SCD Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip

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It is the holiday season and that means that it is also the season of perpetual company. You are dropping by to see friends and family and friends and family are dropping by to see you. One of the common denominators in this whole process is food. A gathering is not complete without an offering of food. Whether out of social obligation or a desire to serve people food made with care and love, you can bet that tables or counter-tops have something edible on it.

When we have a house full of family, all the games come out of storage and appetizers, snacks, and side-dishes play a prominent role in keeping us happy. So rather than post a Christmas-like meal or desert, I decided to go with an appetizer that pleases the company.

This brings us to the subject of today’s post:  Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip. H-e-l-l-o.

The crispy golden gooey goodness that is Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip heaven www.megiswell.com
The crispy golden gooey goodness that is Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip heaven

I just want to dip my finger in it. And guess what? This version, while not the most healthy SCD dish I’ve ever made, is still relatively guilt-free (okay there is a little guilt). Why is that you ask? Well it’s because instead of cream cheese and sour cream, I use homemade dripped yogurt and french cream. I also marinate my own plain canned artichokes.

SCD legal yogurt is fermented for 24 hours to remove all of the lactose. You can make it from any type of milk. Yogurt still contains whey though, which is that watery stuff you sometimes see pooling in opened containers of yogurt. In order to make dripped yogurt or yogurt cheese, you have to get rid of the excess liquid by draining it. In the past, I covered a stainer with four layers of cheesecloth and put it over a bowl to catch the liquid as the yogurt drained for 24 hours. Now I use a nifty yogurt cheese strainer. The end product is yogurt that has the consistency of cream cheese or good quality greek yogurts. In fact, I use the terms “dripped yogurt” and “greek yogurt” interchangeably because the end product reminds me more of very thick and creamy commercial greek yogurts (which technically you only have to drain for 2 to 6 hours).

SCD french cream is yogurt made from heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) fermented for 24 hours. While higher in fat content than sour cream, homemade french cream provides a good source of healthy saturated fat and is lactose-free.

And then there are the artichokes. Canned marinated artichokes have a lot of unnecessary ingredients in them. But marinated artichokes provide such good flavor to dips and casseroles. So I buy a 14 ounce can of plain artichoke hearts and marinate them myself.

Marinated Artichokes for Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip www.megiswell.com
Marinated Artichokes

I’m providing the recipe at the bottom of this post along with the dip recipe because I believe it makes a big difference in the finished product. Leave it out if you dare.

So the first thing you are going to do is preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and marinate your artichokes (it is pain free and easy).

Then prepare the greens.

Jalapeños and Chives
Jalapeños and Chives

This recipe calls for two jalapeños. Even though I said I wasn’t going to do a Christmas themed post, this jalapeño is rocking the Christmas colors.

Jalapeño and Christmas colored inspiration
A little bit of Christmas inspiration going on here

Anyway, dice the jalapeños into very small pieces. But be careful. Only touch the waxy surface or to be even safer, wear plastic gloves. The juices, seeds, or pith will cause your bare hands, and anything they touch, to burn all day.

Next chop two tablespoons of chives.

Chopped chives for the artichoke and jalapeño cheese dip
Chopped Chives

After you have marinated your artichokes and diced your greens, add them to a large bowl along with 1 cup dripped yogurt, 1 cup french cream, and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Mix with a spatula until well combined. Place the mixture into a 1-quart baking dish.

Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip before adding parmesan cheese and cooking it in the oven
Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip before adding parmesan cheese and cooking it in the oven

Now you get to add the parmesan cheese.

Parmesan cheese for the Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip
Parmesan cheese for the Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip

Grate a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the dip.

Grated parmesan cheese topping
Grated parmesan cheese topping

Put the dish in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the dip is bubbling. If you want a nice crusty top with some golden-brown spots, turn the broiler on for a few minutes. Take the dish out of the oven and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes so it can cool and solidify a little before serving.

Serve some carrots and celery as dipping sides for all the veggie lovers that come to visit.

Carrots and celery served as dipping sides
Carrots and celery served as dipping sides

Or some SCD legal crackers, for those traditionalists.

SCD legal crackers
SCD legal crackers

I use the Parmesan Cracker recipe in Erica Kerwien’s book “Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet”. My friends actually call them “friend crackers” because I can tell them to sit, stand, or roll over and they will obey me to get one. I also provide some good quality bread for all those people who can eat it.

This appetizer is a big hit with my family and friends. I was preparing it for a potluck and my dad got mad because he wasn’t going to get any. The nice thing was that I made it the day before and just heated it up in the oven when I got to my friend’s house. Most people have told me they prefer to eat this dip chilled, which is how most artichoke dips are sold and eaten. Others prefer it slightly cooled just out of the oven. Either way is good, although I think I do prefer it cold better. Easy peasy. With that being said, happy dipping!

Get in my tummy! SCD legal cracker + Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip = happy company
Get in my tummy! SCD legal cracker + Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip = happy company

P.S. If you want to read a more detailed description of homemade yogurt, I really like this post from PaleoLeap. It is comprehensive but easy to understand (http://paleoleap.com/homemade-yogurt/).

[kindred-recipe id=”2703″ title=”SCD Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip”]

[kindred-recipe id=”2705″ title=”Regular Artichoke and Jalapeño Cheese Dip”]

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