Adventures in homemade, budget aware cooking.

Appetizers

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Let me draw your attention to the boat shaped dish in the middle of this photograph.  Inside resides the most delicious dip you have ever tasted.  It is so good, I could eat it for weeks straight.  Unfortunately, it never lasts that long.  Enjoy this Artichoke Spinach Dip!

Artichoke Spinach Dip (“Family Circle”)

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 pkg cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 pint sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large skillet, melt butter over med heat.  Add the onion and saute until golden.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Stir in the spinach, artichoke hearts, creams cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of the cheddar, the parmesan and the spices.

2.  Place the mixture in an ovenproof 2 qt dish and top with the remaining cheddar.  Bake for 10 min.  Serve with raw vegetables and crackers.

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Bruschetta

I have written this post three times now, but every time, my computer dies or fails in one way or another.  So, I’ve given up on the stories and anecdotes.  This is good.  Make it and eat it.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
  • 2 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and spoon over toasted slices of baguette.


Potstickers

Yesterday, my husband and I had a friend over for Mexican food.  We got to talking about food.  What else do you talk about when you’re eating after all?  My husband attempted to explain about all the ethnic foods I am introducing him to, but he got stuck on “Tzatziki.”  I don’t really blame him.  Finally, he abandoned searching for the word and instead brought up the potstickers we enjoyed a few days prior.  But our friend was baffled at our considering potstickers ethnic, because to him, they are a “Utah thing!”  Potstickers, as it turns out, are a Chinese thing.  I am happy they are accessible here though!

Most people eat these at Chinese food restaurants (My mum, for one, loves them).  If people do attempt to make them at home, they generally use the store-bought wrappers.  I made mine from scratch, using a recipe from “Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch” and they are so easy (and CHEAP) that I will never buy them again.

Potsticker Wrappers:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup water

Combine flour and water in a medium bowl.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until it appears smooth.  Form the dough into a 9 inch cylinder with your palms.  Cut the dough in half lengthwise.  Dust both pieces with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let them rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile make the filling.

There are a million fillings that you can use for potstickers.  I used the traditional ginger pork filling adapted from “Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch”

  • 8 oz finely shredded napa cabbage (or regular cabbage)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 scallion (green onion) finely sliced
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine (apple juice)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (you NEED this to make it taste Chinese!)

Toss the cabbage with the salt in a large bowl and let it stand 30 minutes to remove excess water.  Rinse the cabbage, and squeeze out all the water you can.  Preheat the oven to 200F (this is so you can keep batches of cooked potstickers warm while you cook the rest).  Mix the pork, ginger, scallion, soy sauce, apple juice, sugar and sesame oil in a large bowl.  Mix in the cabbage.  Refrigerate anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

To assemble the dumplings, roll the cylinders out to 12 inches each (one at a time).  Cut out 3-3 1/4 inch circles.  Put a tsp of filling in the center of the dough.  Bring the top and bottom of the dough to the center of the filling and pinch shut forming a lip.  On one side of the dumpling, pinch 4 1/4 inch pleats in the dough along the lip.  When you have 10 or so ready, heat 1 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is almost smoking, drop in the dumpling.  Fry for 2 minutes (only on one side).  Add 1/2 cup of water to the skillet.  Cover and let the dumplings cook for 5 minutes.  When the water is just about gone, remove the lid and let the potstickers cook until they are light brown and stuck.  Repeat until all the dumplings are cooked.  Serve hot with Soy Vinegar Dip.

Soy Vinegar Dip

  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar

Heat ingredients with 1 tbsp water over low heat for 1 1/2 minutes.  Remove from heat and spoon into small dishes.  Top with a scallion sliced paper-thin if desired.

ps. The Spring Rolls were mediocre so I will not give you the recipe here.  Do you have a delicious spring roll recipe?