Caramelized Onion Dip


It occurs to me now that I haven’t been keeping you up to date on our dining habits. They haven’t been that thrilling of late, really.

I’m not much of a Shepherd’s Pie person. I have nothing against it, but it always reminds me of the $1 frozen ones a co-worker used to bring for lunch to heat up in the microwave every day when I was about 20. And yet a few days ago when I cleaned out my freezer (so that I could fill it again, in preparation for a brutal 2 week shooting schedule starting on Sunday) I thought the package of lean ground beef would be best used in a Shepherd’s Pie, along with several of the potatoes that are growing eyes in the backs of their heads in my root vegetable cubbyhole.

But a serendipitous coming together of recipes resulted in a bit of a twist on something not so new and exciting: I needed a photo of caramelized onion dip for the spring re-release of Grazing, and so thinly sliced and caramelized some onions, finishing them with crushed garlic and a drizzle of balsamic, cooled it, stirred in some low fat sour cream, took a photo, scooped up a few bites and set it aside.

W stood on his chair and yelled, “I HATE PEAS!!!” My little boy is growing up. Snif.

Lou the Wonderdog, whom some of you seem to be missing, ate cel phone straight up for dinner.

But it could be worse. Thanks to Shelley for alerting me to some poor sod’s dinner experience on a recent Virgin Airlines flight. Hilarious.

Got my hair cut today in preparation for shooting season 3 of It’s Just Food (starting on Sunday). When I got home W was playing with the camera, and took some shots of me. Most were of my knees/midriff, but this one caught the new ‘do. Let me also introduce you to my giant Roots sweater I acquired at VV (in the Village) about 7 years ago for about as many dollars, which they are attempting to pry me out of in order to make me as presentable as possible on TV.

Also, I bought some really cool red rubber boots. Which were size 11s (!!) and on sale. And which of course you won’t be able to see on the show behind the counter anyway. (Please take note of the giant ball of dust and dog hair on my top stair – such is my life. I need knee-high red rubber wellies to wade through it all.)


Caramelized Onion Dip

Recipe link


January 28, 2009


canola or olive oil, for cooking

3 large sweet onions (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), or yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 cup sour cream (regular or low fat)

salt and pepper, to taste


1In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat; add the onions and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until golden and caramelized. Add the garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes, until deep golden. Set aside to cool slightly.


3Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the sour cream, salt and pepper. If you want it more finely chopped or smooth, pulse it in the food processor. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.


5Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


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26 comments on “Caramelized Onion Dip

  1. Erica B.
    January 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    That is a comfy looking sweater, but sweetee its miles too big(says she still hanging on to the odd 3x fleece sweater) :)

    Heh you have Lou making messes, that’s an impressive tooth mark in the screen (that must have hurt at least a little). I have Josh, the almost 3 year old one-boy wrecking crew. Today it was peanut butter, yesterday it was a night light and an entire box of cereal. Ah motherhood is just so glamorous isn’t it?

  2. Jen C
    January 29, 2009 at 3:40 am

    Hair-doo looks good – that always makes you feel good too!!! Sweater looks comfy too – I bought one similar at a big Eddie Bauer sale held at the Round Up Centre a few years back – it was awesome………until it mysteriously appeared in my dryer one day and shrunk.
    I have the same views on Shep’s Pie – just don’t like it for whatever reason. Although I like all the ingredients individually but togehter, no. Last time I made some, I used leftover mashed potatoes, which I made with roasted garlic and buttermilk and it made a huge difference.

  3. Barb
    January 29, 2009 at 6:57 am

    I am patiently waiting for Grazing. Please let us know when it is released. You look terrific, Julie! Not just anyone could make that big bulky sweater look good but you do! I think it is partly because of your beautiful smile – always poised and ready to glow for you! I better stop; this is starting to sound corny (but it’s true)

  4. mmac
    January 29, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Love the doo. Love the boots. And if it’s any consolation on the phone, our dog went through two remotes once in the space of about as many months. And some expensive ski goggles. And the wood trim around the dining room window. And some of the oak stair case at the back door. And oh, we have matching dust/dog hair balls on our stairs.

  5. Cathy D
    January 29, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Please read the email I just sent you :)

    Now, a question about onions. Vidalia and Walla Walla…can I just buy those at Safeway? Just curious. I buy purple and yellow and shallots etc….but not versed on the Walla Walla. Are they better for say, french onion soup, than yellow?

  6. Theresa
    January 29, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Look on the bright side Julie, the iPhone has a glass screen……. Lou could be at the vet right now having glass removed from his tongue and gums! Here’s a link to a Mr. Fixit. The comments are a hoot. Perhaps M can be inspired to fix the phone. :)

  7. Theresa
    January 29, 2009 at 8:47 am

    who will be your assistant for It’s Just Food? 😉

  8. Sue (London)
    January 29, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Your new do is really pretty, as are you!
    Can’t wait for season 3!

  9. Katharine
    January 29, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Hair looks fab!! Did you see your usual stylist?
    I really like Shepherd’s Pie. But I grew up on a slightly different variety than the usual recipe. It’s a staple in our house because I can freeze it and thaw it out for emergency – or just damn lazy – dinners.
    And the boots look great on you! You just need a pair of red suspenders and you’ll be all set!

    Lots ‘o Love!

  10. Vivian
    January 29, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Ah ha! You have come up with the solution for leading the wandering eye (usually of unexpected of guests)away from stray doggiehair/dustballs…brilliant footwear, neon would be my choice. I agree with many other comments, you are looking wonderful and very “presentable” for TV. My question: “It’s Only Food” used to air on Access here, but they were taken over by CTV(?) so now where can/will I be able to see the program? Please, please, don’t say cable…some of us are still on “steam” TV!

  11. Manon
    January 29, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Ok Julie you are hillarious, I love you!
    With my 3 kids, husband, wood furnace, 2 cats and labrador dog in the house, you think I have dust and hair rolling around!!!
    I love your new hair cut, all smiles.


  12. Kathy
    January 29, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Julie you look great. We have a cat and laminate floors I can relate to the dust/hair balls!

    Love the idea of carmelized onion dip but not the crying and chopping of said onions. We like shepard’s pie here..maybe I’ll make it for supper this week.

  13. Sarah
    January 29, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    To Cathy D: You can get big bags of either of those onions at Costco (usually)
    And to Julie: Your dust bunny (or in my house, as we call them, dust capybaras–was looking for a rodent much larger than a bunny…) reminds me of a book–no, really–called Hens Dancing by Raffaella Barker, possibly my favourite “light” book of all time (as opposed to “heavy” reading like Noam Chomsky who is no doubt brilliant, but is the reading equivalent of lentil tofu bake, whereas Raffaella Barker is more like a pitcher of maragaritas and some Irish nachos…

  14. Allison
    January 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    You can knit sweaters from dog hair.

  15. Natalie
    January 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    funny. We had shepherd’s pie last night too. Didn’t turn out. It tasted ok, but was soupy…. oh well. I made it with roast beef so it was like stew with potatoes on top….

    Love your locks. I’ll have to show my husband your pix, since you are now a household name :)

  16. sharon in oregon
    January 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Size 11 boots…how tall are you? Just because I am not tall but wear 11’s also – sometimes 12’s and you look tall. Really, I’m just wondering.

  17. Erica B.
    January 29, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Re: Walla Wallas and Vidalias – Superstore has been carrying Wallas in bulk lately next to the big red and white onions. They look similar to the little yellow onions but are somewhere between the size of a grapefruit or cantalope. HTH :)

  18. Cheryl
    January 29, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I’m with Willem, peas are disgusting.

    Funny store about size 11s. I was hosting a quilting retreat. Me, in my late 20s (at the time) and a bunch of 50-70 year olds. Great ladies! But one lady was in her 70s, had lived all over the world but was now settled in Oregon, and your height and with size 11s. She proceeds to tell us how difficult it was to buy shoes when she was young. Then she slams her hand on the table and proclaims, “Thank God for transvestites!” It seems the rise of drag queens helped her buy gloves and pretty shoes and for that she couldn’t be happier.

    PS Nice haircut! And even better boots. The Monster would point out that they are Lulu’s favourite shoes.

  19. Natalie
    January 30, 2009 at 5:25 am

    I haven’t made shepherd’s pie is years. Makes me want to make some. I got my recipe from James Barber, the Urban Peasant. I miss him, loved his how. I hadn’t realized that he passed away in 2007 until I was feeling a bit nostalgic, and was surfing for his website. But your shepherd’s pie looks good. No creamed corn. Creamed corn does NOT go into shepherd’s pie. Period.

  20. Natalie (Michigan)
    January 30, 2009 at 6:32 am

    There is another Natalie! – “hi” — I will change to Natalie (Michigan).

  21. DJ
    January 30, 2009 at 6:46 am

    So reading back in time, I gather you regularly do radio bits and a tv show. What channels are you on? I am in Edmonton and should be able to tune into you I would think? Love the red boots. I have a thing for red shoes, and coats. My 7 year old daughter has had 5 pairs of red shoes/boots over her short life already…
    My sister is 6’1″ and also a size 11 shoe. She walks tall with pride and is one of the most stunning women I know….she too would love the red boots, being not afraid to highlight her feet.

  22. Lana
    January 30, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Love seeing a photo of you!
    Love the hair!
    Love the sweater!
    Love the boots!

    Is there a theme here….?

  23. Rose
    January 30, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Interesting the size 11 and 12’s (me) like red shoes! I’ve had a hard time getting stylish, edgy shoes in my size and it’s always been thus! Nordstrom’s in the States carries larger sizes as does Tall Girl shoes but I’m not having much luck lately.

    The onion dip looks great and low fat so I’m going to give it a try!
    Thanks, Rose

  24. Laurie
    December 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    It can’t be called Shepherd’s Pie if the meat in it is ground beef. Shepherds didn’t herd beeves, they herded sheep. A pie with ground beef in it and mashed potato on top is a cottage pie (why? Who kept cattle in a cottage?)

  25. JulieVR
    December 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I stand corrected! I made a lamb shepherd’s pie once with sweet potatoes on top – that was probably more accurate.

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