Birthday season in our house comes on fast and furious, threatening to overwhelm as I teeter the line of wanting all three people in our house that celebrate a birthday in the span of one month to feel cherished and so loved without me losing my mind in the process. Gabe kicks off our birthday season and is the easiest out of the bunch to please. In fact the hardest part is getting him to answer me when I ask, “What do YOU want for your birthday?” He’s not one to think about himself for too long – one of the many things I love and admire about him. But he deserves the day to feel completely spoiled.
So with three days until the actual birthday (I’m not much of a pre-planner), with the helpful nudging of a friend (who is an amazing planner), we decided an informal gathering of a few friends to celebrate. Just the thing Gabe loves. The table was scattered with multiple bowls of chips in assorted varieties, and a warm cheese dip to accompany them. Our bar cart became a free for all for our friends to tap into their creativity to develop a cocktail recipe on the spot. There was also a heaping bowl of tangy dressed greens, garlic and miso bread knots, homemade cool ranch flavored party mix and pizza – not made by me but delivered in a beat up sedan to my front door.
Remember the part about me not losing my mind in the process? That’s where pizza delivery came in. As much as I resisted this notion and was a bit horrified to be serving cardboard scented pizza to Brandon and Molly (you know, the ones who own Delancey which is basically, in my completely not humble opinion, the best pizza created – the White Pie with bacon has my forever devotion), I succumbed to the ease.
In that simple yet hard (for me) act of taking one of the many to-dos off my plate for that day the roof didn’t cave in, I didn’t lose all my food credibility, and no one died. Sure it wasn’t the greatest pizza we’ve ever had but it fed our friends. And it helped me simply be in the moment to celebrate my husband, enjoy our friends and bring them around the table.
Sometimes when we come to the table there’s a feast of tagliatelle cooked until a bit of bite remains. It’s tangled with sausage and onions and capped with fragrant truffle salt. Next to that a zippy chickpea and wild pea salad with bitter radicchio and cherry tomatoes that pop when you bite. To the right of that bowl there’s pork tenderloin bathed in a white wine prune sauce and a towering cream-filled cake for dessert. Then there are times when we come to the table with cheese dip and pizza delivered by a college student hoping for a hefty tip. The important thing is to come to the table, fill the chairs, and savor the company.
This Kimchi Cheese Dip is a promise I made to you all several weeks ago. It’s the same recipe I developed live on our Facebook feed while Gabe and I showed you a couple of our favorite cocktails. It’s also the same dip from Gabe’s party and from the other day when I needed it just because. It’s nacho cheese with a spicy, funky kick and it’s completely addictive. And it’s a great excuse to gather at the table.
*This post is brought you by Me+My. I realize it’s a tricky thing to come and talk to you about such a delicious thing as Kimchi cheese dip and then mention digestive issues but the reality is many people experience some kind of digestive problem, which may be triggered by an enzyme deficiency caused by a combination of age, diet and lifestyle. Me+My and I believe that eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures and that in moderation we should be able to enjoy all the foods we love. Which is why sometimes there’s a place for an all-natural enzyme supplement that provides fast-acting relief while helping to break down food – like say when one eats far too much cheese dip. I mean hypothetically speaking.
Me+My would love for you to try Digest Results™ or Gluten Assist™ for 30 consecutive days and experience the confidence that comes with enjoying the foods you love without digestive discomfort. Pick up Me+My at your local Walmart or visit Trustygut.com for more information. You can also join the conversation on social media with hashtag #TrustYourGut to inspire others to take the 30-DayChallenge.
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Warm Kimchi Cheese Dip
Serves a crowd
Tuck into this dip with crispy bread, crackers or chips. Or slather it on bread for a blow-your- mind grilled cheese or use it on your next pan of nachos.
1 pound grated sharp cheddar
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups (from a 14 ounce jar) roughly chopped kimchi
2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean red chile paste) (available at most Asian markets)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
In a large skillet (preferably cast iron or I imagine non-stick would be great here too) add the cheese and melt over medium low heat. Stir often to prevent the cheese from burning.
Stir in the cream cheese until it’s just melted. Add the kimchi and Gochujang then stir well until the dip is completely melted.
Top with scallions and serve while warm. It’s still delicious room temperature but you can also rewarm it as it cools.