Chef Susanne leads Luncheon with Instruction

The perfect dip to take to your next potluck. A few fantastic spreads and crafty cocktails for your next dinner party.

Find these delicious ideas, try them yourself and learn to make them firsthand from Chef Susanne Bicknese during the next installment of her Luncheon with Instruction series.

Held at noon and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at the Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji, this month’s course is aptly dubbed “Sippers & Dippers.”

The cost for one of the sessions is $30 for members of the art center, and $35 for nonmembers. Reservations must be made and prepaid by noon the day before.

“There is a lot of hype around pairing wine with food, but we don’t often talk a lot about pairing cocktails with foods, so I think this is a great opportunity to pair some fun appetizers and things,” Bicknese said. “They’re great for people having parties to do a signature cocktail with appetizers — dips are easy — so I thought this would be a fun thing to do.”

Six spreads and dips along with a specially paired cocktail are on the menu this month.

First up is the 7 Layer Smoke Salmon Spread with St. Germain Cocktail.

“Everyone does a Mexican layer dip, but this one is kind of like a salmon platter on a cracker,” Bicknese said. “And along with salmon having something sweeter as a cocktail or wine is best.”

Enter St. Germain, which is an elderflower liqueur that will be mixed with prosecco to create a sweet sparkling beverage.

“The elderflower takes it up a notch and together with smoked salmon is a perfect combination,” Bicknese said. “Salmon is a fatty fish and pairing it with something sweet and bubbly cuts through that and gets to the heart of matter, which is the smokiness of the salmon.”

Next up is the fairly familiar artichoke dip with warm skillet bread, but there is a twist.

In this recipe the bread is built right into the dip.

“It’s all baked in the same skillet which is a fun, unique thing. It looks great and tastes wonderful,” Bicknese said.

Paired with this particular dip will be a Lemon Basil Vodka Sour. Bicknese will be infusing vodka herself with lemon and basil then use that as a base for a traditional vodka sour.

Stuck in this long-lasting winter, guests will enjoy the next course as a chance to escape through their taste buds to a tropical locale.

A Hawaiian Dip will be presented alongside a Blue Hawaiian, but Bicknese is keeping things a bit close to the vest with this one.

“I don’t want to give too much of this one away, but it’s really kind of fun,” Bicknese said.

“The Hawaiian dip has some cream cheese and some pineapple and some more and the Blue Hawaiian is a great cocktail with Blue Curaça that can be served on the rocks or as a slush. This will give use the feel of the Hawaiian islands while we’re stuck here in subzero temperatures.”

Beginning the back half of the menu is a Creamy Shrimp Scampi Dip with a Singapore Sling.

“Shrimp scampi is so delicious and in order to make it a dip you have to make it creamy. It’s so, so good,” Bicknese said. “The Singapore Sling is an older-fashioned cocktail that was really popular in the ’50s and maybe as far back as the ’40s. It’s got that kind of tropical taste to it too and I love the combination with the shrimp. This is going to be a real fun one for people to taste.”

The fifth dish is a Beef Enchilida Dip with a Bloody Maria, which is a tequila twist on the traditional Bloody Mary.

And finally there will be the Caramel Apple Dip with a Toasted Pecan Old Fashioned.

“You get the whole flavor of a caramel apple in one bite,” Bicknese said. “The old-fashioned is made with toasted or roasted pecan infused whiskey but the rest of the ingredients are pretty traditional. So it’s got that great pecan flavor that goes beautifully with apples.”

Bicknese looks forward to seeing new and familiar faces as she instructs everyone in attendance how to create this delicious lineup of dips and matching cocktails to sip.