Bleu Cheese and Almond Dip

OK, most of Mrs. Vino’s dishes are relatively healthy.  This is NOT one of those.  It’s a splurge – serve it at the holidays or for a fancy party.  You make it a teeny, tiny bit healthier by serving it with fresh See Canyon apple wedges instead of chips or crackers.  Like anything containing bleu cheese, his dish is perfect with a slightly fruity white wine like Morovino 2009 Pinot Grigio or Cosa Dolce.

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 12-ounce jar Marie’s blue cheese dressing (don’t use the reduced fat version – go for the gusto)
1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or Bleu cheese (about 4 ounces)

Soften cream cheese, and beat in a medium bowl until smooth. Beat in Marie’s Dressing. Mix in ¾ cup of almonds and crumbled blue cheese and stir gently. Put the dip in a pretty bowl, then sprinkle the remaining almonds over the top. Mmmmmmmmmm!

If you can’t find toasted almonds, here’s how to toast your own. Take about 1 cup of regular almonds. Put them in a small heavy skillet or saucepan over high heat (no oil needed). Keep shaking the pan to keep the almonds moving, so they don’t scorch (like making popcorn the old fashioned way, on a stove top). When the almonds are brown and start to smell popcorn-y, pull them off and let them cool. You tell they are ready by smell, not by sight! Then chop them by hand or in a mini chopper. Mrs. Vino recently tried this dip with ripe pears and apples, and fresh veggies instead of chips or crackers. Heaven!

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