Tag Archives: spinach

Hot Goat Cheese and Spinach Dip

29 Jan

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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Spinach Salad Blues

31 May

I’m sorry this photo doesn’t do the salad justice. There were 3 starving women at my house for girls’ night and they were about to attack when I decided to stop and take pictures of our food.

Is anyone else excited that blueberries are coming into season? This salad is one of my favorite ways to use the fresh berries and everyone I introduce to it always raves. If you know me and you glance at the ingredient list, you may be surprised that I like this salad. I am a devoted, card-carrying blue cheese hater. I have tried for years to like the pungent stuff but it just isn’t happening. If I unknowingly order something laced with it, not only can I taste it right away, but I will give my food away to keep from having to eat it. Being hungry is better than eating blue cheese 🙂

I’m telling you all that to encourage any other like-minded blue cheese nay-sayers to give this salad a chance. There is something about the combination of the flavors in the vinaigrette, nuts, and greens that melds with the blue cheese and makes it way less offensive. I would dare say not even offensive at all. Actually, this salad is quite delicious and is a regular on our table. So if you are thinking about subbing out the blue cheese with something else, try it at least once as written. You won’t be disappointed.

This recipe comes from the out-of-print Bay Tables: Savor the Abundance by the Junior League of Mobile. If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, you will love it. I haven’t been disappointed yet and I will try to share some of my other favorites as I make them.

Spinach Salad Blues
Yield: 6 servings

1 shallot, peeled
1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 bunches spinach leaves, trimmed and washed
2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Combine the shallot, 1/2 pint of blueberries, salt, sugar, vinegar, and oil in a blender and blend well. Combine the spinach, remaining berries, blue cheese, and pecans in a large salad bowl and toss to mix well. Add the desired amount of blueberry vinaigrette (you will probably have more than enough) just before serving and toss until well coated.

I couldn’t resist — I was having fun with some new features on my photo editing software. And this is a glimpse of the new blender I got recently.