Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So what if I just discovered homemade 7 layer dip?

Don't look at me like that. I've always just grabbed the least browned-avocado-looking plastic carton of Dip on the way to a cookout, thinking, you know, it'd be expensive to make it from scratch, wouldn't really be worth it, people get more excited by the burgers anyway, who cares.

But. Seriously. I couldn't quit this last night. It's dangerous - you're just chillin' on the couch, watching an episode of ST:TOS or something, and a garlicky, whispery voice is up in your ear, telling you to just have a couple scoops. Before you can say Fascinating, it's half gone.

If your house is anything like mine, there are crazy people in it that hate awesome things like cilantro and olives. While you can probably sneak some cilantro into the guac and salsa, olives are a garnish-topping, and will be noticed. If you like spice, try mincing some escabeche (tiny!) for a pickly topping instead. Also, be picky about your chips - try for rounds rather than the strips pictured here. Structural integrity is key when scooping this heavy, delicious dip.

7 layer dip, part by part

So the classic layering goes thusly, bottom to top:

Black refried beans
Sour cream
Shredded Cheddar
Minced olives/ peppers
Green onions

Obviously, the easiest way to go about gettin' 'er done is grabbing premade stuffs. Anyone out there who's a lover of salsas and guacs will tell you that homemade is the only way to go, but it's tempting when throwing them in a dip this complex to lazy out and just buy them from Hairy Peter or TJ's or wherevs. Trust me when I say it was totally worth the chopping and mushing. Surprisingly, flavors stayed distinct, all the way down to the refrieds. Delicious.

So, for the beans:

1 can black beans, undrained
1/2 carrot and 1/2 celery stalk, minced fine
1 clove garlic
Dash salt
Dash hickory smoke seasoning (like dees)
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a skillet, heat your oil over medium-high heat. Add your garlic, celery, carrot, and cover. Get some brown on 'em (about 3 minutes) then stir. Add beans and liquid and hickory seasoning, and grab a potato masher. Working in a circular motion, mash your beans until about half of them have dissolved. Let the beans simmer a bit more to thicken, then remove from heat. Taste and adjust salt. Set aside.

For the salsa:

1 large, somewhat ripe tomato
2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro
2 tablespoons freshly minced green onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt, about a tsp
Couple grinds fresh black pepper
1 small jalapeno

Chop your 'mater, throw it in a medium bowl. Add herbs, juice, garlic, salt, and pepper, mix. In a blender, put about a handful of your salsa thus far. Chop your jalapeno and throw it in the blender - pulse until things are relatively obliterated. Return it all to the bowl and stir. Taste. Set aside.

For the Guacamole:

1 avocado
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 tablespoon minced green onion
1/2 roma tomato, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Optional (depending on avocado's ripeness): 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp salt, or to taste

Pit the avocado, put the delicious flesh in a medium bowl. Add lime juice and garlic, and using your potato masher, mash it all up. I like mine a bit chunky, but if you want it really smooth, use a food processor. Add your herbs, salt, tomato, and stir. If you aren't getting a good, fatty taste when you same, add the olive oil and mix well.

A note on the other layers:

Chives or green onions would work equally well as the final topping, as would a mix of cilantro and green onion. For cheese, I used an aged white cheddar - but for color, most go with regular orange. I really enjoyed the nutty, salty quality of the cheese we used. But it was kinda pricey for going on top of a million other flavors.

You can either buy Mexican crema or thin yours a bit with salt and a little water to get it spreadable. If you've never tried Crema, now is the time!

Diced jalapenos are an awesome way to spice this up a bit, especially as a final topping. I used some homemade jalapeno pickles, since I wanted to tone it down just a bit. Oh ya and those huge slices of raw pepper on top were all me. MWAha!


  1. this looks so good. nice pictures

  2. Talk about fantastic color creation!

  3. Thanks!! Coolest thing - tasted as good as it looks.

  4. Hi there! Would you mind if I use your image on my blog if I provide a direct link to this recipe?

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  6. Just a tip, but the avocado will taste better with lemon than lime, from personal experience.

  7. This isn't Vegan....