Have you ever had an idea in your head that sounded really awesome, only to find that upon execution, it’s a complete disaster? Let me introduce you to a shining example of this scenario: My Mediterranean Layer Dip.
Here’s the thing—we watch Glee on Wednesday night with a great bunch of folks, and each week someone picks a “theme.” This week the theme was “layers.” So, Wednesday morning after yoga, I made a run to Publix. Pawing through the deli section, I noticed a pre-made Mexican layer dip right next to the hummus. My mischievous brain said “AHA!” What about a Mediterranean-style layer dip? Hummus, Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers, maybe some Taziki? Immediately I was IN LOVE with my idea and the sheer genius behind it. “How culinarily clever!” I thought, patting myself on the back as I rounded up ingredients and prepared to bring my ingenious recipe to life. “I can’t believe no one has done this before! How avant garde of me!” [Yeah—turns out there’s a reason no one has.]
So I get home and go to town. Because I’m still a housewife, I decided to make everything from scratch—hummus, pesto, taziki…check. Individually, each tasted really good. The only mischief foreshadowing I had was my altercation with the red pepper layer. I bought two jars, added a can of diced tomatoes, and wasn’t happy. So I added garlic. And red wine vinegar. Still not happy. Then capers. Then olives. Still not right. Then lemon zest. Wow! Now it was getting crazy. Finally I tossed in some balsamic glaze just because it was the only thing I had left. At this point David comes home. I explain the concept of the dish, which he says sounds good. I ask him to taste the red pepper concoction. The face he makes upon tasting tells me all I need to know—there’s a LOT going on. But we tasted samples of the other layers, and decided that it would probably be OK all together. [Looking back, that’s akin to saying that if you mix kerosene, mineral spirits, gasoline, and jet fuel together, they’ll be LESS flammable than if separate. RIGHT.]
Harboring a few reservations, but still intoxicated by the heady fumes of creativity, I went on to assemble the dish. Hummus down, spread, chill. Pesto down, spread, chill. Same with the red pepper and taziki layers. Topped it with chopped kalamata olives and a gremolata of parsley, mint, and lemon zest. I went on to bake some homemade pita chips, and got the whole lot ready to go.
Looking at my creation, I felt a little pride. Even though I wasn’t sure how it would taste all together, the individual layers were good. “What if I’ve just discovered the next Rotel?” I thought to myself. “What a great Kitchen Mischief post this will make!” So off we went to the party. [i.e., the Funeral of my Hope.]
Again, I explained the concept of the dish to the guys. “Curious” and “Intrigued” would be good words to describe their looks. I started off by scooping out some for myself and grabbing some chips. First thought: it didn’t look as bad as I’d feared. I typically don’t do layered anything, because it turns out looking like chewed up food on a plate, but initially, this looked OK. Good sign! So I took a bite.
I saw white. There was no sound, no vision, no feeling, no nothing—the Normandy-esque assault on my tastebuds overwhelmed all my other senses. Garlic! Lemon! Red Pepper! Cucumber! Parsley! Mint! Mint! Mint! Black Olives! More Lemon! I woke up on the floor, not knowing how much time had passed. Looking around, I thought to myself, maybe it was just me…maybe I’m just too close to the genius…maybe they’ll think it’s OK. Yeah…turns out not-so-much. Everyone was very polite. Words like “So fresh!” were said. True, it was very fresh. Like a fresh slap in the kisser! But the truth can be found by simply looking at this photo from the end of the night.
I had to admit…my grand, amazing, clever, avant garde idea was 87% failure. But you know what? It was worth it. Sometimes it’s fun to fall in love with an idea, get in the kitchen, and make a huge mess. And it’s OK if it doesn’t turn out. True, it would have been a whole lot more awesome if this turned out to be the next Spinach-Artichoke Dip. Alas, it did not. R.I.P., Mediterranean Layer Dip. I had fun making you, Just not eating you. 😉