Showing posts with label artichokes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artichokes. Show all posts

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Marinade, with my pouty whisk
I don't mind using convenience foods, so this is one of the last posts I thought I'd ever write.  Marinated artichoke hearts come in a jar, pre-marinated and delicious.  Making your own would be like making your own cheese or your own yarn:  great for some people, but not really something I'm dying to do.

Last week, I planned to make artichoke dip for a girl night.  Somehow, though, I found myself with two cans of artichoke hearts when I needed one can of plain and one jar of marinated.

What's a girl to do?  Go to the grocery store?

Heaven forbid.

No, I had 24 hours before the girl night, and I decided to use one of those cans to make my own marinated artichokes.

Turns out, it's pretty easy.  And worth the extra effort.  Even though the veggies themselves came out of a can, the freshly-made marinade gave the artichokes a kick that you just don't get from the jarred version.  

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

1 can quartered artichoke hearts, well-drained
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. dried mixed Italian herbs (basil, oregano, and thyme ... or a purchased blend)

Mix all ingredients in a container with a lid.  Seal up, and refrigerate 12 - 24 hours.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kicky Artichoke Dip

My wonderful critique group, the Lit Girls (which includes authors Melissa Bourbon and Molly Cannon), held another day-long brainstorming session last weekend.  We gathered in a big circle in Melissa Bourbon's den, laptops open and ready to go, and took turns pitching our stories to each other.

It's a fascinating process.  When you write, you're often so focused on the page-to-page trees that you completely lose sight of the story-telling forrest.  In these brainstorming sessions, we help each other get a firm grip on the heart of our conflict, develop the plot to emphasize that conflict, and cut the stuff that really doesn't fit.  Oh, and we help each other write our one- or two-sentence "log line":  a quick encapsulation of the whole story.

While we're working, we're also having a ton of fun.  Molly has a gift for punny titles, Tracy has a wicked sense of humor, and I have developed a reputation for solving all plot problems by killing someone.  Kym tells us stories about her years as a cop.  Melissa's kids and critters keep us laughing.  And, of course, there's always a spread of delicious food.

This go-round, Tracy brought this awesome spicy artichoke dip.  I e-mailed her afterward to ask if she would share the recipe and let me share it with you.  Ah.  Turns out she didn't actually make it.  It came from Costco.  Which is great, if you happen to belong to Costco ... you can pick it up and enjoy without even stepping foot in the kitchen.

But we do recipes here, so I cobbled together a version of the dip that comes pretty close to Costco's.

The Mezzetta tamed jalapeno peppers are KEY.

So, for your Superbowl snacking pleasure, I bring you this zippy artichoke dip.  I think it has a lot more flavor that the usual fare, with just the right amount of heat.  It's great served with Triscuits, pita chips, or crostini.  Num!

Kicky Artichoke Dip

1 large (12 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, squeezed out, and chopped
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts (in water), drained, squeezed out, and chopped
1 - 8 oz. carton cream cheese, softened
1 c. mayo
1 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 c. "tamed" chopped/pickled jalapenos (heap that 1/3 c. if you like extra kick)*

Preheat oven to 350.

Make sure you've pressed the excess oil/water out of your artichoke hearts.  You can use your hands (if you're so inclined), or press them against the sides of a colander with a large spoon.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine mayo and cream cheese.  Mix with a hand mixer until fairly smooth.  Add artichokes, jalapenos, and 1 c. parmesan.  Mix well.  Spread in a 7x12 baking dish, top with remaining 1/2 c. shredded parmesan, and bake for 30 minutes.  Raise oven temperature to 425 and continue baking for another 10 minutes (keeping an eye on the dip to make sure it doesn't burn).

Serve warm or room temperature.

* Look for Mezzetta "tamed" jalapenos.  They are made from a special variety of the pepper that has a lot of flavor but reduced heat.  If you cannot find Mezzetta's, then opt for a tablespoon of regular pickled jalapenos and make up the remaining with mild diced green chiles.  But really look for the Mezzetta peppers.  They're also fantastic on nachos!


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook. She also writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries under the name Annie Knox; you can follow Annie on Facebook, too!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Artichoke Dip inspired by Rick Bayless

I didn't title this one EAT HEALTHY, but I believe this recipe qualifies. According to the recipe I found in HEALTH magazine, it only has 156 calories per 1/4 cup serving and only 4 g carbs (which is what I watch).

Now, the recipe they featured in HEALTH was provided by the fabulous Rick Bayless.

But, as always, I adjusted, changed, and otherwise adapted it to my own needs.

I assume the calorie and carb counts of my version don't vary too much from that of Rick's because my changes were pretty minor.

If you want the precise recipe, you'll want to check out the April, 2011 issue of HEALTH, page 129.

If you want to see what I've concocted, here goes:

1 six-ounce jar of marinated artichokes, undrained

8 ounces goat cheese (Rick's recipe specifies "fresh goat cheese" and Avery will be able to tell you the difference between fresh and whatever isn't fresh... stale? but I just picked up a goat cheese on sale at the grocery store.)

5 or 6 sun-dried tomato halves

3 green olives (I left the pimentos in)

A very small amount of jalapeno pepper. Rick's recipe calls for 1 Tbsp diced pickled jalapeno, but I couldn't find anything like that. I used about 1/4 inch of a fresh pepper.

1 half-handful fresh Italian parsley

pinch of sea salt

I combined the first two ingredients, the artichokes in liquid and the goat cheese in my food processor and I blended until smooth, then spooned the mix into a bowl.

At that point I deviated from the recipe (shocker) and combined the remaining ingredients in my already-gloppy food processor. What the heck? Why chop each thing separately as directed when I could get it all done with a couple of pulses. Well, maybe more than a couple.

Once everything was chopped, I added it to the goat cheese, artichoke bowl and mixed well. Then all that was left to do was set out crackers and serve.

Super simple, if I do say so myself.

But how did it taste?

Great. I like the tang that comes from the combination of cheese and artichokes. The jalapeno was not overwhelming, and the sun-dried tomatoes were wonderful.

If you're not a fan of goat cheese, you may not care for this. But I bet it would be good with other soft cheeses. I may have to experiment!

Hope you have fun with it!

Check out Jennifer's post yesterday at Jenn's Bookshelves - where she reviewed Grace Under Pressure. And my guest post about Grace Interrupted, too!

Just two more months before Grace Interrupted comes out. I'm very excited!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Beauty of Friendship

Oh, the beauty of friendship.

I just went on the most fabulous trip to North Carolina with fellow MLK authors Krista Davis, Riley Adams, and another pal Ellery Adams. We became such sweet friends...talking about mystery, writing, family.

I wanted to share a little tidbit of our trip. We were hosted by the fabulous Molly
Weston. Check out her blog: Meritorious Mysteries.

On Saturday between events at the Apex Library and the Page-Walker Arts and History Center , Molly, like the perfect hostess, invited us to her home. She didn't prepare a lavish meal. She didn't have to. She served a cheese platter (my favorite, as you know), and a delightful salad, all of which we could put together as we wished. Perfect.We were hungry, but not starved, and the two made a delicious dinner.
Thank you, Molly.

[Photo to right is Molly with Riley at Barnes and Noble.]

On to food!

There's nothing better than a beautiful salad to whet my appetite. An appetizer portion is so much fun, and putting one together might just satisfy the artist in you. And a wedge of blue cheese, a voila, it can taste extraordinary!



{Serves 4}

4 small artichokes, boiled to tender, halved

4 mushrooms, sliced

4 ounces blue cheese

8 slices cucumber

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

8 slices radicchio

4 green onions, tails shredded


Remove crusty leaves from artichokes and snip off the bottom.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Drop in the small artichokes. Boil for about 5-10 minutes. Prick with a fork. If fork slides out easily, they’re done. Rinse and slice.

Next, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan. Saute the artichokes and the sliced mushrooms until browned but still firm.

Arrange plates with pieces of raddichio. Rest the artichokes on the raddichio. Arrange the plate with mushrooms, cucumbers, and green onions. Dot the artichokes with blue cheese, and add a wedge to each plate.

Serve with a saucy Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy!

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