How to fix my messed up party dip?
July 5, 2009 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Cooking filter: please help me fix this super salty dip!

I used a recipe found at Trader Joes to make a party dip. I followed directions (partially, you'll see later) and combined: 2 packages cream cheese, half pound of feta, one jar of kalamata olives in the food processor to blend. Note: the recipe also called for one jar of sundried tomato pesto, which Trader Joes didn't have so I added a jar of the sun dried tomatoes instead.

The result: a blueberry colored, super salty mound. I have so much of it, and it's almost inedible.

Does anyone have suggestions of what I can add to temper the saltiness, and give it some flavor (besides the actual sundried tomato pesto, which I could try to track down somewhere).
posted by knmr76 to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
add a can of black beans maybe?
posted by dr. boludo at 2:27 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Regular pesto and another brick of cream cheese?
posted by aquafortis at 2:28 PM on July 5, 2009

On second thought, bake what you have into a loaf of bread.
posted by aquafortis at 2:30 PM on July 5, 2009

I would add more cream cheese, and maybe some more of a flavorful but non-bitter cheese. Maybe some oregano, too.
posted by ishotjr at 2:36 PM on July 5, 2009

Unfortunately about the only way to make something less salty is to add more non-salty things. You could try another package of cream cheese or, if the dip's a little on the thick side, you could try thinning it out with cream (milk would work fine, too). Be careful if you add a liquid--you might turn it into soup before you get the salt content down enough to make it palatable.

Incidentally, I doubt that the problem was in substituting sundried tomatoes for sundried tomato pesto, which is probably just some combination of sundried tomatoes, garlic, and pine nuts. To be honest I would have been hesitant before making the dip-- olives and feta are both super-salty and sundried tomatoes can be salty. So you could blame it, at least in part, on Trader Joe's. For future reference: you might have been better off processing it a little less or even cutting the olives and tomatoes with a knife and then folding them into the feta/cream cheese mix, tasting as you went. That way you'd get some variety in the color and texture (flecks of red and black against the white of the base, rather than blueberry mound effect) and you could also adjust the amount of seasoning to your taste. Good luck!
posted by pkuras at 2:40 PM on July 5, 2009

Maybe a dumb question, but did you drain the olives first?
posted by cardboard at 2:51 PM on July 5, 2009

Thanks for the suggestions so far, all...all good!
I did drain the olives, but I didn't rinse them, so maybe that added to the saltiness.

Pkuras: you're right, since the olives and the feta are so salty, I might have suspected the result! I also like the suggestion to cut olives and tomatoes so it doesn't look so much like blueberry cream cheese.

There is just so much of this stuff, I feel terrible letting it go to waste.
posted by knmr76 at 3:00 PM on July 5, 2009

This isn't really a suggestion since I have no idea how well it would work, but I think I'd be tempted to add some oil, basil and pine nuts (which is basically what peso is), some more cream cheese and then start thinking about adding something like some humous. It would completely change the texture I think, but I could imagine it spread on thin cheese crackers.

Maybe someone more foodie than me could confirm or deny, but I think the oil in the peso would have made a big difference to how salty it tastes...
posted by twine42 at 3:11 PM on July 5, 2009

Don't add a can of beans since all canned beans are all heavily salted. If you want unsalted beans, get a bag of dried beans and cook them from scratch.
I'd go with the others and add some more cream cheese to dilute the saltiness a bit.
posted by nikkorizz at 3:14 PM on July 5, 2009

Halve it. Mix one half with equal amount of additional cream cheese. Freeze the other half, taking care to defrost thoroughly and blend with cream cheese at your next party.
posted by macadamiaranch at 3:19 PM on July 5, 2009

It sounds like it might be pretty tasty in it's present form if you were to smear it on toast, spoon a sweet tomato sauce on it, and serve it as a bruschetta.
Sweet and salty bruschetta, mmmmm.
posted by piedmont at 3:21 PM on July 5, 2009

I would add more cream cheese (whipped if it's already too thick), though I wonder if it would make it too rich? Adding sour cream, lots of it, will probably help a lot.

I wouldn't add pesto or pesto ingredients, you'll end up with a kitchen sink of flavors fighting against each other. You could add pureed chick peas, not store-bought humus, that might help.

Oh! Another thing that might help is adding cooled mashed potatoes to make a sort of jazzy skordalia, or, alternatively, add your dip to warm mashed potatoes for a mid-eastern type mashed potato dish.

Regarding the quantity, it sounds like the sort of thing that would freeze well. Perhaps not for use as a dip when defrosted, but you can bake it in puff pastry or filo dough. You can probably hollow out tomatoes, green peppers or squash and stuff inside and bake, perhaps topped with bread or pita crumbs. If you like the mashed potato idea above, you can freeze individual chunks to add to mashed potatoes in the future.
posted by necessitas at 3:21 PM on July 5, 2009

Get 3 or 4 avocados, a couple of cans of low-sodium refried beans, green onions, some cheddar, and a big bag of unsalted tortilla chips. Get those avocados in your processor maybe with some cilantro and lemon juice. In a big ol' casserole dish put down 6 layers, 2 each of beans (thick), avocado blend (thin), and blueberry topping (thin). Use the big holes on your cheese grater for on top, and garnish with lots of onion and maybe some cilantro sprig. Serve plain with corn tortilla chips or alongside a stack of steaming corn tortillas and some spicy chicken fajitas.
posted by carsonb at 3:26 PM on July 5, 2009

twine: no, the oil wouldn't have made much of a difference in the overal saltiness. Slightly in terms of dilution maybe, but salt dissolves best in water and oil, so you'd actually end up tasting more salt.

nthing 'add more cream cheese'.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:30 PM on July 5, 2009

I like macademiaranch's/dnab's idea to add more cream cheese, but if the mixture is already really thick, consider using creme fraiche instead.
posted by thisjax at 3:49 PM on July 5, 2009

If you didn't drain the olives, I fear you will just waste more food trying to correct it. There's just so much salt in a jar of brined olives that you'll end up with a 5 gallon bucket of dip before you get something edible.

I guess my recommendation would be to chalk it up to the Kitchen Gods: this one was just not to be.
posted by foooooogasm at 4:07 PM on July 5, 2009

*didn't rinse after draining, I meant. If you would have let the dry for a few hours, you would have seen just how much salt they use in the brine (I'm talking salt crystals!)
posted by foooooogasm at 4:09 PM on July 5, 2009

Olive-and-feta cream cheese omelets....mmm!
posted by aquafortis at 4:26 PM on July 5, 2009

Freezing cream cheese doesn't work out very well, it breaks down and gets very grainy. Not recommended.

I would cut it with some more cream cheese or sour cream and make the layered dip as mentioned by carsonb.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 4:30 PM on July 5, 2009

Freezing anything with dairy in it is not going to defrost well.

Cut some with non-salty ingredients — the rest, cut your losses.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:49 PM on July 5, 2009

Think I might try that avocado layered dip carsonb recommended.

Thanks again, everyone!

Methinks I won't be spending $10 trying Trader Joe's recipes anytime soon without thinking it through.
posted by knmr76 at 5:03 PM on July 5, 2009

I think the fix here is to complain to Trader Joe's. Anything with that much feta and that many olives was bound to be too salty.
posted by kmennie at 5:09 PM on July 5, 2009

Yeah, if you complain to Trader Joe's they'll almost certainly refund your money or replace your ingredients.

I think the dip would be edible if you mixed it with a bunch of sour cream and maybe some fresh herbs, like basil and parsley.
posted by booknerd at 10:27 PM on July 5, 2009

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