Wednesday, March 14

Kale Artichoke Dip

This time of year always makes me think of the color green, and not just because of St. Patrick's Day. The crisp air, the longer days and the light rain bring spring growth and the first sprouts of new grass for the season. Everything seems more vibrant and the produce finally starts to get reeeaaaallly good. So, in honor of all things green, I decided to make a delicious dip to share with my friends for St. Patrick's Day. Considering it will be raining in my neighborhood this Saturday, staying indoors with some cocktails, games and this dip sounds like the perfect way to celebrate.

Not to mention, it's artichoke month on Seasonal Potluck. If you've never heard of Seasonal Potluck, it's a fun website where you can share recipes based on a certain seasonal ingredient each month. When I saw that artichokes were the highlight for March, I instantly thought I wanted to make a new take on a classic dip that would also incorporate the green of the season.

And so, Kale Artichoke Dip was born. It's like Spinach & Artichoke dip, but thicker, greener and just plain more delicious. You can pretend it's healthier too if you want.
P.S. I found a new product at the market....jarred grilled artichokes. I got way too excited when I saw these knowing how they would elevate the flavor of my dip....and they did NOT disappoint!
Start by boiling or steaming your kale. Make sure to shock it in cold water as soon as its tender to keep the color and stop the cooking.
Heat the whipping cream and cream cheese together.
After adding all of the spices, kale and artichokes, get excited because we are going to use one of my very favorite little devices...
Um, yes, that is a mini crockpot and it's called the "Little Dipper" need one of these. You put your dip or fondue in it, plug it in and get ready to grub. You could certainly bake this dip in the oven in a heatproof dish as well, but the Little Dipper is just so much more fun when you are having guests.
Serve it hot and bubbly with tortilla chips, pita bread, or some crusty sliced baguette. Yum!

Kale Artichoke Dip
2- 3 large leaves of kale, torn or chopped
1 jar grilled artichokes hearts, chopped (if you can't find grilled, plain will do just fine)
4 oz. cream cheese or neufchatel cheese (to save a little fat and calories)
1/4 C heavy whipping cream
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
dash each of cayenne pepper, nutmeg, paprika and italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, boil or steam the kale. Drain and shock the kale in cold water. Once the kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water either in your hands or in a dishtowel. In the same saucepan, heat the cream and cream cheese over low heat. Stir frequently and watch closely so it does not boil or burn. Once the two are incorporated, add all of the spices, garlic and lemon zest, followed by the artichokes and kale. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.

Either bake in a heatproof dish in a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and top is golden brown (maybe 15 minutes or so), or place the mixture into the Little Dipper and plug it in about 30 minutes before you want to serve it. Dip can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in the fridge.


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