Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Soup and (fill in the blank)

The local school almost always serves cinnamon rolls with their chicken noodle soup. I pack my lunch when I hit the classrooms as a substitute, but that pairing still has worked its way into my mind. When I make chicken noodle soup at home, I want cinnamon rolls for dessert.

I also like to enjoy cornbread with my chili, quesadillas with chicken tortilla soup, and of course, grilled cheese with tomato soup. Vegetable beef soup begs for pie for dessert. Thick and creamy soups like Fresh Pea Soup or a pureed squash or pumpkin soup scream for the crisp crunch of a salad at their side.

When I plan a menu of soups for the shearing crew at the farm, I usually fall back on the old stand-bys of chili and Potato, Bacon, and Green Bean Chowder. Corn muffins and/or garlic bread of course make their way to the table, and I also put together a veggie tray with Dill Dip to round out the meal.

I have made a variety of dips throughout my culinary experiences, but always come back to the clean simplicity of Dill Dip.  Those packaged ranch dips don't seem to agree with me. (Can you say, "BUURP?") This dip is really delightful with fresh dill from the garden, but a good quality dried version works during the winter months. (However, beware...if you are paying 99 cents for a seasoning, it is probably mostly dust and will taste that way...not that all herbs and spices need to be expensive.) Grating the garlic and onion with a microplane allows the flavors to easily blend through the creaminess. This dip tastes fresh and not heavy and is a perfect pairing for vegetables, with or without soup on the side.

(adapted from Food.com)

16 ounces sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup onion , grated with a microplane
1-2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
3 tablespoons dill (fresh is best, but a good quality dried works)
3 tablespoons parsley (FRESH, or don't bother. Dried parsley is just color, not flavor.)
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients together.
Chill for 3 hours (or more) to meld.
Serve with fresh vegetables of your choice.

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