So a very cool thing happened to me just before I went home for Christmas. I was sitting in my office -- which is cold and crowded with boxes of paperwork that don't have a home -- and I was feeling terribly glum, as it seems there is no aspect of my job anymore that makes use of my creative gifts. Payroll, tax preparation, meeting organization -- this is not the job I moved across the country for, and not the job I was promised. The economy is in the can and I work in a specialized industry anyway, so finding a new position has proven extremely difficult. Woe is me.
(Woe is you, too? Yeah, there are a lot of us in that boat.)
Anyway, whilst I was silently bemoaning my professional decline, my friend Carl stopped by the office. He's not so much my friend as someone who is tied to the company I work for, but in order to keep a bit of my anonymity, we'll just call him my friend. Carl and his family own and operate a little cooking company called Sur la Table. Perhaps you've heard of it? Carl's wife, Renée, is the current chair of the company, and the sole reason for his visit was to bring me a copy of her recent cookbook, Memorable Recipes to Share with Family and Friends, which they inscribed for me. Just for me! How cool is that?
I asked Carl and Renée which recipes in the book are their favorites. This clam dip and the four-star fried chicken were their recommendations. (Fried chicken recipe coming in my next post.) I really liked how the tang of the lemon juice and hint of chives came through in the dip, but I think my favorite thing about it was the consistency. Not so thick and creamy that it breaks your chip, and not so runny that it won't stick to anything. Just right. I made it for our annual Christmas Eve gathering at home and took it to two other holiday parties, but it would be terrific most any time of year. Perhaps for your upcoming Superbowl game watch?
[Just for fun, and since there are Christmas pictures in this post anyway, here is a picture of my favorite Christmas apron. It's the kind that is cut for a woman, so it doesn't make you look like you have all the shapeliness of a refrigerator box when you put it on.]
Clam and Chive Dip
Recipe from Memorable Recipes to Share with Family and Friends
Yields about 2 cups*
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cans (6 1/2 ounces each) minced clams, drained, liquid reserved
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced yellow onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Stir together the cream cheese, creme fraiche or sour cream, and mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of the reserved clam juice. Stir in the chives, lemon juice, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. Fold in the clams. If the dip is too stiff, stir in a bit more of the clam juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour** before serving with pita chips or crudités.
* The book says this recipe yields 8 servings. I have no idea what a serving of dip is. Two tablespoons? Seems to me it made about 2 cups of dip.
** As the recipe notes, you need to refrigerate the dip for at least 1 hour before serving. However, I made it a day in advance (per Carl's recommendation) so the flavors would have more time to draw through.