What a Crock! Dazzling dip adaptable, versatile

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Party guests will welcome slow-cooked Gumbo Dip featuring shrimp, bell pepper and cream cheese. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Party guests will welcome slow-cooked Gumbo Dip featuring shrimp, bell pepper and cream cheese.

It’s time for holiday office parties and other social events of the season. Some of us have go-to recipes that have become our signature dishes, while others are looking for something new and different.

My daughter raved about a dip that was served at a recent office party. The young woman who brought it, Kayla Wernet, said it is a dip she often brings to tailgating events or showers. She adapted it from a magazine recipe and I have changed it slightly in order to adapt it to the slow cooker.

Wernet typically bakes it in a 400-degree oven after sautéing the ingredients in a large skillet over medium heat, then waiting to add the cream cheese until she has reduced the heat to low. As the cream cheese melts, she stirs in the Parmesan cheese and spoons the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish, baking for 25 to 30 minutes. Whether cooks use the oven or the slow cooker often depends on whether the cook will be able to stay close by as the dish cooks in the oven or whether they want the flexibility of leaving the house or managing other food preparations.

The slow cooker also keeps the dip warm during the time of your event. If you plan on utilizing the slow cooker, the only real difference is to add the shrimp in the last hour of cooking, after turning the appliance to High.

It’s a tasty dip, whichever cooking option you choose. In fact, it also made a great sauce for angel hair pasta. That’s what I call versatility.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at juliekay1@cox.net.