Baked Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Baked Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Baked Artichoke and Spinach Dip

This week kicks off the first post from the new blog group I put together with a few foodie friends. We’ll be blogging about 38 Power Foods. Each week we will write about one of the foods from the book Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with 38 Healthiest Ingredients; it’s from the editors of Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine. The book is divided into sections, so the first 15 weeks are dedicated to vegetables, followed by fruits, grains and legumes, nuts and seeds, and then eggs, yogurt and fish. I hope you’ll follow along with us.

So why is the artichoke considered a power food? To begin it’s low in calories, and high in fiber and protein. It also promotes liver function with two of the properties found in the vegetable: the antioxidant silymarin, and cynarin. Silymarin stilmulates the liver’s cell regeneration, and cynarin is a caffeoylquinix acid that promotes the liver’s bile production by breaking down fatty foods. This is good news for people who suffer from a weak gall bladder.

Another interesting point the editors make is that artichokes help to satiate your sweet tooth.  They refer to an experiment a scientist did. He served his dinner guests artichokes and afterwards, they thought that even water tasted sweet. The experiment was later confirmed at Yale University. I wonder if his guests skipped the chocolate cake?

I put off the decision about what I wanted to make this week—salad, dip, or pizza? There are so many possibilities when working with artichokes. After looking around at different recipes (101 Cookbooks, EverydayMaven, AltonBrown), I came up with my own version of baked artichoke and spinach dip using healthy foods.

 

Servings: 4 to 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 25 to 30 min.

 

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups frozen artichokes, (measure while frozen and then allow to thaw)

Mixing the ingredients

Mixing the ingredients

1 cup frozen spinach (measure while frozen and then allow to thaw)

3 cloves garlic

3 ounces silken, or medium-firm tofu

1/4 cup Neufchatel cheese

1/2 cup 2% low-fat Greek yogurt

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

3 tablespoons almonds, ground

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon olive oil (to oil the serving cups)

Procedure:

1. If you are using whole almonds, place them in the bowl of the food processor and grind them until the broken almonds resemble sand. Place it in a small bowl and set it aside.

2. Place the garlic in the food processor and process until it is finely minced, and then add the artichokes, the spinach, the tofu and process 2 more seconds until they are roughly chopped.

3. In a medium bowl beat together the yogurt, Neufchatel cheese, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the yogurt, and the cayenne. Add this mixture to the artichokes. Oil, or spray, three 1-cup ramekins and then place the mixture into the ramekins.

4. Mix together the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano and the ground almonds, and then sprinkle the mix over the top of the 3 ramekins. Bake them at 375° for 35-40 minutes. To Serve – place each ramekin between 2 people.

*Notes – 1. If you don’t have ramekins, use a 3 to 4 cup ovenproof serving bowl to bake the dip in.

2. Neufchatel cheese has 1/3 less fat than cream cheese.

 

Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up!

Alyce – More Time at the Table,  Ansh – Spice Roots,

Casey – Bookcase Foodie Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living,

Jill – Saucy Cooks Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living,

Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

 

This recipe is also posted at Full Plate Thursday and the Pennywise Platter

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Recipe: Braised Artichokes

Braised Artichokes

Braised Artichokes

The first time I saw an artichoke, I was probably six years old, and it was on a Laurel and Hardy movie. Oliver Hardy was sitting down in a fine dining restaurant where the waiter served him a steamed Globe artichoke. Oliver didn’t know that the way to eat it is to pull off leaf, put it between your teeth, and then gently pull the leaf down to have the soft pulp land on your tongue. He probably figured that in a fine dining restaurant you would surely eat it with a fork and knife. You can imagine the comedy.

Another fifteen years or so passed after that Laurel and Hardy episode before I tried a steamed artichoke… I liked it. But it wasn’t until I tried a braised artichoke that I learned to love them. Preparing braised artichokes does take a little effort. You’ll need a sharp knife to cut into a full size artichoke, but it’s an effort well repaid. For those who have never eaten fresh artichoke before, you’re in for a surprise because it’s…well, different! Besides the good taste, an excellent reason to eat artichokes is that they are loaded with antioxidants to help protect cells from damage (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006). They have even more antioxidants than cranberries. So, try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

2 lemons

4 medium-large artichokes

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Onion, 1/3 cup chopped

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Bay Leaf

1 ½ tablespoons parsley

Procedure:

1.)  Fill a large bowl with water, enough to cover the artichokes. Add to it, the juice of one lemon and ¼ cup of white flour. Whisk the mixture until there are no more flour balls. This mixture will help prevent the artichokes from browning. There should be enough water to cover all the artichokes.

2.) Pull off several of the hard outer leaves from the artichoke. You will notice stubby areas at the base where you pulled off the leaves. Take a paring knife and trim away the stubble so the sides of the choke are smooth.

3.) Cut off the top 1/3, making sure to cut off all of the pointed ends, and then cut off the end of the stem. Next, slice the artichoke in half, from the top down, and use a cereal spoon or a melon ball tool to remove the inner choke (the purple hairy thistle and all the small hairs). Leave the solid portion under the hairs intact. Once you have removed the inner thistle hairs, rub the cut artichoke with lemon and place the artichoke in the lemon water to keep it from browning.

4.) Heat a five-quart sauté pan with water the juice of ½ a lemon. Bring to a low simmer and then add the artichokes to the pan. Braise until they are 2/3 of the way cooked.

5.) When the artichokes are two-thirds done, place them in a large bowl with the cooking water. Dry the pan and then begin to heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in the pan. Add the onion and sauté the onion for three minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another two minutes, and then add the red pepper flakes.

6.) Quickly remove the artichokes from the bowl, leaving the water in the bowl, and place them upside down in the pan with the onion mixture. Add fresh water to the pan so that the water covers two-thirds the height of the artichokes. Discard the water from the bowl.

7.) Cut the remaining ½ lemon in slices, and add it to the pan with the bay leaf and the salt. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pan and braise the artichokes until they are tender. Add the parsley before serving.

Eat and know you’re doing your body a good thing!

Mireya



Artichokes on Foodista