Saturday, January 31, 2009

Guest Blogger: Serena Worthington

I was reading somewhere, on the internets perhaps, where someone listed their favorite food as chip and dip. It would never have occurred to me to list chip and dip myself. I would think your favorite food should be an entree like mac ‘n cheese or fish tacos. However, when you think about it, it’s a good answer. Here is a most excellent dip recipe from our friend Carol’s mother, Virginia.

Mrs. Stanley’s French Onion Dip.
(Pictured in its natural party environment.)

1 1/2 packages of onion soup mix
8 oz cream cheese (don’t use lite cream cheese ‘cuz that would be wrong)
16 oz sour cream (see above regarding “lite”)
blend with a hand mixer until cream cheese is well mixed
chill for at least an hour until firm
Serve with sturdy chips--this is some hearty dip

(editor's note: I think Kettle Chips, the sea salt and cracked black pepper kind, would be great with this dip. It is SERIOUSLY the best French onion dip I have ever had.)

Monday, January 26, 2009


Saturday was my writing partner's birthday. Nicholas was hosting a cocktail party and since I really didn't get it together to get him a proper present I thought, Why don't I make some party snacks. What I had in mind was something like Chex Party Mix, but you know, more Culinary Art Institutey. Of course I turned to 250 Tasty Snacks (1970). You might remember this title from back in November with the discussion of cheese balls. Anyway, there were two recipes, "Nibbles" and "Crunchy Nibblers." The recipes were very similar, but I chose the "Nibbles" because of the reliance on Worchestershire sauce as the main seasoning. I did, however, add the shoe string potatoes from the "Cruchy Nibblers," and am glad I did. I've posted a couple of the pages in case you want to try some of these spectacular snacks yourself. I think the "Creamy Anchovy Dip" looks great. I scanned it hi-res so that you can try the recipes yourself.

This recipe posed a few problems, though. Because it was only 5 degrees outside, our friend Jessie gave us a ride to the store. Serena and I tried desperately to hurry, dividing our list and buying only what we needed for the party. Well, do you know where to find shoestring potatoes? And we had dried onion soup on the list (see next post). Also, the recipe called for onion salt, garlic salt, celery salt, and salt. Well, all we had at home was celery salt and of course gray sea salt. I was really surprised at how expensive those adulterated salts are, so we just bought one--onion salt.

It turned out well. Serena called it "subtle," which it was. But I made a few choices along the way that added to the subtlety. First, I used celery salt, onion salt, and dried garlic. I left out the garlic salt and...the salt. Really, it seemed like there was PLENTY of salt in this recipe. It also called for AN ENTIRE CUP OF BUTTER! Of which half was unsalted. My friend Andrew suggested that back when this recipe was originally copyrighted (1965) people drank and smoked a lot and maybe needed the salt. I think maybe we needed the salt a little, too.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Barcelona's Bitchin'

Barcelona is an amazing food city for many reasons, but the main one is that the local mini-mart, Opencore, caries an impressive array of wine and cheese. I'm not kidding. From the outside the store looks like any old Walgreens or CVS but alongside the shampoo and toilet paper is amazing wine (2,35 euro) and rockin' cheese (7,20 euro). So, yea maybe I could have gotten something better at Whole Foods, but certainly not for the same price or with the same convenience. My favorite was that they had a locked case of fancy meat! Seriously, the booze wasn't locked up. No, it was the "duck ham" that was much purloined commodity. Really, when was the last time you had some good meat from CVS?