Wow you guys. It has been WAY too long since we’ve chatted, but I can explain! Last week I took my Cicerone exam, which I was studying for literally every night. As you can imagine this has sucked up nearly all of my free time for the past couple months. The good news is I am feeling pretty confident and excited about my prospects. In approximately 3-6 weeks I should know whether I am a certified Cicerone. Commence incessant email checking . . .
In addition to all this Cicerone business, I have been traveling a lot – both for work and for pleasure. In fact I just got back from a trip to Boston, my hometown, to meet my adorable new baby nephew and celebrate with my best friend at her wedding.
Now that I’m back in Cincinnati and real life (major whomp whomp), I’ve been feeling rather homesick. So, I cracked a beer and made up a big batch of one of my all time favorite family appetizers. It’s called Jezebel, and I have no idea why, but honestly it doesn’t really matter.
My Aunty Karen is the Jezebel maker in our family. She was given the recipe by a friend years and years ago, and thank heaven above for that. I can’t remember life before Jezebel and I don’t want to imagine life without it. To me, this dip tastes like every holiday slash happy family event combined into one delicious bite.
In college I started getting really into cooking. Naturally, I asked for the famous Jezebel recipe so I could make it for all of my friends. When I saw the ingredient list for the first time after eating it for all those years, I was utterly baffled. This can’t possibly be right, I remember thinking. But, I followed the instructions and low and behold, glorious golden Jezebel emerged.
Just know that, yes, it is weird, but in all the right ways: tangy, sweet, zippy from the horseradish and combined with the cream cheese it is to. die. for. Just try it before you judge too harshly.
The original recipe called for a jar of apple jelly and a jar of pineapple preserves, which I can never find, so a couple years ago I started tinkering and found that subbing Apricot works just as well. As with all of my recipes, feel free to tinker with the ratios of this to suit your tastes.
- Two 18 oz jars of apricot preserves
- 8 oz prepared horse radish (not sauce)
- 3 oz yellow mustard
- 1 tsp black pepper
Mix over heat until blended well and just bubbly. Cool. I wanted mine fast so I used an ice bath with a bowl that wouldn’t shatter. When ready to serve, cut a block of cream cheese in half and place in a good dipping bowl or somewhat rounded plate. Spoon a generous heap of Jezebel over top of the cream cheese and serve with crackers. Ritz is how we do it in our fam. Also, this makes a TON of dip, so it might make sense to halve the recipe to try it out.
If I were to recommend any beer to accompany this dip I would have to say a Belgian Tripel is just the ticket. I love this pairing because the Belgian yeast is full of citrusy esters and peppery phenolics that will resonate perfectly with the sweet jammy action going on. The herbal aromatics will work well with the tangy horseradish to create a beautiful harmony of flavors. Plus the high carbonation of these beers will cleanse the palate of the rich cream cheese and intense flavors after each bite. A couple of my favorites tripels are Tripel Karmeliet or La Fin du Monde by Unibroue.
Give it a whirl and let me know what you think! And don’t forget the beer!