by Lisa

Caroline makes a fine garbage salad, and a long time ago, I started making a kind of garbage cheese dip.   Like so much of what goes on around here, there is no single recipe but rather a set of strategies and tips.  This is what you can do if friends stop in unexpectedly. This is another thing you can do if your kids are starving and dinner isn’t ready. This is what you do if you have too many little hunks of cheese lying around in your cheese bin and you don’t know how to use them.  There are two basic ways to go about mixing up a fast, delicious spread that you can use for snack, appetizer, or even a quick lunch.

The first, and my favorite, is Jacques Pepin style, a technique culled from one of his classic cooking shows.  In a Cuisinart blend together:

  • all your leftover little pieces of cheese–especially a little piece of blue cheese. The more eclectic the mix, the better.
  • a splash or so of white wine
  • one garlic clove

Of course, if kids are going to eat this, you will want to make sure the cheese mixing did not require too much wine–or you can substitute or add some mayonnaise as in the version below for a Horseradish Cheddar Cheese Dip:

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • mayonnaise
  • a teaspoon or two of mustard
  • a tablespoon or so to taste of horseradish

I like keeping things like this around, because anytime you bring out a pre-dinner snack, everyone slows down, gathers together and your weeknight can feel a little bit more like a weekend.