Mischief Happens: Mediterranean Layer Dip


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.]

i used every bowl, spoon, and spice in the kitchen.

i used every bowl, spoon, and spice in the kitchen.

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.

Re-enactment staged and shot by Peter the Kat

Re-enactment staged and shot by Peter the Kat

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.

can someone please find the cat? (what cat?) the cat who threw up in my dip.

can someone please find the cat? (what cat?) the cat who threw up in my dip.

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. 😉

9 Responses to “Mischief Happens: Mediterranean Layer Dip”

  1. Carrie Says:

    Drea’s coming for lunch and we’re having a Kitchen Mischief Fan Club meeting. What should we be called? Mischief-heads? Mischievites? Mischiples? Mischeviants? I should probably keep thinking …

  2. David Says:

    You neglected to mention the part where you bitch-slapped me with your eyes for saying “Wow this has a really strong basil/garlic flavor.” I thought you were going to fly across the piano and rip my head off. It was a nice idea though. 😉

  3. Matthew Says:

    Josh, I feel your pain. I’ll put this right up there with my baked egg rolls. Chewy – like a dog toy. Jaxon (my dog) loved them.

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