Dips, Baby, Dips

I don’t know about you, but I could call a trio of dips a meal. Or, add a side salad and cup of soup, and you’re really set. Did you know? The origin of the word “dip” supposedly comes from Old English, from a Germanic base *d(e)up- ‘deep, hollow’. The derived verb, *dupjan, produced Old English dyppan, ancestor of modern English dip. It originally meant quite specifically ‘immerse’ in Old English, sometimes with reference to baptism; the sense ‘incline downwards’ is a 17th-century development.

French onion as a flavor emerged in the 17th century.  Sour cream was invented in the US between 1815 – 1825. Somewhere around there, the first dip as we know it must have come into being. Also, many cuisine-related sources claim that hummus is one of the oldest known prepared foods in the Middle East stretching back to antiquity. Some say it was made in the 18th-century Damascus while others claimed that it was first prepared in the 12th century by Saladin. Even the Egyptians ate chickpeas so maybe even Moses ate dip. 


I have these scoops of heaven-in-a-ramiken in mind for New Year’s Eve when we snack all night as we watch the ball drop. Add some sangria to deal with the visual of zero people in times square this year, ugh. Back to the dips!


I chose these dips because of color. They are all pink, red, or white with green garnish. Festive colors that work with the holidays. All serve 6. Serve with crudite or your favorite carby crackers or pita chips. Other dips to consider are hummus, fresh salsa, bruschetta, guacamole, tzatziki, spinach artichoke, and black bean. It’s an epic dip party!


Whipped cranberry goat cheese spread




1 cup fresh cranberries or 1 can cranberry sauce

2 tablespoons pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon lemon zest

8 oz log of goat cheese, softened

2 tablespoons pomegranate arils for garnish

Sprigs rosemary for garnish




Put cranberries, pom juice, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the cranberries are simmering and breaking down. You want them to be completely broken down, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let the mixture cool completely.


In the bowl of your food processor, add pieces of the goat cheese to blend and whip until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse. Add a 1/4 cup of the cranberry sauce mixture at a time and pulse a few more times so everything gets combined. I like to blend until smooth, but you can leave some chunks if you desire.



Citrus-thyme ricotta dip




1 container (15 oz) part skim or whole milk ricotta

2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon orange zest

Squeeze of lemon 

Squeeze of orange

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons olive oil




Combine all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor and swirl. Serve topped with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle of fresh thyme.

Red pepper walnut dip




2 cups walnut pieces

1 jar (12 oz) roasted red peppers, drained

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 ounces cream cheese (optional)




Put all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until as smooth as you’d like. Taste, add more salt or cream cheese to taste.


Note: pictured cutting board made by Scott Murray