Sunday, March 27, 2011
It's been 12 hours since I made this dip and my kitchen still smells like bacon. What if the bacon smell never leaves? What if it's now embedded in the walls and the light fixtures and the window shades? What if anytime someone walks into my kitchen, they ask "Mmm, is that bacon you're cooking?"
I can't say that would be a bad thing. In fact, I should swing by Yankee Candle and see if they have anything in the pork product scent family....
One of the great things about this blog is that it has unexpectedly brought other opportunities. I now have lovely little freelance writing gigs that pay enough to cover the cost of my new camera and the occasional splurge on a nice dinner. Aside from the extra income, though, I've found the most enjoyable aspect of freelance writing to truly be the things you learn and the people you meet. For example, if it wasn't for an article I was writing about wine awhile back, I never would've met Maurice.
Maurice is a 75-year-old connoisseur of The Good Life with a treasure trove of stories to tell and an engaging way of telling them. Asking around town for people who had some insight into the pleasures of wine, his name constantly came up, and when I finally called him, he not only accepted my request for an interview, but offered to come to our home for a little Wine 101. We invited friends, set the table with plenty of snacks and wine, and had a memorable evening that resulted in a new friendship (and a pretty good article).
When Maurice talks about his love of opera, his enthusiasm is contagious and you want to go - no, run - to the nearest opera house to get a glimpse of Wagner's work. When he talks about his sailing adventures, you can see yourself right there, pulling on the ropes to raise the sails. And when he talks about wine, he's a true egalitarian, seeing wine as one of life's simple pleasure that should be accessible to and enjoyed by all.
Needless to say, when we got an invitation to Maurice's retirement party (75 years and just NOW retiring? Impressive), we were happy to attend and knew the occasion would bring together all sorts of interesting people and, of course, good wine. However, when the invite mentioned to bring an appetizer to go with wine, I was at a loss. What to bring, what to bring - little fried bites of shrimp or veggies are always good with wine, but better hot, not sitting out for an evening. There was already going to be plenty of cheese. A Facebook friend mentioned caprese salad, which I adore in the summer, but I wanted something a little more hearty.
I thought Maurice commented once on how he likes blue cheese. Running with that as a starting point, I finally landed on this dip on Chow. The flavor of blue cheese, onion, and bacon is thick and rich and a little salty, which in my novice wine drinker's mind makes a perfect match for being cut with a sip of a cold white wine. And when I scraped this dip out of the mixing bowl onto the serving platter and found myself licking the almost-empty mixing bowl as if it were brownie batter, I knew it may not be the fanciest dish there, but it would sure be good.
Whether you dig listening to Maria Callas with a cold glass of Chablis or watching the Final Four with a tall pale ale, this is a crowd pleaser. And I think Maurice would approve either way.
Cobb Salad Dip
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 2 ounces)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 medium avocado, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups, cut just before serving)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
4 pieces bacon, well-browned and crumbled
Place sour cream, blue cheese, lemon juice, salt, and Worcestershire in a medium nonreactive bowl and stir until well combined. Fold in avocado, scallions, and parsley, transfer to a shallow serving dish, and top with bacon. Serve with celery sticks or assorted crackers.
Posted by Rhubarb and Venison at 1:51 PM