Thursday, March 26, 2015

Beware, no recipe included, only creativity

Chips & Dip. A common snack and a great way to start off a summer BBQ or just about any relaxed meal with family and friends.

Traditional dips include sour cream and onion, ranch dip, hummus, salsa, yogurt fruit dip, guacamole, cheese fondue, bean dip and many more. But what if you want to venture out... create something new... make something different? Well, you can. The idea of making something without a recipe may be frightening to some, exciting to others, or just plain incomprehensible. Until you have established a few simple flavor pairing rules, you could be getting yourself into a doozy!

Think about what a particular dip is like. What texture(s) does it include? What is it eaten with? Is it cold or hot? What is the main ingredient?

I am not here to give you a recipe with step 1-2-3 of how to make a great bean dip. I want YOU to venture out and explore. There is a whole world to discover.... one that is not in cookbooks. It is in your head. You just have to cultivate it and try things out. To me, there is no such thing as a failed failure because each failure gets us closer to success. If I quit cooking when I had my first failure, I would be in the kitchen with that pot of black beans that exploded. (for that story, read my book "Balance for Busy Moms"). What turned out to be my biggest failure to this day, led me to a great success.

Sometimes our biggest failures can turn into our successes like these Black Bean Brownies

Okay, so back to the dip creating now. The key is to separate your options into three categories.

What is the base going to be? Think about what texture you want it to have. Should it be creamy, sticky, thick?

Here is a list of some bases that I use:
Cream Cheese
Sour Cream
Greek Yogurt
Peanut Butter
Salad Dressing
...add a few. What else is similar to the ingredients above?

Main Ingredient
This gives your dip that awesome flavor. What is your dip supposed to highlight? Make this ingredient the most important.

Here is a list of some main ingredients:
Red Pepper
Graham Crackers (dips don't have to be savory... go with something sweet!)
...only to name a few!

This is where the fun comes in! The spotlight is the secret ingredient. Flavor that adds to something in order to make the main ingredient pop!

Here is a list of some:
Salt & Pepper
Chile Powder
Onion Powder
Chocolate Chips (they are good with everything right?)
...keep going, use your imagination.

As Chef Jacob is always saying on the Stella Culinary Podcast... 

"Technique is king." and for creating anything, it really is if you want to succeed. With proper technique, you can leave behind recipes (scary I know!) and come up with what you really want. 

"Creativity is to not copy" -Ferran Adria

Have fun! Send me an email to share what you latest dip creation is.