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I Can Make That

I Can Make That!


My Colombian college roommate was dancing salsa and belting Celine Dion at 3 A.M. in our sunny yellow kitchen, whipping up some dish I had never heard the name of—a sort-of soup of yogurt, mint, garlic, and luscious little meat-filled dumplings. She plopped it down in front of me and it was amazing. I soon found myself trying to place the various ingredient so I could recreate it. These days, I’m constantly on an endless and illogical quest to figure out how to make everything I eat amazing for myself. To this day, I have never successfully delivered the dish Lizeth made me—it’s my culinary holy grail—but I’ve otherwise developed an uncanny knack for reverse-engineering everything from Blue Moon Café’s crab benedict to Olive Garden’s addictive salad dressing (think mayonnaise—and keep thinking about it for a while).

My most recent coup was cracking the code to spundekäs (spun-de-KAH-zee)—a cheesy delicacy I was introduced to during a recent trip to Mainz, Germany, a region famous for its superior Reisling and beers. Culinary offerings slung across a bar at 2 A.M., as spundekäs often is in Mainz, are often described as the “best thing ever,” but unlike most of them, this smoky, zesty dip even pleases the palate in the light of day. Manlier than ranch, spundekäs is traditionally made with a yogurt-based cheese called Quark, but I worked out the recipe below to be a very good impostor and a solid addition to the dip rotation.

Time: 10 minutes, start to finish
Skill level: Easy-peasy
Equipment: Food processor or blender


4 oz. sour cream (full fat)
1 8-oz. block cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 medium egg yolk (you can lose this if it grosses you out; it just adds to the creaminess)
1/4 cup of onion, diced
1/2 clove of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
salt and pepper (to taste)

Blend the sour cream, cream cheese, butter, and egg yolk until smooth.

Toss in onions, garlic, and paprika.

Dip your finger in and give it a taste.

Throw in some salt and pepper.

Must be served with pretzels and beer!
Makes enough for a party.

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