Thursday, January 9, 2014

One Great . . . cheese dip without Velveeta

Is there really an impending shortage of blocks of processed cheese? With weeks still to go before the Super Bowl, Kraft Foods is claiming that high football-season demand and difficulties with a manufacturing facility may mean a reduced supply of Velveeta for queso dips.

Velveeta fans may have to join people who worried about the supply of extra-large turkeys in November, the Huy Fong sriracha fans lining their basements with boxes of hot sauce, and the people who have invested everything in Twinkie futures. Surely this would not be a cynical ploy to increase sales, would it?

There's still time for a disastrous report from the growers of avocadoes. I've also seen an early report on possible chicken wing shortages in 2014. Oh, the horror.

Maybe this is nature's way of forcing us to expand our cooking horizons. Thank heavens I already have this in my repertoire. I tried it during a chip-and-dip party last summer and tucked it away for football season. It contains all of the essential elements: Beer, cheese and pretzel rods. You could even heat it if you wanted.

Surely this will get us through until it's time to watch the Olympics.

Velveeta-Free Beer Dip

From Janet Keeler in the St. Petersburg Times.

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (7-ounce) bag shredded cheddar cheese, or a blend
1 packet powdered ranch dressing mix
6 ounces of beer
Pretzel rods

PLACE all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Chill at least an hour and serve with sturdy pretzel rods for dipping.