Friday, March 29, 2013

What am I? Chopped Liver!



Some days I feel like chopped liver. I mean I really feel like my liver has been chopped. Into tiny little pieces. Know what I mean? Some days I feel ground up, spit out and totally ignored. And on those days I just tell myself, "Get over it!" Sometimes it works. Sometimes I still feel like chopped liver. Overlooked. Second fiddle. But at least today I can eat it!


Yes, I agree. Chopped liver has a bit of an image problem. It's not like it's called pate or mousse or something fancy in French. It's just a very simple dish that happens to be made out of chicken livers. Throw in a few hard boiled eggs and some sauteed onions and you've pretty much got it. In my case, I sauteed the onions in duck fat, not chicken fat or schmaltz. It would have been easy to turn it into pate. But I held back. This is after all, Passover chopped liver, not fancy chopped liver.

Liver seems to have fallen out of favor unless you are a goose, in which case you are a foie gras and highly desirable. But a chicken is still just a chicken-liver in this story. And the poor cow-I'm afraid his liver is used only when Weight Watcher's requires their one liver meal a week; but maybe they changed that requirement since I was a teenager. I do recall my mother making it with onions each week with regularity. And I liked it. And then there is pork liver which becomes Braunschweiger and a lot of people eat that including moi, who used to eat it every morning for breakfast in the form of Oscar Meyer liver sausage. I ate it on toast and that was a long time ago, too. And then there is the duck's liver and he can also become the desirable foie gras. So, really if you think about it, liver is still pretty popular in most forms.


Which leads me back to waste not, want not. I'm not sure if they ate a lot of chickens way back when, but they did make a lot of chicken soup and roast chickens. So whether they kept all those livers and saved them up in the days before refrigeration, well, I can't tell you. My research doesn't go back that far. But I can tell you that it doesn't take many livers to feed a lot of people. I used about 3/4 of a pound and still had enough to give some to a friend. The rest we've been eating for about a week.  So figure this will serve about 6-8 people as an appetizer and that is what chopped liver is meant to be-unless of course you put it on a sandwich in which case all bets are off. Some like a lot, some not so much spread between their bread.

I can also tell you that when I'm making liver I have two very close friends that don't leave my side. The smell of liver is truly intoxicating. The onions and the liver create a highly addicting aroma especially if you are a dog. I think my dogs dream of Jewish holidays as much as I do. And speaking of aromas I fondly remember waking up to the smell of frying livers and golden soft onions drifting to the second story of our home. I remember running downstairs trying to sneak a bite out from under my mother's nose who was also trying to sneak a bite without anyone knowing. I'm sure she was just testing...

So here goes. Venture forth to the land of liver. Remember to wash them well and trim off all the yukky green parts and the extra fat. Sometimes you get a good batch where there isn't much to trim. To those I say thank you, Lord. The rest, well, sometimes it is a little gross. And be careful of those livers. They tend to be fragile so handle them gently. Just like people, they taste better when handled with kindness.



Chopped Chicken Livers (adapted from Jewish Holiday Cooking by Jayne Cohen and the kitchen of Libby Weiner))
Serves: 4-8
Time to Make: About 30 minutes
Ingredients:

7 large hard boiled eggs, shelled (I like eggy chopped liver. Some like it more livery; in which case use fewer eggs.)
1 lb fresh chicken livers cleaned (approximately) you can add more or less eggs accordingly
3-6 T oil, chicken fat or duck fat (and I believe I've seen some use butter but that is most definitely NOT kosher!)
4 c onions diced
Salt
Pepper
Mayonnaise (Highly Controversial! But sometimes a teeny dollop will add flavor and creaminess. However, my duck fat took care of that!)

Directions:
Now you have a choice! You can broil your livers or saute them. I have done both. In either case you do not want to overcook your livers. Overcooked livers are dry and tasteless. They should still be a bit pink but not a raw pink. 

To broil: Set the livers on a rack over a foil lined sheet. Pat them dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil about 4 inches from the flame for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

To saute: Heat 3 T of your chosen fat in a skillet, Add livers and saute until cooked as above.

Now cook your onions. Heat 3 T of your chosen fat in a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 2/3 c of diced onions and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Saute while stirring occasionally until onions are rich and gold, about 15 minutes. Do not let onions brown. If you have broiled your livers add them back to pan and saute for about 1 minute while mixing the onions and livers together. 

Transfer the onions and livers to a food processor and pulse on and off to chop coarsely. Add the hard boiled eggs and pulse a few more times until the desired texture is reached.(Very important-do not over process or you will have paste. I remember my mother using a meat grinder. It was always so cool to see the liver come out of the little holes.)

Now stir in remaining raw onions. Adjust seasonings. Some people like to add more oil or schmaltz at this step to make it more moist or rich. This is also where you would add a dollop of mayo if you are of THAT persuasion.

Serve with matzoh or crackers. Or put it on a giant onion roll with some lettuce and extra sliced onions. I've seen it layered with egg salad on a sandwich and I've seen it paired with corned beef. Many delis serve chopped liver but whenever I've tried it, they always seem to be more livery than I prefer.


Garnish with chopped hard boiled eggs and a smidgeon of green onions. Dip your fingers in. Taste the earthy, salty, sweet flavors of good chopped liver!

More Good Jewish Food:
Sephardic Charoses
Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey
My Mother's Brisket
Macaroons
Macaroons, Version 2
Passover Mocha Nut Cake
Flourless, Gluten Free, Passover Fudge Cake
Marshmallows and Matzoh S'mores










Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dried Cherry, Date and Almond Charoset




This week in blogosphere I am seeing a lot of eggs, bunnies and chicks all done in pretty pastel colors. I am also seeing lots of chocolate decorated with my favorite malted milk ball eggs that also come in those pretty pastel hues. I am sorry. Charoset does not look like this. But I can tell you it is most likely much healthier than those malted milk balls that I keep passing up in the candy aisle at the grocery.  It is good and definitely worth trying.

Let's face it. It is hard to make what is supposed to represent mortar very pretty. Now maybe if the Pharoahs had the good sense to do mosaics on the pyramids we could have come up with something a bit more colorful, but giant boulders were more to the Pharoah's liking. Yes, it is Seder week! And Jewish comfort  foods are traditional. Just like ham and eggs we eat chopped liver and charoses every year. And we look forward to it.


Each year our Seder plate has foods that are symbolic of the season. We have matzoh (the bread of poverty) because when you're told to get the hell out of dodge you don't wait for your bread to rise. And we eat horseradish to remind us how bitter our lives were under the Egyptians. We eat charoset to remind us of the mortar that was used to build the pyramids. We eat  hard boiled eggs to remind us of the sacrifice that Jews brought to the ancient temple and also are a symbol for life. A green vegetable such as parsley  reminds us of Spring and that Spring  is a time of renewal. We eat chopped liver just because. Yeah, just because it's so frickin' good, and everyone knows that things that are good, aren't really good for you. Except for chicken soup with matzoh balls.That really is good for you, and we eat that, too!

We eat a lot at Passover, plus we get to drink four full glasses of wine. Try doing the dishes after that! And we sing songs like "Frogs in your bed and frogs in your head." And it is fun. Even when your entire family isn't there to share. It's a good holiday and the kids even get to search for the hidden matzoh or afikomen. Which of course isn't as pretty as an Easter egg but they do get money for finding it! How much? Well, it all depends on the host and this year's recipient seemed to do very well with lots of $2 bills. He was definitely happy!




And so it is that I make charoset. This year I made it, just because it is good; and I wanted leftovers to eat for about a week. Charoset is kind of like cranberries at Thanksgiving, in the sense that I always wonder why I only tend to eat cranberries a few times a year. Maybe that's why they taste so good. Well, charoset is like that. You always ask yourself why do I only make this for Passover? Charoset comes in basically two flavors. The Ashkenazic type and the Sephardic type. Huh? Well the Askenazics were Northern European Jews so their recipe contains apples; whereas the Jews who lived in the Mediterranean regions and further South were not likely to find apples so their charoset is made with things like apricots and dates and figs. Both are ambrosial.

Today's recipe is Sephardic. It tends to taste richer to me than the type made with apples, walnuts, and cinnamon. I usually add raisins when I make it. But that's not what is on today's table. Today we are going to fill our tummies with apricots and almonds and dates. And you are going to need a food processor. We are not like the slaves of old. We like our food processors, especially at Passover! And as a side note...I think this would be great as an appetizer with a dollop of goat's cheese while sitting on the deck at sunset with a crisp glass of Chardonnay or even Champagne! (Wishful thinking never hurts anyone.) Additionally, you can substitute whatever dried nuts or fruits you prefer. Next time I want to try pistachios!




Sephardic Charoset with Dried Cherries
(Adapted from Food and Wine/2000)
 Makes about 30.
Ingredients:
1 c toasted walnuts
1/4 c sliced toasted almonds
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c Medjool dates
2 T dried cherries
1/4 c unsweetened grape juice or Kosher Concord grape wine (the sweet stuff!)
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/8 t cinnamon
30 dried but plump apricot halves 
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast walnuts for about 10 minutes and almonds about 6 minutes. They should both be light gold in color.

In a bowl combine raisins, dates and cherries with wine or juice, lemon juice and cinnamon for at least 15 minutes. Process fruit and nuts in food processor until a coarse paste is formed. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate up to 5 hours or longer. (This keeps well.)


Form heaping teaspoonfuls of the fruit and place one on each apricot half. Garnish with some sliced almonds or goat's cheese. (If you'd like, you can just serve this with some diced apricots mixed into the mixture. In this case I would definitely serve it with crackers or matzoh.)


Now take a bite and be thankful you are not a slave in Egypt!















Thursday, March 21, 2013

15 Minute Greek Baked Shrimp with Feta

15 Minute Greek Baked Shrimp with Feta


Opa! It is time to celebrate Greece. 1976 found me there.  Our family started in Israel to celebrate my brother's Bar Mitzvah. After touring Israel we flew to Athens.  Imagine drinking coffee in the main plaza and tuning around and spotting your best friend from high school drinking coffee their, too. Totally serendipitous. She was there after spending a year in France. and stopped in Athens on her way home which is where I spotted her. It is a small world and it keeps getting smaller. Not that this has anything to do with Greek shrimp but when I think of Greece I can't help but remember that story. Sad to say I don't know where that friend is anymore but maybe one day our paths will cross again. And if they do I can only imagine where that might be. It is a small world, after all.

But back to food. Israel's food back then was nothing to write home about. Other than the famous Israeli breakfasts there wasn't much to say. Needless to say now the food is over the top glorious but back then we thought we'd died and gone to heaven when we hit Greece's little tavernas. I remember sitting in a tiny seaside town under a white umbrella gazing at the blue, intoxicatingly blue sea and ordering seafood. The breeze had the scent of salt  and the essence of wood drifting from the grill where your order was cooked fresh. And fresh it was as we watched the fisherman unloading their small little dinghys. I'm sure we started with fried zucchini and garlic aioli, because I believe we did that at every meal there. Couldn't get enough of that. And we probably had a grilled fish and maybe we had grilled prawns. I don't remember. I do remember the magical, lackadaisical feeling of being truly relaxed and wishing the moment wouldn't end. Between the sun and the ouzo and the breeze, life couldn't get any better then.

Well, this recipe won't take you to Greece. And frozen shrimp just can't compete with big meaty sweet prawns grilled over wood and drizzled with fresh green olive oil. But it is a perfect quick dish to throw out for company or when you haven't picked up anything else. I tend to always keep a bag of frozen shrimp on hand because I make them often. I don't eat red meat so shrimp is one of my stand ins along with chicken and fish and breakfast for dinner.

This recipe is short, just like this blog entry. But it is sweet and satisfying. And quick. Opa!



Taverna Baked Greek Shrimp with Feta (serves 2)

18 large shrimp (I used 31's-40 but I prefer 15-30's, thawed and deveined and shelled)
3/4 c canned diced tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
1 T olive oil and more if you want a drizzle on top
2 t red wine or vinegar
1/2 t garlic powder or 2 cloves minced
1 t greek seasoning or some fresh oregano and basil shredded
pinch of red chili flakes
2T frozen peas
2 oz cubed feta

In a small baking dish (8x8) mix tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, wine or vinegar and seasonings. Place shelled shrimp on top of tomato mixture. Add cubes of feta around shrimp.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 13 minutes until feta is starting to brown and shrimp is turning color. Add peas.  Cook for about two minutes more. Do not overbake as your shrimp will end up dry.)

Take out of oven and drizzle with oil. Serve over cous cous or rice or spaghetti and say OPA! 



Monday, March 18, 2013

Will the Real Chicken Scarpariello Please Stand Up?


As of yesterday I'm not sure I had ever heard of Chicken Scarpariello, though I have heard of chicken with Italian sausage and peppers. In any case I'm not sure this is either. It appears that Chicken Scarpariello is a dish that contains chicken and hot peppers. Maybe mushrooms. Maybe wine. It is an Italian American dish and that's about as far as I got. Doesn't matter. What matters is this-it is over the top delicious! I love Chicken Vesuvio but that takes a fair amount of time. This is much, much quicker. 

 I know I told you what a simple Sunday it would be, well, it really wasn't. I made a recipe of macaroons and matzoh toffee to send to my daughter, did a load of laundry and then cut the caramels from the day before. I then started decipering the chicken recipe for this dish and found it contained a cup of butter. OMG! Even I know that is not good for you unless it is in the form of a cookie. 

After starting my new original recipe I ran over to the neighbor's house to see their new black lab puppy, Ellie. If that dog ever disappears they will know where to look. She is such a cute puppy and soo smart. Still needs to work on that house training thing but she's only like 12 weeks old. After almost an hour and a half of feeding her doggie treats and having her lick my face and a few glasses of wine I went home where my dogs totally inhaled me. They were surely upset that I didn't bring them!

So it was back to dinner and then I spent 2 hours wrapping caramels. I am not kidding. They took me literally 15 minutes to make AND clean up but 2 hours to make them pretty with little purple bows. I just want her to sell them  to make some money for her run. By the time I finished it was 10:30.  So no-it wasn't a really simple Sunday. But I'll keep working on it! 

And back to chicken. I've been doing a lot of chicken lately and I can assure you this dish is a keeper. I don't show you them unless they are. This is drenched with a garlic, peppery taste. Not black pepper but more a vinegar, winey like taste. My husband, Mr. Technology Capitalist, declared it really good. Like when will I make it again good. Trust me. This will make Monday great!



Chicken Scarpariello - Serves 2-4

2 pounded boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T flour
1 T butter plus 1T butter
1 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 c sliced mushrooms
1 yellow pepper diced
2 Italian link sausages (Mild or hot) about 1/4 lb
2 T sliced pepperocini or chopped pepperocinis ,drained
2 T capers drained
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c chicken stock
1 1/2 T tomato paste
1/2 t oregano plus more for seasoning chicken
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Heat  1 T butter and 1 T olive oil over medium heat in cast iron skillet. Add garlic and cook until slightly light gold.

Season your pounded boneless chicken breasts with lots of dried oregano and salt and pepper.Lightly dust both sides with flour. Put into hot skillet and brown them on both sides. Add the sausages and brown. Remove from skilllet.

Add peppers and mushrooms and cook a few minutes. Remove from skillet.

Add 1 T butter. Melt and add pepperocini and capers. Cook a few minutes and then add wine, stock, pinch of red pepper flakes and 1/2 t of oregano. Whisk in tomato paste. Cook a few minute and then add back chicken and sausage, mushrooms and peppers. Spoon a little sauce over chicken before putting in oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 375. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve over egg noodles for  a perfect dinner. Add a salad and you have a one dish dinner! Yay!

P.S. You can make this for more people if you'd like. I figured half of a chicken breast and one link of sausage per person. You do the math! Feel free to use spaghetti or a pasta of your choice to serve this over. Orzo would also work and I think it would also be great with polenta. Ummm. I think I'll try that next!


And don't forgetTollhouse Cupcakes for a Cure

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Simple Sunday


Fun things to do for a Simple Sunday...

1. I need some balloons. I could be Making these right now.

2. I can never get enough love stories.

3. My cousin has been holding out on me.If you like intriguing photography and great captions, Check out her new site.

4. The next time I make cupcakes with Zoe,we are making these.

5. Don't forget. Pass this around. Zoe is running for a cure for lymphoma. Please help her run.

6. The perfect day:


7. If I were baking bread today this is what I'd make.  But I'd leave out the caraway.  

8. For some reason this is really fascinating to me. 

9. You can't stop the waves but you CAN learn to surf. This sums up my life lately. 

10. I need to go work in the yard. I think I'd be more inclined if it looked like this.

Tulip Fields in Holland
 11. I made these caramels for Zoe to put on her desk at work. If all goes well she will raise money for a cure. If it doesn't go well, she will have a lot of caramels to eat. It could be worse. They are incredible!

12. If I celebrated Easter, I would want these.

Now, I'm off to start macaroons.

And don't forgetTollhouse Cupcakes for a Cure

And a few others you may want to try:

Onion Baked Rice with Boneless Rib Roast
Pad Thai
Marshmallows and Matzoh S'mores
Macaroons
My Mother's Brisket (but not really)
Ilse's Passover Mocha Nut Cake
Susie's Sweet and Hot Mustard
Fool's Toffee
Chicken Marbella
      

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dan Dan Sliders or Chinese Sloppy Joe


Did you see last month's Food and Wine issue where they used Pillsbury dough in the tube for a substitute for steamed buns of the Chinese dim sum kind? Well, I did. And I did it. Hard to believe that Pillsbury reduced fat biscuits are a perfect substitute for steamed buns. The recipe paired them with a pork belly type filling that is made with bacon. It was very good but that's not where we are going today!

Today it's all about Dan Dan noodles. Really Dan Dan sliders. Because I made noodles and sliders. It was a test.They passed. And in the future if you've  had too many noodle dishes (not that one can have too many noodle dishes) well, sometimes it's good to rock the boat.  These definitely rock. They are easy and quick and they are really fun to make using the poppin' fresh biscuit dough. Honestly, these are way cool; though some say I'm easily impressed.


Dan Dan noodles are a Szechuan dish. It used to be that peddlers carried a pole over their shoulder with a pot of noodles on one end and a pot of sauce on the other. Dan dan, I think, is what the pole is called. In any case, this is how the name for the noodles is derived. But of course, we aren't doing noodles today. We are doing sliders, don't you know?




Our family loves Dan Dan noodles. We usually eat them after we have had a massage at Bamboo Forest over on Federal Boulevard in Denver. This is a fully clothed massage where you sit in giant lazy boy chairs and everyone is in the same room. They charge $25 an hour. And it is one of the best ways to spend $25 that I can think of.

 Except...for the next $25 you spend to eat at at tiny Lao Wang's Noodle House, where they serve the best pot stickers in the world and of course, they also have Dan Dan noodles. This is comfort food after a comforting massage. It is a good thing they are not located closer to me. A tiny old man and a tiny old woman own this tiny joint. From what I can tell, that is it. They also have soup dumplings that are to die for. When you order they bring out as many orders as they can carry in these huge Chinese steamer baskets. I don't know how this little man can carry them all. Well, between the orders of Dan Dan noodles, the pot stickers and the soup dumplings, it is enough to send me home for a nap. 


And so it is that the other night I found myself craving Dan Dan noodles. Actually I think I was thinking massage, but since that wasn't happening my mind drifted to noodles. I decided to do the pork belly bacon sliders from Food and Wine and the noodles. Well we ate all the noodles and had Dan Dan sauce leftover, plus a few buns.  So.... well, just trust me. It works. Plus it's so fun to pop that can!




Dan Dan Sliders (recipe adapted from Bon Appetit and Serious Eats)

Serves 4
Time to Make: About 30 minutes
Ingredients:
1 can Pillsbury light biscuits (I used these but I think they also make mini biscuits, which would work better.)

1 lb ground pork or turkey

2 T chopped and peeled ginger
3/4 c chicken stock
2 T chili oil or chili garlic sauce(I used sauce)
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T soy sauce
4 t tahini
1 t cracked Szechwan peppercorns (I just smash them with a meat mallet and if you can't find these this dish will still be good, however they do give a unique taste.)
1-2 T peanut butter to taste
4 sliced green onions
T chopped peanuts

12 oz udon noodles (OPTIONAL)

Directions: Add oil to skillet and heat. Add pork and cook until just pink. then add ginger. Cook until light brown.

Add stock, chili oil or sauce, vinegar, soy, tahini and ground peppercorns. Season with pinch of sugar. Let cook for 7-10 minutes until thickened. (You may or may not want to add more broth or water. If you are serving this over noodles you may want it soupier, but for buns I think this is good the way it is.) Stir in peanut butter to taste.


Spoon between your flakin' fresh buns. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts. Place into mouth. Feel the massage. (Well, it's worth a try!)


Steamed Buns (Grace Parisi/Food and Wine)


1 16.3 oz tube of buttermilk biscuit dough (see what I used above)


Fill a roasting pan with 2 inches of water. Set 1 ramekin upside down in the center of each end of the pan. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Arrange the biscuits in the pan and set it on top of the ramekins in the roasting pan.


Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil and bring to a boil over high heat. Steam the biscuits until fluffy and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.




And don't forgetTollhouse Cupcakes for a Cure

A few others you may want to try:

Onion Baked Rice with Boneless Rib Roast

Pad Thai
Marshmallows and Matzoh S'mores
Macaroons
My Mother's Brisket (but not really)
Ilse's Passover Mocha Nut Cake
Susie's Sweet and Hot Mustard
Fool's Toffee
Chicken Marbella

Please Pin and Share:








Monday, March 11, 2013

3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip and Chicken Artichoke Baguettes


Writing a blog is time consuming. Don't get me wrong; I really enjoy it. But I'm not sure that readers always know what is involved. It may seem easy-writing, taking a few photos, bim, bam, bop, you've got it. But when you become addicted to the act of blogging, it takes some thought, too. How do you make it better? Technology always kills me. That I got this far sometimes amazes me. I think if I'd read A blog before starting this venture I might not have set sail. But writing the blog, at least when I began, was an act of preserving myself. It kind of, at least in my head, was a bit like a living will. Something that might mean something to my kids or even their future kids, somewhere down the road. The funny thing is that I'm not even sure they read it. Well, I know they do sometimes. But maybe one day they will know that when I write, I write with them in mind. I mean right now they are only 22, from their perspective it could be that I seem like I'll live forever. Puhleeze! I'm happy to make it to tomorrow.

There are tons of blogs out in the statosphere. And there are mucho tons of good ones. Some write on trends, on fashion, on crafts, on raising kids, on cancer, on money, on special diets, on books. I mean I could fill my time just reading and commenting on others blogs. And that's part of being a blogger. It's kind of professional courtesy to read others blogs. And that took me a long time to figure out because I didn't really know where I was going when I started. Not that I do now either. But reading is good for me. It gives me great ideas and tons of problems to solve. Like how did they take that picture? Or how do they get the picture in the heading of burning the feed? Or where did that gadget come from? And don't even get me started thinking about YOU TUBE or Twitter or Facebook. Or Stumble Upon or Pinterest. I mean does it really matter? Well, it does if you want other people to see your blog. And when you start spending a lot of time on it; it becomes a bit like a kid. You want to watch it grow. You want to see what it will become. And so the addiction grows. And that keeps one writing and trying to become better at those skills which we lack.

And sometime that is a good thing. They (I never know who they are) say that you must do new things to keep your brain young. And I am hoping all this helps. Like trying to figure out why my blog has a weak feed and not a good link. Or why it doesn't go to some people who subscribe all the time. And the newest tip I read is that I should write on Blogger and not write in Word to start and then transfer it to Blogger. (Which also explains the different font today!)This will help keep your code clean. See what I mean? I mean if you don't write a blog do you even have a clue what I'm talking about? Not that it much matters, because I'm still don't. And how do you get more subscribers? Well, don't even go there!



And today I read a blog about where to store your props for your blog. I mean I would love to have props. Like fancy plates and antique dishes. Yeah, I WOULD really love that. Add antique table linens and old wood tables and, well, I could go on and on. A beautiful garden would be quite lovely and so would old copper pots. When in actuality I could just use some lights. And photography lessons. But reading blogs with photo tips does help. Even if I don't understand what I read the first time! And my husband did finally locate the old tripod in the basement we call his office. We'll see if that helps!

And with the thoughts of all the above filling my head the weekend came and went. But last night I still made dinner and it was pretty, pretty, good. (Thank you Larry David.) It was quick and satisfied my need for artichoke dip even though it wasn't artichoke dip. My son snatched the artichoke dip that we had leftover from visiting him last weekend. And with it he snatched away from me a ton of calories. And that was definitely a good thing.


I love, love, love artichoke dip. My mom used to make it for Thanksgiving way back when; when I 'm not even sure I knew what a fresh artichoke looked like. For all I knew they grew in a can. And artichoke dip was one of the first recipes I made when I went off to college. By now it is everywhere and most of the recipes are a bit more complicated than the one below. But in the belief that simple is better I will give it to you today. 

If you are still in college or a recent grad you should always keep all three ingredients on hand for those days when everyone ends up in your kitchen drinking beers and getting hungry. It will impress the easily impressionables and satisfy all those who can't cook and even those who do. It is an easy recipe to remember even if you have had too many beers. (Maybe that is why I ate to much of it?) You can make it in a blender or you can just mash it up with a fork. Or you could be way cool and go buy one of those hand held blenders and whirl away. Just watch your fingers, please. (I had a friend  that I miss, who needed stitches once because somehow her hand got in the way. Ouch!) And always serve this dip with potato chips because potato chips are my favorite junk food. 

And then on to these gratifying chicken artichoke baguettes. This started in the back of my head with the snatched artichoke dip still lurking in its recesses. And this is what that artichoke dip became. Definitely perfect for a lazy Sunday night supper. You might even have a beer with it as you ponder the making of a good blog. Or not.


3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip (Serves 4-6)
(I do not have a picture because it disappears too fast.)
Time to Make: About 10 minutes
Time to Bake: About 30 minutes
Ingredients:
1 can artichoke hearts in water, well drained
1 c  parmesan cheese (in the plastic container or fresh if you are flush!)
1 c mayonnaise (light or not)
Directions:
Using a 4 cup measuring cup or a medium sized bowl,  place drained artichokes, cheese and mayo in it. I use an immersion blender and blend this until smooth. You can also put this in a blender or food processor to achieve the same results. Scoop into an oven proof dish. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until it is gold on top. Serve with potato chips. (true confessions-if there are leftovers they are good baked on toast for breakfast)

Hot Artichoke Chicken Baguettes (Serves 4-6)
2 poached chicken breasts or the equivalent of 2 1/2 c cooked chicken
5 green onions thinly sliced
1 8oz can artichoke hearts drained well and chopped
1/2 c hearts of palm drained  and chopped OR 1 8oz can water chestnuts optional
3/4 c mayonnaise
3/4 c parmesan in container (This is embarrassing)
3/4 t garlic powder
2T sour cream
1 t oregano
Salt and Pepper
3 halved 6" baguettes or your favorite roll

Chop or shred chicken. Mix green onions, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm or water chestnuts, mayo, parmesan and seasonings. Add chicken and stir well.

Cut baguettes lengthwise through center. Scoop out inside of bread so you have more room for filling. (You are creating a shell to hold the filling.) Spoon in filling until full. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until bread is crispy and filling is golden brown. Sprinkle with a little green onions and ponder the cyberspace.

And Last, But not Least! Remember!
Chocolate Chip Cupcakes for a cure

And a few other goodies: