My name is Kate Harrison, and I am one of Maddie’s friends from Denver. Considering the similarity of our life paths, it’s surprising it’s taken this long for Maddie and I to connect! I’m a St. Louis gal who studied at the KU School of Journalism and now I work at an advertising agency while living in Denver, CO. Sounds familiar right? One of my greatest passions is cooking and enjoying food with loved ones — something else Maddie and I have in common. It’s become a weekly tradition for Maddie, her roommates and me to prepare a Bachelor watch-party feast à la Molly Baz’s cookbook, Cook This Book. I’ve made around 20 dishes from her book and not a single one has left me disappointed. When I’m not obsessing over Molly Baz, I love creating my own recipes, experimenting in the kitchen and recreating old family favorites.
I grew up in a family who puts a lot of care into cooking. Every family gathering centers around good food and even better company. I learned to love through food. I take any opportunity I can to share recipes and traditions with my friends. When Maddie tasked me with taking over the newsletter this week, her one request was that I share my grandmother’s famous curry dip recipe. What she didn’t realize is that this recipe comes with a bit of a dramatic origin story.
My grandmother, lovingly called Grammer, was on a mission to get the recipe of an incredible dip she ordered every time she visited a family favorite St. Louis restaurant, *name redacted for legal reasons*. Even after years of begging the owner, she was never successful in her attempts to secure the classified recipe. I am sure this pissed her off like nobody’s business — she was the type of woman who wouldn’t take no for an answer. By some kind of miracle (to this day no one knows quite how), Grammer’s best friend finally convinced the owner to hand over the precious recipe. Sworn to secrecy, she gave the recipe to Grammer on the pretense that no one could ever know she shared it with her. Now I bet you’re thinking, “Umm Kate, are you about to curse your entire family by sharing this recipe?” No. I don’t claim that energy and neither did my Grammer. In my opinion, one of the highest compliments you can give is to ask for someone’s recipe. So in honor of my late Grammer, I give you the recipe for her Top Secret Curry Dip.
Here’s what you’ll need—
1 teaspoon fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup mayo
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Start by chopping your fresh herbs and aromatics. The key to this recipe is making sure everything is finely chopped. Personally, I like to finely grate my onion and garlic with a microplane. Using this technique allows for the onion and garlic to better incorporate into the dip, creating a more homogeneous texture. Place all ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until fully combined.
The most important part of this recipe is to measure with your heart. Taste as you go and please feel free to stray from the measurements. If my Grammer taught me anything, it’s that you have to trust your tastebuds when you’re cooking. I always end up adding more onion, lemon juice, herbs and curry powder when I make this dip. The best way to honor this recipe is to make it your own — I know Maddie added turmeric! Coincidentally, it’s a long held theory that this recipe is missing a key ingredient because the restaurant’s dip was a tad more yellow… I’ve always had a hunch the missing ingredient was turmeric.
If you have the foresight (I rarely do), make this a day ahead. The dip is best enjoyed after a day of marinating in the fridge. Serve it up with some fresh veggies and crackers. Pro tip— Pepperidge Farm butterfly crackers are the cracker of choice in my fam and they pair perfectly with this zesty dip.
Fun fact, I have three jobs! Like I mentioned before, I work full-time in advertising managing client communication and creative projects. Part-time, I serve at a new Baja-style restaurant, Perdida, and I have an internship at a local flower farm, Blossom and Branch. I find so much joy in the hard labor that comes with serving and farming. After a year of dreadful unemployment boredom during the global panini, I’ve got a lot of energy in me I can’t help but feel the need to use up. Needless to say, I’m a busy gal with a packed schedule. I make sure to take off time from my part-time gigs when I need a break and/or much needed friend time. This past weekend, I took Sunday off to host a game night. We laughed and fought over Codenames, my new favorite game. I served a Palisade Peach and Pancetta Pizza that was a hit. It’s got “Colorado summer” written all over it, AKA the perfect recipe to share.
For the Pizza Dough (NY Times Roberta’s Pizza Dough), you’ll need—
153 grams 00 flour
153 grams all-purpose flour
8 grams salt
200 grams lukewarm water
2 grams active dry yeast
4 grams olive oil
For toppings, you’ll need—
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups low-moisture mozzarella
1/3 cup ricotta
4 oz pancetta
Smoked sea salt flakes to taste
And lastly, tools —
This recipe takes a bit of thinking ahead if you plan to make your own pizza dough; however, there is absolutely no shame in buying pre-made dough. Growing up, my mom always used Trader Joe’s pizza dough and it never failed. When I’m feeling extra lazy, I will doctor up a frozen pizza with veggies and extra cheese for a quick weeknight dinner. But we all know, nothing beats a good homemade crust, and I feel obligated to teach you my go-to recipe from the NY Times. Make sure to start the dough about 5-6 hours before you want to eat your pizza. You can even make the dough a day before and store it in the fridge if you’re the type of person who can plan ahead (and if you are… please teach me your ways??)
An important thing to note in this recipe is that you will need to measure by weight. If you absolutely must, you can use Google to convert this recipe to volume measurements. Baking is a science and not all ingredients across brands and varieties weigh the same by volume. Weighing your ingredients helps your recipe turn out perfectly every time. This need for precision is the exact reason Grammer hated baking. For me, it’s why I love it.
To make the Dough, here’s the steps—
In a large bowl, combine flours and salt.
In a small bowl mix 200 grams lukewarm tap water, yeast and oil. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes to allow yeast to proof.
Pour yeast mix into flour mix. Knead until well combined for about 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Knead dough for another 3 minutes.
Cut dough into 2 equal pieces and shape into balls. The dough should spring back when poked. Place dough balls on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth and let rise 3 to 4 hours or longer. (Let rise in the fridge for 8-24 hours. Remove from the fridge 45 minutes before baking to bring dough to room temp).
Place each ball on a heavily floured surface and use fingers to stretch and shape into a thin round.
Please note: My recipe only requires one dough ball. If you want to use all of the dough, double the rest of the topping ingredients or come up with your own toppings for a second za!
And now, the Za—
Place your pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F (or the highest temperature your oven goes to). Placing the pizza stone in the oven while it preheats ensures that the stone doesn’t heat up too quickly, which can cause it to crack.
While your stone is in the oven, this is the perfect time to prep your toppings.
Strip about 6 thyme sprigs or until you have 1 tablespoon of thyme
Thinly slice 2 cloves of garlic
Grate 1 1/2 cups low-moisture mozzarella
Thinly slice 2 peaches (nectarines work too)
Pan fry 4 oz pancetta over medium heat until crispy
After about 45 minutes of preheating, remove the stone from the oven. Carefully transfer your pizza dough to the pizza stone — the stone will be extremely hot. At this point, your crust will begin baking. Don’t panic! Getting a head start on the baking process helps the crust crisp up before cooking the rest of the ingredients. This also mimics the results from using a wood-oven pizza.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the crust. Evenly distribute the thyme and sliced garlic over the crust reserving about a fourth of the thyme. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly and dollop the ricotta sporadically using a small spoon. Top with sliced peaches, pancetta and remaining thyme.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is fully melted.
Finish with smoked sea salt flakes, slice and enjoy!
What’s been giving me life lately has a lot to do with the people and pets I’m so lucky to have in my life. In May, I adopted the sweetest cream long-haired kitten from our neighbors at my family farm in Missouri. I named her Roux, after the first cooking technique my mom ever taught me and because her coloring looks exactly like a blonde roux. Roux fits in perfectly with my first born child (I mean cat), Winnie. All of my crazy cat lady dreams have come true watching them become the best of friends.
This summer, not one but TWO of my very best friends moved to Colorado. I feel grateful to have such a large network of loved ones in a state I only moved to a short two years ago. Thank you, Miranda and Carmen, for contributing to my master plan of moving all of my favorite people to the best state in the country. I watched my sorority sister marry the love of her life, and I was reunited with some of my best college friends to celebrate the occasion. I went to two Cardinals vs. Rockies baseball games and witnessed the greatest firework show of all time while laying on the ground smack dab in the middle of center field. In the words of Anna, it felt like we were “floating.”
My ride-or-die/bestie for the restie/BFFA, Sara, was finally able to visit me in June. Sara is a professional dancer and singer who travels the world performing on cruise ships. Between the global panna cotta and all of her travels, we only get to see each other once or twice a year. Showing her my favorite places and restaurants in Colorado was an absolute blast. We went to my happy place, Rocky Mountain National Park, and hiked to four different lakes. We snuck past security at The Stanley Hotel and gave ourselves a ghost tour filled with hushed giggles and silent screams. “Red Rum,” anyone? The number one to-do on our itinerary was to find Sara a bear, a favorite animal she longs to snuggle, but alas, we weren’t so lucky (unlucky?). I also took her to my go-to pasta place in RiNo, Dio Mio. If you find yourself in Denver, do me a favor and go there for happy hour. I can NOT get enough of their squid ink pasta.
Seven years ago this week, I lost my mom unexpectedly and tragically. I have spent the past several years navigating grief and finding ways to cope without her. Losing someone at such a young age isn’t easy for a lot of reasons, but I have found one of the most difficult trials is not having friends who can relate. This year, I made new friends and rekindled an old friendship with some of the loveliest roommates — roommates you readers should be all too familiar with. Between our St. Louis roots, Rock Chalk alumnae status and love for trash-talking the Bachelor franchise, it’s no mystery why Maddie, Anna, Cait and I are friends. However, what has brought us closest in the most bittersweet way, is that they can unfortunately understand what it is like to lose a loved one in their twenties. I feel grateful to have such down to earth girls in my life who I can count on in both the tough times and the fun-filled weekends. This week, I’ve been grieving in the best way I know how—with lots of good food, quality friend time and sunshine.
Until next time,
Follow all of Kate’s cooking adventures on her cooking insta, @k8s_eats!