While I am sure I have had this dip many times in the past, our recent trip to Charleston reminded me how downright good it is. I though it so good, in fact, that I told Peg she just had to give me the recipe because I’m always looking for a good cold dip.
To which she replied, “Um sure, Ashley – it’s on the back of the packet.” And then she and the rest of the Davies pointed and laughed as they are wont to do. And that is why I love them.
My embarrassment aside, this dip is solid, and I actually prefer it with veggies for dippers than chips, which is miraculous on its own.Also, you can definitely use light sour cream in this without any adverse effect. I know. My inner fat girl cries out with shame at this suggestion.
And don’t skip the water chesnuts – they are what gives this stuff its cracktastic crunch.
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
8 oz water chestnuts, rinsed, drained and chopped
16 oz sour cream (you can go light here)
1 packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix
salt, black pepper and hot sauce to taste
French bread, cut into pieces
- Mix first four ingredients (and s&p and hot sauce) together and chill for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).
- Dip the other stuff in it. Pretty straightforward.
This recipe comes to us from Mr. Justin Pitts, Esq. of Malibu, California, so you know this shiz be fancy.
I have yet to try this, but I think we all recognize that bubbly cheese=fatty goodness about 98% of the time.
(The other 2% of the time is made up of randomly scarring incidents such as the time I saw a cheese-and-mayonnaise sandwich that was left out on the picnic table for 2 days in kindergarten. This girl Amanda used to trade me her Kraft-single-and-mayo sammys for my boring turkey ones because my mom wouldn’t make them for me. Dot said they provided no nutritional value… which is ironic, because she also used to let me eat whole sticks of butter. But I only parent a small dog who eats olives and pickles on the regular, so what do I know.)
Anyway, bubbly cheese + fresh herbs + a cast iron skillet should be enough to melt any Southerner’s heart, so we’re glad to see Pitts hasn’t let SoCal fancify all the good sense out of him. Now let’s get melty:
1.5 lbs Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind cut off, 1-in dice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 baguette, sliced and toasted
- Put the cheese cubes in a 12 Inch cast iron skillet. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle the garlic and herbs all around and season with salt and pepper.
- Put under broiler 5 inches from the heat for about 6-7 minutes until bubbly and starting to brown.
- Dip the bread in it and devour.
According to CNN (and only CNN as I cannot find another source), today is National Chocolate Chip Day. Click here to find a great site that features 100 chocolate chip recipes. For this special food holiday I thought I would offer up an easy, no bake, summer time chocolate treat from the lovely Martha Stewart. This recipe takes like 10 minutes tops. – ts
Semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
Thick crust bread
Fleur de Sel (if you can’t find this use coarse sea salt)
- Place thick slices of bread on an ungreased grill or grill pan. Toast each side for 5 minutes over medium heat. (If you don’t have a grill pan, broil bread until golden brown, about 1 minute per side.)
For perfect golden-brown hatch marks, maintain medium heat. High heat will create instant dark lines without toasting the bread; low heat will slow the toasting process, which can result in blackened grill marks.
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and spoon over toasts. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
Toast preparation tips: How to Grill Bread for Bruschetta – Martha Stewart Recipes
This is not a picture of the actual boat, but it gives you the gist. Pic coming post haste.
Whenever I mention this to The Chef, he looks slightly befuddled and a little grossed out (I think the term “boat” evokes images of cruise ships and buffet lines or something). In my ever-present quest to prove him wrong, I am making him breakfast for dinner tonight, and this is on the menu.
Big D has been making this for years, and it is always quickly devoured. My dad actually once delivered one to my cousin’s house, and her husband (who is kept on a tight-but-healthy regimen) answered the door. He ate the whole thing by himself as though it were an actual 1-person sized sandwich. That is hilariously fat to the adorable power.
1 package hot sausage
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 package mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 loaf bakery bread, not sliced
hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Remove most of the bread from the inside of the loaf, leaving an inch or so around the outside (the crust and a little bit of bread cushion is the main event here, so as long as you leave those, you’re golden).
- Cook sausage, onion, pepper and mushrooms. Drain.
- Return to skillet and add Worcestershire, mustard and seasoning. Add cheese and mix. (This is yet another recipe like Big D’s Breakfast Casserole where the more you experiment, the better it gets. Different kinds of cheese, spices and veggies are super fun in here. Live a little.)
- Stuff “boat” with sausage mixture, cover with foil and bake just until crusty and heated through (20 minutes).
- Slice and scarf. And drop a slice by my cousin’s house.
Sidenote: If you have any leftover filling, it’s stupid good on chips, perhaps even mixed with a little cream cheese for dipping. I know, I KNOW, cream cheese/dip fixation. Work out your own issues first before you come at me, OK? You’re not my real dad anyway.
As I spent my Easter Sunday watching 12 hours of deliciously ridiculous docudrama programming about William & Kate (thanks Lifetime!), I started thinking that we needed a recipe for some dainty finger food for those of you who are planning Royal Wedding Watch Parties.
So I started discussing options with Carol, the resident guru of all things Will-and-Kate, and guess what? I hate English food. Or what I think is English food. Cucumber sandwiches, scones, crumpets, that nasty banana flan People magazine is pushing as Wills’ favorite dessert. All of it sounds like a big gray pile of Yick to me.
So we’re going rogue here. Or we’re going Big D, rather, with a recipe from the brunch mistress herself, Dot Akin. These are perfect little packets of fat-and-happy, and I can think of nothing better to snack on while you try to cope with the fact that you’re not becoming a princess and this is not the most special day of your life. Cinnamon and sugar do quite a bit to take the sting out of being a commoner. Cheerio!
1 loaf of Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Bread
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
few tbsp cinnamon
1 stick butter
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Cut crust off bread and roll out with rolling pin until very thin.
- Mix cream cheese, egg yolk and sugar.
- Spread mixture on bread. Roll up and cut in half.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon (however much you fancy) together.
- Melt butter. Dip each bite in melted butter and then into cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
These can be made a few days in advance or frozen. You know, in case you’re going to have some dignitaries in town to entertain. Whatevs.
The Chef made this a few nights ago out of the Beef Broth
he created last week, and it was a clean, brothy version
of the classic. Topping this with some cracked black pepper and french bread that has been toasted with gruyere
or provolone on top will make you feel positively French. But not in the stinky beret-wearing way.
6 sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
tablespoon of olive oil
4 cups of beef broth
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of brandy
salt and pepper to taste
- Cook onions in olive oil over medium low heat in a large Dutch oven for about one hour. You want the onions to be very caramelized so be patient.
- Once caramelized, add brandy. Cook until brandy evaporates.
- Add broth and thyme. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with melted gruyere or provolone cheese and croutons. As usual, this is even better the day after.
This is a recipe I remember fondly from my childhood. I’ve re-purposed it many times over the past few years for brunches, bachelorette parties, pre-Steeplechase breakfasts – it has been a staple at every one because it is very easy and very good. In fact, I recall Rusty-Dusty in particular asking me 3 or 4 times if I “really actually made this, like seriously?” when he had some because he apparently thought me incapable of doing anything domestic. Preesh.
1 package hot sausage, cooked and crumbled
8 slices white bread (any bread you have on hand will work)
1 pkg Mexican shredded cheese (2 cups)
1 dozen eggs
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
salt & pepper or Cavender’s/Tony’s
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line a lightly greased baking dish with bread slices.
- Beat eggs. Season with Cavendar’s and hot sauce. Add cheese, sausage and Rotel tomatoes and mix. (You can do this the night before if you want.)
- Pour over bread and bake for 30 minutes or until center of casserole bounces back when touched lightly. Cut into squares and serve.
I often use this recipe as a base for experimentation, so feel free to swap out the sausage for ham or chicken, add veggies such as mushrooms or jalapenos, or dress it up with an Italian cheese blend. Just don’t leave out the eggs. That tends to make for a very dry situation.
Warning: this recipe is extremely easy and extremely tasty. You will be devouring these the minute you start smelling them from the oven. They are great party food but normally do not make it out of my apartment. You can use a variety of ingredients with this basic recipe, and I add cayenne pepper (of course) for some heat. This recipe calls for the use of a standard 12-cup muffin pan, but using a popover pan is even better! -ts
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage
- Preheat oven to 450ºF and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat the muffin pan with melted butter or high-heat canola-oil spray. Once the oven is fully heated, heat the prepared muffin pan in the oven for about 7 minutes.
- In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, flour and salt until well blended. Then add the herbs and cheese, blend well.
- Using a spatula, scrape the batter into a measuring cup. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 10- 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 400ºF and continue baking the popovers until they are puffed and deep golden brown color.
- Remove from oven and cool pan on rack for a few minutes. Remove popovers from pan and serve hot.
Note: These popovers will quickly deflate, and do not hold or store well. So try to eat them fresh and hot from the oven!