Thursday, December 16, 2010

Artichoke Dip

     The holidays are upon us and that means a lot of get togethers, at least for most of us. This is another recipe I like. This dip is great because it is served warm, and the weather is soooooooo cold this time of year. It is relatively easy to make, although I have never actually made it as I'm posting it. This is how I got it and I will add my changes after the base recipe.

Hot Artichoke Dip with Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and pressed to remove excess water
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped sun dried tomato
1 teaspoon paprika
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease 8x8 baking dish
Combine all ingredients except paprika and mix until well combined.
Transfer to baking dish and bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
Garnish with paprika and serve.

    I have been cooking a long time so I can look a some recipes and see what I would like to change right off. It isn't so much about being picky, I know what I like, how much time adjustments will take and what extra effort is involved. For most recipes, I have a base I work from and then add the things I like best. That is one of the great things about making things yourself. That being said here are my changes to this recipe.

     Fresh grated Parmesan makes this recipe incredible, so use it if you can. I always use fresh if I can get it. It is quite pricey but there really is no comparison.

     I always add a small jar of artichokes packed in oil. I drain them and squeeze out any excess oil, but I love the taste they add. I find artichokes in water a little bland.

     I use a couple of fresh cloves of garlic instead of the powder. It is a personal preference and you can omit the garlic altogether if you don't like it.

     I don't use mayonnaise. I do like it but for most recipes I find it has an unpleasant vinegar aftertaste. I strain yogurt or sour cream and use that instead. To strain either, line a fine mesh colander with a coffee filter and dump the sour cream or yogurt on top. Let it sit for a couple of hours or over night. It is surprising how much moisture will come out. When it has drained, scrape it off the filter and use it where you will. It comes off the filter fairly easily.

     Same as the spinach dip recipe, I usually add a tablespoon or two of cream cheese for taste. Again, this is just my personal preference.

     I usually reserve the tops of the green onion for garnish in addition to the paprika. I like the taste of onions and the red and green sprinkled over the top look nice, very festive, or at least I think so.

     I usually bake this covered so it doesn't brown, again just a personal preference. Bake it as you like. This is also great cold so if you have any left over, keep it and refrigerate it.

     Serve with you favourite crackers or bread. I'm sure you guests will love it. Enjoy.

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