I blame it all on Giada de Laurentiis. One day, oh gosh – back in 2005 probably, I was watching the Food Network(r) and Everyday Italian was on. She was making a recipe for a goat cheese dip that featured caramelized onions and dried mission figs reconstituted in sherry. I followed the recipe once and it was great, but I will be honest. It was too much work, and I had to search for dried mission figs for nearly an eternity until I found some.
So, I opted to cheat and replace the dried figs with a jar of fig preserves. It was great. That dip was my go-to appetizer to take to parties and to fix when people came over to hang out. Everyone loved it. To this day I still take it places and people always ask for the recipe. Even when I talk about it people ask for the recipe. In fact, I just sent it to a colleague today after having talked about the dip when I was telling the story of how I came up with my recipe for The Great Garlic Cook-off. The beautiful thing is that the recipe is about as easy as it comes.
Leslie’s Gooey Giada Inspired Goat Cheese Dip
- One large onion, thinly sliced into half- moons
- 2 TBS EVOO (extra virign olive oil)
- 1 – 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 TBS minced rosemary, fresh (or 1 TSP dried crushed)
- Approx. 1 LB Goat Cheese
- Approx. 1 cup fig preserves
- Sliced baguette or pita chips
- Cook the onions, garlic, and rosemary in a large skillet over low heat for approx 1 hour until caramelized
- Pre-heat oven to 375
- Crumble goat cheese into bottom of a 9×9-ish sized baking dish
- Spread onions over top of goat cheese
- Spread fig preserves over top of onions
- Bake for approx 15 min until bubbly
- Serve with pita or baguette
And that’s sort of what started the whole thing. I pieced the rest of Potentially Pretentious Pork Tenderloin with Garlic 5 Ways based on the following…
One day I had left over goat cheese dip and a pork tenderloin, and I had recently watched the ‘Fit to be Tied‘ episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown makes roulades, so decided to make a roulade and stuff the pork tenderloin with the left over dip. It was seriously good eats. That got me closer to PPPT w/ G5W.
One evening I had dinner at Mr. Friendly’s in Columbia, SC and had an appetizer of fried grit cakes. They were served with a bowl of softened goat cheese and an entire head of roasted garlic. It was also seriously good.
Then one day, had to be post July 2008, I saw an episode of Food Network(r) Challenge where the Gilroy Garlic Festival was featured. I was intrigued. And one day randomly last year I decided to Google the festival and I decided I would come up with something to enter. (According to link above it next airs on 7/23/2010 at 7:00PM – the day before this year’s cook-off.)
I pulled from those few encountered foods and other knowledge I have accumulated over the years in order to create my recipe and here we are… in just over a week I fly to California for this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival Recipe Contest and Cook-off hoping that my recipe inspired by those three experiences. Try out the goat cheese dip. Its great. Use it as a topping for grilled chicken…that’s also good, or spread on a tortilla and popped under the broiler. Yummy stuff.