I have a soft spot for cornmeal. My Italian side loves it for polenta & pizza dough, while my Southern side demands sweet cornbread with lots of honey butter. This time, the latter won out & it was off to the Internet of Things to find inspiration.
While the rest of the country has been suffering through a truly heinous winter with -50 degree winds, never-ending snow, and icy roads covered in car-degrading salt, Californians across the state have been horrified to hear their own fate: a low of 35 degrees. Heavens! When will our afflictions be over? Is there no god above to protect us from this hell?
Thankfully, we powered through and are back to just “chilly” (that’s what 60 degrees feels like to our delicate bodies). It’s a Christmas miracle that we came out alive and can appreciate the little things in life once more. Like food.
I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate thing going on with spinach dip. Oh sure, it’s a wonderland of creamy, spinachy goodness, but you’ll always encounter a mega mayo fan who puts the ratio at 10:1 and ruins it. There’s nothing like a palate full of mayonnaise to remind you of how life was so good without it.
Obviously, it’s all based on personal preference, so my attempt is to go for more spinach, a touch of brie, and a kick with some spice. This isn’t a gooey recipe, so if you want more creaminess I would increase the sour cream by another half cup and maybe add some cream cheese chunks for a festivus flair.
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped
2 lbs frozen, chopped spinach, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c sour cream
2 green onions, sliced finely
2 triangles of brie
1/4 c shredded parmigiano cheese
1 t dry mustard
1 t paprika
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 t salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9″x 13″ baking pan. Press the spinach in a dish towel to get out as much moisture as possible. In a large bowl, mix the spinach, artichokes, parmigiano, sour cream, green onions, mustard, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cut the brie triangles into 1/2″ — 1″ chunks and layer half onto the bottom of the baking pan. Spread the spinach on top and layer the rest of the brie on top of that. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until brown on top. Serve hot with sliced baguette, crackers, etc.
Oh. Good. Lord. If this doesn’t have crack written all over it more than crack itself does, then you can slap me. In the face. Because I just had the most delicious ride on the tasty train and let me tell you: I am buying another round trip ticket.
I will also be purchasing some stretchy, elastic-waistband pants to accommodate my soon-to-be mammoth size. I can smell the glory now.
I didn’t want to do animal style fries or a burger, and potato wedges sounded so…hearty. Because that’s what this meal needed– more substance. And boy….mission accomplished.
Make extra onions or else you’ll be fighting over the last morsels (1 onion per person). This recipe makes enough of everything for 3-4 people.
In-N-Out Animal Style Potato Wedges
sauce recipe from Serious Eats
6 slices American cheese
2.5 T mayo
1 heaping tablespoon ketchup
3 t sweet relish
1/2 t white vinegar
1/2 t sugar
3 large yellow onion, diced very fine
2 t vegetable oil
3 large Russet potatoes
1 T salt
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and salt and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to cook, about 25-30 minutes, until brown and starting to really caramelize. Add 1 T water and cook off (about 1 minute), until the onions are melty. Do this a few times.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425. Scrub the potatoes, cut into wedges (cut each in half, then 4 wedges per half), and soak in water for 10 minutes. Dry completely a with paper towel, place on a baking sheet, and toss with the oil and salt. Bake for 20 minutes with a cut-side down, flip, and bake another 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. When the potatoes and onions are done, layer on an oven-proof ceramic plate:
Place that back in the oven and heat until the cheese starts to melt, a couple of minutes. Add a few dollops of sauce on top and serve immediately. Sit back and watch the smiles pour in from your audience of admirers.