Tony, GIo and I love to throw a good party, and being Italian (after nearly twenty years of being married to one, it’s just become easier to lump myself into that group), our party buffets usually have a heavy emphasis on traditional antipasti foods: cured Italian meats, a variety of specialty cheeses, good bread, olives, grilled veggies, etc.
I’m a Midwesterner at heart and, while I love these Italian specialties, in my mind it’s not really a party without a good party dip. In fact, the very first food I ever prepared for Tony was Lipton’s Onion Dip, and I’m convinced it was this dish that led him to propose. I’m not kidding – he loved it, and thought I was terrifically creative. I almost didn’t have the heart to show him the packet of onion soup mix that really provided the magic.
Needless to say, dips are not a big part of our culinary repertoire. I have two recipes which I bounce between, the traditional and very easy onion dip (which we still love), and a classic from the 1970s called Hot Chipped Beef Dip, which my mother made often when I was growing up. Tony has only one dip in his arsenal, a traditional warm dip from Italy’s Piedmont region called Bagna Caoda.
Bagna Caoda is served warm and is similar in style to a fondue. It’s an unusual recipe, made of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, butter and anchovies. Many people are afraid of these little fish, but Tony believes that they get a bad rap, as they add so much flavor and depth to a dish.
I like anchovies, but I have to admit that I was a little wary the first time I tried bagna caoda. However, the anchovies break down completely during the cooking process, and the result is a zesty, delicious, and well-balanced dipping oil, perfect for serving with raw vegetables and crusty bread pieces.
With the party season on the horizon, we think it’s time to expand our party dip collection, so we’re launching a contest In Search of the Perfect Party Dip. If you have a great dip recipe and wish to enter, please read the following guidelines:
IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT PARTY DIP
1. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO WIN?
We ask you to submit the recipe for your favorite homemade party dip (it can’t be as simple as sour cream and soup mix), and we encourage you to include a story and/or picture with your recipe. Let us know what you serve the dip with: Is it a chip dip? A cracker dip? Better with raw vegetables?
You have until Wednesday, October 16, 2013 to submit your dip recipes to us via email, in the Comments section here on our blog, or via snail mail. Please be sure to include your name, address, email address and telephone number with your entry information.
*Please write “Party Dip Contest” in the Subject field*
U.S. Mail (snail mail):
The Lost Italian Party Dip Contest
28 4th Street N.
Moorhead, MN 56560
2. HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Tony and I will review all of the recipe submissions and will select a group of semi-finalists for further consideration. An independent panel of judges will be selected to choose our Finalists.
3. WHEN WILL THE FINALISTS BE ANNOUNCED?
We will announce the finalists and their recipes on our blog and in the column on Wednesday, October 23. We will be serving the finalist’s dip recipes in the WIne Lounge at Sarello’s for the final round of judging on Tuesday, October 29 and Wednesday, October 30, 2013.
4. WHO PICKS THE WINNER?
The public will be invited to taste each of the finalist’s dips and vote for their favorite, and their scores will be combined with scores from our panel of judges to determine the winner.
5. DO I NEED TO MAKE MY DIP RECIPE?
No, our chefs will be preparing your dips for the judging rounds, so your recipe must be exact, as our chefs will want to make it just the way you do at home.
6. WHEN IS THE WINNING RECIPE ANNOUNCED? The winner and her/his recipe will be announced on November 6, in both our column and on the blog. The winner will also have the opportunity to participate in the demonstration video with Tony for InForum TV.
7. WHAT DO I GET IF I WIN?
We are so grateful to the local businesses who have contributed gifts to help us create a Fabulous Grand Prize! The person with the winning recipe will receive an amazing prize package of goodies including:
A piece of Tama Smith’s original pottery from Prairie Fire Pottery
$50 Gift Card to Hornbacher’s SuperValu
* Prizes will also be awarded to all of the runner-up finalists *
8. WHO CAN ENTER? There is no age limit to enter this contest, and we encourage cooks of all ages to submit their favorite dip recipes.
9. WHO CAN’T ENTER? If you are a relative of Sarah or Tony Nasello, or are employed by Sarello’s, Inc. or Forum Communications, then you are not eligible to enter this contest.
10. WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A RECIPE? CAN I STILL ENTER? No, you can’t, because this is a RECIPE CONTEST. But don’t worry – we will be hosting a Giveaway later this month for our blog readers only, so keep checking back for more details! If you’re not already a subscriber, we encourage you to enter your email address in the box on the right-hand side of the page to receive all the latest and greatest news from Home with The Lost Italian.
We hope you will participate and share your recipes with us. Only submissions received by Oct. 16, 2013 will be eligible to advance in the competition. We may choose to feature your recipe submission here on the blog throughout the month of October, and submitting your recipe will be considered permission to use your recipe throughout the contest period. Full credit will be given to the person who submitted the recipe.