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)

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)

Goat Cheese Spread with Dried Apricots and Pistachios

A microplane grater is the only type of grater that will get the lemon zest fine enough for this creamy, salty, tangy, sweet spread.

Makes about 2 cups.

¼ cup dried apricots, finely diced
¼ cup boiling water
1 log goat cheese (10 to 12 ounces), at room temperature
⅓ cup pistachio nuts, toasted and finely chopped
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, to your taste
Honey for drizzling (optional)

1. Place the apricots and boiling water in small heatproof bowl and set aside until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

2. Add the goat cheese and mash well. Add the nuts, buttermilk, mint, and lemon zest and mash again.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, drizzled with honey, if desired, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

Variation: Substitute dried dates or figs for the apricots and pecans or walnuts for the pistachios.

Serve with triangles of pumpernickel bread, crackers, fresh figs or strawberries.

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

Horseradish Cheddar Dip

The first time I made this dip, I started out with a tablespoon of horseradish. It wasn’t enough, but being a bit horseradish shy, I added only one more. Still it wasn’t enough, and so, tasting after each addition of yet one more tablespoon, I eventually arrived at a whopping eight.
Horseradish has been used as an aphrodisiac, a rub for lower back pain, and a treatment for tuberculosis and rheumatism; it is also used as a bitter herb for Passover seders. About six million gallons of prepared horseradish are produced annually in the US – enough to generously season sandwiches to reach 12 times around the world.

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
½ cup prepared horseradish (without sugar)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
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 horseradish and lemon juice and process until incorporated.

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

Serve with celery sticks, zucchini spears, steamed tiny potatoes, triangles of pumpernickel bread, or French bread toasts.

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

Truffled Goat Cheese Spread

The amazing taste and ease of preparation balance the expense of the ingredients in this dip. Truffle oil is produced when truffles are soaked in olive oil. The aroma and freshness weaken over time, so be sure to buy a fresh bottle and make this dip often. It’s also fabulous spooned on top of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or risotto or tossed with linguine.

Makes about 1½ cups.

1 9-ounce log goat cheese, at room temperature
2 to 3 teaspoons truffle oil, or to your taste
4 radishes, trimmed and grated
¼ cup chopped fresh chives

1. Place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mash together with a fork to combine

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. If refrigerated, let soften a bit before serving, if desired.

Variation: Substitute one 8-ounce package of cream cheese for the goat cheese.

Serve with cucumber rounds or triangles of thinly sliced pumpernickel bread.

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

Spicy Feta Dip with Fresh Mint and Cilantro

Inspired by an appetizer I once had of feta cheese marinated in cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes, this dip is herby, spicy, savory, and creamy. It’s great on burgers, on eggs, or with anything accompanied by black olives.

Makes about 1 cup.

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup lowfat plain yogurt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ to ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to your taste
1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1. Place the feta and yogurt in a small mixing bowl and mash together with a fork until combined but still slightly chunky. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately garnished with orang zest, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Serve with pitted black olives, sliced baguette, or warmed pita triangles.

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

Sarah Shaw’s Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

This is without a doubt the best use of sun-dried tomatoes I have ever had and a great example of the sum being more than its parts. When Sarah first told me about this dip, I was skeptical because I never really loved sun-dried tomatoes. However, ever since she gave me the recipe, I have been making and remaking this dip, with total enjoyment. Try it as well as a filling for omelets or a topping for burgers.

Makes about 2 cups.

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup boiling water
¼ cup olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves, to your taste, minced
1 log goat cheese (10 to 12 ounces)
Kosher salt to taste
Finely chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)

1. Place the tomatoes in a small heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let stand until softened, 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the hardness of the tomatoes. Drain and return to the bowl. Add the olive oil and garlic, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days to the let the flavors develop.

2. Add the goat cheese and mash with a fork. Season with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, garnished with basil, if desired, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. If refrigerated, let soften a bit before serving, if desired.

Sarah says, “I like to spread this on the fat end of endive leaves and arrange them around a plate of radishes. It’s good with chilled asparagus spears, too.” I like it on triangles of thinly sliced black bread.

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