The best Christmas parties include something unexpected. The unexpected makes it memorable. Do you remember the first time Santa made an appearance at a party unexpected? Do you remember the amazing food at that last holiday office party? Are the people at the office still talking about the secret ingredients in that dip? It’s usually the Chef’s secret ingredient, and that gives him job security. This year, you get to the be the Chef.
Budgets are tight at Christmas time, so spending money on something as silly as dip seems unnecessary. We have a family that loves to munch on chips and dips, as they wait for the big meal. A variety of chips can cost a lot, so saving money on the dip is important. We have successfully created amazing dips just using what we have in the refrigerator.
We start by placing 5 bowls on the kitchen counter. We put 2 cups of mayonnaise in each bowl. You will need to continue to test each bowl as you create the dips, so have several spoons ready so that you can use a clean spoon for tasting each time. Your goal is to have 5 different dips. Make one bowl salty. Make one bowl sweet. Make one bowl spicy and hot. Make one bowl mild. Make one bowl herby. You can choose from other flavors as well. Sometimes we make one meaty by adding steak sauce and bits of meat. Choose salty seasonings for the salty dip. Taste often so you don’t overdo it on the salt. Add herbs to tone it down. Add mustard for zing. Try honey or agave nectar for the sweet dip with fresh herbs. Use tabasco or other hot sauces for the hot and spicy dip. The hot and spicy dip is usually the favorite dip at our parties. For the mild dip, you might want to use lowfat yogurt instead of mayonnaise, for those who cannot tolerate mayonnaise. Use fresh herbs and make it salt free. It is nice to be able to cater to all of the dietary challenges of your guests.
Place each dip in it’s own beautiful bowl. If you want to create personal dips, fill several shot glasses or small pudding bowls with the dips so they can take one with them to the couch. You can even get shot glasses on small racks of 4, so you can give each guest a sample of each dip. If you have paper cupcake holders, you can use those for dip as well. Our guests love the ability to take dip with them on their plate in a small container.
Dips are only limited by your imagination, so go look in the refrigerator and get creative this holiday season. This year, you are the Chef with the secret ingredient that people will be talking about all year.