BEER! (and cheese) ::::
I have somehow jumped into a lot more dairy evidenced by my recent marinated manchego post, as well as today’s post, probably craving it more as my growing fetus leaches the calcium from my body. I’ve heard of women in their second trimesters crave the dust of drywall, even eat the ash from cigarette ashtrays. I feel lucky that it is food that I crave, and that I can choose from a variety of wonderful cheeses and it’s not a toss up between nibbling on the kids’ chalk or licking the paint from the walls.
One unfortunate craving I do have, still unfortunate though it is food, is beer. When I was pregnant with Grub, I bought O’Doul’s by the six-pack weekly in my last weeks of pregnancy. I searched upscale grocery stores for non-alcoholic specialty drinks that mimicked the taste of wine. I had a hankering for margaritas when I was pregnant with Peach. Both times I remember thinking, When I’m not pregnant, I’m going to have a glass of wine every night, and I’ll try the new spicy pumpkin ale, and the sturdy chocolate stout, and maybe even the expensive sour raspberry Lambic. The reality: Post-partum, I liked the wine and beer but was a lot less passionate about the want. It was the chase and unattainable reach that made the craving so strong.
Enter a lovely gouda and some fine beer. Throw in some pumpernickel bread for good measure. There is the option of some pungent raw garlic, if you desire (I did not, as garlic is still a bit offputting to me during pregnancy). Caraway or fennel seed to complete the story. This is an easy dip to put together for a few last-minute guests, or maybe for one pregnant lady on her day off from work, sitting in front of the computer food blogging after a 5 mile run. Or not.
For you pregnant ladies, the amount of beer in this dish isn’t prohibitive during pregnancy. If you are concerned, try some non-alcoholic beer instead for the malty flavor.
- almost 1 pound of gouda cheese (edam is a fair substitution)
- ½ cup beer*
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled (or may omit)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- pumpernickel bread loaf (I forgot to buy one and didn't have the time to make a loaf so I used a simple baguette)
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds or fennel seeds (I used fennel)
- Remove wax covering from the cheese and cut cheese into small pieces
- Put the cheese, beer, mustard, nutmeg, garlic (if using), and cream cheese into a food processor. Process for 50 seconds, or until the ingredients form a ball. The consistency should be creamy, but slightly chunky.
- Hollow out center of pumpernickel load to use as a bowl. Or, like me, rip up a baguette to serve with the dip.
- Transfer cheese mix into a nice bowl, sprinkle with caraway or fennel seeds.
- The cheese dip is also great as a sandwich spread or a dip for raw vegetables.