If you want to be insanely popular at your end-of-the-summer BBQ, make this dip.
It's inspired by my incredible mother, who lugged a few pounds of assorted chiles up to Ross Lake. She had my dad grill, steam, peel, and seed them. That's always his job. In fact, while I was doing it, I felt like I was channeling him. He has a precise system which results in perfectly seedless, tender strips. Being the multitasking, distracted version of him that I am, I made this with summer ratatouille in the oven, chicken in the grill pan, and all the week's veggies waiting their turn to be washed at the sink.
My mom's was bubbling from the oven and included mozzarella. It was based on a dip she and my dad had at Deschutes Brewery in Oregon. I love that about her. She has something at a restaurant, analyzes it (and steals the menu), then immediately goes home to recreate it. And usually her version is better.
Predictably, mine was dictated by Sunday Fridge Cleaning, and also some beautiful, small Anaheim chiles at MacPherson's. They were something like $1/lb. I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but couldn't pass them up. If you ever find yourself asking "WWTLD?" ("What would the Leftoverist do?" DUH.), one answer is definitely to buy things for which you have no plan. It encourages creativity and variety. The trick here is not to buy too many things without a plan. Not that I've ever done that, of course.
This photo of Loretta and the teacup is from Jordan's party where this dip was speedily consumed. Look at those chubby rubber-band wrists. Coming home from grocery shopping along yesterday (rare treat), I burst into tears thinking about how fast these years are going and how one day I'll miss them. Tomorrow, remind me I said this.
P.S. The teacup is full of soda. And it's not organic.
Charred Green Chili Dip with Feta
You can use any mix of mild or medium heat chiles--Anaheim, Pasilla, whatever else might be coming on at the markets. I threw in a couple jalapenos, and I would done more if I had them. I reached for a lime, then thought better of it. I'm glad. The smokiness of the chiles came through a lot better without any lime. And if you REALLY want to get the paparazzi after you, make a double batch of this. You won't bring any home. Also, I cheated on this photo shoot. There are no roasted onions in this dip. I pulled a couple out of my roasting ratatouille. You can be mad at me if you want. I hate it when magazines and cookbooks do that. Anything for a good photo. A few chopped red onions would do just as well.
1+ lb. Anaheim chiles or mix of Pasilla and Anaheim
2 or 3 jalapenos
1 c. sour cream (no lowfat stuff, either!)
3/4 c. crumbled feta
3 green onions, finely sliced
1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 Tb. heavy cream
cilantro, red chile flakes, and chopped red onions for garnish
Turn your grill on high. Lightly oil chiles and jalapenos and grill until blackened everywhere, about 4 minutes/side. You can also do this under the broiler--you just have to tend to them more. Put the charred chiles in a plastic or paper bag and close it. Let them steam and cool for about 20 minutes. This loosens the skins. Pull the skin and stem off, then lay the chiles flat and scrape the seeds off with a paring knife. Roughly chop all of them. You should end up with a little over a cup of chiles this way.
Combine roasted, chopped chiles with everything else, add a bit of heavy cream as needed to loosen the dip. Garnish with cilantro, chile flakes, red onions, or anything bright. Serve with tortilla chips or fried bread.