September 2023 Food Pairing
2020 Tannat paired with Lamb meatballs with Tzatziki sauce and naan!
We had so much fun with our September Food Pairing event this past Saturday! For this pairing we wanted to feature our 2020 Tannat. Tannat is a lesser-known varietal and one that we typically have very little of! Owner, winemaker, and vineyard manager Sam Patterson takes care of just a half acre of Tannat grapes at a property down in Loomis, CA. In 2020 we were only able to produce 42 cases of Tannat, making this a very exclusive vintage. Tannat is a very rich, full-bodied wine. It is one that pairs well with red meats, like steak, and gamier meats, such as lamb or veal. Tannat grapes originated in the Basque region, which is also known for a long history of sheep herding. For these reasons we decided that lamb would be a perfect pairing for this excellent wine. The unseasonably rainy weather added great ambiance for this pairing as well! If you would like to recreate this pairing at home you will find the recipe below! Topa!
- ½ lb ground lamb
- ½ lb ground pork
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 1 yellow onion grated
- 2 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 English cucumbers
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh dill
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 16 oz whole Greek yogurt
Mint or Dill for garnish
Mint chutney for serving
Tzatziki: Finely grate cucumber and garlic. Blend all ingredients together.
Meatballs: Combine all the meatball ingredients and mix together until well combined. With wet hands, form into 1 inch meatballs. Heat oil to medium in a pan and brown on all sides, in batches if necessary. Serve on mini Naan bread with tzatziki and mint chutney.
August 2023 Wine Club Release and Food Pairing
This August we celebrated the release of our 2021 Côtes du Ombrè and 2020 Tempranillo for our Wine Club Members. Our Côtes du Ombrè is the Shadow Ranch take on the classic GSM Blend, the Côtes du Rhone. All three varietals (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre) are grown in the same Loomis vineyard by our owner and winemaker Sam Patterson. With extroverted aromas of ripe fruit, dried sage and herbs, and a pepper-and-herb finish, this is a very well-loved blend among our members. Our Tempranillo is 100% Estate grown and one of our most popular varietals. This wine is dark cherry red in color, with aromas of plum, blackberry and jam, with varied spicy notes of vanilla and cacao.
For this pairing we thought we would embrace regionality, so the French Côtes du Ombrè was paired with a croque monsieur, while the Spanish Tempranillo was paired with a refreshing gazpacho. Both turned out absolutely delicious thanks to the hard work of Tricia and Kimari. Below you will find the recipes so that you can recreate these pairings at home!
- 1 baguette, thinly sliced and lightly toasted on each side
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cub whole milk
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 ¾ cups shredded Gruyère cheese
- 6 oz thinly sliced ham, cut into 1 inch strips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and turn on broiler.
- Make the bechamel sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan and whisk in flour. Cook until light golden, then slowly whisk in milk. Cook about 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, then stir in salt, pepper, mustard and nutmeg. Add 1 cup of cheese and stir until melted and smooth.
- Assemble sandwiches: Place toasted slices of baguette on a baking sheet. Layer with cheese and ham and top with another slice of toasted baguette. Pour bechamel sauce over the sandwich.
- Place under broiler until sauce bubbles and cheese is golden, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
- 5 lbs roma tomatoes, peeled and de-seeded with white parts removed
- 1 cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
- 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and with white parts removed
- 1 green bell pepper, de-seeded and with white parts removed
- 2 green onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 qt tomato juice
- 1 qt sparkling water
- 1 slice of day-old white bread
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Red hot sauce, 1 tbsp or to your liking
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 avocadoes
- ½ cup sour cream
- Lime juice
- Bacon bits
- Chives, finely chopped
- Combine all soup ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
- For the crema, smash ingredients together until smooth.
- Garnish soup with a dollop of crema, croutons, and a sprinkle of bacon bits and chives. Serve immediately.
Independence Day food pairing
a gourmet take on some 4th of July classics
Happy Independence Day from Shadow Ranch! What's a 4th of July celebration without hot dogs and watermelon? We chose to dress it up a bit for our July wine and food pairing, and the results were delicious! We started with a "Red, White and Blue" salad and paired it with the perfect rosé for summer, our 2022 Grenache Rosé. For our second course, Kimari created a "French Onion" hot dog which we paired with the fan-favorite, the Sheriff Red Blend. Want to create these pairings at home? Keep reading for the recipes!
Red, White & Blue Fruit Salad
This fresh fruit salad is as delicious as it is easy to prepare! Pair it with our 2022 Grenache Rosé for a perfectly refreshing appetizer on a hot summer day. The patriotic colors in this fruit salad are an added bonus for patriotic celebrations!
- 1 seedless watermelon
- 1 cup of blueberries
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- Fresh basil
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 Tbs honey
- Pinch of salt
Cut the watermelon into small cubes. Add to bowl with blueberries. Wisk together dressing and pour over fruit. Gently toss. Top with feta and basil cut into ribbons. Serve.
French Onion Hot Dogs
Ditch the ketchup and try caramelized onions on your hot dog! Baked with a blend of three cheeses sprinkled on top, these hot dogs certainly hit the spot. This is a great recipe to serve at parties and backyard BBQs, so we paired this awesome party meal with our awesome party wine, the Sheriff Red Blend.
- 12 quality hot dogs of your choice
- 5 cups beef stock
- 12 brioche buns
- 8 Vidalia onions
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 4 yellow onions
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere
- 1 cup shredded Emmentaler
- 1cup shredded Mozzarella
1. Caramelize onions by putting 2 Tbs of olive oil and 2 Tbs of butter into a large pan and warm up the pan. Cut onions into thin slices and add to pan cooking down and stirring. You may have to do this in batches depending on how big your pan is. Keep cooking onions on low, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes, up to an hour. You will know they are done when they have turned a light brown color.
2. Add beef stock to pot or crockpot and warm up with ½ cup caramelized onions. Add hotdogs to this French onion broth and reserve until needed.
3. Shred and mix three cheeses. Assemble all 12 hotdogs. Bun, hotdog, onions and top with cheese and place on oven sheet.
4. Toast in the oven on 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Serve.
June 2023 Food Pairing
Another food pairing for the books! For this June Wine Club release we wanted to highlight a couple of our favorite reds for summer.
We love the 2020 Grenache for summer because it is one of our lighter bodied reds and it can even be served chilled! With notes of cherry and strawberry and a lovely white pepper finish this is a delightful wine for drinking on the patio or by the pool this summer. We paired the Grenache with strawberries, basil and burrata, smeared across toasted baguettes. Burrata is such a mild and creamy cheese and it was just delicious with ripe strawberries on the buttery baguette.
Our 2021 Barbera is a brand new release for the Wine Club this weekend! Another great one for summer because this wine reminds you of all the best summer fruits at their peak in the season. Ripe cherry, plum and raspberry float on the palate. This is our one and only Italian varietal at Shadow Ranch, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to pair it with a classic Italian food: lasagna! We thought we ought to source lasagna from the place that knows it best, so we reached out to Papa Gianni's in Cameron Park. They did a great job and we were so happy to share this awesome pairing with our club members.
We've just got the one simple recipe to share with you this month, but it's sure to be a popular appetizer all summer long. There ain't nothing wrong with simple, right?
Strawberry, basil and Burrata appetizer
- ripe strawberries, sliced
- fresh burrata
- fresh basil, sliced
- olive oil
- balsamic glaze
- fresh baguette
- coarse sea salt
- Slice baguette on a bias. Brush lightly with olive oil and toast both sides
- Arrange strawberries in a circle around the center of plate
- Place a ball of burrata in the center of the strawberries
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze and sprinkle with sea salt
- Serve! Burrata spreads out quickly once it is sliced into, so guests should spread it on their baguettes themselves to avoid a mess!
Wood-fired Pizza dough
Make your own Shadow Ranch pizza at home!
Wood-fired pizzas are back at Shadow Ranch! Every Sunday this summer we are offering our delicious wood-fired pizzas on the patio. Our regular offerings include Margherita, Pepperoni and Fig+Walnut+Gorgonzola+Arugula pizzas. We've received requests from several of you for the recipe for the dough, so we are sharing it here!
Pizza Dough Recipe (Yields six 10 inch pizzas)
- Stand mixer with dough hook attachment
- 3 cups (450 g) All Purpose Flour
- 3 cups (450 g) "OO" Flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/4 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
- 2 cups slightly warm water + 1/4 cup more
- 1 tbps olive oil
- Whisk together the flours and salt
- Put 2 cups of water and the yeast in a bowl and let sit 3 minutes
- Add one cup of the flour mixture to the water/yeast mixture and whisk to make a slurry
- Start mixer slowly with dough hook
- Slowly add the slurry
- Add 1/4 cup more water or just enough until the dough comes together in a ball
- Let the mixer knead the dough for 5 minutes
- Put dough in oiled container and drizzle olive oil on top. Cover tightly with lid
- Let rise for 3 hours or overnight
- Punch down. Measure out 6 even dough balls, usually ~250 g each
- Let rest for 2 hours before using
May 2023 Food Pairing
Inspired by Cinco de Mayo and the promise of warm weather to come
Having just released our 2022 Sauvignon Blanc and 2022 Grenache Rosé we thought we'd host a little party to showcase these excellent wines for summer. Who would have guessed we'd have a cold rainy day in May? I guess winter wasn't quite ready to loosen it's grip just yet. Nevertheless the food pairing was delicious as always and great inspiration for the summer ahead. Read on to learn more about why these pairings work so well and to get a recipe to make them at home!
2022 Sauvignon Blanc paired with Hearts of Palm Ceviche
Kimari started us off with a ceviche you would never guess was vegan. Using hearts of palm instead of fish she was able to create a delightfully fresh ceviche which paired so well with the crisp freshness of the 2022 Estate Sauvignon Blanc. This is a recipe you'll definitely want to keep in mind as an appetizer when you're hosting friends this summer, or even just for yourself!
Hearts of Palm Ceviche
- Two 14-ounce cans whole hearts of palm, drained and diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 small red onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 avocado, diced into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more leaves for garnish
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 to 3 limes, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 to 2 lemons, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Tortilla chips and hot sauce for serving
Combine the hearts of palm, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with tortilla chips and hot sauce.
2022 Grenache Rosé paired with Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Tricia prepared some beautifully colorful grilled shrimp tacos to pair with our 2022 Grenache Rosé. This is another refreshing wine, perfect for summer. White wines and rosés do well with more delicate meats, such as fish and shrimp. The sweet pineapple salsa on these tacos helped to highlight the slightly floral notes in our Grenache Rosé.
Grilled Shrimp Tacos
- 1 lb shrimp
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder
- Pinch sea salt
- Pinch black pepper
Marinate all ingredients for 30 minutes
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 ½ cup red onion
- 1 seeded jalapeño
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Dice and mix all ingredients
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp lime juice (2 small limes)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 2 large avocados
Blend all ingredients together
- Cotija cheese
- Red cabbage, thinly sliced
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Street-taco sized tortillas (flour or corn)
- Heat a pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. When pan is hot, add marinated shrimp. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 min per side
- Toast tortillas on separate pan.
- Assemble tacos. Place sliced cabbage on tortillas, followed by pineapple salsa. Place ~3 shrimp on top. Drizzle with avocado crema, sprinkle with cotija cheese and fresh cilantro.
- Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!
April 2023 Wine Club Release and Food Pairing
Another club release, another opportunity for Tricia and Kimari to wow us with their delicious and creative food pairings. As always, we had so much fun sharing these new wines and foods with our club members! We released two rich and bold wines this week, both of which called for strong flavors in the foods they were paired with. Read on for notes on each of the pairings as well as the much-requested recipes!
2021 Syrah with Wild Mushroom Soup
The 2021 Syrah is a full-bodied wine with aromas of black plum, violet, and dark-roast coffee. This is a wine often paired with red meat. We wanted to offer our guests a vegetarian choice, so we went with a Wild Mushroom Soup for this pairing. Mushrooms make for good meat substitutes simply because they also provide a strong umami flavor which nicely balances any fruit flavors and sweetness in the wine. This soup in particular was made with a rich, high-quality butter, whose creaminess downplayed the moderate tannins in this wine.
Wild Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe
- 3 Tbs butter
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 Tbs flour
- 1 lb mixed mushrooms of your choice
- 3 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock can be substituted for a vegetarian option)
- 3 cups water
- ½ tsp parsley
- ½ tsp thyme
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Melt butter in large stockpot and add onions. Cook until soft but not brown.
- Add flour and cook 3 minutes stirring frequently .
- Whisk as you add the chicken stock and water.
- Add mushrooms and herbs and season to your liking. Cook another 10 minutes.
- Take off heat and cool down for a minute, then blend soup to make smooth. To make extra smooth run through a mesh strainer as well.
- Return to heat and add the cream.
- Serve with some herbs sprinkled on top.
2021 Petite Sirah with Steak and Blue Cheese Crostini
Our brand new Petite Sirah is a rich wine with flavors of deep blackberries, blueberries and even a hint of espresso. Petite Sirah berries are very small, meaning that there is a high ratio of skin to juice. The skin gives the wine its inky black color as well as some strong tannins. As it ages those tannins will relax and provide some extra depth and character to this already delightful wine. Not interested in waiting to drink your Petite Sirah? Neither were we! That is why we paired it with a Steak and Blue Cheese Crostini with a Blueberry and Caramelized Onion Jam. The fats from the steak and blue cheese help to cut through the astringency coming from those tannins. The blueberries in the jam help to highlight the blueberry notes in the wine while the caramelized onions provide a savory characteristic to keep the jam from being too sweet to pair with steak. All in all this is a delicious crostini and an excellent pairing for our big, bold 2021 Petite Sirah.
Blue Cheese and Steak Crostini with Blueberry Caramelized Onion Jam Recipe
- 1 baguette or long French loaf
- Olive Oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 lb flank steak
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- Fresh thyme
- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup red wine (we recommend you use the wine you are pairing with! We used a little 2021 Petite Sirah)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 4 oz blue cheese
- Microgreens for garnish
Preparation - Jam
- Carmelize your diced red onions in a pan with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme
- Add vinegar, brown sugar, honey, red wine, and the blueberries to your pan. Cook until blueberries are near bursting, about 5-10 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir, smashing the blueberries. Remove sprigs of thyme.
- Remove from heat and cool in a clean jar in the refrigerator.
Preparation - Steak
- Drizzle your steak with olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Cook your steak to medium rare. We used a sous vide method on our steak, but you can also broil your steak in the oven if you do not have a sous vide
- Slice very thinly
Preparation - Crostini
- Slice your bread on a slight diagonal into ½ inch slices.
- Brush with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt.
- Toast your crostini. You can toast them in your oven at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 7-10 minutes. We chose to toast ours on a skillet until they were golden brown. You want your crostini to have a slight crunch on the outside but maintain some chewiness in the center.
- Fold and place your thin slices of steak on top of the crostini
- Sprinkle some crumbles of blue cheese over the steak
- Dollop a small amount of jam over the top
- Sprinkle with microgreens
December 2022 Food Pairing
We always have so much fun hosting our club release events. It's an opportunity for us to catch up with our longtime club members and some of our more recent additions to the Wine Club as well! This past December Club Release was especially fun with everyone already getting into the holiday spirit. As always, Kimari and Tricia amazed us with their culinary skills, creating perfect pairings for our new releases, the 2020 Estate Grenache and 2020 Petit Verdot. We were asked by several guests for the recipes so we happily share them with you below.
2020 Estate Grenache paired with Warm Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Salad
This dish is an excellent one for holiday parties, with the creamy goat cheese and bright pops of color from the pomegranate seeds. We were delighted with how this paired with the 2020 Estate Grenache. We chose a mild goat cheese for this dish, not wanting too much tanginess to distract from the other flavors. The 2020 Estate Grenache is a light to medium bodied red with notes of ripe cherry, strawberry and raspberry, with bright hints of white pepper and a subtle earthiness of hay. The tannins in this wine are moderate and it has a gentle oak finish.
Warm Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Salad
1 Chevre goat cheese log cut into 8 equal discs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 package spring salad mix
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
bottled raspberry vinaigrette of your choice
Whisk egg to make an egg wash. Dip each goat cheese disc into the egg then into the panko to be covered.
Fry up each disc in olive oil. Turn and brown on both sides.
Meanwhile, dress the spring mix with the raspberry vinaigrette and add pomegranate seeds.
Finally Plate the each salad and top with 1 warm goat cheese disc.
Add a few more pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of the dressing.
2020 Petit Verdot paired with Steak Bites with Plum Sauce
These bites paired so well with our 2020 Petit Verdot. The flavors of the plum sauce married beautifully with the plum and berry aromas present in the Petit Verdot, and the steak allows this dish to hold up to Petit Verdot's higher tannins. We served these with the steak thinly sliced and folded onto skewers, making this a great finger food for passed appetizers.
Plum Sauce Marinade
1/2 cup plum sauce
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T soy sauce
2 T ketchup
2 T minced shallots
1 T minced garlic
1 T ground ginger
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 T Brown Sugar
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat to medium constantly stirring so it does not burn, 3-4 mins. Let cool completely before pouring over choice cut of beef strips. Tri-tip, top round, chuck, or flanks steak. Marinate overnight up to 24 hours.
A beef stew braised in red wine, often Burgundy and beef stock, typically flavored with carrots, onions garlic and a bouquet garni and garnished with pearl onions mushrooms and bacon. A perfect pairing with our 2019 Tempranillo boasts dark cherry red in color. Aromas of plum, balckberry and jam with varied spicy notes of vanilla cacao, the excellent balance of fruit alcohol , acidit and tannins. Smooth complex and long finish.
We hope you will enjoy this recipe at home with our Shadow Ranch 2019 Tempranillo.
1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.
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Smoked Pimiento Cheese
We love this recipe for smoked pimiento cheese with our 2019 Zinfandel! The bold flavors of this dish held up well to the peppery oak finish on our Zinfandel and the two complimented each other perfectly.
Yield: approximately 5 cups
4 jalapeño peppers, halved and seeded
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (8-ounce) block smoked Cheddar cheese, shredded
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1⁄2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1⁄4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Preheat oven to 400°.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Place jalapeño and bell peppers on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven.
Place peppers in a large glass bowl; cover with plastic wrap, and let cool for 20 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap. Wearing gloves, remove skin from peppers. Discard skin.
In the work bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients; pulse until smooth.
Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Serve with crackers, if desired, or on toasted French baguette slices and top with bacon.