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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hot Chunky Artichoke Jalapeno Dip










The artichoke is a giant thistle flower bud. It is sometimes called the globe artichoke, or French artichoke to avoid confusion with the sunchoke, which is an entirely different plant that sometimes goes by the confusing name "Jerusalem artichoke".

Unlike most vegetables, only a very small part of the artichoke is actually edible — the very bases of the "leaves" and the interior heart. The heart of the flower is topped with spiky bristles or hairs that would be unpleasant to consume, and the leaves are extremely tough and fibrous.

Artichoke hearts are often sold in a pickled or preserved form, and served as part of an antipasto dish at the beginning of a meal.

To make this dip I don't fuss with taking the edible flesh out of fresh artichoke, I just use the canned artichoke hearts. They come in 12 oz cans or in 7 oz jar as shown in pictures.


Here is how I make my artichoke dip:


Ingredients:

• Artichoke hearts cut in to chunks from two of jars shown in picture (discard all the liquid in jar or can)

• 1/4 cup fresh Jalapeno peppers chopped

• 1/4 cup green onions finely chopped

• 1/2 small yellow onion finely chopped

• 4-5 cloves of garlic finely chopped

• 2 tablespoons of Cilantro leaves finely chopped

• 1/2 fresh red pepper cut and finely chopped

• 1 cup mayonnaise

• 1 cup of sour cream

• 1 pack of cream cheese (8oz) softened at room temp)

• 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1 cup of pepper jack cheese grated

• 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

• 1 tablespoon of Cilantro leaves finely chopped

• Pinch of salt (or to taste)

• Fresh ground black pepper corn to taste




Method:


* Mix all ingredients together in baking dish except half of chopped red peppers, half of Jalapeno peppers and all of cilantro.

* Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 min.

* Take it out of oven and mix rest of the peppers and Cilantro, mix well until everything is well incorporated. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes on top.

* Microwave it for 5 min just before serving.

* Serve hot with pita bread, pita chips or sliced French baguette.



Hints:


* You can add 1/2 cup of frozen spinach to this to make spinach artichoke dip.

* You may use Banana peppers instead of Jalapenos if don't want it to be very spicy.

* For extra kick you may add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder.

* I like to add cilantro, and half of the peppers in the end after most of baking is done. This is to preserve color of cilantro and red pepper and to give extra flavor and crunch to the dip. However, if you prefer, you can bake everything together.




Artichoke description and photo or artichoke heart source:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Artichoke
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License

Photographs of Jar artichoke by Kilgub
http://www.flickr.com/photos/15666478@N00/4834071075/
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en

Rest of the photographs and Recipe by Surekha.

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