Let's time travel. Nine years ago, at this very time of the year (lit by Christmas sparkle, pre New Year's resolutions), I wasn't sure I had another recipe in me. Never mind a party recipe. 2010 was about to turn into a pumpkin and roll backward into the past- with my blessing. I truly thought I was done. Spent. Empty as a pocket, to quote a certain singer-songwriter.
So much for assumptions.
Turns out my fevered brain wasn't done with 2010. It spun off in party mode as soon as I heard that my oldest son was officially engaged. He popped the question with true romantic flare. On a wine train. In the rain. In Napa Valley. And she said yes. The ring fit. People on the train applauded. It doesn't get much better than this. To witness your son's heart. Blooming.
And so. Here we are, years later. Another year closes. I brew a mug of ginger tea and reflect upon the deepest joys of motherhood, turning their myriad facets toward the window light above the kitchen sink stacked with breakfast plates, cups, and spoons. Learning to love with open arms and a tender opinion, unconditional. This floats to the top of all other joys. The thick cream of it. A layered, rich reward.
To love a son (and I am blessed with two, now both happily married and cooking their own Christmas breakfasts), well, it expands your heart beyond measure.
To see a son in love, and inspire love, is the most beautiful working of magic.
Don't you think?
Love + Magic To You and Yours This Holiday Season,
Karina's Hot Artichoke Dip Recipe (dairy or vegan)Recipe posted December 2010.
This is the easiest party dip ever. Not to mention, hot, creamy and fabulous. Celebrations need not be complicated. Not when delicious is as simple as uno, dos, tres. I used a bag of Trader Joe's frozen artichoke hearts, as I didn't want the oiliness of jarred artichoke hearts. And as for the buttered almond topping, if you need to avoid nuts, you can substitute the almonds for your favorite buttered GF breadcrumbs.
12-oz bag thawed frozen artichoke hearts
1 peeled garlic clove
1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
1/2 cup soft cream cheese (or Vegenaise® to keep it dairy-free)
1/2 cup sour cream (or plain vegan soy yogurt)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan, (or vegan "Parmesan")
1 tablespoon white wine or fresh lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter (or vegan Earth Balance)
3 tablespoons of sliced almonds (or gluten-free breadcrumbs)
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Dump the thawed artichoke hearts and the peeled garlic clove into the bowl of a food processor and pulse on and off to chop rather fine. Scoop the chopped artichokes and garlic into a mixing bowl.
Add in the finely diced onion (I don't bother to dice this small amount of onion in the processor). Add the soft cream cheese (or Vegenaise), sour cream (or soy yogurt), grated Parmesan (or vegan "Parm"), white wine or lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Mix together to blend well.
Spoon into a smallish baking dish or crock. Set aside.
Make your topping. Melt the butter (or Earth Balance) in a small skillet and add the sliced almonds. Stir briefly to coat.
Add the buttered almonds to the top of the artichoke dip.
Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, till bubbly around the edges and heated through.
Serve with Gluten-Free Crackers or thin toasted slices of these Gluten-Free Baguettes.
Makes roughly 2 cups of dip.
Use buttered breadcrumbs as a toasty topping, if you prefer- though I must tell you, the sliced almonds accent the creamy dip with a lovely crunch.
I'm using this dip tonight as a pasta sauce - because I have extra. I'm going to toss hot cooked gluten-free penne in the warmed dip with almonds. How bad will that be?
More tasty dip recipes from food bloggers:
Pinch My Salt's Hot White Bean Dip with Rosemary + Parmesan
Kalyn's Kitchen's White Bean + Artichoke Dip
Andrea Meyers' Cannellini Bean Dip with Garlic Scapes