I was a reluctant adopter of Texas culture when I moved there in elementary school. And by reluctant, I mean that I dreamed every night of the tiny Pacific Northwest island we moved from and the literal glaciers that graced our particular little bay.
By comparison, Texas seemed... Well, so hot and kind of... dead.
The first time I felt like I could possibly tolerate Texas and all of its hotness and confounding culture was at a Tex-Mex restaurant. There I discovered salsa, which I devoured with deep enjoyment. I couldn't get enough of the Jalapeño flavor, the spice that raised my body temperature to match the late spring heat. I ate chip after chip and my parents looked on with confusion and amazement. Spicy wasn't really part of our daily life before that point.
But I was hooked.
After that, I tried every spicy thing I could. I found that I loved a good kick, but not so much that spicy was the only flavor I tasted. I wanted to taste a full spectrum of herbs and vegetables that had nothing to do with a chili pepper kick, but I was also addicted to the heat that left the back of my tongue wanting a drink of cool water and another bite at the same time.
During my years in Texas, I became a connoisseur of dips and textures and tastes. While my Texan husband loves a smooth and well blended too-hot-to-eat salsa, I love a slightly chunkier texture and milder flavor. When it comes to chili con queso dip, I like my cheese with an unholy amount of Rotel and pickled jalapeños.
So, when I tasted creamy jalapeño dip for the first time, I had to figure out immediately what was in it and how to make it. I was instantly addicted to the herby-creamy-spicy hit with just the faintest vinegary undertone. And by addicted, I mean that I wanted to drink it through a straw.
Even though I'm long past my Texas adventures and have returned to my PNW roots, I tell anyone who visits or moves there to eat some Creamy Jalapeño Dip for me, because I miss it. I miss it too much. It might be the only thing I consistently crave after more than a decade of my life spent there.
This is perfect for Taco Tuesday, as an appetizer with some fresh tortilla chips, a topping for grilled chicken, or as a veggie dip. You can't go wrong with this, trust me.
1 package ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk, or buttermilk
1 4 oz can of green chilis
1 lime, juiced
1 large handful cilantro leaves
2-3 cloves garlic
10-20 sliced, pickled jalapeños (depending on desired spice level)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro leaves and blend. Add cilantro leaves and blend until they are broken down.
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving, and keep in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge. As the ingredients sit, they will begin to meld and become more intense. This is a good thing!