Tex-Mex Chips and Dips

tomatoesPeople. I don’t care about football, and I’m not afraid to say so. I’m not one of those who doesn’t know anything about it and comments on their uniform designs asks what the lines on the ground mean. I’m even learning about the little flags and two-point conversions (maybe), but I can spend a remarkable stretch of time staring at a football game on TV without taking it in. It holds my attention so poorly, that sometimes I put it on even when no one is around since it forces me to concentrate on my school work.


crisscrossI’m not a football hater, though, I’m neutral, and I think that’s an important distinction to make to avoid assumptions. For instance, while I am ambivalent about football as a sport, I like attending games (they have nachos), and even though I don’t care about trades or drafts (unless they involve RGIII–sic ‘em, Bears), I find the idea of fantasy leagues kinda cool.

peeledroughchopStill, I can’t pay much attention to a game that doesn’t involve that good ol’ Baylor Line. Take now, for example. The Super Bowl is happening as I type. I was involved with the early stages when wings and ribs were happening. Now that my role in dip production is over, however, I had to make a tough choice — blog on the sofa between swigs, or retreat to my room to watch Blade Runner? Typing a blog post seemed the more social option.

onionsavocadoFor the party, my job was the ubiquitous dip trio. Salsa, guac, and queso. As the resident Texan in our igloo, I rose to the challenge.

Now, I tried blitzing up all the ingredients for the salsa, as I’ve seen the kitchen guys do in one of the restaurants where I used to be a server. It was the way to go–so quick! For the guacamole, I used lemon instead of lime, since I heard Eva Longoria mention in an interview that lemons were more common on the border where she grew up, and were used more frequently in guacamole. Well, I don’t know if she was telling the truth, but I know I like using lemon better.

avocadosbowlAs for the queso, I can’t answer for what I did. In my defense, every one in Texas was doing it. I have to say, the others at this New England household didn’t really go for it, but you know the other Texan and I huddled around the bubbling pot until the halftime show started–yeah, B!!!

Super Fresh Salsa
3 large tomatoes
½ small red onion (about ½ cup)
½ jalapeno, seeds removed
¼ cup chopped cilantro, no stems
1 teaspoon sugar
1 shake cayenne pepper
1 shake cumin
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt & freshly-ground pepper, to taste

1. Peel tomatoes (remove stem bits, cut cross at the bottom, boil for 15 seconds, then dunk in ice water). Remove skin, seeds, and googly bits. Chop roughly.

2. Roughly chop onion and jalapeno. Add tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and cilantro to food processor. Blitz until smooth (or to desired texture).

3. Add sugar, cayenne, cumin, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Add seasonings to taste.

Improves with age! Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

5 avocados
1 large tomato, diced
½ small red onion, finely chopped
½ jalapeno, seeds removed, finely chopped
¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 shakes cumin
2 shakes cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt & freshly-ground pepper to taste

1. Peel tomato (optional), remove seeds, and dice. Finely chop red onion and jalapeno. Roughly chop cilantro. Add to bowl.

2. Half avocados, remove pits, slice flesh and scoop out with spoon. Add to other ingredients. In the bowl, mash the avocados with a fork, then mix to combine all ingredients.

3. Add lemon, Tabasco, cumin, cayenne, and paprika. Taste, and add salt and pepper. To taste, regulate lemon juice, cayenne, and Tabasco content.

If not serving immediately, keep refrigerated with thin lemon slices covering the surface (to prevent browning).

Chili con Queso! (Not pictured because of the carnage.)
Block of Velveeta
15 oz. can Ro-Tel (canned diced tomatoes & green chilies)
½ 15 oz. can turkey chili with beans

It doesn’t matter what you do. Just make sure the ratio resembles 4 parts Velveeta, 2 parts Ro-Tel, and 1 part chili. 4:2:1, the Queso Ratio.

1. Chop the Velveeta. Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Heat on low with lid, stirring periodically until cheese is melted. Alternately, heat in crock pot on low with lid.

Serve dips with tortilla chips and celery sticks (who eats those, though?).



  1. I’m the other Texan. That’s me! I’m famous!

    Everything was so delicious Sunday night. Thanks for having me over!

  2. Uh – no way we always have a blast when you come over–whether it involves the Xbox OR cheese product. Was everyone else not weirdly underwhelmed with the queso, though? I guess you have to grow up with it.

  3. […] I peeled my tomatoes because I don’t like when the sauce gets full of the peels. Decide for yourself. Here’s how I […]

  4. […] If you don’t know what I mean by queso, it’s not just cheese. It’s this soupy, saucy, melty cheese that we Texans bring out with the salsa and the guac. I wrote about in the early days of Crandlecakes here. […]

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