I looked at the calendar early this week and the December days that would have blog posts crawled into view in the few open spots left in the year. Three more in 2012, if I keep to my pace. Though the last few months have sped by, with their big stresses and their triumphs, and their too rare moments of utter calm, those last few posts stuck out to me as opportunities to cap off the year with champion recipes, recipes I love and that’ll be really useful to you, whether you’re celebrating or feasting or recovering.
Better make them good, in other words.
And fortunately, I’ve been cooking a ton this week, now that I have a little extra time. I can’t wait to share the recipes with you come January. I’m especially stockpiling them to schedule while I’m away in Thailand. (Have you been before? Share tips! We’ll be in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Krabi.)
Finally, I picked this awesome, gooey blue cheese dip, which is fantastic and fantastically easy. Some friends made it at a party they threw a while ago. These are foodie friends, and they always know the best spots to eat out at, and they make the coolest recipes. When we arrived, they had cheese dip bubbling on the stove. I hate cheese dip, normally–that artificial taste of movie-theater nachos. This dip, though it looked like fake cheese, tasted like real cheese.They referred me to the recipe, from Serious Eats, and I’ve made it a few times for parties since then. It always goes over well. For a festive change for the holidays, this time I stirred in blue cheese along with the standard cheddar, and the result is a dip that would make any buffalo-wing lover blush. I figure you can whisk this together this for family time in front of the TV, or for a Christmas Eve or Christmas party, or for a New Year’s Eve cocktail spread. Yum.
More Gooey Dips:
Cheesy White Bean Dip from Big Girls, Small Kitchen
Guacamole from Big Girls, Small Kitchen
Southwestern Artichoke Dip with Sweet Corn and Cayenne from Big Girls, Small Kitchen
Three Onion Dip from Big Girls, Small Kitchen
Pizza Dip from YumSugar
Hot Blue Cheese Dip with Sweet Potato Chips
Serves a crowd
Adapted from Serious Eats
I used Food Should Taste Good’s Sweet Potato chips as dippers, since their slight sweetness matches really well with the blue cheese. Other good candidates include: pears, celery, kettle-fried sweet potato or regular potato chips.
3 ounces cheddar cheese (you can use mild or sharp–both work), grated
5 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
A few dashes hot sauce or cayenne pepper
1 sprig rosemary
In a medium saucepan, combine the cheeses with the cornstarch. Add 1 cup evaporated milk (not the whole can – reserve the rest), hot sauce, and the rosemary sprig. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the cheddar has melted and the blue cheese has reduced to very tiny lumps (if you can see it at all. The mixture will bubble and thicken after about 10 minutes. Until it gets there, it’ll look a bit thin and clumpy, but don’t worry. Use the reserved milk to thin the dip to the consistency you like. Remove the rosemary. Serve immediately.
If you’re going to have the dip out over the course of a party, you’ll want to keep it on the stove over very low heat. Another good option is to transfer to a small slow cooker and serve straight from there. Or, reheat occasionally in 15-second spurts.