I used to be a very envious person, but as I have come to appreciate what I have, I found that I am less envious though I do like to imagine myself in other people’s situations. This weekend, I got to live part of my friend Effie’s life: she invited me over to cook in her kitchen. Effie doesn’t really cook, so I wasn’t really living her life, but I just love her beautifully big and alluring kitchen, that once in a while she treats me to an afternoon of slaving over the stove and counters to fulfill the dream.
I figure it is sort of like The Secret since I am feeling the positive energy of having such a lovely and workable kitchen when I am there. In fact, everyone else was out on the patio or in the pool as I stayed in the kitchen laboriously creating each layer of my 7-layer dip. (Really it was no big deal. I was in the kitchen of my dreams and getting to cook for others so all is good.)
It was a small crowd with Effie and her husband and child and Ren’s family. Effie and I met each other more than 20 years ago when we were working our way through college. We didn’t see each other in all that time until I got my current job and was placed not only in the same department as her, but in the same cube. I call myself pretty lucky because we found that deep down we have a lot in common. She is a sweet person.
It all started with baklava. Effie invited some of the girls over for a baklava cooking class instructed by her friend, Maria. It was a great night and we all had so much fun. Even though Effie doesn’t prefer to spend her time cooking, she is a great hostess. This time the crowd was smaller and the menu reminiscent of football half time fare, but it was all good. I decided to make something that the men would appreciate and did my first (and quite possibly the best) 7-layer dip to go with Effie’s smokin’ wings. For dessert, I concocted an apple tart that got eaten before I could even grab the camera. (I had to get n Patrick’s (Ren’s husband) case about me getting a picture of the dip before he destroyed the moment with his lingering chip.
My 7-Layer Dip
Bottom layer and building towards the top – you can actually make it as many layers as you like, but I chose to hold off the eighth (sour cream) and put it on the side since Effie can’t stand it.
1 - On a platter place a thick layer of beans. You can use refried beans from the can, but I prefer my own black beans.
2 cans of black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilis
Put all of this in a pan and heat through then place in a food processor and pulse until smooth-ish.
2 - Next the taco meat. – 1lb of lean ground beef cooked with a packet of taco seasoning (follow the directions on the packet)
3- Top the warm meat with any amount of shredded jack and other cheeses you like.
4 – Sliced avocado instead of guacamole, but the slices have to be thin and squeezed with lime juice.
5 – Fresh, diced tomatoes
6 – Sliced black olives
7 – Thinly sliced scallions
And the eighth layer – sour cream which I prefer to spruce up with the zest of one lime, plus the juice and some cumin.
Serve with chips and enjoy!