Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spinach Dip


This spinach dip is the cold version - similar to the one notoriously made with a packet of dry vegetable soup mix.  Gosh, I loved that stuff.  Ate the whole bowl myself every time I made it.  That is, until I actually read the ingredients on the vegetable soup mix labels of various brands; along with a few dehydrated vegetables, the mixes are riddled with ingredients such as monosodium glutamate, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed corn protein, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, partially hydrogenated soybean oil...you get the picture.  While googling, I saw that some even came with warnings not to feed their mix to children under 1 year old.

Good grief, people.  This food thing - it's not really so hard.  Just use food.

I suppose this entry is a good time to apologize to any of you who interpreted the name of my blog to mean that the "Art" is my photography (something my husband pointed out to me after I had already named my blog) - by now you surely know it is not.  The "Art" refers to something apparently lost over the many years - how to use real, readily available ingredients to produce edible and delicious results.  How many times have we grabbed mixes and packets and and stirred a few other premixed items into it and called it food?  It's easy, and it sure does taste great, so what's the harm?

The harm is that cooking and preparing meals for our families, friends, and others whom we love, has now become an "art" rather than the common knowledge that simply feeding ourselves should be.  The harm is that by using anything other than real, edible ingredients, what we are preparing and serving in the name of love is actually not all that great for our bodies (or our minds, as studies are showing).  The harm is that by introducing our bodies to all manner of chemical concoctions from the beginning of life ensures that we will be treating a plethora of ailments (many of which were not afflicting any living creature just one century ago) with more chemical concoctions at the end of that life.  Without food, there is no life; that's a fact.  Where does "Without chemical flavor enhancers and petri dish grown flavors and preservatives, there is no life" fit in?

Can you tell how passionately I feel about this subject?  I'll be stepping down from my soapbox now, since I expect you came here looking for a recipe, not a sermon.  I did, however, want to clarify that my blog has absolutely nothing to do with the art of photography (although, I must say, I've gotten a tiny bit better at it, and I'm enjoying it enough to possibly consider something other than my daughter's point and shoot camera - but I'm not sure I would know how it worked or have the time to figure it out).

So, back to Spinach Dip.  Real, easy, yummy Spinach Dip.  I use a combination of cream cheese and Greek yogurt.  If you can't find unadulterated cream cheese, or you are opposed to the locust or carob bean gum (which isn't really so awful, comparatively speaking) that almost inevitably shows up in even the organic commercial brands, go ahead and substitute a good mayonnaise (or home made mayonnaise) for the cream cheese.  Sour cream works in place of the Greek yogurt.  For the crunch; if you don't have radishes, use equal amounts of finely chopped celery.  If you don't have red onions, use 3-4 chopped green onions.

While it is not necessary to serve it in a bread bowl and use the excess bread cubes to dip, it's kind of cool looking and the dip is absolutely addictive when smeared on the bread.  If you use the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method, making the bread bowl is very, very easy.  Too easy, in fact.  The picture is using the European Peasant Loaf recipe because that is what I had premade in my fridge, but the rye bread recipes are beautiful with this dip.  Of course most any cut veggies work very nicely as well.

One last thing - this recipe does not necessarily make enough for a party.  If you are serving it to a lot of people, double it (easily done).  I purposely make this amount because I am an appetizer junkie and much like the Taco Dip, my daughter and I will immediately consume whatever I make almost as soon as it is ready, so this amount is simply a safety precaution.

Spinach Dip
makes about 1 1/2 cups
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 10 oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 Tbs radishes, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/4  tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Combine cream cheese and yogurt in a medium bowl.  With a hand held electric mixer, mix on low speed until smooth.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

Cover and chill at least one hour before serving.

Serve with rye bread, crackers, and/or cut fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery, bell pepper strips, green onions, etc.









12 comments:

  1. Okay, so I just emailed this recipe to myself so I could make this for future dinner parties and for Christmas (which I am hosting).
    I am totally with you on the importance of real food. Preach on sister!

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  2. Thanks, Kimberly :-) I hesitated for a long while before I hit publish (and I erased a lot of what I had written), hoping like crazy I wouldn't offend anyone.

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  3. We are so like you when it comes to eating appetizers until there's nothing left! Sometimes I make it as a meal.

    Bravo to you for speaking your mind regarding what we eat. I have worked hard to pull our family away from processed foods, which is why I prepare everything myself. Yeah, sometimes I do stumble, but I try. :)

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  4. I stumble, too, Mom Chef. Especially during this season when all the parties have all my favorite appetizers...can't help myself - if it's there, I'll eat it (and I'll like it, lol!). I think the hardest part is understanding what is and what isn't food - that seems to always be the biggest obstacle when I talk to people.

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  5. My family absolutely loves that spinach dip made with the soup packs! So good to find this healthier option! Love the bread bowl too - my Mom always serves it like that.

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  6. Real food is the only food to eat. I love how there is so much more dialogue going on now to help others learn.

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  7. I love this recipe! I do love that dip from the soup package, but you're right, there are so many unnecessary ingredients! Homemade is always best!

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  8. what a great recipe! I'e never seen a recipe without the soup package...nice to have it without it! ....and it looks SO beautiful!

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  9. Hear, hear! We're pretty passionate about product purity, too. Glad we found your site! Love the recipe, love the bread bowl presentation. Cheers!

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  10. I've seen many spinach dip recipes, but not one like this. I like the use of tarragon. I've bookmarked this one!

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  11. It looks delicious!! I like cooking with real ingredients also, although I have sinned once in while (hey, we're only humans)But I love what you're doing :)

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