One of our favorite things about our new San Francisco apartment is our enormous kitchen. Even though the outside of our house still has the quaint stucco look similar to all of the houses in the Outer Sunset neighborhood, the inside was recently redone and has many modern conveniences, like ample counter space and large cabinets. In addition, the appliances are all new! I’m especially enjoying our gas stove that doesn’t unevenly burn my pie crusts!
The kitchen was practically begging me to host a dinner party, so I wasted no time in inviting a few friends over as soon as I got our kitchen boxes unpacked. For an appetizer, I made this amazing spicy cream cheese dip recipe. I think what really made it special was adding homemade adobo sauce. It was my first time making adobo. In fact, I had never even heard of it! Adobo is a Spanish sauce made of spices originally made to preserve food and enhance its flavors. If you are short on time, you can also find adobo sauce at many specialty markets or online.
Spicy Cream Cheese Dip
Adopted from Oh Joy
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
3 T. Chipotle Adobo Sauce (recipe below or store bought version here)
2 T. honey
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt & pepper, to taste
1. Combine softened cream cheese, adobo sauce, salt, pepper, honey and cayenne pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth. You can also use an electric mixer.
2. Serve with raw veggies. I used red peppers, broccoli, radishes, celery, mushrooms, cauliflower and snap peas.
Homemade Chipotle Adobo Sauce
Adopted from Rick Bayless
Makes about 5 cups
1/3 c. Vegetable oil
12 Medium (about 6 ounces) dried ancho chiles
6 Garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp Dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp. Black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1/2 tsp. Cumin, preferably freshly ground
1/4 tsp. Cloves, preferably freshly ground
1/2 c. Cider vinegar
4 c. Chicken or veggie broth
Salt, to taste
2 to 3 T. Sugar
1. Stem and seed the ancho chilies. Tear into flat pieces.
2. Heat the veggie oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, oil-toast the chiles 1 or 2 pieces at a time, a few seconds per side. They will become very fragrant and blistered. Pour off all but a film of oil from the skillet and set aside.
3. Transfer the chiles to a large bowl filled with 4 cups of hot tap water. Place a small plate on top to keep the chiles submerged. Let rehydrate for about 20 minutes.
4. Combine the spices and vinegar into a blender or food processor. Add the rehydrated chiles, liquid and all. Process until a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer set over a bowl.
5. Reheat your previously-used skillet over medium heat. Add the puree and stir until reduced to the thickness of tomato paste, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 30 minutes. The final product should be thin, about one stage thicker than water. Rick recommends pouring a little on a plate and watching it spread. If it flows evenly, it’s right; if it doesn’t flow much and water begins separating around the edges, it’s too thick.
6. Add the salt (about 1 T) and sugar. It should taste sweet-sour with a hint of saltiness.
In addition to adding it to the spicy cream cheese dip, you can also use adobo for flavoring meats or stews. It will keep in the fridge for several weeks.