From the book
Caesar Dip with Crudités
Makes about 12 appetizer servings
Thick, cheesy Caesar salad dressing seemed a natural to turn into a dip. But when I was researching the original dressing recipe, I found out a fascinating fact. Caesar salad was originally served with whole romaine lettuce hearts because it was meant to be eaten with the fingers! And it's just as good with other vegetables. If you wish, serve the dip with Garlic Crostini, too. They'll be reminiscent of the croutons served on Caesar Salad.
Make Ahead: The dip can be made up to 3 days ahead; the vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day ahead.
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon anchovy paste
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
Assorted fresh vegetables, such as romaine hearts separated into leaves, carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks, mushroom caps, cherry tomatoes, and Garlic Crostini (page 12), for dipping
To make the dip, mix together all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
To serve, transfer the dip to a serving bowl and serve with the vegetables.
Stilton and Walnut Balls
Makes 12 to 16 appetizer servings
Cheese balls aren't supposed to be classy, just delicious, but this recipe has a very sophisticated combination of flavors. It goes well with plain water crackers, but it is also terrific spread on sliced pears.
Make Ahead: The cheese balls can be made up to 5 days ahead.
8 ounces Stilton or other blue cheese, rind removed, at room temperature
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons tawny port
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Water crackers, for serving
Cored, sliced, ripe Bosc pears, tossed with lemon juice to discourage browning, for serving
In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, mash the Stilton and cream cheese together until smooth. Work in the port and pepper. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the work surface, and scrape the cheese mixture into the center of the wrap. Use the plastic wrap to form the cheese mixture into a ball (it will be soft). Refrigerate until the ball is chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve, unwrap the ball and roll in the chopped nuts. Transfer to a platter and serve with the crackers and pears...