Baked Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip

When I think of New Year’s Eve. I think of dip. French onion dip, blue cheese dip, cream cheese and pepper jelly; it’s all about dip to me. I especially love a baked veggie dip like this one, because it’s dip that I can pretend is a square meal. Add a whole grain, baked pita chip or a multi-grain Scoop and it’s just down right health food.

For a cocktail party I had years go, I made a similar spinach dip, but I winged it and threw all the ingredients in the food processor and gave it a whirl. The problem was pureed greens like spinach just turn the whole dish green. It tasted fine, but no one was brave enough to try the swampy green muckity-muck. Please don’t do that – if you must add the spinach only after you process. But, I really suggest you follow the instructions below for creamy dip success. Tostitos Scoops optional but highly recommended .

Haaaaaappy New Year!

Baked Artichoke Dip with Chard and Kale

Baked Artichoke Dip with Chard and Kale

8 cups fresh Swiss chard, spinach or kale
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon’s zest
2 14-ounce jars artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) Parmesan, freshly grated, divided
3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon bottled cayenne pepper sauce (Or, 1 dried Everblossom chili, seeds removed, finely minced)
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter or spray a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Blanch the greens of your choosing in boiling water until wilted and bright green – a few minutes. Drain and squeeze out as much water as you can.

In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients with just 1 cup of the Parmesan. Place into the buttered casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.

The last 5 minutes add the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan to the top. Serve hot or cold!


Keema: An Indian Curry

Keema in process

Keema in process

Serves 4

A wonderful friend made Keema for my daughter, Audrey, and me one weekend our families were away together. She is an experienced cook and knows the luxury of a dinner you can hold in the oven at 200 degrees until everybody’s ready. She serves it with shredded coconut, perfectly tender roasted carrots, and only with basmati rice. I, however, am a little less strict about ingredients and have found that jasmine rice is also quite nice.

Use your Everblossom chard, onion, garlic, basil and tomatoes.

This has become such a family favorite, I triple this recipe and put the other two batches in the freezer.

3 tablespoons curry powder
3 tablespoons sesame oil, or peanut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (cilantro or parsley is good here too)
1 pound ground beef
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
6 to 8 ripe plum-sized tomatoes or equivalent
10 ounces frozen peas

  • Prepare rice according to package instructions. Hold separately.
  • Sauté curry powder in oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions and brown. Add garlic, chard and basil and stir. Add meat and brown.
  • Blanch tomatoes in hot water until you can remove peels easily; finely chop.
  • Add salt and peeled, chopped tomatoes; cover. Cook over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes. Add peas, mix in, cover again, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve over rice

Important: Do not use a black cast iron skillet or wooden spoons; the curry powder will get in the pores. A silicon scraper may also be dyed yellow.

Cooking in Foil Packets

Elaine likes to whip up foil packet feasts in the summer. Here are just a few ideas to get you started. This method makes cooking large amounts really easy – and no pots to clean. Cook these packets in the oven, on the grill, or on campfire cinders. Either way you’ll find that it seems to heighten the flavor as all the ingredients steam together.

the root foil packet

“root” foil packet with thyme

Make a foil packet: take a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, generously sized, but appropriate to the amount you plan to cook. Drizzle with olive oil; add prepared veg; fold together opposite sides of the foil, rolling down a few times, but leave a little space for the steam to circulate. Then, fold up each end to seal.

Cook in a pre-heated oven at about 375oF or grill at medium heat until contents are fork tender.

  • Root Packet: Cut into even pieces your choice of potatoes, onions, beets, and carrots. Drizzle with olive oil; add sprigs of thyme, parsley or your favorite herb, salt, and pepper. Cook approximately 15 minutes.
  • Rustic Ratatouille: Evenly chop summer squash, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. Drizzle with olive oil; add choice of herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley. Cook approximately 15 minutes. Serve over pasta or rice.
  • Chard: Rinse and chop or rip the leaves and stems of a large bunch of Swiss chard. Add to packet with some olive oil. Add juice of half lemon and then toss in the lemon too. You can also add a slice of tomato to help the steaming process. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Roasted Garlic: There is no easier way to enjoy the sweet nutty goodness of roasted garlic for making garlic mashed potatoes, garlic bread, or bruschetta. Use cloves or bulbs of garlic (peeling optional), drizzle in olive oil, and wrap in foil. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until tender. The soft sweet garlic will squeeze right out of the peel.
  • Roasted Onion: Leave the peel on an onion to prevent it from burning. Cross-cut ¾ of the way down the top of an onion and stuff it with rosemary, thyme, and a hunk of butter.  Add salt and pepper; wrap in foil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until softened through.