I am definitely a fan of snack foods. Potato chips, pretzels, cheese doodles, tortilla chips, popcorn, plaintain chips - throughout my life, there have been many moments where all I can think about are these salty, crunchy bites. And when you live alone and choose to just eat out of the bag, it can be very dangerous.
These snacks are almost designed so that we don't want to stop - the salt makes them extra pleasing, and the amount of food in the bag actually doesn't seem so bad when you pop it open and realize that air took up more than half of it. Or you eat so fast that you aren't very full and don't see the harm in a few more. Whatever the reason, we ultimately know that snacks are better in moderation - they keep us healthier, last longer, and give us something to look forward to again in the future. But how can we be certain we savor them?
Pair them with a dip! At least, that's my strategy. Oh, and put them on a plate too. That way, you have just a little more control when you decide whether or not to take another handful. But let's get back to the dip. While these snacks are great on their own, they serve as wonderful vessels for the specific type of magical flavor combinations that only can be arrived at in the form of a dip; they also balance each other out, with the saltiness of the chip adding another layer of intrigue to the dip, and the dip extending the flavor of the chip further in a very desirable manner. And it would be weird to eat a dip on its own, though you can often catch me with a spoon when no one else is watching. So put the two together and you have a match made in heaven! Now here is the best part - salty snacks go well with so many different varieties of dips, so you can have endless dip partnerships to always keep you satisfied.
Over July 4th weekend, I was craving potato chips, and fortunately for me, we did have potatoes. Another vegetable like carrots or beets would have also worked, but I really wanted those potatoes! So I immediately went to work and made a potato chip tuile (why not?!), which in theory should have limited me to only a small amount of food. Of course, after taking the photo above, I did pile in the leftover tuiles, so I still indulged a small amount :) While they were was cooking, I scavenged my fridge for the best dip ingredients.
My all time favorite dip is made of caramelized onions, mayonnaise, crème fraîche, and salt. I LOVE caramelized onions. They add sweetness to anything, and in this case, texture too. Plus, they make your kitchen smell divine (and the rest of your house too if you forget to close the doors to your other rooms). Because this dip is so simple yet refined, it will certainly elevate snack time to the next level.
It is also a great base - sometimes I will add roasted garlic, thyme, chives, oregano, spices, or an infused oil to boost its flavor and change the color to make your snack plate more exciting. If you are not a fan of mayo or want to change the profile to be more sour, switch it out for yogurt or sour cream, or combine them all together! As long as the dip stays creamy, it will fulfill its purpose. In this case, I utilized yogurt, caramelized red onion, harissa oil, and garlic scapes for extra crunch.
My other dip also kept the sour theme, including goat cheese, horseradish, lemon, and salt. This one is super simple if you remember to let the goat cheese temper ahead of time! Otherwise, it will be hard to incorporate the other ingredients easily, and it also will be difficult to pick up with a chip. However, once the goat cheese is soft , you just need to add in the grated horseradish, lemon zest (for a floral hint)/juice (for that extra bit of citrus tang)/both (for a suitable combo), and season to taste. Goat cheese goes great with some dried herbs, so feel free to incorporate any oregano, chervil, thyme, basil, fennel seeds, or Herbes de Provence from your pantry. And change up the citrus too. Lime, grapefruit, orange - they all have a unique brightness that can really make your goat cheese sing!
These dips are just two of the endless options you can make. And they take almost no effort at all. You can literally transform your chip game by just exploring what's in your fridge and mixing a few simple ingredients in a bowl. No need to stoop down to the store-bought options anymore - you have the power to create something much more special.
If you feel you need extra guidance and want to try out my dips, I have outlined my strategy below. And if you want to make your own chip tuiles too, I've demonstrated that quick process through some pictures. Either way, you will certainly have a great time and be convinced to stick with homemade dips in the future.
Caramelized Onion Dip
Yogurt | Red Onion | Extra Virgin Olive Oil | Salt | Garlic Scapes | Harissa Oil
Small dice the red onions.
Cover the bottom of a small pot with oil. Add the onions and caramelize them over low heat, stirring often so they cook evenly. When finished, season with salt - if you do saw in the beginning, it will draw out moisture and cause the onions to steam rather than caramelize. Let cool and do not drain any excess oil.
Combine the yogurt and red onions (and any extra oil from cooking). Adjust seasoning as necessary.
Top with thinly sliced garlic scapes and a light drizzle of harissa oil.
If you want to make your own mayo and crème fraîche, you can follow my recipes for that here:
2 egg yolks | small spoonful of Dijon mustard | 2 cups canola oil | white wine vinegar | salt
In a small robot coupe, place the yolks and Dijon, or if you are making it by hand, place in a small bowl; take a kitchen towel, wet it slightly, and shape it into a circle the size of the bottom of the bowl to use as a base and keep it from moving around on the counter. Slowly drizzle in the oil while the machine is running to make an emulsion, adding some cold water if necessary to prevent it from breaking. Without the food processor, slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking vigorously, adjusting with cold water the same way.
Season with vinegar and salt.
1 cup heavy cream | 2 tablespoons buttermilk | salt (to taste)
Stir heavy cream and buttermilk together in a glass jar and cover tightly with a towel or cheesecloth (something breathable). Let sit at room temperature overnight or until thick (between 8 to 24 hours typically). Cap with a lid and refrigerate until cold.
Season with salt if desired.
Lemon Goat Cheese Dip
Goat Cheese | Fresh Horseradish | Lemon Zest | Salt
Take the goat cheese out of the fridge and let soften.
Peel and grate horseradish.
Zest the lemon.
Once the goat cheese can be mixed easily, add the grated horseradish and lemon zest, saving some zest for garnish.
Season with salt.
Top with remaining zest.
Rainbow Potato Tuile
Rainbow Fingerling Potatoes (can be substituted with Yukon Gold or Idaho, or even another vegetable like sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, celeriac, butternut squash, sunchokes, or turnips) | Corn Starch | Water | Salt
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Slice the potatoes 1/16" thin on a mandoline, separating each color into different groups.
Whisk together a slurry with some cornstarch and a bit of cold water. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Layer the potatoes on top of each other in a desired color arrangement, brushing the slurry where each piece will overlap to help them stay together when cooked.
Trim the edges so they are straight.
Season with salt.
Lightly grease a muffin tin (the smaller the muffin holes, the more curved your tuile will be).
Use a knife or offset spatula to help lift the potatoes and maintain their appearance as you arrange them in the muffin tin.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes/until they are crisp and hold together.