Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cream Cheese Spinach Dip

This is the sort of recipe I have spent ages trying to perfect. I still probably will continue to tinker with it over the years. Spinach suspending in a creamy mess? Delicious.

But I have dip problems, which I have told you about before. I don't like mayo or sour cream. They creep me out. The idea of either of them makes me cringe. I've since figured out that I like yogurt and cream cheese based dips (although the idea of eating cream cheese on a bagel also creeps me out - I'm a weirdo) and my very favourite comes courtesy of Kelsey's. (They also introduced me to deep fried Mars bars. Which I adored.)

Recipes claiming to duplicate their dip have abounded over the internet, and I have certainly used more than a few. But there are always a few missing in my pantry. I usually have parmesan and cheddar cheeses on hand, but we don't tend to have cream cheese or Romano on hand. We'd rather have blues and bries for eating purposes.

What's a girl to do? Well, I adapt things for what I do have onhand. No Romano? Well, I have two different parmesans. I'm never going to chop just a tablespoon of bell pepper, but sometimes I have miniatures on hand, and I'm ok with having too much bell pepper.

This recipe is just barely adapted at all. Just barely.

Almost-Kelsey's Four (Three?) Cheese Spinach Dip
from cdkitchen

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (250g) plain or light cream cheese
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Trestelle pre-grated Parmesan
  • 1 miniature bell pepper, chopped extra fine
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped extra fine
  • about 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2/3rds cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400* F.
  2. In boiling water, blanch spinach for 45 seconds. Drain into a collander over the sink. When it has cooled, squeeze to dry.
  3. Mix cream cheese, garlic powder, cayenne and parmesan(s) until softened and thoroughly mixed.
  4. Add bell pepper and onion, mix until just incorporated.
  5. Add spianch, mix until just incorporated.
  6. Transfer to small, oven proof serving dishes (ramekins, gratin dishes or miniature casserole dishes all work perfectly for this) and top with the cheddar cheese. (Pro-tip: I transfer my dip into two miniature casseroles, so that Bunny doesn't eat the entire dip before I have had three bites. Plus, this way he gets an orange dish and I can have blue or purple and that makes us happy.)
  7. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, until bubbling on the top.
  8. Serve this baby up with baked or fried pita wedges (if you want to go all Kelsey's style) or tortilla chips. Especially corn chips. Oh yeah.
Also, possibly the best part here, you can make this ahead of time and just pop it in the oven. One of the best ways to entertain.

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