The BEST spinach dip there ever was and ever will be EVER and its gluten-free!

spinach dip The best ever

Last week, Steve of Gluten-free Steve asked a number of gluten-free bloggers a number of questions. The whole event can be found on his blog and is definitely worth the read. One of the questions he asked was: “What is your favourite gluten-free snack recipe?”. Well, he actually had a fill in the blank questionnaire which said: “My favorite gluten-free snack is:” but that is beside the point.

The actual point is, I gave Steve the recipe for the best spinach dip ever and I didn’t include a photograph! It was sad. So, I have re-posted the recipe (also available at Steve’s Blog) along with the photo (above) and a warning. The dip looks odd and green — two things that turn people off of the dip when they first encounter this delight. You’ll find that at a party, people will take small spoonfuls when they first approach the food table in order to be polite, but once they try the dip they go back for seconds, thirds and fourths. There won’t be much left at the end of the night. Because of this, I always make a double batch. My photo shows a double batch. I’m not sure the exact dimensions of my dish, but its roughly the size of a 8.5×11 inch (21.6×28 cm) piece of paper. Maybe a little smaller (definitely not larger).

The BEST spinach dip there ever was and ever will be EVER!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz (250 mL) (approximately one package) cream cheese. Yes, you can use light or fat free.

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) Parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated but one time I was out and found that the powdery processed stuff also works in a pinch. Its not as good, but it works.

  • 1 rounded tablespoon (15-17 mL) freshly grated Romano cheese (again, the powdery stuff works but won’t be as tasty.)

  • 1 rounded tablespoon (15-17 mL) very finely chopped sweet red bell pepper.

  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) garlic powder. DO NOT use garlic salt. Alternatively you can puree or finely mince 2 cloves of fresh garlic.

  • 2 green onions (scallions) white and greens finely chopped

  • 1/2 package frozen finely chopped spinach; (those frozen square blocks) thawed and squeezed dry. Do not use if the spinach is wet! You’ll ruin your dip.

  • 1/2 cup grated medium cheddar – old cheddar is too strong

  • 1 tsp (5 mL) of cayenne pepper — less if you don’t like spicy dip. I usually add 1/2 the regular amount if I’m serving to people who are very…er… meat and potatoes. You know, the sort of people who think anything other than salt and pepper is fancy — they tend not to like dishes with an edge.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Mix ingredients (except spinach) with a hand or stand mixer. If using a hand mixer that isn’t very powerful, you might want to consider microwaving your cream cheese for a minute or two. This will soften it up so you do not burn out your motor.

  3. Fold in spinach

  4. Transfer to the oven-proof dish in which you plan on serving this dip. If desired, sprinkle the top with some more cayenne pepper for decoration.

  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes. You’ll know the dip is ready when the edges begin to bubble.

  6. Remove from oven and serve with gluten-free nachos, gluten-free flat bread, raw vegetables, gluten-free breadsticks or gluten-free pumpernickel-like bread.

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Pure oils for baking

I live in a city that is large enough to handle a few gourmet food stores where I can buy fancy gourmet ingredients. Unfortunately many people in this town like the small town cloistered outlook on life and things like ‘gourmet’ just haven’t sprung up anywhere. Well, not entirely true. There is one gourmet store in town, and they actually have a gluten-free section, but they don’t have what I want half of the time. They do a good job, but I usually have buy on-line or drive an hour into Toronto to get the speciality items. Perhaps I should stop reading blogs, websites and recipes produced by gourmet chefs? NEVER!

High quality pure orange, lemon, tangerine, anise etc. oils are not easy to find (at least around here). Extracts and flavourings? Sure, I can find those anywhere, but I’m hesitant as these are not always gluten-free and they definitely don’t taste as good as the real thing. By default pure oils are gluten-free. That’s why you pay the big bucks for them right? Well, that and the taste.

So, this morning I found a wonderful site to buy pure oils for baking. Actually I didn’t find the site, it was David Lebovitz who pointed me to the Boyajian citrus oils.

According to Boyajian “It takes approximately 220 oranges, 330 lemons or 400 limes to fill a 5 ounce bottle.” WOW! No wonder you pay a fair bit per bottle. Because of this you don’t need a huge amount of oil to flavour your food “As a general rule, use up to 1/2 teaspoon per cup of dry ingredients, plus 1/4 teaspoon per cup of liquid ingredients in any recipe. Start with less, you can always add more.” You can really stretch a 5oz bottle if you’re using less than a teaspoon per recipe. These bottles will last you years and years if you store them properly so they are not necessarily as expensive as they first appear.

I have already TRIED to order myself the mini citrus oil box ($9) with orange, lemon and lime oils and strawberry oil. Boyajian takes paypal for payment, so you don’t have to go digging through your wallet to find your credit cards.

Unfortunately it wouldn’t process anything because I’m not from the US. I do not understand why US stores will not ship out of country. I will pay for shipping! Really! I can understand not shipping to Austrailia or New Zealand — they do have a lot of customs laws, but Canada is just a hop skip and a jump away from the US and Canada doesn’t care if you want to send me citrus oil. Its not against custom regulations!

Its really sad because the Boyajian site also has a variety of other oils and vinegars which I would try one day.

Anyway, if you’re from the US and you’re looking for quality oils try out the Boyajian site. If you’re from another country¬† (like Canada) let me know where I can find quality oils for baking? Please?

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I’ve been tagged: TWICE!

Oh my! I’ve been tagged by two separate bloggers on the SAME day! I feel warm and fuzzy!

My taggers:

Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl and Gluti Girl at The Gluti Girls

Both are exquisite blogs! I am subscribed to both, and my google reader is so much richer every day that they post!

Well, here is how it works: I am supposed to list 7 random things about myself, post the rules, then link back to the person who tagged me and then tag 7 more bloggers.

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How the chocolate you use affects flourless chocolate cakes

I just had to share this, as I love flour-less chocolate cakes, and I’m sure that many of you do too! The wonderful people at thekitchn.com asked Lisa Yockelson, author of the cookbook ‘Chocolate, Chocolate’ to answer the question:

Does cocoa content noticeably affect baking time and results?

In answering this question she makes special references to chocolate used for flour-less chocolate cakes.

Now the flour-less chocoalte cake I’m making for a up-coming baby shower is going to blow everyone’s mind.

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