Well after I got bailed out of jail, where I was taken for lighting the place on fire, charged with disturbing the peace, arson and indecent exposure, [jk] I decided to try and make it on my own. About 10 tries later, voila! I had perfected my very first recipe. No help from anyone, just my memory to go on and lots of trips to Gucci Brookshires. I think somewhere in the mix, the Oyster Bar's dip faded away, as I developed my own dream dip full of cream cheese and little bits of spinach and artichoke hearts. Unlike OB's, my dip is best served on little toasties or even un-toasted dark pumpernickel bread with a little olive oil. It compliments nearly everything, but tastes best with an Italian meal.
Tonight Brandon and I ordered Papa John's [yum!] but I wanted to cook a little something extra, so it was dip time. With this recipe, I only put about 1/2 of the spinach and artichoke mixture in the dip and save the rest to make a second batch, so ... deal with that somehow. I'm sorry, I'm just not good at measurements, which is why I can barely make a cake from a box. Cooking isn't about exact measurements ... baking however, is.
1 block Philly cheeeeeeeeee
1/2 pack of frozen, chopped spinach
1 can of small to medium artichoke hearts [I like Reese's]
1/3 cup of mayonaise [I love this olive oil infused kind from Kraft!]
1/3 cup of sour cream [Daisy, duh.]
1/4 cup Parmesan cheeeeeeeee
1 tsp garlic salt
Tony's, salt and pepper to taste
Put about a cup of water in a pot and boil with the spinach and artichoke hearts [with juice!] for about 5 minutes. Pinch some salt in while you're at it. While that is going on ... in a separate, medium sized mixing bowl, [what you'll serve the finished dip in, so make it cute!] add the white ingredients; mayo, Philly & sour cream and microwave for about 45 seconds or until soft.
When the spinach is unfrozen and boiling up nicely with the hearts, use kitchen shears to cut the artichoke hearts into small pieces like the spinach. This will help to mix it all and keep you from getting giant leaves of the artichoke hearts when you dip.
Now, strain the spinach & artichoke mixture ... I cannot stress this enough: the last thing you want is runny, watery dip. So, use a nice sieve and press a wooden spoon on the mixture as you strain it, so you get all the water out. Sometimes a paper towel is even necessary to squeeze it dry if you don't have a good system for straining. [You can't use a noodle strainer; the mixture is chopped too finely!]
Next, fold the mixture into the white mixture and add the spices. Serve hot with toasties! It actually works great as a burger spread, too. I'll be putting my turkey burger recipe on here soon ... it's wonderful with artichokey dip!
For the toasties, I usually buy a couple of thin French bread loaves, but today, they had this handy dandy bunch of small, sliced Italian bread ready to go for $2.50! Whoo! It worked out quite well. Just lay on a cooking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with an Italian herb blend of some kind. I like McCormick's grinders best.
Try it! I think you'll like it. Nearly everyone I know has approved of this. Even after I have to beg them to go through with a taste test when I tell them it is spinach and artichoke dip. I should just confess to everyone before I demand they taste my cooking that any thing I make on my own usually has piles of Philly cheeeee in it. That stuff makes everything better! [also, fatter. Sorry!]