The good people at Cabot Creamery Cooperative sent each grilled cheese contestant a practice pack by UPS, along with a small squishy cow.
They must have known I was supposed to bring an appetizer to the Cinco de Mayo party**.
I used this:
to make this:
Hot Black Bean Dip
Makes plenty for a party as an appetizer, and is truly addictive. When my friend Roxanne made a version of this for us years ago, I shamelessly begged her for the recipe every day for a week. This can either be very spicy (if you use hot salsa, and go big with the pepper jack cheese), or milder, if you choose a gentle salsa and mild cheddar cheese. Personally, I like mine with a good kick to it!
4 oz (1/2 pkg), cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sour cream
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (I use Lawry's)
2-3 Tbs. fresh salsa (hot or mild, your choice)
2 cans refried black beans (I use Rosarita)
generous 2 c. grated cheese - mix of pepper jack (or Cabot's habanero cheddar) and sharp cheddar
About 1 c. additional grated cheddar or jack cheese
A small handful of chopped green onions
In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning and salsa, until well blended. Add the beans, and stir until mixture is completely combined. Fold in the cheese, and mix again.
Note #1: You can prepare the dip ahead to this point. Turn into your baking dish and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat oven to 350. Turn bean mixture into a deep sided ceramic baking dish, about 9 inches in diameter. Cover with additional grated cheese, and sprinkle with green onions. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until bubbling and warmed through. Serve with tortilla chips.
Note #2: You can also cook and serve this in a crock pot if you like. If you use the crock pot, don't cover with the additional cheese immediately. Heat, covered, on high for about an hour, then spread the cheese and onions on top. Cook, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.
Click to Print this recipe!
* I know from experience this is a temporary condition.
** Although I'm not sure they have Cinco de Mayo in Vermont.
In other news, my cat thought the squishy cow was a toy, knocked it off the table, then promptly lost interest.