Party Food: Delicious Dips

It's New Year's Eve! Not my favorite holiday, but at least it comes with a strong tradition of finger foods. My favorite thing to do with bite-size treats is to dip them in something, so that's what I was working on this afternoon.

First up: some roasted garlic. Many of our Spanish Rosas have started to sprout in storage, so I grabbed those for this project:


That may have been a mistake, since the flavor is a little greener once they sprout, but using these didn't make me sad about cutting off the tops, since that part is messed up now anyway.

The cutting-off-the-tops thing seems to be pretty standard for making roasted garlic in the oven, although this is news to me. I never bothered with that when we roasted some heads on a wood fire back in the fall. I thought using a muffin tray seemed inspired, though, so that's what I did:


 

Next step is to coat them with olive oil. I kind of just drizzled it on. I guess the point is to keep the dry skins from catching fire? Or to have garlic infused oil, but that's hard to recapture from the muffin tin:


After roasting them (covered in tin foil) for a half hour at 400 degrees, this is what they look like:


They are toasty brown, and after cooling, there remains the job of getting the soft garlic out of the skins and into a dish. With oil-coated garlic heads, that was messy and difficult, and hopefully I don't have any skins mixed in with the roasted garlic paste. I ended up just squeezing the heads and scraping the garlic mush into the dish, but like I said, this was very, very messy.

Back in September when we roasted garlic out in the fire, all we did was wrap the heads in tin foil and set them in the coals. Once it cooled in the fridge, it was super easy to give a clove a squeeze and pop out the garlic paste, then spread it onto a bagel (or whatever). So maybe my problem was not chilling the garlic so it shrinks away from the skins a bit, but mostly I think this olive oil step is kind of stupid because it makes such a mess. I also think the garlic tastes better without all that olive oil mixed in, but this is still ok. I added a dash of minced, dried rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper:


So that's our roasted garlic spread, for baguettes (or maybe crackers).

I'm much more excited about this next dip, which I should probably give a name to. I'm thinking Horse Dip, as the star ingredient is horseradish:


This is 1 cup of sour cream and 1 1/2 tablespoons of prepared horseradish. You can get that at the store, but we made our own. Ours is pretty pungent, so you might need more if you try this with a store-bought variety. 

Anyway, stir it up, and add two cloves of raw, minced garlic, two pinches of salt, a scant teaspoon of dried thyme, and 1/4-3/8 teaspoon of paprika. The paprika amount can be to taste, but I kind of did it by color – just enough to make it a little pinkish:


Finally, I added 7-8 twists of the pepper mill for some ground black pepper. This can also be to taste. To my thinking, you can use a lot to stand up to the strong horseradish flavor It should be enough pepper to be visible after stirring it in to the sour cream.

I guess this dip can be for veggies, but I'm much more excited about it for potato chips (which is why I skimped on the salt). This is just the type of thing I'm likely to get addicted to, which I suppose could lead to some cliched New Year's resolutions as we slide into 2013.

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