Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Dip Down Memory Lane...

As I scavenged my computer this week for a dip recipe for a friend's beer club party, I came across six years worth of Encore Party Recipes. Ah the days of parties with staff to serve, bar tend and clean up, that you could also write off as advertising. I would throw a couple a year but always one big one during the holiday season. (Dear Vintage Cellar, Can you turn $200 into 10 cases of wine. XOXO, Stacey) They sure were fun and I did reward my ShopGals for working so hard... sometimes it was reward enough to see me relaxed with the Whos Who of the town buzzing with holiday cheer at the end of the evening. I am also sure that I gave away an outfit, bag or maybe a bonus to employees in my sheer Christmas delight on those evenings.

This year there will be no ShopGal holiday party or Festive Cookie exchange but there will be many functions that we all need to show up with a dish for. Wipe you tears, turn on the tunes and get to work... Here is my dish on the best, easiest and most liked dips to please the masses, ShopGal recommended:

*(recipes altered from Food &Wine, Cooking Light, sdp and jenny wagstaff of ShopGal Catering)

Asiago Dip with Crostini or Crackers
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato sprinkles
1 (8 ounce) carton low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
32 (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette, toasted or crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl; spoon into a 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle with 1tablespoon cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with toasted bread or crackers.

Blue Cheese-Walnut Dip
½ cup light cream cheese product
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
12 ounce carton 1% low-fat cheese
2 tbsp brandy
2tbsp finely chopped walnuts

Place first 3 ingredients in food processor. Process for 1 minute. Stir in brandy and walnuts. Serve with crackers, apples, pears etc.

Lemon Artichoke Dip
1 small lemon, halved
1 bag frozen artichokes
8 large unpeeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 thyme sprigs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
Crackers or bagel chips, for serving

Dethaw artichokes.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Drain the artichokes and pat dry. Cut each
artichoke into eighths. Quarter the remaining lemon half and remove
the seeds. In the bowl, toss the artichokes with the lemon pieces,
garlic, olive oil and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and spread on
a large nonstick rimmed baking sheet. Bake the artichokes for about 40
minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender. Let cool
slightly and discard the thyme. Coarsely chop 8 of the roasted
artichoke pieces and reserve. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°.

Peel the garlic; place in a food processor. Add the remaining roasted
artichoke and lemon pieces; pulse until finely chopped. Add the
mayonnaise and cream cheese and process until smooth. Season with salt
and pepper. Add the reserved chopped artichokes and pulse just until
combined. Spread the dip in an even layer in a small shallow baking
In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over the
dip. Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through and the topping is
golden. Serve with crackers or bagel chips.

Garlic and Dill Feta Cheese Spread
8oz package of cream cheese softened
4oz package of feta cheese crumbled
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp fresh dill
½ tsp seasoned pepper
¼ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in the food processor. Chill 8 hours. Serve with cucumber slices and crackers.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
16 ounces marinated artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Spiced Pita Chips, for serving

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the
chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until
softened, about 5 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring
occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the
white wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Add the spinach and cook,
stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cream cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano and
lemon zest and season with Tabasco. Cook, stirring, until the dip is
creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and serve warm or at room
temperature with the Pita Chips.

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