Thursday, October 25, 2012

Double Dip Day

As it turns out, today has been pretty much a double dip day all around. The morning started off with a bang when I apparently hit the snooze button twice as many times as I normally would. I had to rush twice as fast to get ready for work. Then at work, I found myself buried under the work of at least two people. It then took twice as long, as I suffered twice the normal number of interruptions, and ended up twice as far behind as I had anticipated.  Double the pressure! Double dip day! But I suppose that’s where it all ends, as I just checked my bank account for my direct deposit, and unfortunately there was no double pay. Oh well. Guess I should have two glasses of wine to wrap up the day.

Cream cheese. Who doesn’t love a good cream cheese dip? I am a huge fan, of course since its first cousin sour cream is one of my flavorite pals. In my college days, I was fortunate enough to work with my aunt and uncle in their boutique gourmet stores in Austin. They carried a marvelous variety of imported foods, cheeses, coffees and teas. They also made several cream-cheese based spreads from scratch, and occasionally showcased their wares by making fondue and other delicacies for the customers. This was the most wonderful place for a starving college student to work! I am sure this helped form my long-standing love of cheeses and gourmet indulgences. The following recipes are inspired by these cream cheese spreads, and the memories of my aunt lovingly assembling care packages of dips, crackers, cheeses and other snacks to share with my college dorm mates. Wait – share?

Black Olive Spread

1 8-ounce package of Cream Cheese, softened (microwave on medium for a minute or so to facilitate softening, or leave it out of the refrigerator for about a half hour)
4 ounces chopped black olives (use your preference, whether that means opening a small can, or chopping your favorites from the grocery’s bulk selection)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (1/4 teaspoon if you prefer less heat)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon if you prefer less heat)
¼ teaspoon salt (if the olives you use are extremely salty, please taste before addition of salt)
2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Veggie Spread

1 8-ounce package of Cream Cheese, softened
¼ cup finely diced cucumber*
2 tablespoons finely diced celery*
2 tablespoons finely diced carrot*
1 tablespoon finely diced fresh jalapeno*(optional)
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
*the finer you can dice the veggies, the better – you can also use a small food processor to pulse chop

For either concoction, combine all ingredients in softened cream cheese, and stir until completely blended. Refrigerate for at least an hour to chill. Enjoy with crackers, veggies, or your favorite spoon if the mood strikes! 

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