Hot Cheesy Shrimp Dip
I don’t paint, but I do watch old episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross all the time. I’m totally addicted. I read somewhere that after screaming at people for 12 years in the military, Bob returned to civilian life and resolved never to raise his voice again. Perhaps that explains why on every series of the show, he was peaceful, gentle, and kind. I love listening to him explain each scene he paints, anticipating his Bobisms before they’re spoken.
If you’re not a Bob Ross fan, this post might be lost on you. But maybe it’ll inspire you to take a look. Have you ever heard that saying, “Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten”? Well, forget kindergarten. Everything I need to know, I learned from Bob Ross:
1. There are no mistakes. There are just happy accidents. Bob Ross’s painting technique was for beginners. He knew you were going to freak out in your living room one day because you put too much alizarin crimson on your brush and instead of highlighting your tree, you set it on fire. So he repeated this adage often: there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. Take what happens and let it inspire you to move forward.
2. Everybody needs a friend. Bob could never leave one tree or one rock all by itself. Even the little bushes needed a friend. Sometimes I try to go it alone in my job or my life in general and I have to remember: everyone’s stronger with a friend.
3. You can do anything. You can move mountains. If you ever feel impotent, remember that with the flick of a palette knife, you can move mountains. In your world, you can do anything, as long as you’re brave enough to try and have a few skills to make it happen.
4. Take care of animals. Bob often had tiny guest stars on the show. He took in injured wildlife to rehabilitate it, so he’d show up with a bluejay, a squirrel, or an owl in the studio. He spoke with such love to each and every critter. In later shows, he laments that the mist he adds to the base of his mountains comes from pollution as much as distance. He was a friend to the Earth and the animals, protecting the gorgeous scenes he painted.
5. Every now and then, you just have to beat the devil out of something. My favorite part of every show is when Bob cleans his brush and “beats the devil out of it” on his easel, coating the studio and several cameramen in odorless paint thinner. It’s a good way to take out your frustrations, apparently. We all need an outlet.
6. Sometimes you’ve got to press hard into the canvas to make an almighty mountain. Sometimes you need to use just three hairs and some air to blend a cloud. Knowing the right skill to use at the right time is critical. Is it time for a firm hand and tough love? Is it time for grace and diplomacy? This discernment is key to so many different parts of our lives: building relationships at home, getting work done, tackling difficult conversations.
7. Some things you can count on: water is level, thin paint sticks to thick paint, and there will always be lots of little sticks and twigs. I love that there are things you can count on in each and every painting. They form a sense of familiarity and trust. There is comfort in a routine, a method, a habit.
8. Get crazy. Don’t be tied to the habit, though! Relax in your routine but don’t be afraid to get crazy. Whenever Bob says, “Okay, I think I’m gonna get a little crazy,” I know to hold my breath. Maybe a thick black brush will streak through the pristine mountain scene to drop a gigantic fir tree into the foreground. Or maybe a palette knife loaded with Van Dyke brown will sweep a cabin right over the brush. No risk, no growth!
9. If you want to catch a rabbit, stand behind a tree and make a noise like a carrot. Bob said his father used to tell him this. I don’t know what larger life truth it connects to, but I had to include it. How else would you know how to catch a rabbit?
One year ago: Lemon Cream Pie Bars
Two years ago: Breakfast Stuffed Mushrooms (Portobellos Stuffed with a Leek and Gruyère Scramble)
Three years ago: Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Orange Rosemary Butter & Goat Cheese
Four years ago: Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar Crusts
Five years ago: Red Berry Pie
- 12 ounces (1 1/2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese, divided (I used heaping measures for cheese. Because cheese.)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for topping
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 small shallot (or one “clove” of a big shallot), finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound medium fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper
- buttery crackers for serving (I used Town House Original Crackers)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 2-quart baking dish. In a large, heat-proof bowl, beat together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of the Gruyere cheese, the Parmesan cheese, and the parsley.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot cook until translucent and fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking for just about 30 seconds before adding the shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes or until the shrimp are just pink. Pour in the wine and lemon juice and stir, seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring this to a simmer and then remove it from the heat and pour it into the large bowl with the mayonnaise mixture. Mix together gently until combined. Transfer the dip into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle it with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere cheese and then bake until bubbly, about 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately with buttery crackers.