origins in a taco dip recipe that someone gave my parents many years ago.  It was a layered dip that was served spread out on a large platter, and I was wanting something with a similar flavor that didn’t take up as much space in the refrigerator.  I started deconstructing the recipe in my head, and after much experimentation, the results are to follow.

I think I have at least one fan of the dip.  That would be urban fantasy author (her words) Jennifer Estep.  A few years ago, I wrote a review of her first novel, Karma Girl.  I made a stop by her website after writing the review, and when I did, I signed up for her monthly email newsletter.

Now, one thing that Estep includes in each newsletter is a recipe of some kind.  This is not too surprising, considering that the heroine of her “Elemental Assassin” series, Gin Blanco, runs a barbecue joint when she isn’t carrying out her current hit.  (And Gin is more or less retired by the end of the first book.)  I thought that Estep might enjoy getting a recipe in return, so I emailed her the recipe.

Much to my surprise, when I found the March newsletter in my inbox, I also found myself staring at my recipe (and receiving credit for it).  I think she likes it.

When I sent her the recipe, I called it “Spicy Cheese/Bean Dip.”  After I saw the newsletter, I decided that name really wasn’t that good, and that something better was needed.  It probably took all of a minute to come up with the current name.  So without further ado, I present:

SPICY QUESOFRIJOLE DIP

Ingredients:

2 packages (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 package Taco Seasoning Mix
1 can (16 oz.) Refried Beans

Optional:  Sour Cream, additional spices (see below)

Procedure:

1.  Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl.  If it isn’t already softened, zap it in the microwave for 20 to 30 second intervals, beating until smooth.  If desired, add a few tablespoons of sour cream to bring the cheese to the right consistency.

2.  Add the taco seasoning mix, and stir until blended.  At this point, the cheese should be a light orange color, with no streaks of white remaining.

3.  Add the refried beans, and stir until thoroughly blended.  (Putting the bowl in the microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds may make it a little easier to blend everything.)

4.  At this point, taste.  If you feel that it isn’t spicy enough for your taste, add whatever additional spices you like to suit your taste.  (I usually add some chili powder, garlic powder, and maybe just a dash or two of Tabasco sauce.)

5.  Once the dip is to your taste, refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes to let the flavors blend together.

Serve with crackers or chips.

YIELD:  About 1 quart

Now, I call this a dip, but it’s actually somewhere between a dip and a spread.  Besides using it as a dip, I also spread it on crackers, and use it in sandwiches.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

I usually store this in a 1-quart plastic container after making it, and it fills the container.

-30-

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