Suzi's Blog

Inventing Your Own Dips

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You’re about to make a dip. What are you going to use. Onion soup mix in sour cream? Please, take a moment. Look at the post “Not Your Mother’s Onion Dip from Diane Morgan” published on April 17, 2014. There the base is sour cream but also mayo with some vinegar on the side for a dash of intense sour.

We’ll talk about dips in two steps: that base and then the add-ins. It’s just like ice cream.

Dip bases can be many things: sour cream, mayo, sour cream + mayo, mayo + olive oil, whipping cream + olive oil, yogurt, yogurt + sour cream, or crème fraiche. Those are ideas from my “go to” dip book, Delicious Dips by that same Diane Morgan. Clearly, there are more combinations available than listed here. You can play to achieve the flavor and texture you desire. And, in Diane’s book, she never goes to a triple combination, say, sour cream + yogurt + crème fraiche. It’s not just the ingredients, either, but the relative proportions.

Once you have your base, what do you put in? Again, that packaged onion soup mix should just be put aside. Cooking, well caramelizing, your own onion will create a far more satisfactory dip. I almost slipped and said “product.” Product is what you get when you use the soup mix: familiar, ever dependable, but ultimately boring. Live a little.

Dip making can be just the opportunity to empty your spice rack. Don’t be afraid to pick three or four jars of spices that really deserve a happy end of life. A combination of spices and live ingredients — diced scallions, peppers, chives, garlic, or herbs fresh from your garden — will contribute their own flavors and amplify others.

The odds are, your dip creation today will be unique. Never to be repeated. And certainly not to be forgotten.

 

 

Herb Sorbet to Add to Your Holiday Fare

Here’s a savory trick. You are having a holiday meal, a traditional one. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and something cranberry. What can you do to make that meal different? You can’t take away the gravy or the stuffing, but you can add something fresh and bright.

Offer your dinner mates a little break between first and second helping. This herb sorbet will cool the mouth, yet let it still be very much alive with the seasonal seasonings. It’s easily prepared and will surprise both palettes and brains.

 

Herb Sorbet

Yield:   serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 limes
  • 1 egg white
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup dry vermouth
  • Salt, nutmeg, and white pepper to taste
  • Some combination of the following fresh herbs to make ½ to ¼ cup total: peppermint, lemon balm, lemon thyme, dill, rosemary, tarragon, parsley, oregano, sorrel, or basic
  • ½ cup champagne

Preparation:

Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and cool.

Cut the zest off the limes with a zester or vegetable peeler and chop fine, the squeeze the limes into a small bowl.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar syrup, lime zest, lime juice, egg white, white wine, and vermouth.

Chop all the herbs finely in a blender or food processor and add to the mixtures. Mix well and place in an ice cream freezer, processing according to the manufacturer’s instruction.

To serve, spoon a small scoop into each of 12 cups and drizzle with the champagne.

This sorbet can be frozen but it will quickly lose its freshness, so it’s best to prepare and eat.

Source:   Hudsons’ on the Bend, Austin, Texas