Dip Madness

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

            Inmate #1
            Beard Home Worker

PAUL: Here to see Brown.
BEARD HOME WORKER: [hands P a pass]
P: I know. Canít leave without it.
INMATE #1: Aah! Chef Paul!
P: Yes?
I #1: Oh, oh, I love your show! What is it? What is it, what is it?
P: Great Eats.
I #1: What?
P: The show I do for the Food Network, itís called Great Eats.
I #1: Never heard of it.

P: Hi, AB.
AB: Paul? Is it you? Well, gosh, how long has it been?
P: I donít know, maybe ...
AB: Oh, well let me guess: 2 years, 3 months! Whatís the matter, big time TV chef, the driveway too short for your limousine? And after all I did for you.
P: Whatís all this?
AB: Nothing.
P: Itís your script. The one about dip, isnít it.
AB: Yeah, dips. I wrote it for you. Look, Iím this close to finding the Unified Dip Theory. And once I do, this script will finally be done and Iíll make my triumphant return to, to ...

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

GUEST: Inmate #2

P: Do you mind if I look at that? Just, just one page, maybe?
AB: [hands him a sheet]
P: [reading] " In order to formulate a Unified Dip Theory, one must first establish a system for classifying all dips. This of course is predicated on devising a working definition of what a dip actually is. To this end, we employ the ... "

The Living Room

... [taking up where Paul left off] the three foot rule, which states, that in order to qualify as a dip, the candidate substance must be able to maintain constant contact with its transport mechanism over three feet of white carpet. Now, why donít we start by giving Americaís favorite, salsa, a try. [dips into the salsa, transports it, it falls on the carpet] Oh. Gosh. You know, I guess that means that salsaís not a dip after all. No real surprise, when you consider that the word salsa is actually Spanish for sauce, not dip.
    Letís give another one a try, say an amalgamation of sour cream and roasted onion. [repeats with no fall-age] Now that is a dip. From this experiment we can extrapolate that a successful dip is creamy. Of course, there are a lot of different ways to get creamy into a dip.

The age-old dip dilemma, the broken chip, was
solved with the invention of the ridged chip.

The Kitchen

    After countless hours of experimentation, we have come to the conclusion that the best all-purpose sour cream dip base is in fact a combination of two parts sour cream and one part mayonnaise. No, itís not exactly a dairy product but it is white and creamy and a little can do a lot for a dipís flavor and texture. Also, the emulsifying power of the egg in mayonnaise can help hold a dip together.

    Now, our version of California Dip begins with one and a half cups of sour cream and three quarters of a cup of mayonnaise. But wait. Thereís more. 1 1/2 Cups Sour Cream
3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
    Starting with two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium-low heat. Then, onions: one and a half cups. And, of course, a little saltókosher, that is. Now weíre going to let this cook for about 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes is necessary. I mean, we need to drive excess moisture out of the onions, we need to caramelize the sugar inside of them, and we want to create a rich, dark pigment so that the onions can literally color the dip later on. How brown should we let the onions get? Oh, Iíd say something about like that. Ha ha ha ha. TV time. You gotta love it. 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Diced Onion
1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
    Okay. Into the dip base. Make sure you get all of the oil as well, because thereís a lot of flavor in it. And weíre gonna add a little bit more salt, as a matter of fact, about half a teaspoon of salt. A quarter teaspoon of white pepper, because black pepper just would not look good, and last but not least, a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder. 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. White Pepper
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

P: Garlic powder never delivers!
AB: It never delivers because people donít give it a chance to. Itís got to rehydrate. [becoming more and more excited] I mean, if you just go and toss garlic powder into tomato sauce youíre never going to get any flavor because the acid in the tomato just eats ...
BHW: [off camera] Brown, do you need your pill?
AB: No, no. Iím good. Iím fine. Iím calm. Thank you. The acid prevents the garlic flavor from ever developing. And if youíre in that much of a hurry you ought to use HBI garlic powder.
P: Now youíre making that up.
AB: No, I am not making that up. High Bulk Index. What? You've never heard of that? Itís a special kind of garlic powder that they take it and they dry it and they process it in such a way that each grain has like twice the surface area as regular garlic powder. This stuffís amazing. I mean, you can just put a little bit of this in water for like two minutes and itís up to 100% flavor. Itís like instant garlic. It's amazing.
P: Okay. Garlic powder is always too salty.
AB: That is not sal ...! Garlic salt is always salty. The problem is the retailers either mix them up, or they put them together and put the same label on them, okay? Which just goes to show that shopping for spices in a regular grocery store, thatís the ... that's the crazy thing!
P: Well, youíd know.
AB: What I do know is that if youíre careful you can make an American style dip out of just about anything.

During its heyday in the 1960ís, onion dip was better known as California Dip.

The Kitchen

    You can make an American dip out of just about anything, as long as you stick to a basic formula, okay? Creamy base, plus one to two main ingredientsó usually the ones the dip is named foró and then no more than three supporting seasonings, excluding salt, of course.

    Now letís say that we dissect this hot artichoke dip and see what makes it tick, okay? First, we'll take out the quarter teaspoon of salt and then weíve got the three backup singers, as they were: a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder, half a teaspoon of red pepper flake, and a third of a cup of grated parmesan cheese and yes, I do consider that a seasoning. 1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

    Then weíve got the main players: one and a half cups of frozen artichoke hearts and a cup of chopped frozen spinach, cooked together in about a cup of boiling water until just tender, and drained, of course. 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Artichoke Hearts
1 Cup Chopped Frozen Spinach
    That leaves us the base, and this is our favorite hot dip base: six ounces of cream cheese which has been warmed in the microwave for about a minute on low, along with a quarter cup of sour cream and a quarter cup of mayonnaise. 6 oz. Warmed Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise

    Now when you put it all together, you have a very party hearty type of dip. Of course how are you going to keep it warm during the party? Break out your crock pot.

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

GUEST: Inmate #3
            Beard Home Workers #2 & #3

P: Crock pot? Why not use chafing dishes? Thatís what theyíre for.
AB: [has a pen in his mouth] Chafing dishes ... [removes the pen] Chafing dishes are like the ultimate uni-taskers. Why not just grab hold of your old faithful crock pot, [stands up and dances with an inmate #3] put a couple of inches of hot water into it, put it over low heat, put your dip in a bowl that will fit over the top of it, [spins I#3 off screen] and that way your dip stays hot all night long. And you know, if you donít like the way the crock pot looks, then tie a scarf around it! [crashing noises]
BEARD HOME WORKER 2 & 3: [run to help I#3]
AB: Of course, you know, we really shouldnít be talking about dips unless we talk about that freaky strange fruit known as ...

Carnival Side Show

GUEST: Hawker

HAWKER: One of the freakiest fruits in the world. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you avocado. Early American settlers called it the alligator pear, not only because it looked like one, but because they couldnít pronounce the Aztec word ahucatl [pron: a wah HUTTLE]. Heck, I canít even say it. It is so weird that it is a fruit and yet it contains 20% fat. Not weird enough for you? Fine. The leaves produce a hormone that prevents the fruit from ripening as long as itís on the tree. Falls off, it ripens, but only in the presence of oxygen, ladies and gentlemen, thatís right, you put an avocado in a plastic bag and it doesnít ripen, it rots!

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

AB: [asleep in a chair]
P: Why not just put it in a paper bag? I mean, it allows the ethylene to accumulate without cutting off the air flow. I mean, more ethylene, faster ripening.

Carnival Side Show

H: Now there are dozens of varieties, yes there are, but let me tell you, down at the local mega-mart youíre probably just going to see this one, the Hass avocado, named after the California postman that discovered it outside his hometown of Pasadena back in the early 20th century.

Hass Avocado

The Fuerte avocado is one of 500 species of this fruit.
Like all avocados, it is a great source of energy because
of the high protein and oil content.

The Kitchen

GUESTS: Peasants #1 and #2

    When cutting up avocados, I am in the habit of moving the knife as little as possible. Instead, I move the fruit. Just make an incision right at the stem end, straight down the middle, and then rotate the fruit around the knife like that, okay? Give it a little bit of a twist and there we go.
    Now, weíve got to get this pit out. For that, I always arm myself first with a kitchen towel. Kind of make yourself a little mitt. Place the avocado right in the middle of the mitt. Then take your heaviest chef knife and try to put the widest part of the blade right there, just give it a thwack and gently twist. Now, weíve gotten the pit out of the avocado but weíve given ourselves kind of another problem here.

AB: [calling out] Any man in the kingdom who can pull the sword from the whetstone gets to be king.

    Why look, peasants have approached.

AB: Do you come to test your brains and brawn against the blade?
PEASANT #1: Yeah, sure.

    Peasant number one checks out the lay of the land. Howís he going to play this one? Brute force and ignorance, it seems. Oh, ho, ho. That almost never pays off.

AB: [to #1] Might want to slap a leech on that. [to #2] Peasant number two, dost thou think thou will fare better?

    A unique dental approach. Iíve never seen that before. I hope never to see that again.

AB: [to #2] Might want to check in with your dental hygienist.

    My turn. Take the knife, pit on this side, reach around the back of the blade, gently pinch the pit off. No drama and no stitches. Iím king! Eh, big deal, get back to work, I know.

    Hereís the other thing that I really like about ripe avocados, especially Hass avocados, is that the meat doesnít really want to hold on to the skin that badly. And if you use a big spoon you can scoop the meat right out. Of course, now we have yet another problem. The second that we cut into that flesh we released polyphenyl oxidase, an enzyme that turns green and yellow pigments brown. The same thing can be found in apples, and bananas, and human beings, for that matter. Thatís right, a polyphenyl oxidase-like enzyme is responsible for human tanning. I guess George Hamil [sic, Hamilton] just has more of it than the rest of us. Anyway, thereís one way to stop it.

George Hamilton

    Acid. Ascorbic acid. Vitamin C. Blocks the reaction, which is why a lot of those "fresh fruit" powders contain a lot of it. Citric acid also does the job, it just takes a lot more of it. But thatís okay, because lime juice contains citric acid, and lime juice is one of the primary seasonings in guacamole. So, as you scoop your avocados, just drop the sides right into a bowl containing the juice of one lime. Give them a toss. Browning wonít be a problem.

Lemon or lime juice can also be used to keep cut apples from browning.

The Kitchen

    To really celebrate the avocado, you need chunks, so purťeing is not going to work. That said, chunks alone wonít convey one of avocadoís best attributes, which is its creamy smoothness, and weíre going to need that creamy smoothness if weíre going to create a dip instead of a scoop. So, time to break out your potato masher. Ah! But we have to drain off the excess lime juice first, it is strong stuff. We want to add it to taste later. But donít worry, there will be plenty left to prevent browning during the mashing process. There.

    Oh. Now would also be a really good time to add any granular matter, like, say, salt. Iím going to go with about half a teaspoon here, kosher, also half a teaspoon of cumin, my favorite, and weíll say a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Bam! You can use more if youíre brave. Now you mash.

1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

 P: What about the Fuertes?
AB: Well, if youíre going to mix your avocados, Paul, youíve got to make best use of them, so mash up the Hass for the nice creamy smooth, and then slice the Fuertes into chunks because they stay chunky. That way you get a little contrast, texture. Leave me alone.

The Kitchen

    Letís see here. Mmm. A little bit chunky, a little bit smooth, kind of like good peanut butter. There we go. Time to add some allied flavors, say about half an onion, chopped, right in there. Two roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped. Um, I like cilantro, about a tablespoon, but you can use just parsley if you like. Half a jalapeŮo, seeded, okay, too hot otherwise. About one large clove of garlic, minced fine. And Iím just putting in a little bit of lime juice, Iím going to save more for later.

1/2 Onion, Chopped

2 Roma Tomatoes Seeded & Chopped

1 Tbs. Cilantro

1/2 JalapeŮo, Seeded & Minced

1 Clove Garlic, Minced

1 Tbs. Lime Juice

    Why? Because right now, we canít really know what this is going to taste like. I mean, sure, we can guess, but the flavors are going to have to marry and mellow for a while. Iím just going to leave this for about 2 hours in a nice, cool place. Of course oxidation is going to set in in that amount of time, regardless of the lime juice, so weíre going to need to cover this, really cover it. Best option? Heavy duty plastic wrap. And push it right down on top of the goo.

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

GUEST: Inmate #4, #5, #6 & #7

P: So why not just refrigerate it?
AB: Well, because cold turns down the volume on flavor, right? I mean, if you correct the seasoning while the dip is cold, then later, when you turn it up to room temp, itís going to be all out of whack, okay? So what you need to do is, you need to let the dip come to room temperature for, you know, an hour or two ... [to I#4 with pills] Oh, thanks very much. That looks great. [resumes conversation with Paul] ... an hour or two, and then stir it, and then give it a taste, right, and you know, odds are, at least with the guacamole ... [to woman fixing hair] Hey, here you go, dear. [resumes conversation with Paul] ... all youíre going to need is some salt and maybe some lime juice, thatís it.
    Listen, speaking of cold, this robeís not as heavy as it looks. Do you think I could try your coat on?
P: Yeah. [hands AB his coat and takes AB's robe]
AB: Iíd really appreciate that. There you go. Ooh, Iíve been cold all day, I hate being cold. Ooo, thatís nice. Thatís a nice coat. Thank you.
P: So, thereís other ways to make dips creamy. Why not purťes?
AB: Purťes?
P: Yeah.
AB: Hey, did you know that you lose about 70% of your body heat through your head?
P: Oh. Here you go. [hands AB his hat]
AB: Yeah, thanks. Okay, purťes. Yeah, uh you know, certainly the norm, the standard for North African dips, for Middle Eastern dips, and oh, well certainly Italian dips. But you know who really cornered the market on purťed dips? The French when they invented the mousse. You know the word mousse actually means " foam" or " froth" in French? It does. And that is, that air, that's, thatís why those dips are so magnificently beautiful. You know all you have to do is take a little, you know, some duck livers, some chicken livers ...

The Kitchen

    Ah, chicken livers. Now you can buy them fresh in tubs at the market but youíd better use them by the next day because they go downhill fast. Frozen livers are not quite as good, but they are free ... well, almost. Every time I buy a chicken or a duck I take out the liver, freeze it, and add it to my stash. To thaw, I put them in a bowl of milk, leave them in the refrigerator overnight. The milk will keep them from drying out, and also helps to pull out impurities.

Chicken Livers

    Remember, the liver is a working organ and, keeps the blood squeaky clean, you know. That said, livers from older critters can get a little on the funky side. I for one donít think thereís enough onion in the world to cover up the nasty taste of beef liver. But, most market chickens and ducks donít live long enough to get the funk.

    Place a large sautť pan or a saucier over medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter into it. Now weíre going to add 2 cups of onions, coarsely chopped, one tart apple, say a Granny Smith, also roughly chopped, a teaspoon of fresh thyme, and of course, salt. It is, after all, a sweat. Weíll just say a heavy pinch. Now just toss that around a little bit until the butterís had time to melt, and slap on the lid. 2 Tbs. Butter

2 Cups Coarsely Chopped Onions
1 Granny Smith Apple, Chopped
1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, Chopped
Heavy Pinch of Salt

    There, nice color, nice and soft, but also a little brown on the apples. Time to add the liver. Iím just going to scoop these right into the pot, right on top of the aromatics and the fruit. Now we want to stir here, because we want to get them into the heat, but we donít want to break them up any more than absolutely necessary, so be gentle. Itís going to take about 3 minutes. I wouldnít walk away if I were you.

Keep Covered Until Soft & Golden Brown

1 lb. Chicken Livers, Cleaned & Drained

    You know the liverís close to done when you start to see pink juiceó not bloodó just juice, coming up out of the livers and the outside starts to look a little sandy. Now if youíre in doubt, just pick up one of the little guys and cut it open with a pair of scissors. It should be gray on the outside but nice and pink on the inside. Itís almost done. What I'm going to do now is add a quarter cup of brandy, nothing great, nothing worth writing home about, and let this simmer down for about another minute. Then get it off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. 1/4 Cup Brandy

A mousse can be hot or cold, sweet or savory, but it must
always be smooth and creamy to be called a mousse.

The Kitchen

[AB approaches table and smiles when a food process is placed on the table]  
[purťes the ingredients] Purťe Ingredients To Smooth Paste
[pours 1 cup of heavy cream into a mixing bowl]  
    For those of you who remember our episode Art of Darkness, this is just like making chocolate mousse, only weíre not going to add gelatin to the cream because we want it to stay soft. Remember, start on low, and then give it the spurs. 1 Cup Heavy Cream Whipped To Soft Peaks

    There. Nice soft peaks and itís time to fold. Weíve done this before. We did it with angel food cake, chocolate mousse, soufflťs, standard procedure. Half of this [cream] going into here [liver mixture]. And we fold. Down the middle and over. Turn the bowl and repeat. Notice the folding arm isnít going anywhere, the bowl is spinning.
    As soon as most of the big white blobs are gone you can go with the second installment, all at once. There. Light, frothy, and the taste, well ... [tastes it and shudders] Ooh. Mmm. Serve this right away, or you can cover it with plastic wrap and chill it for up to two days. And to tell you the truth, you donít have to have chips to dip this. A spoon will do fine. Mmm.

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

AB: I donít know, Paul, maybe three and a half years is too long to spend looking for a unified dip theory. Maybe there arenít even any dip laws. Maybe we should just be glad that dips exist, that dips ... [looks around and Paul is signing an autograph for an inmate] ... are out there, and that they are really ... [notices he's near the exit, then notices he has the pass, then notices no one is looking] ... good eats. [exits]

Beard Home for the Culinarily Confused

P: Look, you numbskull, Iím not Mr. Brown. This isnít my robe. Iím Chef Paul from the Food Network.
BHW: I donít care who you think you are, but youíre not going anywhere without a pass.
P: [to woman] You know who I am, tell him, please!
I #1: Oh! Thatís Julia Child!
P: Aah!

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Transcribed  by Sue Libretti
Proof Reading by Sue Libretti

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010