Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chips and Dip

With another Easter on the horizon, my thoughts turn once again to family, friends, and holiday gatherings. I'm thinking a lot about my Aunt Maxine these days. She passed away on April 7 after living a full and active life most of her 85 years. She left her 3 children, 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and the rest of her extended family and circle of friends with wonderful memories of a caring person who excelled at balancing work and play. 
As a child, I remember many special occasions at Aunt Maxine's. The Fourth of July was always my favorite holiday because we could sit on the back patio and watch the community fireworks over the trees in her backyard. We also spent many a Sunday dinner at Maxine's...and I'm sure we hunted for Easter eggs more than once at her house. 
It's strange what stands out for me when I think about dinners at Aunt Maxine's. I remember that she always had chips and dip. Yes, potato chips and onion dip always seemed special to me. 
As I think about that now, and as I think about all the worry that sometimes goes into a holiday meal, I find myself chuckling that the thing I remember the most is the chips and dip. Maybe there's a lesson there for all of us...something along the lines of "Don't Sweat the Big Stuff." As you gather your family together for your next special meal, don't stress too much over the ham, the turkey, the lamb, or the roast...It might be something as simple as the dip that makes them want to come back for more. After all, it's often the little things that make the memories.

So as a tribute to my Aunt Maxine, I'm sharing this recipe for a special dip from Perfect Entertaining. Who knows? There may just be a dip lover in your family that remembers this for a long time. 

Creamy Cucumber Dill Dip

This dip is easy to make and is refreshing and cool. Try serving it with fresh vegetables, tortilla chips, breadsticks, or crackers as an easy appetizer. The dip can be made up to 48 hours in advance. 

8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
2 medium peeled and chopped cucumbers
3 tablespoons sliced scallions
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoons freshly snipped dill weed
Dash cayenne pepper to taste

Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy. Cover tightly and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with additional dill sprigs and chopped red bell pepper if desired. 

Makes about 3 cups dip. 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes 

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