Life | Table | Uncategorized

Recipe: Artichoke Spinach Dip

November 9, 2012
Artichoke dip is one of those mysterious dishes that has managed to elude me. It appeared at various brunches, dinners, and parties through the years and I always provided my fair share of the effort to consume it. But somehow, I remained content to simply envy from afar, never attempting to master it myself.

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One day, tasked with providing a dessert and appetizer for a gathering, I determined to explore the uncharted waters. (I would not normally recommend trying new dishes two hours before one is supposed to appear somewhere with aforementioned food. I was young and foolish.)

Important Note: I am at war with mayonnaise. It’s terrifying to me. The slippery texture, the elusive whitish-yellowish shade….I can’t take it. For those of you who love your mayo, carry on.

It’s just a personal thing.I probably had a bad experience as a child.

Whenever I want to try a new recipe, I search on Google to scope out the territory. Assessing the enemy, in a sense. But almost all of the recipes involved mayo.

Knowing that the best scholar has good sources, I turned to The Pioneer Woman. Voila! A recipe that avoided mayo. I loosely followed her recipe, replacing the cream cheese with sour cream (producing, I an only assume, a slightly lighter dip). It was surprisingly painless and fun to make.
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The result? An artichoke dip that was all I could have wished for. There were no leftovers and it was so well-received that I made it again the following night for another gathering, with the same result.


1 jar of artichoke hearts
6 tbl. butter
1 tbl. garlic
8 oz. bag of frozen spinach
3 tbl. flour
3/4 cup of two of the following: Mozzarella, Parmesan, Feta, or Pepper Jack plus some extra cheese.
1/4 tsp. cayenne

Saute the frozen spinach in the garlic and butter on a low-simmer until the butter is melted and the spinach is thawed and wilted. Scoop the spinach out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts in a colander. Chop into quarter-size pieces and saute in the same pan until they begin to brown and are thoroughly coated in butter. Set aside.

Add 3 tbl. butter and 3 tbl. flour to the pan and mix gently on low heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth, forming a roux. 

Combine flour-butter mixture in a larger pan with 1 1/2 cup milk. Simmer until the mixture thickens. Add 3/4 cup Mozzarella (or some other cheese of your choice) and 3/4 cup Parmesan (or some other cheese of your choice). Stir the mixture gently as it continues to simmer until the cheese is completely melted and the mixture is blended. Add 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper.

Add artichokes and spinach to mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the entire mixture into a pretty baking pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper and a generous amount of cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble and the cheese on top starts to brown.

Serve with those lightly salted pita chips. Yum.

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Life | Table | Uncategorized

Monday Meal: Quesdilla

July 4, 2011

This recipe is quick, flexible, and satisfying.

2 flour tortillas
1/2 a bell pepper
1/2 an onion
olive oil
Sharp Cheddar cheese, finely grated

Pour 3-4 tbls. olive oil into pan. Thinly slice pepper and onion. Saute on medium heat in olive oil until peppers are soft and flexible and onions are transparent. Remove vegetables from pan.

Swish tortillas around in oil, making sure both sides of each are lightly covered. Let tortillas warm in pan on low heat. Remove tortillas from pan.

Cover half of each tortilla with a thin layer of cheese. Add a layer of vegetables. Fold uncovered layer of tortilla over covered half so that each tortilla resembles a half-moon.

Place both quesadillas in pan. Cook on medium heat and flip occasionally until each side is satisfactorily browned. Enjoy! And Happy Fourth of July!

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Life | Table | Uncategorized

Monday Meal

June 27, 2011

Another one of my favorite, quick, go-to meals during the week is a twist on the simple grilled cheese sandwich.

 Pepper-Jack Cheese Panini

1/2 a pepper
1/2 a red onion
Pepper Jack cheese, thinly sliced
2 slices of sourdough bread
Olive oil

Pour 2 tbls. olive oil into a medium frying pan. Slice peppers and onion thinly. Saute sliced peppers and onions in olive oil on medium heat until onions are transparent and peppers are soft and flexible (about ten minutes). Transfer peppers and onions to a plate or bowl.

Sweep one side of each piece of bread around the pan to oil. (One side of each piece should be lightly covered in olive oil.) Lay one piece of bread flat in pan. Cover with one layer of thinly-sliced cheese. Cover cheese with sauteed onions and peppers. Add another layer of cheese. Add final piece of bread (oiled side up).

Cook on medium-heat, pressing firmly occasionally with a large spatula. Once cheese has begun to melt and the bottom-piece of bread has begun to brown, flip quickly.  Continue to cook, pressing firmly on occasion with spatula.

When cooked as desired, enjoy!

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