Party Recipe: Golden Onion Dip

The SpreadFor a recent big 5-0 birthday party, I made some food (read about it here).

I promised to share the recipes with you, and here’s an easy one: Golden Onion Dip. Its slightly sweet onion flavor is reminiscent of the onion dip in the plastic container served alongside potato chips at backyard barbecues, but it also has a jazzy, sophisticated taste and mouth-feel from the fresh yellow onions simmered to golden perfection and a dash of vermouth (which cooks off).

This texture of this dip is really more like a spread, because of the cream cheese.  It is fresh, creamy and easy to make, and is good with chips, crackers or fresh vegetables. It serves admirably as the requisite dip in an appetizer buffet. It makes a very nice spread for a turkey or roast beef sandwich – think holiday leftovers! My recipe is a riff on this one from Food & Wine magazine, which is also quite good (but slightly bland).

Make the Golden Onion Dip it the day before you plan to serve it, if possible, because the onion taste develops nicely overnight as the flavors “marry”. This recipe makes enough for a crowd and can easily be halved; the amount in the picture below is about a third of a recipe.



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (I use the slicing disk of the food processor)
  • 1/8 cup dry vermouth or vodka
  • pinch of white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 8 oz. log of cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

Set out the sour cream and cream cheese so that they can get to room temperature.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a skillet large enough to sauté the onions, then add the onions and cook until they are golden and very soft, stirring to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. This will take more than 20 minutes, and you may need to reduce the heat. When the onions are done, add the sugar and vermouth, turning the heat up slightly, and cook until the vermouth has evaporated. Set the pan aside and let the onions cool.

Once cool, coarsely chop the onions, either on a cutting board or in your food processor. (If you use the food processor, it will only take a couple of pulses; be sure not to puree the onions.) In a bowl large enough for all of the ingredients, add the onions, sour cream, cream cheese, parsley (reserving a little for the garnish), onion powder, garlic powder, salt and Worcestershire and stir to mix well. Add pepper and taste, adding more salt if necessary.  Garnish with the reserved parsley, cover and refrigerate until about a half hour before you are ready to serve; the dip tastes better if it isn’t refrigerator-cold.

Note: yellow onions are the perfect choice for this recipe; white onions are a bit too sharp and red ones would mess with the color.


This spread-like dip has a rich and heavy texture from the cream cheese, making it perfect for fresh veggie dippers; but beware, a potato chip would break in it. You can substitute 1 1/2 cups of sour cream (for a total of 3 cups) for a looser, smoother dip that’s more like the traditional onion dip in texture if you’re planning to serve it with chips.


That’s the onion dip from the party on the bottom right (above); I didn’t get a good picture of it in the party spread before we started diving in! Next time…   or, if you make it, please send me your photo!

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Revisiting a Recipe for Fall Parties: Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread

I love it when folks make my recipes! We had a big wedding in our family late this summer and celebrated ahead of time with a shower here at Glover Gardens. The nuptial couple took on the task of making one of the appetizers, my Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread. Their version was better than mine! (I think it was the love.) I’m revisiting this recipe right now because it is perfect for fall parties.

So – a little bit about this dish. It is salty, tangy, creamy, super-garlicky and fresh, with the brightness of fresh tomatoes and herbs. As you’ll see in the original post, I’ve seen guests fight each other for the last few bites.  Really.

In 2015, I captured and published the recipe I’d been making for years
2017: the engaged (and now married) couple makes my recipe – so colorful!
Version 2
The Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread is a great addition to an appetizer table

In addition to being an uber crowd-pleaser, this dish is easy to make! It is perfect for cocktail parties or wine tastings.

See the original post with the recipe: Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Found Recipe: Smoked Salmon 7-Layer Dip

I’ve blogged before about the Grill-Meister’s smoked salmon.  It is amazingly good.  He makes it for all major holidays and any time we have a party; I think there would be a revolt if the smoked salmon was not on the appetizer menu at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It is expected.  (Did I say it’s amazingly good?)

fullsizerenderMy Sister-by-Choice sent me a text last month that got me to thinking that the Grill-Meister needs to start making a double batch:  “Not that there’s ever any leftover smoked salmon that Tom makes, and it’s delicious by itself, but saw this in the Bon Appétit Thanksgiving edition magazine and thought of you.”  She attached a picture of this recipe from Bon Appétit:  Smoked Salmon 7-Layer Dip.

Yum!  I didn’t have to twist the Grill-Meister’s arm to get him to double up on the salmon, and the dip was as good as it looked.  The double batch thing will be permanent.

fullsizeoutput_321.jpegServed with Belgian endive and little toasts, this 7-layer dip is very festive and just right for a holiday or cocktail party.  Thanks for the tip, Sister-by-Choice!  What else ya got?

Photo by Alex Lau for Bon Appetit, published online with the recipe

I published the Grill-Meister’s smoked salmon recipe and process as a gift to all cooks who have a smoker or want a reason to buy one.  Find it here:  Tom’s Smoked Salmon .

Creamy Jalapeño Dip, AKA Stephanie’s Green Dip – Great for Game Day

My colleague and friend Stephanie makes the most marvelous dip, and we pester her to bring a batch to us at least monthly.  It’s ‘formal’ name is Creamy Jalapeño Dip, but we mostly refer to it as Green Dip.  And sometimes, Crack Dip (because it’s addictive).  It’s that good!

Stephanie brings a big ol’ batch of Green Dip to work with a couple of giant bags of tortilla chips and some veggie dippers, puts it all out in a common area, and backs away slowly: then we attack it like we’ve been starved for months.

Stephanie makes the Green Dip / Crack Dip with her son Josh, and together, they won the dip category of our Halloween Dips and Desserts competition at work, a bit of team-building fun we had together last month.  Our contest was patterned after the Food Network’s show Chopped, and yours truly was a judge.  Fun!

The award-winning Green Dip in our Halloween Chopped-style competition

A self-described “Team Mom, Stephanie is generous with her time and her Green Dip, and has provided the recipe so that I can share it with all of you.  It is PERFECT for a post-Thanksgiving football weekend (add it to your tailgate party!), and great on a turkey sandwich.  In fact, there are tons of ways you can use this dip – see the list at the end of the post.

Stephanie was the food stylist for this post, providing the photo below.  I think she might need to be a guest blogger in the Glover Gardens Cookbook!

The “official” photo for the Green Dip

Creamy Jalapeno Dip, AKA Stephanie’s Green Dip


  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1-oz. packet of ranch dressing mix
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (mild or hot, depending on your taste)
  • 2-4 fresh jalapenos (depends on pepper size and desired heat), cut into pieces; remove and save seeds and spines
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, pulled off of stems
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 pinches cumin

Cooking Instructions

Throw all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth.  Add jalapeno seeds and spines to increase heat as desired. Serve as an appetizer with chips or fresh veggies.

And there’s more…

The best thing about the Green Dip is using the leftovers.  It will keep for about 10 days in the fridge, which is good, because this recipe makes a large batch.  Since Stephanie started gifting us with this dip (including once as a get-well gift after a hospitalization), I have used it in various and delightful ways:

  • As a spread for a turkey sandwich, chicken breast sandwich, or just about any sandwich (think Green Dip BLT)
  • Whipped into leftover mashed potatoes for a whole new take on them
  • In scrambled eggs, before scrambling – a couple of tablespoons provides a creamy richness, and just the right bit of spice
  • Swirled into creamed corn
  • As a condiment on fish tacos, shrimp tacos, any tacos, fajitas
  • Tossed with chopped chicken breast and minced red onions for a quick chicken salad
  • As a dip for boiled shrimp in place of – or addition to – cocktail sauce or remoulade
  • As a salad dressing – it’s great with romaine and crisp, brightly colored bell peppers
  • As a base for a Southwest-style white pizza
  • In potato salad, as the creamy base
  • Swirled into or dolloped on top of a vegetable soup like my Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with a Hint of Cumin
  • As a spread for my Tuna or Salmon Burgers
  • In place of mayo, plain yogurt or sour cream in a variety of other uses

The final say…

There are tons of recipes for dips like this out there on the internet, but Stephanie’s is The BOMB.  It’s the only version of a creamy jalapeño dip I need, because she and her son Josh have fine-tuned this recipe over the years they’ve been making it.  Trust me on this.

Thank you, Stephanie!

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook


Found Recipe: Churrasco’s Chimichurri

I love to create in my kitchen on weekends, take a bunch of photos, and then recreate the yumminess in posts here in the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog.  Alas, there are no kitchen creations to post this weekend, as I have an early morning flight for a business trip tomorrow and am busy preparing and packing.  I do have a recipe to share, though:  Churrasco’s chimichurri sauce.  Have you had chimichurri before?  It is sooooo good – a foodie-worthy sauce that is very simple to make.  Churrasco’s is a Houston-based South American restaurant chain, and they deliver the real South American goods.  “Churrasco” means beef, or more generally, grilled meats, in both Spanish and Portugese.

Photo from Food and Wine

That green sauce on the steak is chimichurri sauce, and it is wonderful.  Fresh, green and garlicky in its olive oil base, it brings a brightness to the steak.  I can’t get enough chimichurri, and it is good on so many other things!  Scrambled eggs, fajita tacos, grilled chicken, as a dip…the possibilities are endless.  In addition to topping steak with it, Churrasco’s serves chimichurri with dried plantain chips as an appetizer.


Whenever I go to Churrasco’s, I bring home plantains and chimichurri sauce, to continue the South American party at home.

There are lots of chimichurri recipes out there, but I am loyal to this one from Churrasco’s, published in Food and Wine magazine.  Simple and delicious, it has only four ingredients and can be made in less than five minutes.  Although the recipe calls for curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley is also excellent, and you can substitute cilantro for a different south-of-the-border flavor.


2 bunches curly parsley, thick stems discarded
1/3 cup garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Refrigerate, but allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Here’s a link to the recipe in Food and Wine, which also has instructions for the steak.  Another of my finds at Churrasco’s was the Pisco Sour.

Found Recipe: McCormick’s Remoulade

Shrimp with Remoulade Dipping Sauce_Recipe
The original McCormick’s recipe, served as suggested with boiled shrimp.  (Photo from McCormick’s site.)

My Aunt-Mom turned me on to this terrific and easy recipe for remoulade a few years ago. The recipe on the McCormick’s web site suggests serving it with boiled shrimp, which is how I first encountered it, but it is good in many, many other ways:

  • As the spread on a tuna or salmon burger
  • As a dip for Tom’s Smoked Salmon
  • As a sauce for crab cakes or fried fish
  • As a substitute for ketchup with french fries or onion rings
  • As a condiment for prime rib
  • Tossed with pasta and a few veggies for a quick pasta salad
  • Mixed with eggs yolks and chopped green onions to make the filling for deviled eggs
  • As a sauce for fried green tomatoes, fried zucchini, or really, any deep-fried dish
  • As a dip for crisp fresh veggies, like baby carrots, chilled asparagus, celery sticks, bell pepper rings or green onion stalks
  • Mixed with grated cheese to use as a filling for omelets

My modified version is presented below, and there’s a link to the original at the bottom of the post.

Ingredients and Cooking Instructions

  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, ground chipotle pepper or smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Mix all ingredients in small bowl until well blended.  Chill until ready to serve.

Variation:  use light sour cream instead of light mayo.

Remoulade ingredients.  I like to used the Zatarain’s creole mustard that the recipe recommends.
Remoulade is a marvelous sauce for Tom’s Smoked Salmon. Click here for the smoked salmon recipe.
The remoulade is a great condiment for tuna burgers.


To see the original recipe from McCormick’s, click here.

Smoked Salmon Spread

Smoked Salmon Spread in SmorgasbordWe love salmon at Glover Gardens.  Smoked, baked, grilled – you name it.  Occasionally, there are leftovers, which we regard with glee, because that means we can make this salmon spread.  We prefer to make it with Tom’s Smoked Salmon, but any smoked or cooked salmon will do.

The deceptively simple recipe yields a rich and sophisticated spread that is fancy enough for company.  The bright flavors of the lime juice and zest combine beautifully with the briny, salty capers and smoky earthiness of the salmon.

The lime juice and zest bring a bright citrus taste to the salmon spread, which balances nicely with the smoky salmon and briny capers
The lime juice and zest bring a bright citrus taste to the salmon spread, which balances nicely with the smoky salmon and briny capers

In addition to being great on crackers, there are lots of other ways to serve this spread:

  • As a filling for finger sandwiches:  spread it thickly on OroWheat Sandwich Thins, add thinly sliced red onion and cut into quarters – easy peasy!
  • As a stuffing for hollowed-out cherry tomatoes, another quick and elegant appetizer
  • On bagels
  • Smeared on green apple slices
  • As an omelet filling
  • Instead of tartar sauce for fried shrimp or oyster po’boys

In fact, it’s so good on so many things that you might just want to make a double batch.

Smoked Salmon Spread

Cooking Time:  15 minutes; Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

There are two versions of this recipe:  the spread and the dip.  The only difference is the sour cream: if you want a dip, add it, if you want a spread, don’t.

Gathering ingredients before you get started saves lots of time and frustration
Gathering ingredients before you get started saves lots of time and frustration

4 ounces or more of wood-smoked salmon (or any smoked or cooked salmon), skinless
1/4 small red onion, roughly chopped
8 oz. of cream cheese (can substitute reduced-fat or Neufatschel)
2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. capers, separated
Zest from 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
6 drops of Tabasco
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sour cream (optional – only if you want a dip)
1 tbsp. finely chopped tomato and/or red onion (optional, for garnish)

The salmon spread, pre-garnish.

Cooking Instructions
Pulse the salmon in the food processor or blender until it is finely ground, then add the red onion, cream cheese, 2 tbsp. of capers, lime zest, lime juice, Tabasco and salt.  Process until almost smooth.  If you are making the dip rather than the spread, add the sour cream and process until just mixed.

The spread is delicious on water crackers.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the additional capers and optional tomato and/or red onion. Serve with crackers, baguette slices or pumpernickel toasts.

Note:  If you want a chunkier spread and have extra salmon, coarsely chop up to 2 oz. more of it by hand and stir it into the spread after you remove it from the food processor.

If you don’t smoke your own salmon or have leftover grilled or baked, you can buy 4 oz. packages of smoked salmon in the refrigerated section next to the seafood counter at most major grocery stores.

Copyright Glover Gardens 2015

Glover Gardens Salsa

Published in 1994, this cookbook still rocks.
Published in 1994, this cookbook still rocks.  Find her recipes online.

I might be a Condiment-aholic.  I love-love-love condiments. Especially those with southwest flavors.  One of the simplest, oldest and best of the southwest condiments is salsa. I found a wonderful fresh salsa recipe years ago in a cookbook called Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen, her Garden Fresh Salsa (click here).  Over the years, I added a little of this and subtracted a little of that, and pretty soon it was my own recipe.

The pepper harvest during the summer is bright and colorful and SPICY.
The pepper harvest during the summer is bright and colorful and SPICY.

I love to make it in the summer when the garden is overflowing with peppers.

Salsa goes with just about everything!

Here are some of the ways you can use this salsa, in addition to the comfort-food snack of tortilla chips and salsa:

  • As a quick sauce for a flat-iron steak
  • On grilled meats, grilled fish or grilled vegetables
  • Mixed with olive oil and Zippy Southwest (or your favorite spice mix) to make a marinade
  • Mixed with cream cheese for a quick spread
  • Poured over a goat cheese log for an easy but elegant appetizer
  • Atop poached eggs, toast and bacon for a variation of Eggs Benedict
  • As a dollop on top of hot tomato soup
  • Added to ground beef before you shape it into burgers
  • As a spread for a southwestern turkey panini or in a grilled cheese sandwich
  • And the obvious – as a required condiment for all sorts of yummy Tex-Mex or Mex-Mex dishes, like quesadillas, tacos, burritos, taquitos, etc.
This garden-fresh salsa has beautiful colors and a bold spicy taste

There’s a long list of ingredients in this recipe, but this salsa comes together quickly.

1 bunch of cilantro, washed, ends removed
Leaves from 4-5 sprigs of fresh oregano
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil (10-15 leaves)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 whole pickled jalapenos or 2 tbsp sliced pickled jalapenos (choose your desired level of heat)
2-6 fresh chile peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, roughly chopped
½ Spanish onion, roughly chopped
28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained (reserve the juice)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of honey
2 tsp of coarse sea salt
¼ tsp cumin
1 cup of fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, roughly chopped

Cooking Instructions
Assemble cilantro, oregano, basil, garlic and pickled jalapenos in the food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.

Add the chile peppers, bell pepper and onion and pulse 8-10 times until the additional ingredients are about a medium dice. Add drained tomatoes and pulse about 4 times.

Add lime juice, vinegar, honey, salt, cumin and ½ cup of the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes, then pulse several times. Pour into a medium bowl and then add the chopped fresh tomatoes.

Stir, taste and adjust seasonings, adding more of the reserved juice from the tomatoes if you’d like the consistency to be thinner.

Makes about 5 cups, but doesn’t last long!

Herbs, garlic and pickled jalapeños are processed first.
Herbs, garlic and pickled jalapeños are processed first.
Peppers and onions are added next.
Peppers and onions are added next.
This is how it looks after the peppers and onions are added.
This is how it looks after the peppers and onions are added.
The fresh tomatoes are added at the end.
The fresh tomatoes are added at the end.
The result is a yummy, spicy salsa that can be enjoyed right away.
The result is a yummy, spicy salsa that can be enjoyed right away.

You can play with this salsa in all kinds of ways.  Substitute cider vinegar for more of an acidic kick, or double the lime juice and leave out the vinegar altogether for a super-fresh citrus taste. Adding a chipotle pepper instead of the pickled jalapeños will give the salsa a sultry smokiness. Leave in the seeds and ribs of the peppers  if you want to increase the heat, or toss in a pinch or two of red pepper flakes at the end.  

You can serve the salsa immediately, but it’s amazing if you let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour or two and the let it come to room temperature before serving.

Copyright 2015, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread

I like to browse in libraries and stumbled on a very old Italian cookbook years ago that didn’t have any pictures, but enticed me with stories of how each recipe would  fit into the typical Italian family’s day.  One of the them was simply goat cheese slices topped with olive oil that had been flavored with fresh oregano and garlic, and it would be available in the kitchen in the late afternoon for grazing while dinner was being prepared.  Yum!  I played with the recipe over the next few years and this is my kicked-up version.

I’ve actually seen guests compete for the last bite.  It’s that good.

Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread is great on water crackers in any season
Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread is a burst of fresh flavors atop salty, creamy goat cheese

1 8 oz. log of goat cheese
1 tbsp. capers
1 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives, drained
2 green onions, thinly sliced
8-10 grape tomatoes, quartered
4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut longways in narrow slivers
1 tbsp oregano, chopped, plus 1-2 sprigs of whole leaves
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions
At least an hour before serving, add the garlic and chopped oregano to the olive oil and let it sit at room temperature. Slice the goat cheese into 1/4 inch disks (click here for the best technique for slicing goat cheese) and arrange in a small serving platter or plate with a rim. Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, green onions and grape tomatoes evenly over the goat cheese. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the platter and garnish with the whole oregano leaves. Season liberally with freshly ground pepper and a little salt. Add more olive oil if desired. Serve with crackers or bread.

With its appealing colors and burst of Mediterranean flavors balanced by the tangy saltiness of the cheese, this dish is one of my family’s favorites. I serve it as an appetizer and it usually doesn’t even make it to the dining room. It is also a big hit at parties and can be made ahead and refrigerated; be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving. While leftovers are rare, they are terrific in a Sunday morning omelette.

Copyright 2015, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Fiesta Grilled Shrimp Dip

At Glover Gardens, summer brings lots of grilled shrimp, and sometimes we have leftovers.  This creamy, spicy dip is quickly assembled and makes the most of leftover grilled shrimp – it’s the perfect appetizer for a summer barbecue.

You don’t have to wait for leftover shrimp – this dip is so good that it’s worth grilling the shrimp just to use in the recipe (minus a few for the chef’s tasting privileges).

The Grill-Meister I’m married to usually grills the shrimp at Glover Gardens, but I do the prep, and I usually just marinate it in olive oil, Zippy Southwest and maybe a little lime juice before threading it onto skewers for him. But I haven’t blogged that recipe yet, so here’s one for you if you’re in the mood to grill shrimp for this recipe.

Fiesta Grilled Shrimp Dip
Creamy, spicy Fiesta Grilled Shrimp Dip is perfect for a hot summer afternoon


  • 4 chile peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped (I use jalapeños and serranos)
  • 2 cups grilled shrimp (or any cooked shrimp), coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Paprika or Zippy Southwest for garnish (optional)

Cooking Instructions
Mix cream cheese and sour cream until smooth; then stir in Tabasco and lime juice. Add the rest of the ingredients, taste, and season with salt. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and sprinkle with paprika, then chill for at least one hour to let the flavors “marry”.  Serve with crackers or sturdy chips.

This dip is a variation of a more savory version my Dad makes during the holidays, which uses Worcestershire for flavor and celery for crunch. The lime juice, chiles and Tabasco transform it to a summer dish that is perfect next to the pool.  It pairs beautifully with a Mexican beer or a margarita.

Copyright 2015, Glover Gardens Cookbook