Monday, September 1, 2008

Dip Me!

Now this is my kind of Labor. Happy Labor Day everyone.

This is a dip that I've made several times now and had requests for it each time. If you're in a hurry, you can put it all into a food processor and give it a whirl. It still tastes great, but people have thought it was bean dip, liverwurst or who knows what the one time I did that. Now I do it by hand, and it's much prettier. Plus, I like the chunks.

We'll start with:
1/2 c. Kalamata olives
8 sundried tomatoes
1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts
1/3 c. dried parsley
3 cloves garlic
8 oz neufchatel*
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 t salt

*Neufchatel is a naturally lower fat cream cheese. Whenever I cook or bake with cream cheese, I always use half neufchatel and half cream cheese. Because fat wasn't removed, it doesn't get that yucky rubbery texture or other issues that low fat cream cheeses do. As always, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature before starting.

Use about this many olives. When cooking, I'm notoriously bad at measuring, but I tried to at least get close. It's a pretty forgiving recipe, so if you use more or less, you're ok.

To get the pits out, place the knife on the olives like so. Then using a closed fist, bang down on the knife hard. The olive will squish.

Once the olive is squished, you can easily pull out the pit.

Then do lots of chopping so that it gets into nice little pieces small enough that you'd want to put them into your mouth as part of a dip.

Again, use about this much artichoke. It looks about the amount that would come in a can. Of course since I shop at Costco, I have to guesstimate. And yes, I actually finished off the entire jar of artichokes. I use them in a lot of things.

Chop your artichokes into smithereens. It's great therapy.

And here we have our sundried tomatoes. You'll also want to cut up these. I find it easiest to do them individually. I slice them into narrow strips then cut the strips in half.

Ahhh, garlic. My favorite ingredient. You'll want to go with the same theory as with the olives. Lay the knife on its side and smash away. It really feels great when you've been having a bad day.

Once you've done this, it's easy as pie to remove the skins. They almost fall out of them. Seriously, why waste the money on all those fancy gadgets? It's all about technique! Plus, that leaves more room in my kitchen for the important things like immersion blenders and pasta cranks and rice cookers and such.

Make sure you mince the garlic really well. The last thing you want to do is bite into half a clove of raw garlic while at a party. Ok, maybe not the last thing, but that would be mean.

Place all your ingredients into the bowl. The order doesn't really matter. I do like to put the cream cheese in first though.

Stir it up with a spatula. You don't want to overstir but definitely want to get it all mixed in and well-distributed. Just put it into a nice bowl and serve with crackers or veggies or whatever you like.

Enjoy! As always, let me know what you think


heartatpreschool September 1, 2008 at 10:18 PM  

Awesome! I can't wait to try it out! Thanks for visiting my blog. I guess my AM homework is done now too. :-)

Cookie September 1, 2008 at 11:35 PM  

That looks great! I wish you posted this BEFORE my Labor day party!

Manager Mom September 2, 2008 at 5:36 AM  

Wow...that looks really yummy.

Just curious, how do you pronounce Neufchatel? Is the "f" silent?

Karen September 2, 2008 at 1:26 PM  

Looks wonderful - you're so talented in the kitchen.

jamie in rose cottage September 2, 2008 at 5:53 PM  

I'm not generally an olive kind of girl, but this sounds really good!

Debbie September 3, 2008 at 10:28 PM  

You are seriously my best friend. Kalamata olives, artichokes, cheese...all three are my absolute faves. I will try this...It is making me hungry thinking about it!

Angie's Spot September 4, 2008 at 2:42 PM  

I'm not much of an olive fan either, so I'll have to think on this one. I might hope that someone hosts a party, makes this and then invites me, so I can sample this. No pressure. :-)

Michelle September 4, 2008 at 7:54 PM  

Heartatpreschool - Welcome! I hope you like it, and glad we were able to accomplish our homework!

Cookie - Sorry! But hey, there's always another holiday, right?

Manager Mom - Welcome! I pronounce Neufchatel like... Nehwf-SHAH-tell. I think that's right, but I can't guarantee it.

Karen - Ha! You make me laugh -- and blush! It's really not hard to do, but it looks like you worked hard.

Jamie in rose cottage - Welcome! I don't like green olives a ton and definitely don't like the black olives you find at salad bars. Kalamata mixed with other stuff though... yum!

Debbie - Thanks. Yep, those are definitely a good trio! Let me know what you think when/if you make it!

Angie - Not an olive fan? You're missing out on the good stuff! I hope you can talk someone into making this. Maybe for your birthday even?

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