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