It feels like we just stepped into the New Year, but Valentine's Day whizzes towards us with the swiftness of Cupid's arrow. As drugstore aisles fill with heart-shaped boxes of waxy chocolates and restaurants advertise their Surf n' Turf specials, I found myself wondering what I might want on my own menu for February 14th.
Now you can forget all that commercialized schmaltz, because I have something that's just sweet enough to feel appropriate to the holiday, yet savory enough to keep the whole affair palatable: balsamic strawberry goat cheese dip.
Tangy goat cheese is whipped with cream cheese and honey, then baked into a rich base for balsamic strawberries and basil. Set out some toasted bread for dunking and you're done. And in case you're making it for a significant other, you'll be happy to know it's so easy that you'll be able to spend your time with them, not the kitchen.
Serve it as an appetizer or a dessert, or even eat it all by itself while you marathon-watch Naked and Afraid—Balsamic Strawberry Goat Cheese Dip doesn't judge.
To start, I slice up a baguette, brush the tops with olive oil, and bake it until golden.
Next, I give the goat cheese, cream cheese, and honey a quick whiz in the food processor. The food processor will not only evenly combine the ingredients, but also whip them, incorporating more air into the mixture so that the dip doesn't become overly dense when baked.
The goat cheese base then gets spread in a small baking dish, with a slight indentation in the center, which will help cradle the strawberries later.
Then I dice the berries so that they're small enough to be scooped onto the bread, but big enough to stay firm and juicy. I also slice a few leaves of fresh basil and toss them together in a bowl to await a balsamic reduction.
By reducing the balsamic with a bit of sugar, I get a thicker, sharper, sweeter glaze for the strawberries. You do not need to use expensive, high-quality balsamic vinegar here—the cheap stuff does just fine once it's been reduced to a syrupy consistency.
Once baked, the goat cheese base will be creamy, hot, and golden-brown on top. Spoon the strawberries over and dig in with the toasted bread for a dip that's sexier than that Brian Williams scene from Titanic. Oh baby.