Sunday, December 22, 2013

Easy Artichoke Party Dip!

The opportunity to bring a dish to a party is simultaneously exciting and nerve wracking. Exciting because I love to share food. Nerve wracking because because I have to a make decision about what to bring and decisions aren't my strong suit. Should I make my baked ham and cheese sliders? Or maybe a delicious fruit pizza? My bacon wrapped shrimp always go over well. And my German potato salad is my absolute favorite for summer BBQs. But for the holidays, I want something warm, cheesy and delicious. Also, since my time management skills get even worse with the holidays rapidly approaching, making something that requires minimal effort but yields amazing results is pretty high on my wish list. 

This 4 ingredient recipe comes from my friend, Parisse. She brought it to my house for my holiday wreath decorating party and everyone gathered around and it and didn't move until it was gone. You could even make it paleo by using homemade mayonnaise. I simply had to give homemade mayo a try, despite the whole point of this appetizer being that it would have minimal prep time. I just can't help complicating things. I used Against All Grain's recipe from her cookbook. While it was overall pretty easy, it did take me two tries. I really should have paid more attention to the note about a small blender or food processor being key. My second batch turned out nice. I used a mix of roasted garlic avocado oil, walnut oil, and olive oil. Whether you choose to make your own mayo or use store bought, this dip is delicious and so easy to throw together when your indecision and time management skills get the best of you. 

Easy Artichoke Party Dip

Serves 6-10

1 14 oz can artichoke hearts
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles 
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 - 1 cup shredded parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Drain artichoke hearts and roughly chop them up and place them in a small to medium baking dish. Add the green chiles, mayonnaise and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese. Mix well. Top mixture with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Turning up to broil in the last few minutes if you want the cheese to brown up more.

Serve with chips, pita chips, carrots, or whatever else you like! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lemon and Basil Roasted Cauliflower

I'm very bad at time management. Not something I would openly admit in a job interview, but we are all friends here and I trust you to keep my little secret. Plus, it's not that I really suck at time management per se... [Don't mind Adam shaking his head over here], it's more that I think I can accomplish an impossible amount in a short amount of time. Every morning I am convinced that I can sleep in till 7:00, take a shower, pet the dog, blow dry my hair, get back in bed to cuddle with the dog, check Facebok, put on makeup, pay some bills, walk the dog, make breakfast, and leave the house by 7:30 - no problem! And no matter how often this is proved wrong (every, single time), I continue to try. I like to call that tenacity.

One Sunday I decided to have Adam's parents over for dinner. A somewhat fancy dinner. Roast chicken, gravy, salad with homemade dressing, mashed potatoes, and some kind of side dish. So naturally, like anyone preparing for a busy day, I sleep in and finally get my butt moving around noon. (This is what happens when Adam has to work on the weekends.) I then decide that I have plenty of time to go to Cost Plus World Market and obsess over which place mats and cloth napkins to get for over an hour.  Then, of course, I decide I'll just swing by Lowes to pick up some supplies for grouting our tile backsplash in the kitchen, and while I'm in that neck of the woods I might as well swing by Trader Joe's, and after that, the pet store to return a collar I bought for Penny and then decided against (have I mentioned I'm not good at making decisions?). And then once I get home, at 3:30 mind you, I decide I have PLENTY of time to start grouting the backsplash project, cook dinner, and shower all before my in-laws arrive at 6:00. Easy peasy. I can get all that done in three hours, right? Wrong. Turns out grouting backsplash is really a project that you should set aside at least 4 hours for. And it's messy, so maybe you shouldn't do it when you need to use your kitchen to cook in immediately after. Or when you want to look presentable to your in-laws and you may or may not have left yourself enough time to shower.

I often find myself in these kinds of pickles. So, you see, saving time in the kitchen is sometimes very welcome for me. That's where Dorot comes in and their line of pre-packaged herbs. I needed a quick side dish to impress my not so vegetable-y inclined in-laws and was pretty sure I could turn a head of cauliflower fresh from my farmer's box into something they could dig, or at the very least try.

With the help of these cute little frozen cubes of chopped basil and garlic, I quickly turned a simple head of cauliflower into a roasted delight. Seriously, this was some tasty cauliflower. Outside of my cauliflower crust pizza, you probably never knew cauliflower could taste this good. My mother-in-law even went back for seconds and was shocked at herself! (Now we know who Adam gets it from!)

Lemon and Basil Roasted Cauliflower 

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 head of cauliflower
1 cube of Dorot chopped basil
1 cube of Dorot crushed garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
squeeze of lemon juice - probably about 1/2 tablespoon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more or less to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste 
chopped chives as a garnish, if desired

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse and dry cauliflower. Cut cauliflower into florets, trying to maintain somewhat even sized florets. 

Over very low heat in small saucepan, add 1 cube of Dorot chopped basil and 1 cube of Dorot crushed garlic. Add olive oil. Heat until herb cubes break up, stirring often. Turn off heat and add lemon zest and lemon juice to olive oil mixture.

In a large bowl toss cauliflower florets with olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again. Place cauliflower in a single layer on a tin foil lined baking sheet.

Roast in pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes. Toss once during cooking time. I like mine a little bit crispy so I lean towards 40 minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped chives if desired. Serve warm.

*This post is sponsored by Dorot, but all opinions expressed are my own.