I was gamely cooking along through the hot weather with a pioneer attitude. “No matter what, nothing’s going to stop me!” I was baking bread, boiling scads of pasta, simmering beans for hours on the stove-top, and baking cookies. That was, in a word, estoopid. Now I have one more word:
It’s hot. It’s beyond hot. It’s sticky. Consider my sweaty towel thrown in.
Until this wave breaks, I’m going to rely on my slow-cooker or things that require zero heat to prepare. Just call me Baby Spinach, because I’m wilting like a fistful of it over a pot of steaming water.
Today’s recipe requires no firing up of the oven, no stove-top burners bubbling away, and nothing more complicated than hoisting your food processor onto your counter and the will to eat very good things.
Sun Dried Tomato and Artichoke Dip (or spread, depending on its intended use) is just about the perfect thing for this time of year. It’s cold, for starters, but beyond that, it’s a blast of light Mediterranean flavours that satisfy without weighing you down and making you feel sluggish. The artichoke heart base is cool and substantial, the lemon is refreshing and bright, the feta cheese provides a little salty kick and the sun dried tomatoes contribute body as well as a concentrated taste of summer. Garlic and basil? Yes, thank you. They tie everything together and make it sing.
The Whole Living recipe that I adapted suggested that it was equally good served immediately or after an overnight spell in the refrigerator, I would agree, but with one caveat; the texture of the sun dried tomatoes changed incredibly overnight. They became plump and easier to eat with wild abandon. Is that a good thing? In my book it sure is. I highly recommend a rest in the refrigerator of at least two hours. Oh, and the dip. You might want to stick that next to you in the refrigerator, too…
- 1 box (9 ounces) frozen artichokes, thawed and chopped
- ½ cup feta, crumbled, or more to taste
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 2 teaspoons water
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces, plus more for garnish
- ½ cup basil leaves, torn
- Freshly ground pepper
- Pita chips or whole wheat bread, for serving
- Fit a food processor with a metal blade and pulse together ½ of the artichoke hearts, ¼ cup of the feta cheese, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and water until smooth.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the pureed mixture with the remaining artichokes, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- This may be eaten immediately, but it improves dramatically if allowed to rest, tightly covered, in the refrigerator overnight.