Lynda Balslev: Time for a dip |

Lynda Balslev: Time for a dip

This homemade dip conjures childhood memories of additive- and salt-packed instant onion dips, while, in these modern times, it's made from scratch with real ingredients.
Photo by Lynda Balslev

Let’s be honest. Life has been a little stressful of late. In times of anxiety and uncertainty, some self-care is warranted. I am not talking cleanses and fasts, folks, I am talking indulgences, because, well, we deserve it.

When our sheltering days are clocked by changes of clothing from morning PJs to home-office athleisure attire, to a return to PJs (wash and repeat); when our weekly schedule requires setting an alarm to remember that it’s in fact a Monday, or to clarify that the weekend follows Friday and, sadly, not the aforementioned Monday; when we realize that the entire last year has atrophied any semblance of learned social skills (no small feat for introverts), and our voracious consumption of screen time has effectively canceled any parental authority in managing that department — it’s important not to judge. Rather, it’s time to be kind to ourselves, to embrace comfort in the form of simple pleasures, and to mark the end of yet another sheltered day with non-anxiety-provoking rewards (and cue the moment it’s OK to change back into our PJs).

Which leads me to this bowl of dip. (As I said, simple pleasures.) I confess that I called this dinner when I made it (no one in my family objected), and I regret nothing. In my defense, it’s a homemade dip. It conjures childhood memories of additive- and salt-packed instant onion dips, while, in these modern times, it’s made from scratch with real ingredients. It’s also easy to put together, risking no inflection in your anxiety level.

And since I am feeling a little lighthearted these days, I have even provided two ways to make this dip. The first is a basic onion-packed dip, and the second is the same dip dressed up with a little extra bling, because, as mentioned, we deserve it. And while it’s not an evening at the theater or a festive party (so 2019), the bling adds a tiny hint of sparkle that we can enjoy on a Tuesday — oops, Thursday — night in our PJs.


Triple Onion Dip

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes plus cooling time

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 shallots, halved and thinly sliced

2 scallions, white and green parts divided, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste, plus more for garnish

Optional bling:

1 to 2 teaspoons drained jarred horseradish

Salmon roe for sprinkling

Dill sprigs for garnish

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots and white scallions. Cook over medium heat until very soft and tinged golden in spots, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lemon juice, then remove and cool to room temperature. When cool enough to handle, chop the onions and transfer to a bowl.

Whisk the cream cheese until light and smooth, then stir in the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder to blend. Mix in the onions, salt and black pepper, and taste for seasoning. Garnish with the green scallions if not adding the optional dill.

Optional: Mix in 1 to 2 teaspoons drained jarred horseradish, to taste, with the onions. Garnish with the salmon roe and dill sprigs.

Serve with potato chips, pita chips or crudites.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area.

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