Posts tagged party
Posts tagged party
Everyone loves a good dip at a party right? I can’t think of a better item to bring or host with for three main reasons,
1) It allows people to eat, mingle, and choose their portion size. Dip exemplifies the best qualifies of food; it is both sustenance and a conversation starter.
2) Once you know the basic properties that make up a dip, the combinations are endless. I repeat, you can make a dip out of virtually any ingredients if you have the right balance and combination.
3) If you happen to have left overs you can reuse your dip as a sauce or smear. After all a dip is a garnish for whatever you’re dipping in it so why not sample other options.
Now that I’ve hopefully swayed you to be on “team dip” I’m going to illustrate one of my favorite combo highlighting three main parts you can replace or reinvent with any ingredients you want.
Filler: I like to choose two or three ingredients that act as the substance of the dip. Vegetables integrate more seamlessly into the dip once they’ve simmered for awhile, but meats that crumble or flake, (like left over pot roast, crab meat, or ground meats) work well too.
The combination I’m featuring is eggplant and tomatoes.
Here I’ve chopped up my firmer ingredient, the eggplant, and tossed it into a pan with some olive oil to get them cooking first.
I’m adding sherry so that the eggplant soaks up the wine and breaks down, soft and sweet. Keep heat steady but on the low side.
Spices/Wine: Use spices at liberty (I chose oregano and maple pepper) and add wine, it’s a great way to add sweetness and depth. Go with a cooking wine like sherry or marsala if you’re on a tight budget. If not, use a couple splashes of the wine you drink! (Remember the longer you cook the more wine will be soaked up, don’t be afraid to add more.)
I add in tomatoes, my softer ingredient, because they don’t need to simmer in the wine as long.
Cook everything until all the alcohol in the wine is gone and the ingredients are soft enough to must with your spoon.
If you have some pent up rage, I suggest mashing the mixture. It can only lead to a better dip and it will probably feel really good to let some of that anger go.
Last, but certainly not least,
Base: What you base you dip on should have enough integrity to hold all the ingredients together. In my experience soft cheese based dips are the biggest crowd pleasers. Goat cheese, cream cheese, neufchatel, all work really well.
I’ve mixed in a good chunk of goat cheese. How much cheese you use is completely up to you. In the end if you’re wondering if you’ve used enough, see if it looks congruous and don’t forget to taste.
I like to bake mine in the oven too. It helps everything come together just a little bit more. Bake time: 30 minutes.
If you happen to have left overs here are my top ways to recycle the dip by level of ease:
Schmear: you can make toast and smear the dip on top. Hello snack-time!
Pasta Sauce: boil pasta, drain, mix in dip until all is creamy.
Omelet Filler: use the cooled version to stuff an omelet, its got your cheese and veggies all in one step!
Baked Topping: if you like to bake chicken or fish, dip the meat in egg yolks and then in bread crumbs, dollop dip on top in an oven safe dish, bake until meat is cooked. (30-45 mins)