Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Carried a Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri and Homemade French Onion Dip You Won't Want to Put In a Corner for Food 'n Flix July Film: Dirty Dancing

How many times have I seen Dirty Dancing?  About a bazillion, maybe a bazillion and two. It's one of my favorite "comfort" movies--to watch when I am sad, or sick, or I just happen to come across it flipping through channels and sit and watch it--despite having The Ultimate Edition on DVD. So of course I was excited to have it be our Food 'n Flix July movie pick, hosted by Chef Sarah Elizabeth. (You can see her announcement post here.) I'm so excited that I am breaking my last-to-the-party habit and getting my entry in at the beginning of the month instead of the last day and so excited that I even had my dish in mind before I re-watched the movie this past weekend.

I can't imagine that you have not seen or know the story of Dirty Dancing but just in case, it came out in 1987, making it turn thirty this year. And by the way, it DID NOT need to be remade this year ABC and I lost two hours of my life watching it when I knew I shouldn't. So a re-watch of the original was definitely needed to wash the awful remake from my mind. Anyway, in short, the movie is set in 1963 where Francis (Baby) Houseman and her family are at Kellerman's resort in the Catskills, the summer before Baby heads to college at Mt. Holyoke and begins to change the world. There she meets the dance kids that provide entertainment at the resort (she carried a watermelon) and falls for Johnny Castle, their leader. Johnny's friend and partner Penny gets pregnant by creepy waiter-med student Robby and Baby tries to help, borrowing money from her father for an abortion and taking Penny's place as Johnny's dance partner for their annual big performance at a local hotel. I won't go into the rest other than to note that nobody better put baby in a corner and everyone (OK, not everyone but Johnny and Baby at least) has the time of their lives. Sure it's a bit sappy and you have to suspend some disbelief at the plot at times, but it's sweet and fun and has Patrick Swayze, so I love it.

So about the food, there is some--the watermelon of course, champagne cocktails, rolls and salad on the table, and pot roast that Baby's father says she wants to send to Southeast Asia to feed hungry children. Baby 'wins' a live chicken for being a good sport and getting sawed in half at Kellerman's comedy show, there's iced tea, and Neil the annoying resort manager takes Baby to the kitchen and offers her brownies, milk, leftover rice pudding, beef, leftover cabbage rolls, fruit salad and sweet gherkins. There are Coca Cola bottles sitting about and alcohol, bagels, grapefruit and other breakfast foods like eggs, meat, coffee, orange juice, and Danish.  

I knew before my re-watch what I wanted to make because it had to be something from watermelon. The "I carried a watermelon" quote is something I say over and over, anytime I see or come close to picking up a watermelon. I say it to others, mumble it under my breath at the grocery store, and say it in my head. Do not ask me why. It is like some kind of Dirty Dancing Tourette's. ;-) Anyway, I wanted to put that watermelon I carried into a frozen summery cocktail--named for my favorite quote--and frozen daiquiris, which although invented much earlier than the 1960s, were a popular summer party drink in that era. (And July 19th is National Daiquiri Day!

Because every 1960s era party needs a good classic appetizer or dip, I decided to make an updated version of a 60s classic--French Onion Soup Dip (aka California Dip or Lipton's Onion Soup Dip). I don't like all the sodium and preservatives that come in packaged soup mixes so I decided leave it out and put my own flavors together. When I looked online to see what all was in the original Lipton's packaged onion soup, several recipes for homemade mixes and dips popped up. I used this one and this one as a starter and then changed it up for my tastes.

I Carried a Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 2 Large Servings)

4 cups watermelon cubes, frozen overnight
juice of two limes, or to taste (about 4 Tbsp)
1/2 cup rum of choice (I like coconut rum), or to taste
simple syrup or honey to taste (optional)
small wedges of fresh watermelon to serve

Place frozen watermelon cubes, lime juice, rum, and sweetener if using, into a blender and blend until smooth, scrapping down the sides of the blender as needed. 

Pour into glasses and serve immediately with straws and watermelon wedges. Enjoy. (And carry it around and think of Baby when you do!)

I used a mix of kefir labne which is like a yogurt-based cream cheese and Greek yogurt--thinking that the labne would give the dip a thicker, richer texture. Kefir labne also has more protein and probiotics than Greek yogurt--always a benefit. I buy it at my local grocery store or natural foods store but if you don't find it, a mix of cream cheese, yogurt and sour cream would also work.

Homemade French Onion Dip
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 2 1/2 cups of Dip)

1/4 cup canola or olive oil
2 large sweet onions, peeled and chopped (about 3 heaping cups worth)
sea salt 
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and minced
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or tamari
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 cup kefir labne (or cream cheese or yogurt labne)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
crispy fried onions to garnish, optional 

Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook until onions begin to turn light brown, stirring as needed so as not to burn onions. Cook 35-45 minutes--until onions turn dark golden brown and caramelize. Add the minced garlic, thyme, dried parsley, Worcestershire and sherry vinegar. Season to taste with additional sea salt and pepper as needed. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, add the labne, Greek yogurt, celery salt, and smoked paprika and stir until blended. Add the cooled onion mixture and the chopped fresh parsley and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Place dip in a serving bowl and garnish with crispy fried onions if desired. Serve with chips, crackers, and/or vegetables.

Notes/Results: These frozen watermelon daiquiris are refreshing--not too sweet (I didn't use any added sweetener--just the coconut rum), thick and creamy rather than icy, which comes from using the frozen watermelon cubes instead of ice. Delicious and well worth carrying a watermelon of your own. ;-) The dip is rich and full of flavor from the caramelized onions, herbs and other goodies. Now I have to admit that I haven't had French onion soup dip, or the packaged soup mix in years but this dip tastes so much better than I remember. It's definitely moreish, I served it with waffle cut potato chips which hold up well but I really liked it with salt & pepper chips. It also tastes even better after it has sat for a few hours or overnight and the flavors have come together--so it definitely can be made ahead. I would happily make and carry both of these recipes again.  

You still have plenty of time to join in this month as the deadline for this round of Food 'n Flix is Sunday, July 30th and Chef Sarah Elizabeth will be rounding up the dishes on her blog soon after. If you can't make it this month and you like food, movies, and foodie movies, join us for Food 'n Flix August when we will be watching Secondhand Lions, hosted by Fictional Fare.


  1. Deb,
    Definitely one my favorite feel good movies that I have often re-watched. In fact, I often just go to Youtube and watch the final dance on stage and with the ending of everyone dancing to get that wonderful feeling.

  2. I love Dirty Dancing, too...and yup, even though I own it, I'll always stop and watch it if it's on tv! ;) I love your choices, so much fun and so perfectly fitting.

    p.s. - I refused to watch that remake (and I'm glad I did)!

  3. I posted early this month too. What's going on?

    Love your synopsis of the film and your Tourette quoting comment! :) Can't help but love the daquari and dip combo!

  4. Love it! A watermelon recipe + a twist on a classic 60s recipe. Looks so yummy!

  5. Wow, I would love to get together with you....we could watch the movie for the bazillion and third time while sipping these daiquiris and munching on chips smothered in this wonderful dip.

  6. Yes, yes, yes! I love it all!


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