Between November and April I usually avoid the weather app on my iPhone. Living in Chicago it’s generally an instant ticket to disappointment and frustration. Despite what a lifetime lived in cold climates might suggest about me, I do not enjoy cold and snow. Sure it’s nice for a few weeks to inspire indoor projects, fuel snowboarding trips, and encourage baking and casseroles, but after a month of continuous cold I get frustrated. It really brings out my least flattering side – whiney and perpetually cranky.
But lately looking up the weather has brought unexpected and continual delight as we hit 81 this past Wednesday and warm and balmy temperatures have continued. To my southern and Californian friends this may be par for the course, but it’s downright shocking here in Chicago. It’s put me in an early summer state of mind, which I know I will regret later when temperatures come crashing down to a seasonably appropriate level. But for now, I’m loving it.
It’s also made me want to post a dish that I think is perfect for effortless warm weather entertaining. Growing up dips were a mainstay at every warm weather picnic or get together. Taco and onion dip were the most common in my family, but having a continuous need to buck tradition and do something a little bit different, I bring you this Apple, Blue Cheese and Walnut Dip. The flavor combination makes it feel a little more sophisticated than your average dip, but without any additional effort. I personally love how it’s delicious balance of crunchy and creamy, tart and piquant, is just as at home on a thick slice of crusty baguette as it is with a bag of ruffled potato chips. It can be dressed up or down as you wish. And if dips are your thing I imagine it would work equally well as a sandwich filling, especially with a couple of slices of crisp bacon or some perfectly salty prosciutto slices.
Apple, Blue Cheese and Walnut Dip Yields about 2 ½ cups dip
-1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
-1/4 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-Pinch black pepper
-1 cup diced apple (about one apple), I used Fuji and left the peel on for added color
-1 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
-1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper until smooth. Fold in diced apple, blue cheese and toasted pecans. Transfer to a sealable container and chill for at least two hours to allow the flavors to meld.