Tuesday, June 5, 2007

New Balsamic Vinegrette

In my rush to make lunch this morning, I came up with a fun new balsamic vinegrette/marinade to share with the world:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp orange peel
2 tsp fresh thyme

It's sweet, yet not overly so. I'm a big fan.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I had an appetizer party on Friday, complete with six different kinds of finger food. It was a lot of fun, and pretty low maintenance considering I didn't have to worry about getting people to all sit down and eat at the same time. There were the stuffed portobellos cut into fourths, the easy, easy hummus, Robyn's guacamole, and some other stuff I hadn't made before. One such item is the spinach-artichoke dip, from cooks.com.

Oddly enough, I couldn't find a single recipe for spinach and artichoke dip in any cookbook I own. I thought this was a staple? One of the most standard dips served today? Or do I just frequent California Pizza Kitchen too often?

Either way, the recipe lives up to its boastful title. It was a huge hit on Friday, served with pita chips. It's pretty heavy (there is a LOT of cheese), but in that sense a lot of people got to eat their fill of a relatively small bowl. Out of all six dishes, I think this one went over the best. I started making it 30 minutes before people started showing up, and it was done 5 minutes before the first wave--just enough time to plate and quickly make the kitchen semi-presentable.

Recipe for "Best Spinach and Artichoke Dip"

1 pkg. frozen spinach thawed
1 jar marinated artichokes, chopped
8 oz. Philly cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
3/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 stick butter
red pepper flakes to taste
Sauté onions in butter, adding ingredients while mixing and blending well after each addition. Add ingredients in this order: Spinach, Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, Parmesan Cheese, Artichoke Hearts, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes.

Remove from heat and put in crocks or microwave dish. Top with Monterey Jack Cheese and melt.

Serve hot with chips or bread.