Something I like to do is to take foodstuffs that are commonly consumed in processed nightmare form and break them down into their components. Then I reimagine them made with carefully selected/crafted ingredients. I've done this sort of thing with our indigenous small hot dogs, teawurst, and egg nog. This year in honor of the Super Bowl I trained my sights on that game time classic -- French onion dip.
I am not ashamed to say that I will greedily gobble up some Lipton F.O.D. made from powder. A tub of Heluva dip will soon fall before my double-dip chip scooping attacks. But I do this full well knowing there is all sorts of food science nonsense going on in them. So I thought it might be fun to build a F.O.D. with every component lovingly handmade at home.
I started with 1 large white onion (ignore the second, my wife put it in a soup) and 1 shallot.
I chopped the onion/shallot fine and cooked them to a nice, deep brown in some butter and oil. I added about half a clove of minced garlic for the last 4 or 5 minutes. This is the result.
I put the onion mixture into the fridge to chill overnight.
Next step was to start the sour cream. Sour cream is really one of the easiest dairy ferments to accomplish. I simply put 2 cups of Meadow Brook Farms heavy cream and a quarter teaspoon of mesophilic culture in a jar. Place the jar, lightly covered, in a warm place overnight (minimum 12 hours) and you have some beautiful, thick sour cream.
Next I made some stick blender mayo. I use 1 cup neutral oil, 1 egg, 1 or 2 teaspoons lemon juice, pinch of salt, and about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
To put together the French onion dip I used --
1 3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayo
Onion mixture (1 large white onion and 1 shallot caramelized)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste (I feel salt brings out the flavor, be agressive)
I mix it all together in a jar and hit it with the stick blender a couple times to disperse the onions.
The dip really needs to sit in the fridge for 4 or 5 hours to let the onion flavor infuse throughout the creamy mixture. And that is all she wrote.
"So Mr. Dave, how did it taste?" Well, it tasted very French onion dip-y... Did it knock my socks off? No, probably not. But is dip really ever supposed to blow your mind? But it was delicious nonetheless. As good as anything I've had from a store. The satisfaction of putting better quality ingredients into your body elevates this dip into a worthwhile endeavor.
Something I have found with homemade dairy products is that your palate has to adjust to the differing natural thickness of things like yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, etc... Most of us are so used to the artificially thickened (carageennan, gums, etc...) dairy products that we generally consume that the looser, richer mouth feel of handcrafted stuff can initially be sort of off putting. With this dip you don't have that oddly satisfying gelatin-y texture you get with processed dips.
Anyhow, I am carting a bowl of this stuff to a friend's house as my Super Bowl offering. Hopefully people like it. Hopefully people don't mock me for spending the amount of time and treasure I did in crafting a version of the humble French onion dip... Sometimes these sorts of endeavors result in gold.