As a kid if someone said “party”, I made the following mental list:
1. Mylar balloons – sooooo many mylar balloons
2. Goodie bags – best part IMO
3. Streamers – because how else will they know it’s a PARTY?
4. Family sized bags of chips with a variety of dips – DUH
These were the elements essential to throwing a good party. Until one day when we all collectively decided that we were too grown up, too cool, too full of teenage angst to play party games, decorate joyfully, or provide salty, delicious snacks at our gatherings anymore. I get it, we were teenagers and didn’t know our heads from our asses. We were busy figuring out complicated social dynamics and simply did not have the brain space to decide between Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch (the correct answer is both, FYI).
But then we grew up, and you’d think that we’d handled some of our business and could get back to the important stuff like feeding people at parties. Well we did, kind of. Enter the era of the mini quiche. Sometime in my early 20’s the trend shifted from having nothing at a party (save for a keg) to serving complicated little nibbles alongside a usually untouched crudité platter. Occasionally these snacks were legit fancy, but mostly (because of our general lack of income) they were frozen mini quiches.
Now it’s 2018, and we have said goodbye to the mini-quiche, marched boldly through the hummus years, and are now sitting squarely in the age of the charcuterie platter – may its reign be long and victorious. But something else I’ve been seeing lately is the resurgence of a good old chip and dip. Maybe it’s because we realize that fancy doesn’t necessarily mean better. Or perhaps it’s a desperate need for nostalgic comfort during uncertain times? Whatever the reason, I’m happy to welcome it back.
Spicy Corn Queso Dip
- May 18, 2018
- 10 Servings
- 40 min
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- 3 jalapeño peppers
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 2 C frozen corn kernels, defrosted
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 3 T butter
- 3 T all-purpose flour
- 2 ¼ C whole milk
- 5 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 ½ C pepper jack cheese, grated (pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes to make grating easier)
- 1 ½ C sharp cheddar cheese, grated (ditto)
- 3-4 dashes hot sauce
- Step 1
- Over a medium-high flame on a gas burner, char the jalapeños whole, turning occasionally until they are black all over – this usually takes me about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a gas range, no worries, just put them in a dry, cast iron skillet and char in the pan. This takes longer but achieves the same effect.
- Step 2
- Place charred jalapeños in a plastic zipper bag and let steam while you continue with the rest of the recipe.
- Step 3
- In a cast iron skillet heat oil over a medium-high flame until shimmering, but not smoking. Add corn and spread into one even layer. Let corn cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes, then stir. It should be starting to brown and char in a few places – it may even pop a bit.
- Step 4
- Add salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Step 5
- Lower heat to medium-low. Add butter to skillet. When completely melted add flour and whisk until no dry flour remains. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
- Step 6
- Add milk, slowly at first, whisking constantly to incorporate the flour mixture. You’ll notice at the beginning it will start to thicken dramatically, just keep adding more milk and whisk thoroughly to avoid lumps.
- Step 7
- Once all the milk is in, bring to a gentle boil and let cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Step 8
- Turn the heat down to low and add all the cheeses. Stir until everything is completely melted. Turn off heat.
- Step 9
- Rescue the jalapeños from the plastic bag and using the edge of a knife blade, scrape the charred skin off of the peppers. They don’t have to be pristine so don’t worry too much.
- Step 10
- Remove the stems and finely chop the jalapeños. I left the seeds in. If you’d like something milder go ahead and de-seed them before you chop them.
- Step 11
- Add the jalapeños and hot sauce to the queso and stir to combine. Taste and add more jalapeño if desired. Season with salt if necessary.
- Step 12
- Serve with all the chips. If you want to make this ahead, just let the finished queso cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between each.