So, it’s the first weekend of the playoffs and you’re trying to stick with some sort of New Year’s resolution to lose a few pounds, or at the very least, not gain any new pounds. Maybe you have already pinned your swimsuit to the wall as a reminder that summer will be here sooner rather than later, living your life like a “thin-perational” ad for either Special K or Yoplait. And here at TSW HQ (am I still allowed to stay that?) I don’t judge. Or at least, I try not to. It’s hard to not roll one’s eyes at hamburger stuffed with bacon, wrapped in bacon served on a bacon donut bun or conversely, 54 calorie grungy tap water beer.
You want to make something light, make something light. You want to make something fatty, make something fatty. This dip is healthier than say, Hot Pastrami Reuben Dip, but it’s not so healthy you can’t lighten it up even more by reducing the amount of olive oil used or just using cooking spray, using reduced-fat or fat-free cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese. The difference in calories between regular and fat-free cream cheese is the difference between Tom Brady’s and Rex Grossman’s DVOA. Sure they’re both labeled “quarterback” on the box, but which one would you rather have on your team? (As you can see from the picture below, this batch was made with a nice Matt Ryan-style of soft cheese.)
Don’t worry if you’re not thrilled about a recipe involving vegetables this week. Think of Spicy Roasted Vegetable Dip as the Seahawks-Saints. It’s still football and it’s still a snack, even if two of their more notable fans in Sports-Blogatopia haven’t weighed in. Quite. Yet. And tomorrow you’re getting a recipe for a Creamy Hot Hoagie Dip, which we can all agree is much more Packers-Eagles/Jets-Colts-ish anyway. (Not assigning any food to the Ravens-Chiefs. Hope they the both starve.)
And just another quick note, as you can see this recipe is not being posted on the usual Football Foodie home over on Black and Gold Tchotchkes! Yes, there is a reason for this. Mostly because no one ever spells “tchotchkes” correctly. Also because I hated having some things on B>, other things on Tumblr, having to cross-post links, and really, I’ve owned my own domain for more than a decade. It should be more than a contact form for ex-boyfriends to email me to see if I’m single. (Still currently “no”, but if any of you guys feel like giving me back Tom Waits CDs or Villanova hat — you know who you are — I will take your call.) You can monitor how the construction is going over here.
Spicy Roasted Vegetable Dip
You will need…
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened. (Regular, reduced fat or fat-free or Neufchatel cheese.)
1 red pepper
1 medium white or yellow onion
1 good-sized sweet potato
2-3 gloves of fresh garlic
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, or cooking spray
2-3 tablespoons of tahini
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 350º.
Peel and chop the carrot sweet potato into 1/2-inch pieces, slice the onion into rings and remove the seeds from the red pepper and cut into strips. Leave the garlic cloves whole, but be sure to cut off any hard ends and tips. On a lined cookie sheet, toss the vegetables with either a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or spray until evenly coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, but don’t use more than a teaspoon of each.
Roast in a 350º oven for 30-40 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be soft, but remove from the oven if the onions look like they’re starting to burn at the edges. The peppers will take on a nice smokey taste while roasting, so don’t worry if they start to blacken at the edges. And look! You just saved yourself a few bucks using a fresh red pepper versus $4 to $5 for a jar of roasted peppers. That’s like getting a former head coach to take over your defense coordinator position in Houston in savings!
Set aside to cool for a few minutes for easier handling.
Either in a food processor, a traditional blender, or as seen here with a stick blender; puree together the roasted vegetables, tahini and softened cheese. If the dip is still too thick to blend, thin with either another tablespoon of olive oil or a couple of tablespoons cold water.
Add in cayenne pepper for heat, but be warned, you may be tempted to use more than 1/2 — or if you’re reckless a whole teaspoon — of cayenne right off the bat. Don’t. Give the cayenne pepper a while to open up in a few minutes and soon you’ll be in hot heaven. Put too much in and in thirty minutes you’ll have a healthy-ish dip that’s all heat and no flavor. May as well give up and order a pizza. And since you’ve already given up on your diet and ordered a pizza, throw in some cheese sticks, four lava cakes, a side of wings and three 2 liters of soda.
See? The road to failure is sprinkled with too much cayenne.
Serve with crudites and bread sticks.
I made this dish for the November 7 games, so if you’re like me and worry about the win-loss record of any particular snack (pizza dip still with the highest winning percentage for the Steelers, but has been retired so I don’t become the size of Ziggy Hood and Casey Hampton combined), it’s a winning dip for the Jets, Eagles, Bears, Saints, Falcons, Ravens, Steelers and Packers, but a losing dip for Patriots, Colts, Seattle (given) and Chiefs fans.
If you are, in fact, that superstitious.
Don’t forget to add your pictures to Football Foodies Flickr Group from last weekend and be sure to get some new shots this weekend.