The Blue Cheese Did Not Have Crack In It

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Iron Crafter Trophies

My friend Ann (who at one point noted that she was mentioned in nearly every post here, I told her that’s what she gets for being my only friend) told me that someone wrote a blog post that talked about the blue cheese dip I made for the recent Scrap Holiday Party/Iron Crafter competition.

So of course I had to look to see what they said. Here’s the post, which I think is a very funny summary of the night. However I would like to note that the judging for that portion of the competition was handled by a 7-year-old , so even if we wanted to rig it, it probably wouldn’t have worked. Seven-year-olds are notoriously difficult to program.

The blue cheese dip recipe is from my mom. It is very good, but I generally do not use crack in my cooking, and this night was no exception. The recipe came from an article in the Buffalo News a very long time ago (late ’70s/early ’80s) about the original Anchor Bar wings. This is the dip you serve with Buffalo wings, which many places serve now, but very few make properly. And no one serves dip as good as this.

Buffalo Wing Blue Cheese Dip

2 T chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 T white vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne to taste (optional — in the version of the recipe I have from my mom, it says, “Do not put in.”)

Combine all ingredients. Season to taste. Chill. Makes 2-1/2 cups.

And here are my adjustments.

I use a LOT of blue cheese, partly because it’s very difficult to buy 1/4 cup of anything and partly because it’s better with more.

I use only a couple of tablespoons of sour cream and substitute a small container (6 oz) of nonfat plain yogurt, placed in a seive over a bowl for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer, if I think of it ahead of time) to drain out excess water. I think straight sour cream is too heavy.

I use parsley if I’m making the dip for a special occasion or if I have parsley on hand, otherwise I skip it. But it is better with parsley.

I also tend to adjust the vinegar and lemon juice to make it more tart. And sometimes I add more garlic.

Basically I just mix stuff together and taste and adjust the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper until it tastes so good that someone might accuse me of having put crack in it. Then I put it in the fridge and let it sit for a few hours so everything can meld together. Then serve with carrots and celery sticks and WINGS.

When I was talking about the dip and the wings at the Scrap party, a friend whose husband works at the Piedmont said that one of the chefs there is from Buffalo and had been making “real” wings for the staff. She said she thinks they’re on the menu now, because everyone liked them so much. She said, “It’s Frank’s hot sauce and butter.” I said, “Yes. That’s it.” So there’s your secret recipe — Frank’s hot sauce and butter. On deep-fried wings. NOT baked, broiled, or grilled. Deep-fried. With no breading or anything. Just drop wings into vat of sizzling fat until they’re crispy and golden, let cool on paper towels or paper bags or newspaper (to soak up excess grease) then place them in a bowl with the sauce, stir to mix and let them sit and soak it up while you cook the rest of the wings.

You can serve that on New Year’s Day while you watch football. Then start your New Year’s diet feeling like you got your money’s worth.

Here are some pix from the competition, for those who are interested. Thanks much to Eleanor Mills for serving as documentarian!

Julie and Julia

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It’s open for debate if this is actually interesting but I’m posting it anyway.

I saw Julie and Julia a few months ago (I think my father is pleased with his Christmas gift of a few years back when he gave me a copy of the two-volume set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking that he found in a used book store, he’s feeling very ahead of his time now that it’s trendy) and I liked it, it was a good movie. But there was one thing that bugged me a little bit.

I felt like the implication in the movie was that both Julie Powell and Julia Child started their projects as a substitute for what they really wanted: Julie Powell because she didn’t have a career and Julia Child because she wasn’t able to have children.

I got that impression from two scenes in the movie — the Julie Powell scene where she’s at lunch with her college friends and everyone is talking about their jobs, real estate deals, etc., and the Julia Child scene where she gets the letter from her sister announcing her pregnancy and says, “Oh, I’m so happy,” and starts crying.

Maybe I was reading too much into it — and I know it’s a Hollywood movie and Hollywood needs to accentuate the drama — but still I wondered about it.

So the next time I was at the library, I looked for the books on which the movie was based. Julie Powell’s book was checked out, but My Life in France was there, so I’ve been reading that, to see if Julia Child really was so torn up about not being able to have children that she decided to become a world-famous chef and cookbook writer instead.

So, for the record, here is what Julia Child says in My Life in France about having children. (This is in the context of a discussion of Paul’s troubles with amoebic dystentary as well as her own bouts of digestive distress.)

But when I continued to feel suddenly sick and gaseous, I declared: “Aha, pregnant at last!”

We had tried. But for some reason our efforts didn’t take. It was sad but we didn’t spend too much time thinking about it and never considered adoption. It was just one of those things. We were living very full lives. I was cooking all the time and making plans for a career in gastronomy. Paul — after all his years as a tutor and schoolteacher — said that he’d already spent enough time with adolescents to last him a lifetime. So it was.”

I guess “We were living very full lives” and “So it was” isn’t sufficiently dramatic for contemporary America, a little sobbing was needed.

Anyway, that’s it for the movie reviews. Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.

If you don’t have anything to say…

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I’m in “If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything” mode. I haven’t been inspired and have thought of nothing interesting to write about.

I’m going to be working on some things for The Scrap Exchange Holiday Party (and Iron Crafter competition! — check it out) next week so hopefully will get something good out of that.

Hope everyone is having a nice holiday season.