The madness that is the Super Bowl is fixin' to invade our fair city. ESPN is taking over the better part of downtown Fort Worth, and there's all sorts of rumors floating around about credentialing stations at downtown perimeters - as in, you'll have to prove that you work downtown in order to enter downtown . . . fairly sure that that one falls under the heading of "urban myth." But I can confirm this one: one of the swankier restaurants in Sundance Square will not reserve a table for you in the days leading up to the game unless you sign a written contract, guaranteeing a minimum of $100 in revenue per person and obligating you to pay a $50-per-head breakage fee if you cancel inside of a stated window. Ouch. It's our general policy to eat in during the second half of January and the first half of February anyway, on account of the fact that the entire world invades the West side of Fort Worth for the Stock Show (well, apparently not the entire world - HALF of the entire world, and the other half is coming for the big game). So, no high-dollar dining contracts in our future, but we will do some entertaining at home, for sure, and one or more of these dips may be involved.
Provenance of this first one is long-since forgotten:
BAKED VIDALIA ONION DIP
2 T butter or margarine
¼ cup dry white wine
3 large Vidalia onions, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups (8-ozs.) shredded Swiss cheese
½ tsp. hot sauce
2 cups mayonnaise
1 (8-oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, and saute 10 minutes or until tender. Stir together shredded Swiss cheese and next 5 ingredients; stir in onion, blending well. Spoon mixture into a lightly-greased 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers. Yield: 6 cups.
The second recipe comes from The Mason Jar in my old Houston stomping grounds. Spinach and artichoke dip recipes are a dime a dozen, I know. But this is an ARTICHOKE AND SPINACH dip recipe. See, the order is switched. This stuff is the real deal – creamy, gooey goodness.
MASON JAR’S ARTICHOKE AND SPINACH DIP
2 lbs. fresh spinach
1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
4 T olive oil
2 T minced garlic
1½ tsps. seasoned salt
1 tsp. white pepper
½ cup whipping cream
1 heaping cup each grated Swiss and Monterey Jack cheese
Wash spinach; remove stems and finely chop leaves. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil and add chopped spinach. Remove from heat and stir 1 minute. Strain through colander; press out all water. Chop artichoke hearts into medium-sized pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add garlic and artichoke hearts and sauté. Add salt and pepper; stir well. Reduce heat to low and add spinach; mix well. Add cream and cheeses. Stir until well-mixed and heated. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and picante sauce.
The last recipe comes from Chez Z in my other old stomping grounds, Austin, Tejas, which, as I understand, continues under the name Chez Zee – but evidently without this recipe on their appetizer menu. Shame, because this stuff is really good. Guys like it.
CHEZ Z’s SAUSAGE CREAM CHEESE DIP
2 lbs. sausage
2 T chopped garlic
2 cups yellow onion, diced
2 cups red bell pepper, diced
2 cups green bell pepper, diced
2 cups celery
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
5 lbs. cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
Brown sausage and garlic. Add yellow onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, celery, cilantro, Rotel tomatoes, cumin and chili powder. Saute until vegetables are tender. Add cream cheese and sour cream. Cook until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with lots of chips. May be made ahead and reheated.