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PHOTO: John Ivanko/farmsteadchef.com
Maybe it’s the winter chill here in Wisconsin, but everything we eat now seems to be a warm dish. Save the sangria for the summer and give us a hot Tom and Jerry or a cup of beer-and-cheese soup—this time of year, it’s all about cozy comfort food.
This is why when Lisa’s mom, an avid home chef, first made a variation of this taco dip recipe, we did not give her our usual cheer of delight. The tasty flavor combos were right on (how could anything with cheese and bacon on top not taste good), but something was missing: heat. Not from the chili pepper perspective but as in melted cheese and bacon. Now that’s a combo made for snacks worthy of the Super Bowl, whether or not the Green Bay Packers are playing.
Fortunately, “Grandma Gu,” as our son, Liam, dubbed Lisa’s mom when he was a toddler, is open to input. We popped her “concusion” into the microwave for a few minutes, and that’s all the dish needed to take it from an average to addictive appetizer. Why “concusion?” That’s Grandma Gu’s word for “concoction,” thanks to English being her second language, Latvian her native tongue. Her word slip-ups give our family many epic humor moments, especially in the food department, such when she called soda water “struedel water” or zucchini “jaccuzi.” We’re all still trying to forget the day she served “placenta,” which was actually a tasty polenta dish but somehow that alternative name has been engraved in our minds. Fortunately, there were no word hang-ups with Toasty Taco Dip and she serves this recipe throughout the winter.
Take note, the taco sauce used in this recipe is different than most salsas. It is a smoother sauce with the consistency of thin ketchup and without pieces tomatoes or onions. You could substitute salsa for the taco sauce, but the dip will have a chunkier consistency. Now that we’re hooked on this dip, we’ll be experimenting with making our own taco sauce this summer with garden ingredients.
Mix cream cheese and sour cream until well blended. Spread mixture thinly on a 12-inch plate or large platter that can fit in your microwave.
Remove seeds from tomatoes, and drain out the liquid and pulp. (You don’t want the tomatoes too watery.) Combine tomatoes, green onions and pepper in a bowl. Spread vegetable mixture over cheese layer.
Pour taco sauce over vegetable mixture. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and bacon on top.
Warm up approximately 5 minutes in your microwave or until cheese has melted. If you have an open-proof dish, you can also warm up in a 200-degree-F oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve with tostada chips.