Thursday, October 18, 2012

(Not-So-Skinny) Skinny Artichoke Dip

What makes all things better? So many ways to answer that. For me I think of sweet family, cherished friends and hot dishes.

Family: I'm very passionate about family. I happen to love mine. We really do have a lot of fun together. While there may have been a screaming war or two from time to time, we really do all love each other- the hard kind of crazy love. Where forgiveness abounds, maybe not immediately but it will. Where we would give our lives or at least organs for one another. Where even our arguments stem out of love because we want what's best for the relationship. Family love makes me think of my relationship with my sister... our relationship was exemplified by my mother's relationship with her sisters. Even from a distance, or email- love, late night phone calls and prayer have been exchanged.  The Marks sisters remind me of my Aunt Cheryl who is battling a challenging form of Leukemia in Seattle. We patiently await further treatment recommendations and a possible family bone marrow transfusion. My earliest memory of my Aunt Cheryl is when she came to visit us from Alaska and brought nearly an entire suitcase of artichokes back with her. Something I can really respect now- going to the extremes for seasonal ingredients. I LOVE YOU AUNTIE CHERYL. Keep fighting! You've got a niece in Cali who thinks of you every time she cook with artichokes!

Photography by Tyler Yates
Friends: Sometimes friends come from unexpected relationships. Maybe you're not even supposed to call them friendships because it's a working relationship. That's what happen with Diane Morgan and I. What began as a working relationship quickly and easily became a friendship. Diane's a fabulous food writer (new book is out: ROOTS... a must read for all y'all). She gave me a few of her other books before I moved out of Oregon... to cook and remember her by. But really- she's the kind of gal that you can't forget. Our similarities and interests were so alike that I never felt an age difference. Diane, I treasured our food and life chats together. The hours flew by.

SO... Cheryl + Diane = Skinny Artichoke Dip (from Skinny Dips by Diane Morgan)

Diane qualifies it as Skinny because artichokes are practically calorie free and she uses Parmesan which is on the lighter side for most cheese. She also uses reduced fat mayo and sour cream. I took liberty in playing with the ingredients a bit. I used half Parm and half white cheddar (because white cheddar is my middle name). I used regular mayo and sour cream. This is not unusual for me... I'm not a reduced fat or non-fat eater. I'm always wondering "what did they have to do to get the dairy product that way?" Gimme the real deal- full fat, I'll use less of it more sparingly and will double my produce count for the day.

(Not-So-Skinny) Skinny Artichoke Dip

1 large shallot

2 cans artichoke hearts packed in water, well drained

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tbls fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated White Cheddar (aged for extra sharpness is my fav)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste

1/3 cup unseasoned bread crumbs (Diane used dry, I used fresh)

1 1/2 tsp finely minced fresh oregano

1 tbls extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a food processor, pulse shallot and artichoke hearts until coarsely chopped.

In a large bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, cheeses, salt and pepper.

Mix in with artichokes and shallots. I tasted it and it was 95% wonderful. I wanted a little more pepper. I am kind of a black pepper girl.

Next, the topping. A lot of people don't like fresh oregano. Poor herb... it can't help if it was born with bolder flavor! It's not for every dish, sometimes dried is just better (I rarely say that... but for oregano, it stands). But every now and then you find a dish that needs oregano, sometimes just oregano (like this dish) and it's the perfect compliment!

JUST leaves please, no stems. Save them for picking your teeth later.

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oregano and olive oil. Mix well until oil soaks into bread crumbs.

Almost looks like frozen granita. Sprinkle it on top of your dip which should be spread into a buttered 9x9 baking dish or ramekin.

Now for the dippers. I decided on a fresh loaf of sourdough bread.

Slice at a diagonal and toast them (before or after the dip) for about 5-7 minutes, until just crisp on the edges.

Ahhhh... it's what makes it allllll better. Hot, gooey, artichoke dip.

Thanks again for the recipe Diane! And Aunt Cheryl, you are in my this dip is in my tummy! A lot of it and often!

1 comment:

  1. I love this dip! I like that there is a lighter way to make it. But, I'm with you. If I'm going to indulge, I'll do it in moderation. Though, I'm not sure how disciplined I'd be. This is one of my favorite dips of all.
    Oh, and I can see why you love family so much. Your mama is awesome!