Diane Morgan. Chronicle Books, $16.95 (123pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-4220-4
What is a dip, exactly? Liquid? Solid? Appetizer? Main course? The answer to all these questions is yes, according to this slim, stylish cookbook devoted to every possible manifestation of dip. Providing easy and satisfying recipes for lunch dips and dessert dips, seafood dips and tofu dips, this is the perfect volume for those who can't help throwing yet another Super Bowl party or housewarming. Black Bean Salsa with Cilantro and Chiles is spicy and colorful, perfect with a big bowl of nachos, while Goat Cheese, Chive, and Pistachio Spread is smooth and sophisticated, classy on a toasted baguette. Several of the dips would work well as sauces for meat, fish or veggies: Balsamic Roasted Tomato Spread with Garlic Olive Oil is delicious on eggplant, as the author suggests, and Fire-Roasted Corn and Sweet Red Pepper Salsa is a terrific accompaniment to grilled swordfish. Some of the recipes are burdened by too-cute names, like the Feta Compli, an otherwise harmless Greek-style dip, and the Salmon-Chanted Evening, a dip reminiscent of lox-flavored cream cheese. But most of the recipes are down-to-earth and useful, and the best ones--Lime Mousse Dip, Chorizo Chile con Queso, and Caramel and Dark Rum Fondue--were made to be eaten in heaping spoonfuls, straight from the bowl.
Reviewed on: 08/09/2004