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Hot Goat Cheese and Spinach Dip

29 Jan

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to enter my One Year Blogiversary Giveaway!  The giveaway will end Thursday, January 31 at midnight CST.  Click here to leave a comment on the giveaway post and be entered to win a free Craftsy class of your choice!!!

 

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Last weekend I prepared the food for a friend’s baby’s first birthday party.  There were 25 adult guests and the menu included a few already-blogged recipes like Spinach Blues Salad and Cheez-It Crack, a few I have yet to share with you but will soon, and this Hot Goat Cheese and Spinach Dip.  I first had this dip at a wonderful little restaurant in Napa, California in 2010.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but the chef was kind enough to jot the recipe down on a piece of register tape for me.  I am entering it here on this blog now for all of posterity :)

This dip is warm and creamy and satisfying like spinach dip usually is but it has the added tang of goat cheese, one of my favorite flavors.  It is also enhanced by the addition of fresh herbs and roasted garlic.  Finally, using fresh spinach instead of frozen sets this dip apart, as it keeps the spinach from being a mushy mesh and less likely to make your dip watery (in my opinion).

So while this recipe may involve a few more steps than the traditional spinach dip, I think you and your guests will be quite pleased with the results.  I know I have never received any complaints and the empty serving dish always speaks for itself ;)

 

Hot Goat Cheese and Spinach Dip

Yields 1-9″ x 13″ shallow dish

 

1 head garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup blanched and squeezed spinach (you will need a large bag of fresh spinach to achieve this amount, see directions)

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups sour cream

12 ounces goat cheese, softened

3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

6 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Slice off top 1/4 of head of garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Wrap in foil and roast in oven for 1 hour.  Let stand until cool enough to handle then squeeze garlic from skin, reserving garlic and discarding skin.

While the garlic is roasting, bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.  Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove.  Have a strainer with a handle ready.  Put an entire large bag of spinach leaves into the boiling water and stir to immerse all of them.  You may not think they will all fit but they will if you give it a stir.  After 30 seconds, remove the spinach with the strainer and immediately immerse it in the ice water bath.  Once the spinach is completely cool, remove from the ice water and squeeze the excess water out.  Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and continue to squeeze until very dry.  The more water you get out of your spinach at this stage, the less likely you will be to have runny dip later.  Measure out 3/4 cup of spinach and chop it with a knife a few times to break up the leaves.

In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, and goat cheese, and beat with an electric mixer until well blended.  Stir in roasted garlic, parsley, chives, tarragon, and garlic powder.  Stir in spinach.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spread into shallow baking dish and bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until starting to bubble around the edges.  Serve with tortilla chips or toasted baguette slices.

 

Cheez-It Crack

28 Nov

Howdy Friends!  I hope everyone has been well and had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday (if that is the tradition in your country).  I am sharing a quick recipe with you today that will revolutionize your snacking habits — it will cause you to have the most intense cravings and desires at strange hours of the day — hence the name Cheez-It Crack.

You might think Cheez-It crackers are kind of plain.  You got over those when you were a kid.  Well, with the addition of a select few spices and some olive oil and a brief stint in a low oven, your lowly childhood crackers will be turned into your adulthood snacking drug of choice.  This salty-tooth satisfier takes about 3 minutes to put together and another 20 to bake.  Your friends will beg you to make them more and you won’t deny them because you know you need more yourself.  So go ahead and whip up a batch for yourself this weekend and find out what all the fuss is about!

Cheez-It Crack

2 boxes Cheez-It crackers

2/3 cup olive oil

1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 250F.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to coat.  Spread crackers on a large cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Source:  An addict never tells… Really, though, my friend Lee gave me the recipe ;)

The Best Guacamole — Period

27 Mar

 

Do you ever wonder what happens when the doctor gets sick?  I mean, who takes care of the patients?  Well, don’t worry because this doctor’s only ailment is a treatable case of Spring Fever.  I will get my tropical cure soon enough, but in the meantime I am treating myself with my husband’s tried-and-true recipe for homemade guacamole.

Guacamole is a new love for me, though, because neither one of my parents have learned to love it… yet.  I wouldn’t touch the stuff until I had been married for at least five years and it was another year or two before I really learned to love it.  Now, though, I crave the stuff, especially since I know it is packed with good-for-you vitamins and nutrients.  The fresher the better, and this recipe is divine with chunks of onion, cilantro, garlic, and tomato, and a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice.  I recommend avocado regularly for my youngest patients when they are just being introduced to solid foods.  Maybe if my mom had fed me avocados when I was a baby…

This week my sister, who is also my nurse practitioner, sidekick, compadre, partner-in-crime, etc., has abandoned me for a conference in the Lonestar State, so I have yet another reason to have Tex-Mex food on the brain.  So here you go.  Stop by the grocery as soon as you can and pick up the necessary ingredients.  You’ll decide to eat this for dinner just like I did.  And decide to save the taco fixings for tomorrow night because your tummy is so full of avocado-y goodness!

 

 

 

Guacamole

3 avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup red onion, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic

 

In a medium bowl, mash avocados with a fork (we like to leave ours a little lumpy).  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  Serve with crispy tortilla chips (my favorite are Xochitl).

 

 

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