One night, in the tender and exhilarating years between legal adulthood and full frontal lobe development, my roommate and I made a post-midnight run to Denny’s. We enjoyed our shared order of buffalo chicken strips, but the highlight of that evening was later, when we noticed the line item on the receipt: “1 buff chick strips.” I’ve giggled about that ever since, when anything comes up that’s related to buffalo the animal, Buffalo the city, buffalo sauce, buffalo chicken, or stripping. Okay, now that word doesn’t look right to me, but Google ensures me the spelling is correct. Buffalo.
Speaking of clunky transitions, we have so much going on in the garden right now. It’s like a caricature of spring – rain-inspired weeds included. In addition to the ubiquitous presence of greens, we have peas and strawberries and rhubarb and garlic scapes, and are eating asparagus from the market just about daily.
I watered the garden for some out-of-town friends last week, and harvested more snap peas than I thought was humanly possible. (Way to garden, Nathan!) We ate them on salads. We ate them in curry. We ate them in Thai noodles. We ate them straight from the bowl, mostly. We dipped them in everything, including the below buffalo chicken dip, born from an overage of grassfed cheese and a need to cycle out the snack foods in my doula bag.
That sounds weird, but the short version is that I take canned chicken, normally a gross thing, with me to births. When you have two minutes between contractions to get some nutrients down ya, you need something that is pure protein, that’s easily digestible, that’s non-perishable in case you take 12 hours to get to the snack point, and that doesn’t smell. Boom. Canned chicken (least disgusting variety available at your local health food store).
This dip, featuring one of my favorite mild hot sauces, is excellent as an appetizer or for any time you or your kids need a little encouragement eating vegetables that scoop well. You can substitute a variety of cheeses, but I think the mildness of cream cheese plays nicely with the stinky blue and the stretchy, bubbly buffalo mozzarella added at the end. Buffalo dip with buffalo mozzarella. It takes five minutes to prep; the ruling is I need not say more.
Bufffalo Chicken Dip
1 large can best-quality chicken, drained OR 1 lb cooked and shredded chicken
1/4 C cream cheese, soft
1/2 C blue cheese
3/4 t garlic powder, or more to taste (bonus points for Penzey’s roasted garlic powder)
1/2 C Frank’s Red Hot buffalo sauce, or more depending on your mild heat tolerance
1/4 C green onions or scallions, chopped
1 ball buffalo mozzarella, about 125 grams
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped (or more to taste)
Mix all ingredients except mozzarella and cilantro until well combined. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly. Remove the pan from the oven and change the oven setting to a high broil. Place chunks of buffalo mozzarella over the top. Broil until the mozz is brown and bubbly.
You’re not going to want to, but you’re going to need to let it cool a few minutes before throwing the cilantro on top and going to town.
Then, go to town!