Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday-Night-Pizza-Night (Blue Cheese Dip)


It's Friday-night-pizza-night at the Wiles house.  What started as an end-of-the-week, someone-else-needs-to-cook treat is now a fully established tradition.  Initially, as I saw the custom settling in, I was uncomfortable.  Really, pizza again?  Shouldn't the kids be exposed to more variety?  What if they only eat cheese pizza for the rest of their lives?

Turns out though, we weren't the only ones.  Friday-night-pizza-night is rampant in homes with school-age children.  No matter whose house they're at, kids count on it.  But I am so over it.

When they were little, it was kind of cute.  We'd jump into our jammies, pop in a special movie, munch on some raw vegetables and blue cheese dip (not that the kids would ever actually eat the dip -- gross!), snuggle down and await the man-of-the-day to arrive -- the pizza delivery guy.  Even the dog recognized him.

But sometime after my 332nd slice, I just got over it.  True, we did move on from cheese to one-topping pepperoni (large, hand-tossed), but I'm done.  Would it kill us to add something approximating a vegetable (even olives!) to our order?  Probably.  According to my calculations, it took eight years to add the pepperoni.  In another eight years, it'll just be me, the cat and the dog here.  I'm not ordering pizza for them.  Not even with olives.

The one thing I don't tire of is the blue cheese dip.   It's easy to make and requested by everyone I know but didn't birth.  I suppose I should be proud though, because although the kids won't get close to any dip (not even ranch), they do accept that other people are different.  Darling Daughter will even ask, as we leave to have dinner at someone else's house, "Aren't you supposed to bring dip?"

Good with nearly any raw vegetable, and particularly tasty paired with steamed asparagus or sugar snap peas, blue cheese dip has gotten me through many a pizza night.  Of course, I also like it spooned into baked potatoes.  Or scooped up with Fritos.  Or a spoon.  But I suspect that's just me.

Killer Blue Cheese Dip
(All amounts are approximate.  For the first four ingredients, I use an amount that's about the size of my fist.)

4 oz. blue cheese (and better blue cheese, such as Maytag or sigh, Clemson, really is better), crumbled
About 3/4 cup (or more) of sour cream
About 3/4 cup (or less) of decent mayonnaise
About 3/4 cup (no kidding) of minced fresh Italian parsley
About 1/4 cup of finely minced celery (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Generous shake of Tabasco
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Generous grinding of pepper

Stir everything together.  Taste.  If it still needs "something," try a bit more lemon juice or salt.  Then, if you can stand it, stash it in the fridge for an hour or two, to let the flavors mellow.  Serve with fresh celery, carrots, lightly steamed asparagus, radishes, etc.  And a spoon.
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