Friday, 5 October 2012
When I first moved over here to the UK, Tex Mex . . . or Mexican food . . . .was not something that you really saw very much of. It just wasn't as popular as it has been in North America. You could not get the ingredients that were necessary to cook it without praying a high price at specialty mail order stores, or lugging a suitcase full of it home with you after a trip across the pond. I am quite happy to say that this lack of ingredients has changed vastly over the years, and Tex Mex now seems to have been embraced nation wide . . . with whole sections in most grocery stores having been dedicated and given over to Tex Mex ingredients.
The UK has been Tex Mex-ized!
(Photo Source, Delicious Magazine)
It is not at all unusual these days for families to dine on Tacos, Fajitas, Enchiladas or Chili!!! Tortilla wraps are extremely popular. I am not sure if that is due to our populace traveling more and more frequently abroad to Mexico, or due to the influence of enthusiastic Master Chef Winner 2005 Thomasina Miers, who has always embraced Tex Mex Cookery, and has enjoyed much success in doing so over here in the UK, with several of her cookbooks having been published, along with a couple of television series, multiple appearances on others, and having opened a few of her own restaurants, also dedicated pretty much to Tex Mex flavors! I like to see it as being a happy combination of both!
I have always loved Tex Mex flavors. So have my children. Chili, Cheese, Jalapeno Peppers, Salsa, Nachos, Tacos . . . Enchiladas . . . these are spicy flavors and dishes we have always loved. Spicy or mild, and varied . . . . according to individual tastes and palates. When I was younger, I didn't mind a lot of spice, but nowadays . . . I confess like things a tiny bit tamer.
We have an activity going on at my church tonight for the women, based on Family Home Evening, which is something which we do together as families on one evening of every week. It is a really special time for families, and helps to encourage love, understanding, learning and family cohesiveness. Any family can do it. You don't need to be a member of our church. It's basically just one evening set aside to do things together as a family. Perhaps watch a good film, or play some games . . . go bowling, ice skating, hiking, baking . . . whatever you as a family aspire to do or to learn. The important thing to remember is . . . you do it together! Usually included is a delicious family snack to share. I thought I would make this delicious 7 Layer Mexican Dip dish to share with the other girls in my Relief Society Group.
This is something I made often when my children were growing up, and it was . . . indeed, a real favourite of theirs. It's a fabulous snack for any get-together, and in fact it is something which I often also used to make for the family I worked for at the Manor when I cooked for them. It was very popular on their "casual" evenings with friends, and for patio suppers. It is a dish that was often requested. I took a big chance the first time I served it, as it was not something that the Mrs would ever have chosen, but it went down so well that it became a real favourite with them as well!
I like it when that happens, and so I am hoping that tonight it goes down well with the church ladies also. Todd loves it too, so much so that I made a tiny one just for him . . . so he wouldn't feel left out.
I do confess. I did have an ulterior motive. I wanted to take some photos of it "being dug into." Something I couldn't do with the one I was taking to the church. Todd didn't mind. He loves getting a treat, even if it was only for a photo.
"Dug into," it may not be the most attractive dish around . . . but don't let that fool you. This definitely makes for some incredibly delicious eating, with every scoop bringing you a variety of flavors . . . re-fried beans, tomato salsa, a rich creamy and spicy layer of cheese . . . not to mention crisp lettuce, chopped spring onions and meaty black olives. I like to use the lightly salted tortilla chips for scooping, but feel free to use whatever floats your boat!
*7 Layer Mexican Dip*
Serves 12 to 16
This has been a popular dip for many years. It does make a lot, but I have found that it always disappears quickly. People just love it!
1 can (28 oz) refried beans (2-425g tins)
1 pkg. (8 oz. or 250g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (250ml)of sour cream
1 TBS ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup guacamole
1 cup chunky style salsa (small jar)
1 cup shredded lettuce (a really large handful)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (4 to 6)
2 Tbsp. sliced pitted ripe olives
1/2 cup chopped and seeded tomatoes, optional (about 2 medium tomatoes)
Spread refried beans onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate or quiche dish. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and seasonings together until well blended. Spread on top of refried beans. Layer remaining ingredients over cream cheese mixture; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled. Serve with tortilla chips.
Note - Depending on ingredients used, this can also be Vegetarian and gluten free.