Lemon Thyme & Ginger

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with Spicy Citrus Dressing

Beef, Main Entrees, Salad, Steak | August 11, 2017 | By

This time of year, I focus my meals around tomatoes and fresh corn. I know soon enough local ripe tomatoes and corn will no longer be available. Every day I enjoy the freshness of a perfect juicy tomato and the sweet crunch of fresh corn. They taste so good and refreshing at peak season. I never get tired of them. This obsession challenges me to create different recipes that include corn and/or tomatoes. One variation I created is a steak salad loaded with summer vegetables. This is a light and refreshing salad with just the right amount of spicy citrus dressing to complement he vegetables and steak.

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with Spicy Citrus Dessing Recipe

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with Spicy Citrus Dressing Recipe

My focus for the recipe was to use local vegetables and fruit from NY Hudson Valley farms. It turns out, everything but the nectarines were grown in Yorktown by Meadows Farm. This local only focus (with the exception of the citrus salad dressing), is a big change for me because I add avocado to everything, especially salad. Avocado would taste great in this salad too. The salad’s produce ingredients include, yellow and green beans, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, fresh corn, arugula, nectarines and herbs. This whole group of fruit and vegetables pair perfectly with grilled steak. Unfortunately, it did not occur to me until I finished the salad, I could buy my steak locally at Hemlock Hill Farms in Cortland Manor.

This salad does not take long to prepare, but as is typical cooking with fresh produce does require more prep-work. I believe the results are worth it. Each step is done to bring out the bright flavors of fruit and vegetables. What is important to focus on is the timing of adding certain ingredients, and when to cook your steak. To achieve the freshest appearance and taste, slice then add the nectarines and steak just before you are ready to serve. Also tear or snip the herbs at that time as well. The rest of the ingredients are hardier and won’t turn brown when exposed to the air and acid.

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with spicy Citrus Dressing Recipe

I am using a new technique I just learned for dressing a vegetable salad. Instead of whisking all the salad dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl, I mix some, but add the rest directly to the vegetables. The citrus juice, zest, Sriracha, and honey get mixed together so the honey dissolves and is easy to mix. Normally, I would add the vinegar with the citrus, and then the olive oil to the citrus mix. However, I will add these ingredients separately to the prepared vegetables and adjust the amounts as needed.

First, add the vinegar to the vegetables with a pinch of Kosher salt. This step brings out the bright flavors and makes them shine. I was pleasantly surprised when I first tried this technique. I did not taste a strong vinegar flavor. Instead, the vinegar accentuated the natural flavors of the vegetables. How many times have you tasted homemade salad dressing and got hit in the face with an acid punch? It is not the case when you first add vinegar to vegetables. This is also a good lesson showing how adding additional seasonings and dressings change the flavors of the vegetables and fruit.

Try these dinner salads, Grilled Chicken and Cucumber Salad with Avocado Yogurt Dressing, Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing

Delicious summer desserts, Lemon Mousse, Peaches and Berries with Bourbon Sabayon, Almond Peach Galette, Nectarine and Blueberry Galette, Nifty Cake, Gluten-free Nifty Cake

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with Spicy Citrus Dressing Recipe

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with Spicy Citrus Dressing Recipe

Joshua McFadden, chef/owner of Ava Gene’s in Portland Oregon, is considered a vegetable whisperer. He describes his salad making techniques in his cookbook, Six Seasons. I got the idea of adding the vinegar first to a salad after reading his book. Using this idea does make fixing a salad more hands on (literally), and the ingredient amounts somewhat vague. If you are just learning to cook, my advice is to start with less amounts of seasoning and dressings. You can always add more, but it is harder to fix over-seasoned and over-dressed food. Get your (clean) hands in there and add, toss and taste. Repeat until you believe it is perfect.

Do you have a local market where you buy your produce?  Farmers markets are great, but around here they open one day a week on Saturday or Sunday. Having a local farm stand open six days a week in my hometown is a treat. I shop at big grocery stores as well, which are very convenient. However, I am grateful to live in an area where local farm produce is available to me.

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with Spicy Citrus Dressing Recipe

What meal do you make using local and fresh ingredients?

Enjoy!

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Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with Spicy Citrus Dressing

An easy summer dinner salad made with grilled steak and seasonal vegetables. You can use any vegetables you wish. I like to pair green beans with steak, so I included them with other local produce that is available in the summer. An avocado is an optional ingredient. If you are using it add it just before serving and sprinkle the pieces with lime juice. You can also replace the vegetables in this salad with my recipe for Anything Goes Potato Salad . The amount of time to cook the steak depends on the type of steak you have and how thick your piece is. Steak does not need long to cook over a very hot grill or skillet. Start with two minutes a side for a steak that is one inch thick for rare meat. Thicker steaks are easier to cook properly and get a good sear on them.
Prep Time 39 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Citrus Dressing

  • 1 TB fresh orange juice and zest from half an orange
  • Juice from one lime and zest
  • 1 TB honey
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 1/2 tbs Sriracha
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad

  • 1 lb green beans ends trimmed
  • 2-3 scallions
  • 1 lb 450 g green beans, if a mix of colors are available use them.
  • 1 ear of fresh corn
  • 1/2 lb 225 g grape tomatoes
  • 3 oz 40 g arugula
  • 1 1/2 lbs 750 g steak, like shell steak, strip steak, or flank steak, your choice
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt about 1/2 tbs
  • 1/2 tbs crushed fennel seed
  • 1/2 tbs ground coriander
  • 1 - 2 nectarines or peaches sliced into wedges (If using peaches peel them first)
  • About 5-6 basil leaves
  • About 6 mint leaves
  • About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • More Kosher salt and ground pepper

Instructions

Prepare the steak

  1. One hour before you cook the steak, remove the steak from the refrigerator and its packaging. Put the steak on a plate and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle Kosher salt, ground coriander and crushed fennel seed over both sides of the steak. Loosely cover the steak with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes up to 1 hour.

Spicy Citrus Dressing

  1. Add the orange juice, lime juice, zests, honey, sriracha, a small pinch of Kosher salt, a couple of grinds of ground pepper, and smashed garlic clove to a small bowl. Mix until the honey is dissolved. Cover the bowl with plastic and keep on the counter for later.

Prepare the vegetables

  1. Trim off the ends of the scallions and thinly slice each scallion on a sharp diagonal. Add the scallion slices to a small bowl filled with cold water and ice. Let the scallions macerate in the ice water for 15 minutes.
  2. Husk the corn and cut off the stem piece. Place the bottom of the corn in a mixing bowl and hold onto the tip. With a sharp knife slice off the kernels from the cob. Once the kernels are sliced off, run the back edge of your knife down the cob to press any corn milk out, catch the drippings in your bowl.
  3. Make an ice water bath for the green beans. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Set aside near the stove.
  4. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil on the stove. Trim the green beans. When the water boils add a large pinch of salt then the green beans and blanch them for one minute. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and quickly add them to the ice water bath to stop the cooking. When cooled, take the green beans out of the ice bath and dry on a clean kitchen towel. Add the beans to the bowl with the corn.
  5. Cut the grape tomatoes in half and add to bowl.
  6. Add half the arugula. If the leaves are large, tear them in half.
  7. Drain the scallions and dry them, then add to the bowl with the vegetables.
  8. Add the sherry vinegar, a small pinch of Kosher salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper to the vegetables and toss to mix with your clean hands. Taste. You will taste the vinegar, but it will not be harsh. Set aside.
  9. Sear the seasoned steak on a hot grill, grill pan, or skillet. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to your pan or grill. Add the steak and sear for about 2- 3 minutes per side depending on the cut of your steak. My steak was very thin, about an inch, so very little time was needed to cook it. Flank steak will take longer. Aim for rare to medium-rare steak, or how you prefer your steak. The internal temperature for rare steak is 125°F (52°C). Medium-rare is 130 - 135°F (54 - 57°C). Remove the steak from the heat and rest on a carving board, and grind a couple of rounds of fresh pepper over each steak. Let the steak rest for 10 - 15 minutes.
  10. When you are almost ready to eat, cut the bone off the steak (if there is one), and slice on a diagonal and across the grain into thin, 1/4 inch (.5 cm) slices. Drizzle about half of the citrus dressing over your steak slices on the cutting board then drizzle 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil over the steak.
  11. Slice the nectarines and add to the vegetables. Add the remaining arugula. Drizzle the remaining citrus dressing over the vegetables. Toss to coat and taste the vegetables for seasoning. Add more lime juice, sriracha, or other seasonings if needed. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the vegetables and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Tear or snip the herbs over the bowl of the vegetables and toss. Taste and correct seasoning.
  12. I like to serve the steak and vegetables side by side, not all mixed up like a traditional salad. This way if you have any leftover steak, you can store it separately and make steak sandwiches the next day. On a large platter spread out your vegetables and drizzle with olive oil and fresh herbs. Arrange the sliced steak to the side of the vegetables and pour any accumulated juices from the cutting board over the steak. Lightly drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the steak and a light sprinkle of sea salt flakes if you have them, and fresh ground pepper. Garnish the steak with chopped herbs. If you prefer, mix the vegetables and steak together in a bowl. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Potato Salad with Sorrel Dressing

Potato Salad with Sorrel Dressing

Every time I walk around the Farmers Market I feel like I am on a treasure hunt. There is an element of familiarity with each vender, but also curiosity as the seasons transition from the sparse offerings of early spring to the abundant fall harvest. At every visit, I anticipate the changing produce and new discoveries.  Fortunately, this past week was no exception for I discovered sorrel.

Potato Salad with Sorrel Dressing Recipe

In my area, sorrel is only available at Farmers Markets. It is a green leafy vegetable with a bright lemony flavor. It is a hardy plant but for some reason does not have wide appeal. However, every vegetable centered cookbook I own has a few sorrel recipes.  Therefore, it must have some appeal. If Deborah Madison and Alice Walters took the time to highlight this vegetable, it is worth bringing home to see for myself.

(more…)

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel

Chicken, Main Entrees | February 24, 2017 | By

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel

What I love about cooking is its split personality. Cooking requires technical precision, but also a certain amount of flexibility. It seems like an odd arrangement, but both precise technique and the ability to be spontaneous and adapt, happily co-exist when the heat is on. Technique, experience and intuition dance together and enlighten the cook toward a delicious masterpiece.

Inspiration and real-time situations influence a cook’s technical strengths and creativity. How many creative works of art and scientific truths have evolved out of “mistakes”? And, where would the world be without the creative spirit to “fix” them? I do my best to plan and be prepared whenever I start to cook a meal. However, I can’t tell you how many times I started cooking something and realized I was missing one or more of the required ingredients, the chicken went bad overnight, or had the wrong size pan. Damn, now what? A quick survey of the situation and my pantry, something unintended develops and who knows could be a new family favorite.

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel

I rely on recipes I call my foundations. These recipes can easily adapt to any of life’s unexpected adventures, or my creative whims. One foundation recipe is Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel. I fall in love with roasted fennel every time I eat it, and this recipe is no exception. The subtle sweetness of the fennel compliments the richness of the caramelized shallots and roasted chicken. I will also seek out any excuse to use fresh tarragon. Still, the bones of the recipe allow me to develop many reincarnations at whim or by necessity.

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel is not complicated to make, or have a lot of speciality ingredients. A total bonus is, it does not require my full attention while it is cooking. Yet, there are a couple of technical factors that will influence the recipe’s outcome. The obvious one is knowing when the chicken is properly cooked. Undercooked chicken will make you sick and overcooked chicken is chewy and dry. The not so obvious influence is the baking pan.

Tips for Success making Oven Baked Chicken

In this instance size, does matter. The size and type of pan will determine how long the chicken will cook, and how it will cook. The higher the sides the more pan juices will develop. Too large of a pan and the juices will dry up.  A pan that is too small will not allow for enough air circulation to achieve crispy skin and have the chicken cook properly.

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel recipe

I baked eight pieces of chicken with all the vegetables in a roasting pan that was 16″ x 11” x 1 1/2″ (41cm x 27.5 cm x 4 cm) in size. The finished meal was perfectly baked chicken with crispy skin, caramelized shallots and plenty of pan juices. Yet, being flexible is my mantra so use whatever baking pans you have. The size of the pan is more important, than the type of pan. Hopefully you have a baking dish with sides. If you only have small pans, divide the recipe between two pans. The outcome might be slightly altered, but more importantly you can still make this delicious baked chicken dinner without making a trip to the store.

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel Recipe

Second, be observant and listen to the chicken with your senses. The chicken will tell you when it is done. Pierce the chicken at its thickest part with a fork, and take note about how much resistance you feel. The fork will slide through a perfectly cooked piece of chicken with little resistance. You should see clear liquid flowing out of the holes made by the fork. If you see cloudy or bloody juices spilling out of the chicken, the meat needs more time to cook.

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel

Additionally, you can cut open the meat and look inside. It is better to cut across one piece of chicken then serve undercooked chicken to your friends and family. Chicken meat that is properly cooked, is not pink or appears raw. It should be juicy as well. The meat is overcooked if it looks dry and there are no flowing juices. The internal temperature for just cooked chicken is between 165˚F and 170˚F.

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel Recipe

One Pan One Meal Chicken Diner

Flexible Tips for Oven Baked Chicken

I like to follow the recipe exactly as instructed the first time I cook it. I learn about how to prepare a new dish and about the author. Learning new techniques is fun, but so is being creative and adapting to my set of circumstances. So, after the first trial run, I am comfortable adapting a recipe to fit my mood, or to what is in my pantry.

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel is a balanced chicken dinner accented with tarragon, vermouth, garlic and lemon. If necessary you can adjust the ingredients, including the amount of time to marinate the chicken. Don’t like vermouth, no problem switch it with a dry white wine. The fresh herbs are not available at the store, fear not and use dried herbs. Can’t find shallots, regular onions sliced into thin wedges will suffice.  No time to marinate the chicken, no worries it will still taste fine if you mix everything together right before you cook it. The depth of flavor may not be as intense, but it will be satisfying and delicious.

 

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Chicken Recipe

Cooking a meal should not be stressful. I always say use what you’ve got and enjoy the process. Technique is your friend that sets the foundation but also allows you to be creative and adapt to any of life’s mistakes and adventures.

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Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel

The combination of fresh tarragon, shallots, fennel and vermouth add subtle and sweet flavor to the baked chicken. If you have time, marinate the chicken and vegetables for one to four hours. Not to worry if time does not allow for marinating the chicken. The baked chicken will still be delicious. Use a Pyrex like baking dish, roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet to bake the chicken. The pan should be large enough for all the chicken pieces and vegetables to fit in without being too crowded or too big.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 - 8 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 8 Skin on bone in Chicken Thighs or combo of breasts and chicken*
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic divided
  • Zest of half a lemon plus 1 whole lemon cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth divided
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 fennel bulb and fronds
  • 8 small shallots

Instructions

  1. Trim the chicken thighs of extra skin and if using chicken breasts cut each breast in half. Arrange the chicken on a tray. Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with Kosher salt and let rest on the counter while you make the marinade.
  2. Peel the garlic, remove the green germ, and mince half of the garlic cloves. Place the minced garlic in the mixing bowl. Strip the thyme and tarragon leaves from their stems and finely chop. Add the herbs to the bowl. Add the lemon zest, mustard, honey, olive oil, ground pepper and 1/4 cup vermouth to the bowl and whisk together until incorporated.
  3. Cut the fennel bulb in half, remove the core and thinly slice the bulb, no more than a 1/4 inch. Reserve the fennel fronds and set aside.
  4. Peel each shallot then cut each bulb in half. Set aside with the fennel.
  5. Add the chicken to the marinade then use your clean hands and mix the chicken until each piece is thoroughly coated with the marinade. Add the sliced fennel, remaining garlic cloves, and shallots then mix them all together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate for 1 - 3 hours. Marinade the chicken in the refrigerator if longer than one hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 F, 15 minutes before you want to bake the chicken.
  7. Spread the chicken, fennel and shallots over a large roasting pan that is just large enough to accommodate all the chicken without crowding the pan. You can slip the fennel under the chicken.
  8. Place the lemon wedges around the pieces of chicken, fennel fronds and the remaining 1/4 cup of vermouth to the roasting pan.
  9. Bake the chicken and vegetables for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with pan juices and bake for 20 more minutes. Check to see if the chicken is done. The chicken is done when piercing the chicken with a fork, there is little resistance and the juices are clear. The internal temperature should be between 165F and 170F.
  10. When done, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve the chicken with the fennel, shallots and lemon, drizzled with remaining pan juices.

Recipe Notes

If you prefer, you can make this dish with boneless and skinless chicken thighs. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F. If the chicken did not brown as much as you like put the chicken and vegetables under the broiler for a couple of minutes. I do not recommend making this with boneless chicken breasts because they will cook to quickly and the vegetables will not be done. Boneless chicken breasts get mushy if they are marinated for more than an hour.

The roasting lemon wedges with chicken adds great lemon flavor. You can eat the lemon slice rind and all. Use only lemons with a thin rind. Too much lemon pith does not taste very good.

Nutrition Facts
Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip: Muhammara

Appetizers, Recent Posts, Vegan | February 1, 2017 | By

Day 2 of Super Bowl Dip frenzy featuring Muhammara. This is a delicious dip recipe made with roasted red peppers, chili pepper, chopped walnuts and pomegranate molasses. Muhammara, pronounced [mu-HUMM-a-da](Maureen Abood), is an amazing discovery and could be the best party dip ever.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip- Muhammara

Roasted red pepper dip has its origin from Aleppo, Syria. It is typically served as part of mezze. To generalize, mezze is the Middle Eastern equivalent to Spanish Tapas. A selection appetizers featuring spreads, cheeses, several meats, and served with drinks. We served Muhammara with grilled chicken for dinner last night and I thought it was out of this world. I could not stop myself from spreading it over everything on my plate. I showed great restraint not to dollop this dip all over my salad.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip- Muhammara

If you are ever looking for an alternative to hummus, Muhammara is a good substitute. Nonetheless, you will have nothing to lose if you want to serve both. I believe there is always room for more. The walnuts make this dip of roasted red peppers thick and creamy, and the olive oil smooths the texture. Additionally, pomegranate molasses adds a touch of sweetness to counter the spice of the hot peppers.

My research revealed that there are as many versions of this dip as there are recipes, and almost as many different pronunciations. (Food Network pronunciation is [moo-hahm-MRAH].) So please feel free to play around with the amounts of each ingredient. After all, the more you make this dip you will develop Muhammara into your own special creation. I adapted this recipe of Muhammara from two recipes, Red Pepper Dip with Walnuts and Pomegranate by Amanda Hesser from Cooking at New York Times, and Muhammara from 101 Cookbooks.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Dip - Muhammara
Tips for success making Red Pepper Dip: Muhammara

Roast the peppers on a hot grill, under the broiler, or over the flame on a gas burner. You want to get the whole surface of each bell pepper really charred. It is a lot easier to peel off the skins when the peppers have a good char, followed by a good steam in a covered bowl.

I used Aleppo pepper flakes, but feel free to use any dried red pepper flakes you have. You can also use a fresh hot chili pepper. Roast the chili with the red bell peppers, peel off the skin, and add according to how spicy you want it to be. You can buy Aleppo pepper flakes at specialty spice markets or on Amazon.

Toast the walnuts. Toasting nuts brings out the flavor by releasing the oils and makes a big difference in their flavor and texture. You can toast walnuts by spreading them out on a sheet pan and place in a preheated 350˚F oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully so they do not get scorched. The walnuts are finished toasting when they are slightly darker and have a toasty-nutty aroma.

Pomegranate molasses is concentrated pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice which is cooked down and reduced to a thick syrup. You can make it or buy it at specialty markets (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Korean Markets, Middle Eastern Markets, specialty grocery stores, or Amazon).

Recipe for making your own pomegranate molasses.

Buy pomegranate molasses.

For a simple shortcut you can buy jarred roasted red peppers, or from the olive bar in the deli section of a grocery store. You will need the equivalent of 3 whole red bell peppers.

Muhammara is also delicious with:

Lamb chops

Grilled Flank Steak

Roasted Red Pepper Dip -Muhammara

Be forewarned, this dip is very addictive.

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Roasted Red Pepper Dip: Muhammara

Muhammara is a dip made from roasted red peppers, toasted walnuts, pomegranate molasses, and dried hot pepper flakes. It has concentrated flavor of roasted red bell peppers and an amazing creamy texture. Make the dip as sweet or spicy as you like. It is the perfect party dip and very addictive. Muhammara should rest for at least one hour after it is made to allow for the flavors to meld. Can be made a day ahead. Best served at room temperature.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs red bell peppers 2-3 red bell peppers
  • 1 Tb Aleppo pepper or dried red pepper flakes, or 1 small fresh hot chili pepper
  • Up to 1 ½ cups toasted walnuts coarsely chopped
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 Tb pomegranate molasses
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tb olive oil more for garnish
  • Pita bread for serving

Instructions

  1. Roast the red peppers (and fresh chili pepper if using): Turn the oven on to the broiler setting. Cut the red bell peppers in half and place them on a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil, and put the peppers under the broiler*. Broil the peppers until the sides are charred all over. This will take some time, about 10 - 20 minutes. You will need to watch the peppers closely during the broiling process. The more it is charred the easier it is to peel the skin off the bell peppers.
  2. Once the peppers are charred, immediately put them in a bowl large enough to accommodate all the peppers and quickly cover with plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam in the bowl for 15 minutes.
  3. Once steamed and cool to touch, rub the skins off the peppers and remove the seeds and pith. Rough chop the peppers and place in the blender, or food processor.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, combine half of the chopped walnuts and the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl to process. You might need to add the ingredients incrementally depending on what small appliance you are using. I used an immersion blender and the dip got very thick until I added the roasted red peppers. Blend until smooth and add more of the walnuts to reach your desired consistency. If the dip is too thick you can add a small amount of water, two teaspoons at a time.
  5. Add the olive oil and process until very smooth. The dip can have some texture to it, but you want a smooth consistency.
  6. Let the dip rest on the counter, or covered in the refrigerator if longer than one hour. Serve the muhammara at least one hour after you make it. Muhammara is best served at room temperature. Drizzle the dip with extra olive oil, ground cumin and chopped walnuts. Serve with plain or toasted pitas.
  7. Muhammara will last in the refrigerator for one week.

Toast the pita bread.

  1. Turn on the oven to 350˚F and cut each pita into 8 triangles and place on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the pitas in the oven and bake until lightly browned and crispy, about 10 to 20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

*If you are using a fresh hot chili pepper, broil and remove the skin at the same time with the red bell peppers. Add the amount of chili pepper to the dip to satisfy your desired level of spice and heat.

 

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon and Crispy Pita Chips

Appetizers, Recent Posts | January 31, 2017 | By

Who: Atlanta Falcons vs New England Patriots.

What: Super Bowl LI.

Where: Houston TX and televised on FOX Network.

When: Sunday Feb. 5th 2017, 6:30pm EST.

Halftime show: The ever so talented Lady Gaga.

All those questions are answered, but the most important question remains, what are we going to eat?

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

Whether you are staying at home or going out to friends, this central food question is on everyone’s mind. The Super Bowl is a food grazing phenomenon with established traditions that has grown in popularity for the past 51 years.  Like Thanksgiving, certain foods are a must have. My friend Alan believes the Super Bowl is not the Super Bowl unless wings are served. I also believe dips fall into the must have category and Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is the perfect stand-in.
Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

It is hard to believe that Spinach Artichoke Dip needs any improvements. Still, as the saying goes, “Everything tastes better with pork,” totally applies to Spinach Artichoke Dip. Adding bacon to this traditional dip turns an “Oh yum,” into, “Wow. What is this? It is incredible.”  Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is a powerhouse dip. It is familiar and new at the same time, and well worth the extra time it takes to cook the bacon.

This recipe is an oldie of mine. Well “oldie” is a relative term and I can’t believe that I am considering 2005 in the oldie category. Yet, some foods and food trends have a short lifespan. Additionally, I am one to frequently change around my food ideas for any party. Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon is not a passing trend, but there when you need an appetizer on the quick. This recipe stands the honored test of time and continues to be a reliable recipe for a crudité platter, or chips and dip.

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

I got this recipe from a Food Network series, Party Line with the Hearty Boys. I enjoyed the show and was sad that it did not last very long. The hosts Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh came across as fun easy-going guys and with a collection of delicious and reliable recipes. The only changes I made to this recipe, was to mix in some yogurt with the sour cream to lighten it up.

Tips for making Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon

Use any combination of sour cream and Greek yogurt. The original recipe used 100% sour cream. You can also try crème fraiche. This is a thick dip, so regular yogurt will not work as well as Greek yogurt does. I also believe the full fat versions of both ingredients taste a lot better than the low-fat versions.

Cooking the shallots and garlic makes a big difference in this recipe. Raw garlic and onions can overwhelm the dip, and they do not age well. Also, cooking the shallots and garlic extends the lifespan of a dip from 24 hrs to a couple of days.

This can be served cold, but I think it is easier to dip chips, and tastes better when it is closer to room temperature.

If you have non-pork eaters, portion out some of the dip before you add the bacon so all your guests can enjoy this dip.

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon Recipe

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Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon and Crispy Pita Chips

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon and crispy pita chips is a recipe I have served many times. It is a family favorite and a great choice for any gathering of family and friends. Adding crispy bacon and lemon zest to this traditional dip recipe makes it stand out appetizer. This recipe is slightly adapted from Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, Party Line with the Hearty Boys as seen on Food Network, 2005.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Author Ginger

Ingredients

For the Dip

  • 1 Tb vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 10- oz package frozen chopped spinach thawed
  • 2 cups sour cream or 50/50 combo of sour cream and Greek yogurt
  • 1 6- oz jar marinated artichoke hearts roughly chopped
  • 10 bacon strips cooked up very crisp, crumbled
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Crispy Pita Chips

  • 1 Tb kosher salt
  • 1 Tb dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 12 tsp ground black pepper
  • 14 tsp celery salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 pitas cut into 12 wedges each

Instructions

For the Dip

  1. Heat up the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium low heat. Once warm add the minced shallots and garlic to the pan. Cook the vegetables and stir frequently until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Put the thawed spinach on a double layer of cheesecloth*. Bring the ends together and twist
  3. forming a tight ball. Squeeze all the excess water from the spinach. Place in a medium size mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients to the bowl with the spinach and carefully mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Allow the dip to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. If you are not going to serve it right away, store the dip covered in the refrigerator.
  4. Spoon the dip into a serving bowl and serve with the crispy pita chips.

For the Crispy Pita Chips

  1. Arrange an oven rack to be in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F
  2. In a small bowl mix the Kosher salt, dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, black pepper, and celery salt until evenly combined. Add the pita triangles into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixed herbs and spices over the pita wedges. Using clean hands, toss the pita wedges and spice mix until it is thoroughly mixed together. Drizzle the oil over the pitas and mix thoroughly until the pita chips are evenly coated with oil and spice mix . Arrange the spiced pita triangles on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake until the pita chips are crispy and lightly browned. Let the pita chips cool for 10 minutes before you arrange them for serving.
  3. Serve with the spinach artichoke and bacon dip.

Recipe Notes

* If you do not have cheesecloth, you can use a fine mesh strainer and push the water out of the spinach using the back of a large spoon. If you have a clean flour sack kitchen towel, it will work just as well as cheesecloth.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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