Monday, December 13, 2010

Farmhouse Cooking....A Great Dish for Your Holiday Gathering

   When my children were little, my father-in-law loved to have us over every chance he got; particularly Sunday afternoons. When the daylight started to fade and we started to think toward home, he would coerce my mother-in-law into making us his favorite snack food for us all- a Mexican Pizza.
   With all the kids gathered around the table, patiently waiting the tasty dish, laughter and teasing was always on order. Poppy, as he was affectionately called had an ornery sense of humor. (Seems our farm boy has inherited this.) Being fond of keeping it spicy, Nana would place peppers on only half of the dish and leave the rest milder for the kids. Memories were made around the table back in those far away days.
   My father-in-law has long since gone to Glory, but our farm boy loves to makes his seven layered dip - and always with fond memories of our times with Poppy. All around the table, Tostitos in hand, let the farm boy share his favorite recipe; a great dish for your holiday gathering.

Mexican Pizza (or Seven Layer Dip)

Large can of bean dip
small jar of salsa
one container of guacamole
small container of sour cream
shredded cheese
sliced jalapenos
round pizza pan

**I always make two.

   Start with the bean dip. Using a spoon or spatula, spread the bean dip on the bottom of the pizza pan.

   Once you have a nice foundation, spoon the salsa over the beans in a thin but even layer.

   Here is where it gets tricky (for me anyway). When adding the next guacamole and sour cream layers your goal is to have clean, distinct layers- not all smeared together. The tip my farm boy and mother-in-law give is to dot tiny spoonfuls all over the surface. Using feather light strokes, connect the dots to create a smooth layer.

   Cheese. Let me admit; this time I did not have the cheese we typically use (fine shredded, Mexican blend) so we used cheddar- still tasted wonderful! Gently sprinkle a healthy layer of cheese all over the top. For me, this is a life saver because I have typically made a mess of the sour cream and guacamole layer by now. Cheese hides a multitude of impatience!

   Last but not least, dot some sliced jalapenos around the top and you're finished. This is only six layers; some recipes call for sliced olives or chopped onion as the seventh layer. I do not use either one- it's just our preference.
   Serve this up with a healthy dose of friends and a few bags of corn chips (Tostidos Scoops are wonderful with this). Didn't that farm boy do a wonderful job with the layers?

   Let me say, we use a 15.5 inch disposable round pan when this dish is made and taken to a gathering; it's a great size, no washing, but it is flimsy. To transport- place a firm piece of cardboard or a regular pan underneath and cover with plastic wrap.
   We often use our own salsas and guacamole due to a cilantro allergy in our family, however I will tell you, the recipe calls for Pace picante sauce and Dean's guacamole dip. In making two pizzas, I generally leave one without jalapenos but keep a dish of them on the side.
   Whether you're gathering with friends, visiting with relatives, or having a house full of hungry teens Mexican Pizza is always a big hit.  Go make some memories around the table with this great dish for your holiday gathering.

simplychele and the farm boy
With loving memories of T. A. Scaife, better know as Poppy.

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