What do a girl from Vietnam, a boy from a cattle ranch in northeastern Oregon and a food nerd from Arizona have in common? Apparently we’re gigantic people pleasers. I’ve known this about myself for a very long time, and after spending a brilliant weekend with Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White On Rice Couple, I knew I’d found my long-lost tribe.
If you are a cook, a lover of good food and how it brings people together, you can identify with people pleasing. It’s how Todd and Diane got started photographing food – they enjoyed cooking for their friends and family and wanted a way to document it. And while they still keep up with their food blog, which is a very personal thing for them, they’re also quite busy photographing food for some pretty heavy hitters out there (Whole Foods and Oprah Winfrey to name-drop a few, and I won’t even get started on the celebrity chefs they’ve photographed, because then I would geek out on you).
Several times a year, they also actually carve out a couple days to offer a food-styling and photography workshop, and I was lucky enough to attend one several weeks ago. Down to earth and practical, yet amazingly creative, Todd and Diane work seamlessly together to provide outstanding works of art, that handily, you can eat. And amazingly – they have no problem sharing how they made it all work for them.
“Google and YouTube,” they would both spout out in unison when we asked them how they learned about certain equipment or how they decided to set up their business. “We knew nothing and we had such a hard time getting any information from people already in the business, so if we didn’t know something, we googled it!” Frustrated, they barged through walls that kept them from their soul focus of making people happy, and now it’s their goal to cultivate sharing when it comes to helping others hone their craft.
Diane explained further, “It’s like I know you want to make a cake but you don’t have eggs and I have eggs – let me give you the eggs!”
I wanted to fold them both up neatly and stash them away in my pocket so I could have them with me always. When I told my sister they were avid gardeners, she asked if maybe we could adopt them … I’ll draw the line at kidnapping, though.
I took away so much from that two-day workshop – tons of inspiration, loads of knowledge, baskets-full of insight, and new friendships – which is truly the best part.
I also became addicted to their (fittingly-named) “Crack” Dip. Available on their food blog and in their new cookbook, Bountiful, I’d been eyeballing it for some time but finally got to experience it with them in the beautiful kitchen in their studio. Please, I encourage you to go visit their food blog here and put this cookbook on your wishlist, but if you need a really kick-ass dip recipe pronto, I’ve posted it for you below as well.
There is not actual crack in the dip, but there might as well be, because you won’t be able to keep from making it. A lot. Be kind to yourself and try it with crudité (fresh veggies) once in a while, but if you sneak in some toasted bread or crackers, I won’t tell.
White On Rice Couple’s Sweet Onion “Crack” Dip
Serves: 4-6 (but if you’re single, I’ve found it will last for two days)
- 1 (8-ounce / 225-g) package cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 1 cup (240ml) mayonnaise (preferably Best Foods brand)
- 1 cup (100g) freshly grated Parmesean
- 1 cup (160g) diced sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan, onion, and black pepper and until everything is thoroughly combined.
- Pour the mixture into a 6-inch (15-cm) baking dish or any oven-safe dish. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, till everything is melted together. When the top crust is brown and almost burnt-looking, the dip is ready. The darker brown the crust becomes, the better the flavors are.
- Serve with your favorite crusty bread, crackers, slices of tomatoes, or crunchy vegetables such as radishes, jicama, carrots, and celery.
This recipe comes direct from Todd and Diane – to view more of their spectacular recipes please visit them here.