Dunk Contest: Chips & dips to try during March Madness

    Representing the North region is Pumpkin Bread with Goat Cheese Spread.
    Representing the North region is Pumpkin Bread with Goat Cheese Spread.

    It’s March and it’s madness out there for some college hoops enthusiasts, but since my beloved Boston College Eagles barely made it through their regular season, I’ve lost my Sweet 16 spirit. Nonetheless, it’s still fun to gather with fellow fans (fair weather or not), and cheer for the underdogs driving to the net. While you root for your favorite team, here are savory dips and chips for dunking, each representing the four regions bringing the heat in this year’s tournament.


    SOUTH – Hot Crab Dip with Pumpernickel Toast Points

    8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, picked through for shells
    1, 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
    ¼ cup mayonnaise
    ¼ cup minced scallions
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire® sauce
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon Louisiana® hot sauce
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    ½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon black pepper
    1 loaf pumpernickel bread, cut into toast points

    Preheat an oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
    In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except lump crabmeat. Once the ingredients are smooth in texture, gently fold in the crabmeat.
    Transfer the crab mixture to a medium casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling at the edges.
    Arrange the pumpernickel toast points on a sheet pan and toast for the last five minutes of the crab dip’s cooking time.
    Serve warm.
    NORTH – Pumpkin Bread with Goat Cheese Spread

    Pumpkin Bread Ingredients
    1, 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
    4 eggs
    1 cup canola oil
    ⅔ cup water
    3 cups sugar
    3½ cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1½ teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    ½ teaspoon ground cloves
    ½ teaspoon ginger

    Preheat an oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Lightly grease and flour two 8½” x 4½” loaf pans.
    In large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, canola oil, water, and sugar.
    Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a separate bowl then, gently whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.
    Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    Let loaves cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.
    Slice with a serrated knife and serve.

    Garlic Herb Goat Cheese Spread Ingredients
    4 oz. goat cheese, softened at room temperature
    1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs such as chives, basil, and/or parsley
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons whole milk

    In a small bowl, combine the cheese, garlic, herbs, oil, and milk. Serve with the Pumpkin Bread and/or vegetables. This dip is best if made 24 hours in advance.

    Sautéed Onion Dip
    Sautéed Onion Dip

    WEST – Sauteed Onion Dip with Potato Chips

    1 large Walla Walla onion, or another sweet onion
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 to 3 sprigs of thyme leaves, minced
    pinch ground cayenne pepper
    ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
    ½ cup sour cream
    2 tablespoons whole milk
    1 large bag of your favorite potato chips

    Dice the onion very small then add the oil and onions to a medium nonstick pan and set it over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the onions caramelize completely. If some of the onions get too dark, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to cool down the pan and even out the caramelization.

    Sautéed onions
    Sautéed onions

    In a medium bowl, mix together all other ingredients until smooth then stir in the warm onions. This dip is best if made 24 hours in advance.
    Serve with your favorite potato chips.

    MIDWEST – Cheddar and Scallion Beer Cheese Dip with Corn Chips

    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons flour
    1, 12-ounce bottle amber or red ale
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    16 ounces sharp midwestern cheddar, shredded
    ½ teaspoon Tabasco® sauce, or to taste
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon white pepper
    2 scallions, sliced thin
    1 large bag of your favorite corn chips

    Melt the butter a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
    Gradually whisk in the ale to prevent lumps then continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture reaches a boil and thickens.
    Stir in the mustard, cheddar, hot sauce, salt, white pepper, and scallions.
    This dip can be made several days ahead and re-warmed on the stove or in the microwave.
    Serve with your favorite corn chips.

    Kerry Stanton
    Kerry Stanton is a recipe writer, culinary instructor, and restaurant consultant. She writes for Dirty Water Media and the Boston Herald. “I will not settle for anything less than exceptional food at every meal. This doesn’t mean that I demand excessive extravagance or prized ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I just want well-cooked, properly seasoned food, presented beautifully. I think we all deserve this much.”




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