The past few years have seen seven glorious cook-offs with our friends, including the summery Taco & Margarita Cook-Off, the carb-heavy Lasagna Cook-Off, the gluttonous Macaroni & Cheese Cook-Off and the controversial Chili Cook-Off. Continuing this delicious tradition, we gathered again for our 8th competition: the 2017 Dip Cook-Off!
This theme was suggested by our friend Rebecca, and we pretty much left all options on the table. Folks could try their hand at hot dips, cold dips, sweet dips, savory dips. Smooth or chunky. Veggie or meat. Given all these options, and the relative ease of preparing most dips, we had a record fourteen entries! Our only requirement of the dip contenders was that they furnish a dip vehicle for their dips: the item that would get dip to mouths. In this way each dip chef could choose the perfect accompaniment for their creations.
I had hoped that a cook-off gathering in early June would mean an outdoors cook-off and perhaps some "dipping" in the pool! However this particular early June day turned out to be gray, cool and drizzling rain, and so our cook-off stayed indoors. Perhaps this chilly, rainy day (preceded by a chilly, rainy week) influenced the contenders as they chose their dip entries, because more than half of the dips were hot dips.
Some folks did get outside for a little hide-n-seek,
...followed by a game of "throw pine cones at the photographer." Good times!
Only about half of the dips and guests arrived on time for the competition. At first it was no problem for everyone to sit back and wait, choose a beer or pour a glass of Prosecco, amiably chat and pretend that they weren't dying to dig into the aromatic dips that filled the table and counter in the kitchen.
However, an hour or so later with at least six dips still en route, I faced the same frothing unrest that I witnessed at the Macaroni & Cheese Cook-Off. There I was, trying to hold back the crowd (including my husband and kids) from digging into the food until everyone arrived, and literally every other person at the party demanding access to the dips! Despite my efforts the dam cracked: one person went for it, chip in hand, digging into the hot Jalapeno Popper Dip.
When the crowd (including my husband and kids) saw this, there was no holding them back any longer: every dip was attacked. And I was hungry too so I let mob mentality take over and I tucked into dips along with everyone else!
Within a half-hour we did have all guests and dips on hand. They buried the table and half my kitchen counters, each with a numbered placard displaying the name of the dip. Here are the dip entries we had and along with entrant names (though we did not know these until after votes were tallied!)
A cold Herb Dip from Rebecca, served with Ruffles Potato Chips
Louisiana Hot Crab Dip from Eli, served with wheat crackers
The Original Taco Dip a.k.a OGTD from Anna and Lindsay, served with Mission Tortilla Strips
Hummus from our Logan, served with homemade (by Christian) pita chips
Jalapeno Popper Dip from Logan T. served with Santitas Tortilla Chips
Sarah Durning's Taco Dip from Haley, served with Santitas Tortilla Chips
A cold Curry Cheddar Spread from Rebecca, served with tortilla chips
Hummus from Charles, served with tortilla chips
Taco Bean Dip from Audrey, Dan and Emma, served with Tostitos Tortilla Scoops
French Onion Dip from Stephanie, served with Ruffles Potato Chips
Taco Dip from Logan T. served with Santitas Tortilla Chips
Roasted Veggie & Bacon Dip by me, served with Tostitos Tortilla Chips
Tatziki Dip from Rebecca, served with fresh pitas
Cream Cheese, Caramel and Toffee Dip from Casey, served with 'Nilla Wafers, plus red and green apple wedges.
It was a wonderful array of dips, and quite a range of flavors! Even though there were four types of Taco Dips, they were all different from each other: some hot, some cold, with beans and without, one with meat. The two hummus dips were also distinct from each other, and the Louisiana Hot Crab Dip was the only dip that had seafood! It surprised me that there was only one sweet dip entry, though there were three ways to enjoy it: with sweet, red apple wedges, tart Granny Smith apple slices, or classic 'Nilla wafer cookies.
As we went for round after round of dip sampling, it again brought me back to the atmosphere of the Macaroni & Cheese Cook-Off: rich, delicious and flavorful eats and all of us eating way too much of it!
As we made our way through our second, third, fourth helpings the ballots for voting were circulated. The categories for the votes were:
- Best Sweet Dip
- Best Savory Dip
- Best Hot Dip
- Best Cold Dip
- Biggest Surprise Dip
- Best Spicy Dip
- Best Overall Dip
I noticed that the majority of people easily made their choices for the first six categories, but all struggled with the Best Overall Dip. There was such a wide variety, and all the dips so tasty that choosing the "Oscar Award for Best Picture" equivalent for the Dip Cook-Off was a real challenge.
In the end though, we all managed to make our choice.
The votes were painstakingly analyzed our professional panel of judges, and finally the winners were announced:
Best Sweet Dip went to Casey with her Cream Cheese, Caramel & Toffee Dip!
Best Savory Dip went to Rebecca with her Curry Cheddar Spread!
Best Hot Dip went to our very own Haley with her entry, Sarah Durning's Easy Taco Dip!
Best Cold Dip went to Stephanie with her French Onion Dip!
The award for Biggest Surprise Dip went to Eli with his Louisiana Hot Crab Dip!
Best Spicy Dip AND Best Overall Dip: both of these titles were claimed by Logan T.'s Jalapeno Popper Dip! (Logan was not available for a photo, but some of the cutie kids in our crowd helped display her certificates!)
Here are the dip recipes and recipe links that were shared with me, just click below.
Taco Bean Dip
Check out these recipes and dip away!