Thursday, October 28, 2010

Artichoke Dip

This is a wonderful warm dip to serve with your breadsticks.  OR, you can make your own crackers using the recipe we made at ORLA last year.   Look at the archive list on the right of this page, and click on February 2010 to find the "crackers" entry.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Assemble the following ingredients:

1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts- drained and chopped
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach-
defrosted and squeezed dry
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic- peeled and chopped
salt and pepper

Lightly oil a shallow 2 quart casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients until well combined.  Spread evenly in the casserole dish and (this can be refrigerated at this point until you want to bake and serve it)  bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Herbed Cheese Balls

Today we learned about "herbes de Provence", a combination of dried herbs from the south of France consisting of rosemary, thyme, basil, savory, chervil, mint, marjoram, oregano and sometimes lavender.  It is a wonderful combination of flavors, and when added to these mild cheese, really wakes up the taste.  You can find this combination of herbs in bulk at the Eastside Olympia Food Co-op or Bucks 5th Ave. Spice Shop in downtown Olympia.  You may also simply combine any of the dried herbs from the list which you already have in your pantry.

For 24 balls, you will need:
4 oz (1 cup) cream cheese
4 oz (1 cup) chevre
6 oz (1+1/2 cup) feta 
1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped fine
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
ground pepper

In a bowl, mix together the cheeses and herbes de Provence until thoroughly combined.  
Form the mixture into about 24 small balls, about one and a half inches in diameter.
Place the basil and walnuts on a small plate and sprinkle with ground pepper.
  Roll the cheese balls in the mixture to cover.  

Transfer to a serving plate and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours, and allow flavors to marinate.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


These funky, crunchy breadsticks are great with dips like hummus, artichoke cheddar, or a spicy marinara.

Make this dough early in the day, in order to serve breadsticks as a dinner appetizer.  Or make the dough a day ahead, and refrigerate it until ready to use.  It will keep in the fridge for up to four days,  which means you can bake off a bit at a time, for many days of fresh, hot breadsticks with dip!  It can also be frozen for later use.  Simply thaw to room temperature before proceeding to roll and shape. 


1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. warm water (85°F)
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 lb. (3-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil; more for the finished breadsticks
Seasonings (fresh chopped herbs, grated parmesan, whatever you like)
Kosher salt for the finished breadsticks

First, make a sponge: In a medium bowl, mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar until dissolved. Whisk in 6 oz. (1-1/3 cups) of the flour until the mixture is uniform and free of lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place until bubbly and light and almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Now, make the dough: Whisk the olive oil and the seasoning mixture of your choice into the sponge until well blended. Keep mixing, and gradually add 9 oz. (2 cups) of the flour. Continue to add flour until the dough is only slightly sticky, but no longer wet. When the dough begins to cling to the spoon (or your hands) and pull away from the sides of the bowl, remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, 1 to 2 min.

 Shape the dough into a ball and let it rise in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, until about doubled in bulk, about 3 hours. Once risen, punch down the dough and get ready to roll (or refrigerate it overnight or for up to four days).

To shape and bake the breadsticks:  
(Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before shaping it, if you are using it after refrigeration.) Heat the oven to 375°F and line several baking sheets with parchment. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 12x20-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter (or a long, sharp knife), cut the rectangle lengthwise into two sections (each about 6 inches wide). Then cut each section into narrow strips about 1/2 inch wide.
 Stretch and twist each strip to almost twice its original length and arrange the strips, 1/4 inch apart, on the baking sheets.

Bake the sticks until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 min. Check them periodically as they bake, as some sticks inevitably end up thinner than others and will bake faster. They’re done if they feel firm when pinched.

Sprinkle the sticks with olive oil and kosher salt as soon as they come out of the oven. Let them cool completely before serving. They will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fresh Salsa & Homemade Tortilla Chips

Tomato season is coming to an end!  So find some locally grown cherry,  grape or sungold tomatoes and whip up a batch of this easy, fresh salsa.
All you need is:

1 pint tomatoes
1/4 sweet onion
4 scallions
juice of 1/2 lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/2 small jalepeno
salt & pepper

**I ended up leaving out the olive oil.  I like the salsa better without it.**

Place all ingredients in a processor or blender.  For chunkier salsa, pulse the on button only three or four times then check.  For a thinner, sauce-like consistency, blend more.

Now let's make some tortilla chips.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  (Go to 400 if your oven runs low like the one in our classroom.)  
You will need:
corn tortillas
pizza cutter or knife
cookie sheets (sheet pans)
oil spray

Stack tortillas into piles of three at a time, and cut into six wedges.

Spray pan, and spread slices out over entire pan.

Spray again with oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt.
Then bake for 10 minutes, checking for crispness and a golden brown color.  They may require 2-3 more minutes of baking.
Allow to cool, then enjoy with your fresh, delicious salsa!