Not Epic but Pretty Good

Don’t you hate it when a recipe sounds epic and you slave away in the kitchen to prepare it, only to find that it’s just OK?

I suppose OK is better than awful.

I was pretty excited to try out this Pesto Veggie Gratin recipe from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian,” and was even more excited that it called for goat cheese (which I discovered via an appetizer at Mas Tapas in Charlottesville and recreated at home via this Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip). I think goat cheese is delicious when I’m on the non-vegan bandwagon… sorry, goats. At least I don’t eat you…

The recipe called for couscous, pesto (another obsession of mine… see The Magic of Pesto for my favorite pesto recipe), asparagus, goat cheese, and another vegetable (I chose a yellow squash). Sounds epic, right?

Pesto Veggie Gratin

Pesto Veggie Gratin

Looks pretty epic, right?

I must admit one instance of user error in preparing this recipe: I mistook scallions for shallots (I always get those two mixed up). I should’ve used shallots, but instead, I used green onions. So maybe there was a flavor depth thing missing.

The dish wasn’t bad. It was just a little bland… until I dolloped on more pesto! Next time, I’ll just add more pesto to the sauce and I think it’ll cross over into greatness, if not epicness.

Pesto Veggie Gratin plate

Pesto Veggie Gratin plate

So, chins up, people! They can’t all be epic meals… but one can dream!

The Super Bowl – Remember That?

This is a recipe I made for the Super Bowl party I hosted this year.

Yes, I realize the Super Bowl was 2 months ago.

It’s a recipe for a hot artichoke and goat cheese dip.

Yes, I realize it is not vegan. Allow me to digress a bit to explain why you’ll be seeing some vegetarian (but not vegan) recipes for a little bit here.

The Super Bowl kicked off not long after a harsh diagnosis of cancer for my best kitty buddy, Goose. He’d been sick for a couple months at that point, and would die 6 weeks later. (Sorry to harsh your mellow… it definitely harshed mine). The daily medical care and feeding (and eventually, the loss of my buddy) have taken their toll on me emotionally. Dairy (and believe it or not, eggs) have found their way back into my diet… for now. I’m sorry, my cow and hen friends. I can only take so much. So things will be vegetarian around here for a little while, at least.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip

This dip is an attempt at a recreation of a fantastic rendition from Mas Tapas restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s not spot-on; I suspect theirs might actually be healthier than this one. But I won’t lie – I ate the leftovers of this dip every day for a week!

If you’d have told me I’d like goat cheese, I’d have told you you’re crazy. Turns out, it’s pretty darn tasty.

Hot Artichoke & Goat Cheese Dip

by Shelly

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer vegetarian artichoke goat cheese

Ingredients (12 servings)

  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup Vegenaise or mayo
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, softened

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In food processor, combine onions, garlic, mayo, cream cheese, parmesan cheese and goat cheese.

3. Blend, and slowly add in the artichoke hearts (to leave some texture).

4. Spoon into a casserole dish.

5. Bake dip uncovered for 30 minutes.

6. Serve hot with bread, crackers, bruschetta, tortilla chips, or veggies.

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