On Victor Hugo, an overdue idea, and a baked cheese and jalapeño dip

June 2, 2013

Jalapeno Cheese Dip

It was Victor Hugo who said, “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Victor Hugo was all kinds of things. A poet, playwright, novelist, and essayist. A statesman. A human rights campaigner.  A talented visual artist.  A Catholic at odds with his faith.  A sexually charged egomaniac.  A man with a complicated and at times, incredibly tragic personal life.  And above all, a Frenchman, even though he lived for some time in exile in the Channel Islands.

Hugo said a lot of intelligent, enduring and endearing things. And this week – when I had an idea whose time had come and felt that power – I knew exactly what he was talking about.

I had invited a couple of friends in for a kind of impromptu, pot-luck, appetizers-only dinner. We started with berry infused vodka before moving on to wine and a feast of appetizers.  All night, we sat outdoors, on the back patio under the stars. It was a perfect early summer night. We devoured a platter of sushi, black olive and garlic tapenade with pita crisps, a mountain of vegetables and spinach dip, a fresh bean salad, a cranberry and almond salad, and a spicy, baked cheese dip with French bread.

Somewhere in the middle of a mouthful of baguette and baked cheese dip – I had an idea.  An idea whose time had come.  In fact, probably a long overdue idea.  It was an idea about taking control of a situation in my life and like so many really good ideas – actually a very simple, obvious idea.  And there was power in finally getting there. Hugo was absolutely right.  Perhaps it was the berry infused vodka, or the wine, or the company, or the warm summer night, but I’m going to give the cheese dip credit. It deserves it.

I like cheese. A lot. Almost every kind of cheese. I could easily give up meat so long as I could still have cheese. But if I became a vegan – I’d have to be one of those cheating-cheese-eating vegans.

I expect a cheese snob would turn their nose up at this dip. Never mind. Their loss. I think this dip is insanely delicious. It’s one of my favourite party things. And I love eating the leftovers cold the next day.  In fact – I spent all day the day after the appetizers-only party looking forward to coming home  from work and pouring myself a glass of cold white wine and eating up the leftover baked jalapeño and cheddar dip for dinner. It did not disappoint.

Baked Jalapeño and Cheese Dip

454 grams (1 lb) cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmann’s)
1 200 gram can jalapeño peppers, drained
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix all ingredients together in the food processor, pulsing until desired consistency is achieved.

Spoon into an 8 x 8 inch glass or oven-proof pottery serving dish.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly and lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving with a sliced French stick.

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  • Reply My Little Home and Garden June 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    This does sound decadently delicious.

  • Reply tinywhitecottage June 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Hmmm. Maybe I need to have some berry infused vodka and take control of some of my situations! 🙂 This sounds like a wonderful evening. I would love the dip!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      This made me smile. I guess we all have our ‘situations” to take control of! 😉

  • Reply Irina @ wandercrush June 2, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I must say that I’d never read about Hugo and cheese dip in the same paragraph before, but I like it. You really can never go wrong with 3 types of cheese in one recipe!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      Yes – it’s a bit of a stretch isn’t it – from Hugo to cheese in one breath! 😉 That’s the fun of blogging.
      And you are SO right about not going wrong with three cheeses in one recipe! I do believe cheese may just be therapeutic!

  • Reply Tonette Joyce June 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I love cheese.I had become suddenly and severely lactose intolerant about 10 years ago and it lasted for 3 solid years.I had to go on a flora-replenishment regimen. I need to go on another diet, but…cheese…. it’s hard to break with,(esp,. after knowing what life is without i t.) BTW, you could be a lacto-vegetarian and use dairy…just no meat.
    The dip?NICE.I love the idea of appetizers-only meal.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Tonette – the appetizers only potluck girls’ get together may just be the best party idea ever. SO easy and so tasty. You should have one. It’s fun for everyone – even the hostess!

      Oh yes – good idea – lacto-vegetarian – with the odd meat lapse – that’s me! 😉

  • Reply johnnysenough hepburn June 2, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    This is something I’ve yet to try. Bet it’s heavenly, with or without the wine.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      Johnny – this is very low brow compared to your cooking.
      But it is mighty delicious. And essentially it’s cheese on toast – in a slightly different format. And we so both love our cheese on toast….or spelt bread…

  • Reply Dave More June 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    I am unspeakably jealous at not being there to share the evening. And the cheese.


    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 2, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      David – don’t be jealous – this was an all female event!
      The cheese – yes – can’t survive without cheese.
      Bought some Bush Cheese today at the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market. It’s made in Elgin from unpasteurized milk. Fabulous. You’ve GOT to try it. 😉 Lindy

  • Reply Eliza B June 3, 2013 at 8:44 am

    As an oft-labeled cheese snob myself, I must admit I love cheese dips like these. They are ooey and gooey and and creamy and spicy and just absolutely perfect. I’m glad cheese helped you figure things out! I think it gives just as many revelations as wine, and often more lucid ones.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Hurray – yes – but I don’t think you’re a food/cheese snob. I think you are a serious lover of cheese! There’s such a difference.
      And you’re right about lucid cheese revelations! Sometimes I have very lucid fabulous dreams after eating cheese – especially blue cheese.

  • Reply apuginthekitchen June 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

    So delicious, I love cheesy warm dips or spreads and with a wee dose of Victor Hugo. No cheese snobs here, love this. Also a berry infused vodka is a great way to start out.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Cheese and Victor Hugo – they’re natural companions being oh-so-French.
      Glad you are not a cheese snob and not surprised because you are SO decent.
      Food snobbery like all forms of snobbery is kind of funny and mostly silly. (When I think of funny elitism – I always think of High Fidelity and music snobbery – such a great book/film.) Fact is that we are so lucky to live where we do – where we can pick and choose from such an abundance.

  • Reply Green Door Hospitality June 3, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Oh wow! Lindy, this sounds awesome!! And I am the same way about cheese — I absolutely could never be a vegan because I couldn’t give up cheese (or honey, could never give up honey either).

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Kenley – I just looked up vegans and honey. I didn’t realize vegans do not eat honey. Makes sense. But I’m with you. I put honey on my muesli in the mornings & love all its amazing properties.
      But yes- make the dip. Would go perfectly with your beautiful baguette….

  • Reply chef mimi June 3, 2013 at 11:46 am

    You are funny! A meal of appetizers is my favorite kind of meal!

  • Reply Maria Dernikos June 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    This sounds dangerous! I think it could come close to replacing chocolate. This is the sort of dish I just cannot say no to.

  • Reply gotasté June 5, 2013 at 4:38 am

    I can have this as a proper meal with a glass of wine Lindy. Or make it 2 glasses… Apart from blue cheese which I am still learning to appreciate, I love all others and the three cheeses in this recipe are my favourites. I’m going to make this. The crumb of the baguette is beautiful too!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      If you didn’t live all the way round the world – I’d invite you straight over. Always love seeing you here – thank you. xx

  • Reply NaturesComplete June 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    This sounds extremely delicious. I love cheese as well. I can eat al different kinds all day long. I will have to try this recipe for my next get together. Thank you very much!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Forgive me if I am replying twice here. I’m on my mother’s dial-up and cannot even view my own page! Can only get into the comments because there are no photographs… and I did try to reply earlier but the dial-up shut down while waiting so I cannot see what actually loaded! Thank you for this lovely comment and I hope you do try the cheese dip because it is EASY and people always ask for the recipe. 🙂

  • Reply Sibella at bakingwithsibella.com June 10, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Your dip looks amazing! Bread and dip would be just a complete meal for me!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen June 10, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      You’re a girl after my own heart. Bread and cheese (and a glass of wine) will do me any time!

  • Reply Simple Appetizer Alert: Jalapeno Cheese Dip | Green Door Hospitality August 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    […] love all of the tasty recipes that Lindy shares on A Taste of Wintergreen.  And when I saw this jalapeno cheese dip…I just couldn’t resist!  I mean really […]

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