November 14th, 2010

Another dip: Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip with bread

Creamy, slightly tangy, and absolutely addicting.

One of my favorite chain restaurant appetizers is spinach artichoke dip.  Some places serve it with tortilla chips, but I prefer soft bread as my dipping vehicle.  I can’t help it.  I love love love dipping bread into things.  My latest penchant is for dipping french bread in cajun-spiced olive oil.   Mmmm…See this is why my blog is named “Sex, Food, and Rock & Roll.”  Who needs drugs when food can be this good?

So.  Spinach artichoke dip.  I’d never made it before, but I figured it can’t be that hard, right? It’s a cheese-based dip, so I need cream cheese.  And obviously I need spinach and a can of artichoke hearts (quartered).  From there it’s just getting the texture and flavor right.

I used fresh spinach (it wilts as it cooks in the oven), the aforementioned can of quartered artichoke hearts (quarters are easier to mix in), and 8 ounces of cream cheese.  I also threw in half a cup of sour cream to make it, well, creamier.  Then some garlic powder, a bit of sea salt & pepper, and a small amount of Cajun seasoning because let’s face it, it’s damn good on bread.

It went in the oven a sloppy mess and came out a bubbling, creamy, delicious sloppy mess.  We pretty much ate an entire baguette between the two of us in one sitting.  And this was just the appetizer before pizza.  Oh man. Neither the spinach or artichokes overpowered the other, so it had a great balance of flavor.

What are your favorite chain restaurant appetizers? We’re always looking for more pizza-sides! Recipe after the jump.

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August 17th, 2010

Our favorite zucchini

Yet another apology for the long lapse between posts; again it is because of my wrist being so worn out from my job.  The good news is that I saw my orthopedic surgeon again today, and he told me that I am going to need surgery; we are just waiting until I am eligible for benefits at work so when I miss a week for recovery, I can use my personal time for it.

I must also warn you that I have been unable to take a photo for this post – not because it’s too painful to use my camera (in all honesty, the pain is mostly gone – it’s been replaced by lack of sensation altogether!).  Oh no.  The reason I can’t seem to get a photo of this zucchini dish of late is because it’s too dang good! We gobble it up almost before the rest of dinner is ready.  So…um, yeah.  A photo of Moroccan chicken stew where the sautéed zucchini makes a cameo appearance will have have to suffice.  Now, without further adieu….

Moroccan chicken served with buttermilk biscuits and sauteed zucchini

See it in all its golden-green glory hiding in the background?

As a kid I never had much exposure to zucchini, because neither of my parents are big squash fans.  It wasn’t until I had zucchini bread made by my high school sweetheart’s mother that I ever really tasted it.  And although that’s not a very good way to taste a new food, I decided that if I liked it in bread, I should see how else I liked it.

And now I absolutely love zucchini.  Brian is very fond of it too, so it is the most common vegetable side dish we eat.  In the name of experimentation, I’ve tried making it different ways: marinated, grilled, roasted, broiled, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and tossed with toasted pine nuts… However, Brian makes it clear that he does not understand the logic behind going through extra work to make something that, though tasty, will undoubtedly not taste as good as our favorite method.

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July 7th, 2010

Spinach & Ricotta Pizza

Spinach-Ricotta Pizza

Spinach-Ricotta Pizza

We made this a while ago, not even thinking to turn it into a blog post, but it just came out so dang pretty that I had to take a picture! And if you’re taking a picture of food, you need to share it, right?

This was not the best-tasting pizza we’ve ever made, although it was pretty tasty.  But it was probably the best-looking pizza, and we were awed by it before digging in. We make our own pizza crust (I mix, Brian kneads & rolls it), so it’s never guaranteed to look the same each time.  Especially since I never use the exact same ingredients…Sometimes I throw in some cornmeal, sometimes it’s whole wheat flour in varying proportions, I change up the yeast food (honey/sugar/brown sugar), or add some herbs…I never know how it’s going to turn out.  I wish I could tell you what type of crust I made this time, but I don’t remember.

What I do remember is that 1.) we didn’t have enough filling for the whole pizza but it melted together and was just fine, and 2.) the pizza recipe came from Cook Right for Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo.  It is the follow up to his Eat Right for Your Type, the premise of which is that certain blood types should eat certain foods and stay away from others.  It’s very fascinating, and having experimented with it, I think there’s some truth to it.  But according to him, A blood types don’t have much they’re “allowed” to eat, and red meat is a definite no-no.  Being hypoglycemic, that doesn’t work for me.  I’ve found that animal protein lasts in my system longer than legumes, so I don’t follow his diet.  Some of the recipes are really good though, so we still look in it once in a while for a healthy meal idea.  Like this pizza.  Digression over.

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July 4th, 2010

Linguine with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Linguine with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Linguine with Fresh Tomato Sauce

When I was first starting to learn to cook in my early days of college, I lived and breathed Food Network.  I always had it on while I was cooking, I believed if it was said by Alton Brown then it was the holy word of the food god, and I determined that some day I would go to culinary school for the pastry arts so I could make things as beautiful as Gale Gand.  And I got 99% of my recipes from

A lot has changed.  Now I don’t have a TV, so watching Food Network is a bit difficult.  I don’t need it as a crutch anymore, anyway.  Although I still adore Alton Brown’s scientific approach to cooking, I’ve found versions of food that I prefer to his.  And I rarely visit anymore;  most of my recipes come from elsewhere on the web, Bon Appétit, or various cookbooks I have on hand.

This recipe is the main thing I have left from those early days.  It remains my favorite pasta sauce – simple, colorful, and oh so flavorful.  Being oil based, it never makes the pasta soggy, so letting it sit in the refrigetator for a day or two lets the flavors meld better and permeate the noodles with vibrant taste and color.  I used to make a full batch when I lived alone and happily have lunch for the next 3 days.  For a family, I highly recommend doubling the recipe and eating it cold for lunch the next day.  Or two.

P.S. – Please forgive the photo quality; the lighting was as usual very poor and my wrist did not want to cooperate with photography so I was unable to spend much time creating ideal conditions. I’m happy I was able to provide a photo at all!

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May 9th, 2010

Fried apples and an award!

Fried Apples

Sautéed in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon

First, I must ask, no implore you to forgive the chip in this bowl.  You see, for all my aptitude for dancing, I am ridiculously clumsy and have a tendency to break things; usually dishes.  I can’t have nice things, and this pretty little Chinese dish set from my mother is no exception.  I just didn’t realize which bowl I was using when I took the photo.  D’oh!

Looking past the chipped Chinese china, please focus on the gorgeous, gooey, golden (let’s see how many times in one post I can use alliteration, eh?) apple slices nestled together.  Please also know that this delectable delight is insanely easy to make, and only involves 4 ingredients: an apple, some butter, and a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon.  The butter and brown sugar create a light caramel to glaze the apple, and joined by the juices of the cooking apple, becomes sticky and sublime (that’s 5 now).

It’s apples, so it’s healthy, right? And a little butter is good for you! And the brown sugar and cinnamon aren’t all that intrusive…so I claim this divine dessert also works well as a sweet side dish.  It’s fruit.  It’s good for you.  Don’t argue with my logic. :cool: I’ll give you the recipe at the end of this post.  But first, an award!

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