Happy New Year! I know January is supposed to be all about health, and so far my record in this department has been more or less fine. In the last few weeks I have cooked myself a brothy chicken soup with rice noodles, a kale and zucchini frittata, and a shrimp vermicelli bowl. I drank a few spinach, banana and blueberry smoothies. I attempted to choke down some sardines, for Omega-3s. I have done yoga every day this month. I even took an exercise class that came dangerously close to jazzercize. (That last activity was terrifying.) All those things were fine! I feel good! But let’s be honest, healthy living is boring.
You know what is not boring? DIP. Dip is deeply underrated. When was the last time you had the chance to eat dip? Almost no one serves it anymore and yet, as we approach the bleak, dark, depths of winter, know that dip is essential. It is rich and warming and very easy to make. It is versatile. You can put it on anything. Moreover, it is a crowd-pleaser; much like deviled eggs, it is often the first thing to go at a potluck. So if you have too much pride to simply whip up a batch for yourself on a Sunday night (I do not have too much pride for this), consider serving it at your Oscar party. Or host a party for the sole purpose of eating dip. Listen, winter is long, and it has only just begun. Health is fine, but if you overdo it this season you will die of sadness. The real trick is to be good sometimes, and then reward yourself with dip. This week, you left the house in less-than-optimal weather. You worked hard at something tedious. You sweated to a Ke$ha remix with a roomful of scarily enthusiastic strangers. You deserve some dip.
Not-At-All-Healthy Bacon, Cheddar, and Scallion Dip
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (use expensive cheddar cheese if you want to convince yourself that this dish is less disgusting than it might appear from this list of ingredients)
1/4 cup chopped, cooked bacon (about 6 strips/1/2 lb)*
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
*Whatever you do, do not use bacon bits. You might think that because the base of this recipe is sour cream, mayonnaise, and cream cheese, you do have permission to use bacon bits in place of real pork. You do not.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the ingredients in a 9″ Pyrex pie dish and bake for about 25 minutes, or until bubbling. This step is crucial. It is very important to bake any dip until it is bubbling. “You want the flavors to be recognized but not necessarily identified. The key to achieving this is to make sure everything mixes together. Hence, BUBBLES,” says my friend Amanda, the queen of dip. “The dip must bubble in the oven for a few minutes, that is also how you know it is done.” Serve immediately with pita chips, crackers, bread, crudités, or really…. anything. After you have placed the dip on a table somewhere, stand directly next to it and discreetly begin to eat it. When guests come near, redirect their gaze to the chip bowl. Continue to eat until the dip is gone.