Thinner than a savory spread, thicker than a cold summer soup, the humble dip ought to occupy a prominent place in your steamy-weather food repertoire. (After all, it’s an excuse to load up on Lay’s and Tostitos!) Basically, anything that can be food-processed, blended or mashed to a clingy texture can star in a dip, though cream cheese, nuts, beans and avocados are frequent players. After you’ve blended a spread, feel free to get creative with what to use to scoop it — sticks of jicama for guac, cuke rounds for hummus, balls of melon for a sweet spread. Because who doesn’t want to declare his independence from utensils?

Stephanie Gallagher’s Blueberry Ricotta Dip

You control the sweetness in this pretty dip, a nice landing pad for fresh-picked blueberries when you don’t want to put up another pie. So says Stephanie Gallagher, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based recipe developer who writes about cooking with kids for “Frozen blueberries can replace some or all of the fresh,” she says. Tip: Give it a quick stir before setting it out to reblend all the ingredients.

What You Need

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. whipped cream cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, plus a few extra for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

What You Do

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until well combined. Garnish with a few fresh blueberries.
  2. Serve with fresh strawberries, chunks of angel-food cake, chocolate sandwich cookies, graham crackers, cinnamon pita chips or broken sugar cone pieces.

PassionFish’s Smoked Whitefish Dip

“No one really invents anything anymore,” says Chris Clime, executive chef at PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive, Reston, Va.; 703-230-3474). “Smoked whitefish dip is pretty common, so in ours we focus on the best ingredients.” They use Great Lakes whitefish that’s flown in to the restaurant. It’s then blended with tuna and cream cheese into a savory cloud, then enlivened with spicy notes: hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish. (Warning: If you can’t stand heat, don’t add the full amounts in the recipe).

What You Need

  • 1 lb cream cheese
  • 8 oz smoked whitefish
  • 4 oz Albacore tuna, packed in spring water
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 cup Cholula hot sauce (can substitute a milder hot sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

What You Do

  1. Place the cream cheese into a stand mixer and whip until fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients to the cream cheese and whip gradually until smooth and incorporated together. Be careful not to whip the mixture too fast or too much to ensure the proper consistency.
  2. Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Jenny Holm’s Beet Dip

Jenny Holm, a 27-year-old Adams Morgan resident and nonprofit staffer, taught English in Georgia (the country) before moving to D.C. This ruby-red dip was inspired by a dish she enjoyed there called charkhlis pkhali, which Georgians serve as a salad or wrapped in lavash bread and eaten like a taco.

What You Need

  • 1.5 lbs. beets (3 medium), washed but not peeled
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fenugreek (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • Hint of cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

What You Do

  1. Roast the unpeeled beets in a 375 degree F oven for 75-90 minutes, until a fork pierces them easily. Set aside to cool.
  2. Grind the walnuts in a food processor to the consistency of coarse sand.
  3. Crush the garlic and add to walnuts.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients (except the beets, cilantro and parsley) to the walnut mixture; stir well to combine.
  5. When the beets have cooled, peel them and grate them coarsely. Combine remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. Serve with rye or other breadsticks, pita chips or apple slices.

Written by Express contributor Amy Rogers Nazarov