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Relish Tray With Mom's Blue Cheese Dip

In the Kline household, every holiday meal was preceded by a simple, yet palate-teasing relish tray of blue-cheese stuffed celery sticks, carrots for dipping and jumbo pimento-stuffed olives. You can adjust the seasoning of the cheese filling according to taste.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (4-ounce) block of blue cheese (cheese crumbles are OK, too), softened
1 to 2 teaspoons grated onion
Milk (enough to achieve spreading consistency)
Paprika (optional)
Celery, cut into 3-inch sticks
Carrots, cut into 3-inch sticks
Jumbo pimento-stuffed olives

With a fork (or a hand-held electric mixer), cream the two cheeses together. Add onion (or omit it if you don't care for it). Add milk, a few drops at a time, to achieve the consistency you want. (If you're dipping, you want it very creamy. If you're stuffing the celery sticks, you want it firmer.) Stuff celery sticks with cheese filling. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Arrange celery and carrot sticks on a tray or plate and ring with olives. Serves about 10 to 12.

The Secret: Use a good-quality blue cheese (Mom always uses Treasure Cave brand) and destring the celery for a more satisfying crunch.

Betsy Kline, Food copy editor

Thursday, November 18, 1999

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