Cooking is a funny process. If I gave you a spoonful of cream cheese and a spoonful of sour cream and told you to put them both in your mouth at the same time you’d gag and say, “Sick, man, get out of my face.” But if I mixed that sour cream and cream cheese together in a bowl and tossed in horseradish, lemon juice, dill and pieces of smoked salmon you’d say: “Ooooh, look at that lovely dip. Let me have it!”
Isn’t that funny? Or at least interesting? I think it is. I think it’s interesting how certain foods by themselves (like sour cream and cream cheese) are unappetizing but mixed together, they suddenly become something new and acceptable. The dip you see above is one such example: the recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa and it’s really as simple as mixing together everything I’ve mentioned. It’s one package of cream cheese at room temperature, you beat it in your electric mixer for a bit and then add 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 Tbs horseradish, juice from one lemon, some minced dill, salt and pepper and once that’s all mixed, cut up a package of smoked salmon (I forget how many ounces) and whir it all together until it’s a delicious dip. (Delicious Dip was my nickname in high school.)
It seems most of The Barefoot Contessa’s dips are combinations of cream cheese, sour cream and sometimes mayonnaise with various flavorings. Add sun-dried tomatoes, scallions and hot sauce and you have her sun-dried tomato dip; add pan-fried onions and you have her pan-fried onion dip. Consequently, you can invent your own dip by mixing together gloppy, fatty, beige substances with flavorings of your choice. Don’t worry if the ingredients look nasty by themselves; once you mix them all together you’ll have a dip. And people will love you for it.
Take it from one who knows…