So any combination I can come up with makes me quite happy. Of course there is the version with green chilies and mayonnaise that is really fantastic. Do you know that one? I tend to assume that it has made the rounds already, but I would be thrilled to have an excuse to post that one, as well.
This one is different in that it is all cheeses and artichokes and practically nothing else except garlic and a little seasoning. It bakes briefly. Any leftovers can be reheated easily in the microwave.
Having made it several times, I am also fantasizing about using it as a filling for chicken. You may see this one appear again sooner or later in another incarnation.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, thoroughly drained and squeezed with paper towels
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces (give or take) of goat cheese, softened
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of cracked black pepper
Let the cheeses soften a bit and then mix them all together thoroughly, along with the garlic and the peppers, using a fork or an electric mixer.
Squeeze the artichokes with paper towels until you have gotten most of the liquid out of them. You will be surprised at how much water artichokes are holding even after you have drained them. Chop them up coarsely and then add them to the cheese mixture. Gently fold in the artichokes.
Place the mixture into an oven-proof dish. I used an 8-½ inch round shallow baking dish, but you could easily use 2 smaller ramekins or some other dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until it is hot and a little browned on top. Remove from the oven and serve.
This is still wonderful when it is cooled to room temperature. It is also one of those dishes that when served right out of the oven will scorch the roof of your mouth so proceed with caution. I have served it with Carr’s water crackers and it is also fantastic with sea salt seasoned pita chips.
The drawing on the left was done by Lily a few weeks ago when she was waxing poetic about her love of artichokes. This is a genetic issue, apparently. But imagine the bliss of an “airplane rocket thingy” that served only atechoks. Heaven.
And, finally, I used a wonderful goat cheese for this recipe made by Paula Lambert of The Mozzarella Company. The Mozzarella Company makes cheese in the traditional manner, by hand. They have an extensive line of cheese and all are worth sampling. Furthermore, this company was started by a Dallas woman who has a passion for cheese and for artisanal foods made with care and attention. If you are a cheese lover, it is worth looking into this company that supplies cheese to some of the most notable chefs in Dallas. If you are an entrepreneur of any kind, and particularly a food entrepreneur, it is worth looking into The Mozzarella Company and Paula Lambert because she is a shining example of what passion, hard work, and dedication to doing things in a traditional manner can yield. Read this article by Annabelle Massey Helber for more personal view of the lady behind this company, and the processes she employs to bring her cheese to market. My favorite quote from the article is one in which Lambert describes the careful handling of her Banca Biance cheese wherein she rinses the cheese daily with white wine as it ages. She says, “Shoot! What kind of machine could ever do that?” Indeed. Try her cheeses because they are great. And, as a penny pincher I will say that this artisanal product does not cost much more than generic goat cheeses, and since you are only using roughly a third of a pound, it is not a very expensive ingredient. I bought mine at the new Simon David on Inwood but The Mozzarella Company has a website for placing orders, and even a Cheese of the Month Club which I may have to look into more closely.