Great dips in history;
The Big Dipper
The Little Dipper
Dippity Do Hair gel-kept hair piled and cemented for much of the 1960s.
Any big dip at the end of a dance, which also results in a kiss (*sigh*)
The Dipstick-The only part of a car engine, save for the battery, that I can identify.
Jessica Simpson (I had to. It was right there.)
And finally, dips, as in appetizers. Dip, unfortunately, has gone by the wayside a bit. Much like Jello-molds and bundt cakes, they have become relics of culinary entertaining. Maybe it has something to do with the name? Talk about unglamorous. D-i-p. Sounds pretty boring and it’s really just a little, 3-letter word. Nothing descriptive whatsoever. Booooring. At least when you call someone a dip, there’s a little nugget of info there.
But what exactly is wrong with a dip (Jello, I get. A tad too wiggly and technicolor for me)? Nuttin. I think people like dips more than they care to let on. Lots of closet dip-lover out there, all over the creation. And for any host, they are easy. As easy as it’s three little letters indicate.
As someone who loves cooking, monotony usually makes me twitch. My binder of recipes just split open just this past weekend, as it was packed so full to the gills. See, and this is where my organizational-nut rears her crazy head. I have a binder, just a plain binder from Staples (keep it plain? NEVER. Pretty scrapbooking papers were slid into the outside plastic covers, OF COURSE), and I have it full of plastic sleeves for my recipes. Recipes go in the sleeves that I have tried and loved and were successful. In the POCKETS of the binder, I have recipes that I have found but have NOT tried yet; recipes ripped out of countless issues of Bon Appetit, Martha, Cooking Lights, copied from friends etc. When they are made and we love them, they take the celebratory walk into a plastic sleeve. Well, that pocket of recipes-yet-to-happen split open because it was so full and then the actual binder itself split at the, well, bindings. It seems that I have to either take a rest on the recipe ripping or throw it into high-gear and cook some new things fast.
So you see that I like to experiment. But sometimes, it’s the classics that fit the bill. Unique appetizers are wonderful (ie. sugared bacon strips) and ones that are piled high can be visually delightful and satisfying as you bite into each layer of bursting flavors….but sometimes, a dip can just do it for you. Dip, dip, dip, zippity do da. People like dips, too, have you noticed that? They are comfortable and you know what you are getting…or at least, you know how to approach it. Grab an item, dip it in (honestly, though, get a little creative with what you are putting out to dip….ditch the carrots and celery sticks. Go for pea pods, carrots that are peeled but left with some of the tops on, radishes, blanched haricot verts, homemade pita chips…). Lift to mouth. No juggling. No balancing. Just dipping. But no double-dipping, please. Watch, laugh and be reminded.
Creamy Horseradish Dip, courtesy of The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
Make 1.5 cups
3/4 cups mayonnaise
3/4 cups sour cream
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1/4 cup prepared horseradish, squeezed of excess liquid
1 Tb. minced fresh parsley
1/8 tsp. pepper
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Transfer dip to serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until flavors are blended, at least 1 hour. Serve (can be refrigerated for up to 2 days).
Feta-Mint Dip with Yogurt, courtesy of The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
Makes 1.25 cups
1 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 scallions, sliced
2 tsp. lemon juice
Place yogurt in fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth-lined colander set over bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8-24 hours; discard liquid in bowl.
Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Transfer dip to serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until flavors are blended, at least 1 hour. Serve (same as above, can be done in advance).