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.
I had invited a couple of friends in for a kind of impromptu, pot-luck, appetizers-only dinner. An idea whose time has come! 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 this spicy, baked cheese dip with French bread.
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.