Lizzy’s Awesome Chunky Blue Cheese Dip with Herbs

Here is another great blue cheese recipe from former blue cheese hater turned blue cheese fanatic Lizzy Shaw.

Makes 2 cups.

2 cups Danish blue cheese cut into ½-inch cubes
Good-quality olive oil to cover
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Kosher salt to taste

1. Place all the ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl, toss together gently, cover, and refrigerate at least overnight and up to 5 days to let the flavors develop.

2. To serve, fish out the cheese chunks with a fork, (they look pretty with the herb flakes), reserving the herbed oil, and place them in a bowl. To make more dip, continue to add more cheese to the marinating oil until it gets too cloudy and looks ugly.

Serve with lightly steamed broccoli florets, French bread toasts, or triangles of pumpernickel bread.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)

Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Dip

This is perfect for those who want something low in fat but flavorful.

Makes about 1 cup.

1 large bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded, and cut into big chunks
1 to 2 garlic cloves, to your taste, sliced
1 scallion (white and green parts), ends trimmed
¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon cream cheese or Yogurt Cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the pepper in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until chopped. Add the garlic and scallion and pulse until chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well combined.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, garnished with chopped mint, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Serve with celery sticks, baby carrots or carrot sticks, or pita or bagel chips.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)

Lizzy Shaw’s Creamy Dreamy Gorgonzola Dip

My childhood friend Lizzy Shaw only recently came to like blue cheese, but now she can’t seem to get enough of it. This dip is inspired by one she got at a market in California; she’s become such an aficionado that she was sure she could improve upon the one she bought. And she was right. This is also great on sandwiches, with Buffalo wings, and even on French fries!
Lizzie says to make sure not to get the waxy, hard kind of gorgonzola sold in wedges, which won’t crumble and often doesn’t have much flavor. You want the creamier version. If your gorgonzola stays in hard squares, instead of crumbling, try mashing it a little with a fork. If it still won’t soften up, or if the gorgonzola is too mild, add 2 tablespoons crumbled Rosenborg Danish blue cheese, which is available in many large supermarkets, or another soft mild blue cheese to make the dip creamier.

Makes about 1¼ cups.

1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 scallion (white and green parts), minced or thinly sliced
3½ heaping teaspoons sour cream or Yogurt Cheese
1 heaping tablespoon cream cheese (regular, not whipped)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch or ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, to your taste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. Place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mash with a fork until well combined.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside for 1 hour to let the flavors develop before serving, or cover and refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, let it soften a bit before serving.

Variation: Make the whole thing with Rosenborg Danish blue cheese, or add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little zing. Add about 1 tablespoon whole milk if you like a thinner dip. Thin it with about 2 tablespoons milk if you want to use it as a salad dressing, or just go ahead and add a big dollop of the spread “as is” to any salad and flip out how good it is!

Serve with little crunchy crackers, endive spears, celery sticks, or boiled tiny new potatoes.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)

Hot Camembert Cheese with Cranberries and Pecans

Hot, gooey, rich, creamy, sweet, and spicy all at the same time, this recipe is a winner. Be sure to buy a camembert round in a thin wood box; the box is necessary to the recipe.

Serves 6.

One 8-ounce camembert round, frozen for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon lightly roasted salted pecans
1 tablespoon dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2. Carefully, using a sharp knife, scrape of the rind from the top of the camembert round. Return the round to the wood box. Spread the brown sugar over the surface, then top with the pecans and cranberries.

3. Place the box on a baking sheet, transfer it to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.

4. As soon as you can handle it, remove the box and place the camembert on a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Variation: Substitute 3 tablespoons chutney of your choice for the brown sugar, pecans, and cranberries, or brie for the camembert.

Serve with toast rounds, crackers, bread sticks, or the crudités of your choice.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)

Chutney Cheddar Dip

I first enjoyed this spicy and sweet dip in a ham sandwich piled with paper-thin apple slices and endive on black bread. I completely agree with Diana Vreeland, Vogue magazine’s former editor-in-chief: “Chutney is marvelous. I’m mad about it. To me, it’s very imperial.”
Chutney is a piquant relish from India, usually made of fruit, spices, sugar, and vinegar. It can vary hugely in spiciness, so taste what’s in your jar before adding it in.

Makes about 2 cups.

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded (about 3 cups), at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream or Yogurt Cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons chutney of your choice
½ teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Finely chopped fresh Italian parsley or cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Place the cheese, sour cream, and butter in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Add the chutney and chili powder and process until the chutney is incorporated.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, garnished with parsley, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. If refrigerated, let it soften a bit before serving.

Serve with crackers, apple slices, endive spears, baby carrots or carrot sticks, or celery sticks.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)

Roasted Walnut and Gorgonzola Dip

Very rich and very creamy – in short, this is to die for.

Makes 1½ cups.

4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (half an 8-ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature, or ½ cup Yogurt Cheese
¼ cup cream (either light or heavy is fine)
1 teaspoon Cognac
4 tablespoons walnut halves, toasted

1. Place the cheeses in a small mixing bowl and mash together with a fork. Gradually add the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, and the Cognac and mash until well incorporated. Mix in 3 tablespoons of the walnuts.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, garnished with the remaining 1 tablespoon of walnuts, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Variation: Substitute goat cheese for the cream cheese.

Serve with endive spears, radishes, or triangles of pumpernickel bread.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)