If you are wiser and healthier than me, you landed yourself the smarter role of arriving to someone else’s Thanksgiving feast relaxed, excited, clean, and hungry; oblivious of the five-day cooking frenzy lunatics who offer to host the event subject themselves to. Don’t get me wrong, and, please, don’t feel bad here, we beg to do this. Some of those who are sicker than others (I won’t name names), fantasize about it, lying awake months before dreaming of stuffing and basting turkeys, mashing potatoes, and throwing marshmallows on whatever we can get away with. Most of us that fall in this category are the real die-hards that insist on preparing the entire meal from A to Z. It’s kind of like a Bruce Willis meets Martha Stewart. This obsession is a drug and I am brave enough to say I am definitely not the only addict. There are plenty of us in the cracks and crevices of supermarkets and food specialty shops. We are the ones with the crazy look in our eyes and a subtle scent of poultry mixed with pumpkin spice.All the more reason to approach us Thanksgiving hosts with caution. We are thankful for many things on this holiday, and, trust me, the most important one is your attendance at our table (what thrills to meet the challenge of cooking for more and more and more guests), still, you want to fight fire with fire and so, what better way to arrive to Thanksgiving dinner than with some kind of food. Of course wine or flowers are always good (wine is better), but a dip is perfection in itself. Here you are saying many things to the Thanksgiving Host Addict: I love you (enough to bring you food).I am not stepping on your culinary turf (I brought the smaller food, you win).I understand you (I brought food).I connect with you (I brought food).The psychological implications, as you see, are infinite. But take it from an addict like me, this tiny gift will be greatly appreciated, savored, and remembered by your addict. Just be prepared to cross that line. Once you feed an addict’s habit, there’s no turning back.
Dips: Tapenade, Three Layer Pesto, Spicy Artichoke, and Crab
QUICK AND TASTY DIPS THAT TO FEED THE HABIT
All these feed 4 happily.
The French may gasp that you are not grinding this with a mortar and pestle, but, I find the smooth texture of the food processor to be just right (and less of a workout).
2 tablespoons pitted black olives (splurge on good olives for this one, no canned junk)
8 – 10 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon tunafish in oil
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup cognac or sherry
ground pepper, to taste
Blend olives, tuna and anchovies in a food processor. Add capers and mustard.
Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Flavor with cognac (or sherry) and black pepper.
THREE LAYER PESTO DIP
16 oz. tub of cream cheese
1 Package sun dried tomatoes
8 oz. pesto (can use store-bought)
Boil sun dried tomatoes in water for five minutes and chopped into small pieces.
Line a candy dish with Saran Wrap to keep from sticking.
Form a patty with cream cheese and place it on the bottom of the bowl*.
Put layer of pesto on top. Put layer of sun dried tomatoes.
Repeat layers until bowl is full.
Note: save a small amount of pesto and tomatoes to put on top for decoration.
Refrigerate to congeal mold.
Before serving, turn bowl over and put dip onto serving platter, removing saran wrap.
Top with remaining pesto and tomatoes.
*Use two pieces of Saran Wrap to cover hands so cream cheese does not stick to your hands.
SPICY ARTICHOKE DIP
1 16 oz. can artichoke hearts
5 oz. mayonnaise
4 oz. chopped jalapenos
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients. Bake in a 9" pie pan at 350F for 20 minutes.
1 – 1 1/2 cups crab meat
2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
3 – 4 jalapenos (de-seeded and diced)
2 tablespoons milk1 teaspoon salt
dash of white pepperslivered almondsCombine all ingredients.
Bake in a 9" pie pan at 325F for 25 minutes. Top with almonds.