Disappearing Dip

May 15, 2012

About 3½ years ago, my friend Jen asked if I would be interested in co-hosting yoga retreats with her at her Bainbridge Island studio.  I have known Jen since seventh grade and we have been very close friends since we spent three months riding on bikes through the French countryside.  She is one of my favorite people in the world and I have nothing but respect for her as a teacher and a business owner.  So it took me about four seconds to say yes.

On Saturday, we did our 13th retreat.  Once a quarter for three years.  We have slipped into a well established pattern.  The morning starts at 9:30 with introductions, followed by an intense hot yoga class.  The group gets to take part in a meditations exercise of some kind while I run up to the house, shower, and get lunch going.  When I first started doing these retreats, I realized that people would be hungry and I would not necessarily have every 100% ready by the time they were ready to eat.  So I always plan on having some kind of nibble in case I need to buy a little time.

Now you see it.

Now you don’t.

This was my nibble on Saturday.  A smooth layer of goat cheese topped with an unusual but incredible mixture of sweet jam, spicy peppers, mustard, and onions.  I did a test run of it the night before so I knew it was super delicious but I did not anticipate how quickly it would be inhaled.  I had intended to get a shot with a few swipes of dip taken out but by the time I started bringing out the lunch food, the dip was all but gone.  One of the things I like best about making lunch for yoginis is how hungry they are.  In my experience, women can sometimes be funny about food.  Dieting and all that.  But not this group.  They eat with gusto and deep appreciation and those are the best kinds of people to cook for.

One Year Ago:  Cheddar Crackers, Kaye Korma Curry, Stir-Fried Sesame Broccoli and Tofu with Rice Noodles
Two Years Ago:  Corn Salad Sandwich with Poblano Peppers, Chickpeas with Lemon and Pecorino Romano
Three Years Ago:  Mexican Brownies, Quinoa with Grilled Zucchini and Chickpeas, Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Pepper-Glazed Goat Cheese Gratin
Food & Wine
About 8 servings

I made this using 30 ounces of goat cheese and roughly doubling the topping.  I put it in a 8×12-inch casserole dish and it fed about 20 people.  But I could have made more easily and I’m sure it would have been devoured.  The combination of creamy, sweet, and spicy is amazing.

1 pound creamy fresh goat cheese, softened
6 tbsp. apricot preserves
4 Peppadew peppers, finely chopped
1 pickled jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp. minced cocktail onions
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1½ tsp. dried sherry
Pita chips, crackers, or baguette slices for serving

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Spread the goat cheese in a 5-by-8-inch gratin dish in an even layer.  In a small bowl, whisk the preserves with the Peppadews, jalapeño, onions, mustard, and sherry.  Spread the mixture over the goat cheese and bake on the top rack of the oven for about 5 minutes, until warm.  Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the topping is bubbling and lightly browned at the edges.  Serve hot.

(DT:  I assembled the dish the night before, refrigerated it, transported it to Bainbridge and baked it off there.  Worked beautifully.)



  1. This sounds amazing!

    Comment by Anna — May 15, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

  2. Perfect party food!

    Comment by Maria — May 15, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

  3. All the pilates-fiends and yoginis I’ve ever met are always so THIN and I think it’s just that they don’t stress about food as much as the rest of us. I’m learning little by little that by not freaking out over every thing I eat, I end up eating less. And better. Sigh…maybe I just need to take up yoga and find some inner peace :P

    This dip looks fabulous! Next dinner party I have, it is SO there.

    Comment by Joanne — May 16, 2012 @ 1:06 am

  4. warm cheese, always a winner! I like cheese, but I don’t go crazy crazy for it. However, once it is warmed, and with those wonderful flavors you have on there, I’m an easy sell. It sounds incredible!

    Comment by sara — May 16, 2012 @ 1:39 am

  5. A creamy dip that actually sounds good to me…more than good – really, really yummy! I love that this recipe uses goat cheese rather than the usual cream cheese and the blend of sweet, spicey and tangy on the top is very intrigueing.

    Comment by Rachel — May 16, 2012 @ 3:42 am

  6. It looks absolutely delish. And the event sounds wonderful–especially since it’s on Bainbridge Island. Congrats on your 4 years of blogging btw–doesn’t time fly!?

    Comment by nancy baggett — May 16, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  7. This looks sooooo good! I so want to make a good warm cheese dip and this sounds perfect – especially with the apricot preserves and spice! I LOVE LOVE LOVE peppadew peppers!!!

    Comment by kickpleat — May 17, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  8. Stunning dish, I will make it at a potluck I have to attend soon.

    Comment by Helene — May 17, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  9. Congrats on your blogiversary — and that dip looks absolutely yum :D

    Comment by Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — May 18, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  10. You can cook for me anytime, Dana… I do P90X yoga, and after that (or any of the P90 routines) I am ready to devour a full batch of lasagna! ;-)

    the dip sounds amazing, the topping definitely does it

    I know your retreat was a huge success!

    Comment by SallyBR — May 18, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

  11. I said I was going to make this right after I saw your instagram, and then I ran out of time and didn’t get to it. I’m not surprised it disappeared so quickly! I can wait to try this.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — May 22, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

  12. Hello Dana! I love your blog and always mention it to friends whenever we’re discussing favorite blogs! So jealous about your move to CA. We live in Portland and the rainy season has begun!
    Quick question….where would I find cocktail onions? I mad this dip last week and it was amazing, even without the onions. I tried 2 grocery stores before I gave up on finding the onions.

    Comment by Karen D — November 13, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

  13. Karen, I have found them in the condiments aisle, near the olives and salad dressings. They usually come in a jar. They have a lightly pickled flavor and are also excellent in Bloody Marys :). They keep forever in your refrigerator so go ahead and buy a jar if you are able to find them. Good luck!

    Comment by dana — November 13, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

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