Nature called during the night sometime last week. It’s not surprising considering I usually drink a full glass of milk or seltzer water before bed, you know, to wash down that little piece (or two) of chocolate that I just have to have . I got up, reluctant to hit the pause button on whatever dream I was having. I made my way to the bathroom in the dark, eyes half-closed. I’ve taken this trip countless times over the last 13 years. It’s not a straight shot to the bathroom, a few turns I must make, so usually I have my hands in front of me to lead the way. My feet have memorized the steps, too…or so I thought.
Unfortunately, on this particular night eyes, hands and feet failed me. I rounded the corner past the shower too soon and my face smacked the limestone wall and not gently either. A loud cry escaped from my lips, banishing all sleepiness away. My eyes must have been wide open by this time judging by all the stars I saw. As I walked down the hallway to the kitchen, lights on this time, I tried to figure out which part of my face made contact with the wall first but the slight tingling sensation made it difficult to isolate the mark.
I walked back to the bedroom with an ice pack and sat in bed for a half hour icing, by then, the defined contact point, my right brow bone. Eventually, I drifted back to sleep but I did wonder if my right eye would be black and blue in the morning (thankfully, it wasn’t!).
This cheese spread has nothing at all to do with my middle-of-the-night mishap except that you can prepare this with your eyes closed and it would still turn out wonderfully.
My artichoke obsession continues and I came up with this cheesy snack to recreate the spread I picked up in Pescadero last week. I would actually go so far as to say that my version might be even better. If you like chunky, cheesy artichoke dips this spread might win you over (I did use frozen artichoke hearts instead of fresh ones for this).
Puréed artichokes are combined with softened cream cheese, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, garlic, lime juice, olive oil and paprika and I stirred in more artichoke chunks and crumbled sharp cheddar cheese. The cheese is bold here though the spread is alive with artichoke flavor. It’s not too spicy from the chipotle peppers but it adds a nice smoky touch.
I served the spread with Wasa crispbread and sliced cucumbers to balance everything out. I’m just a little disappointed that these pictures don’t quite do this spread justice but trust me when I say you’ll be happy if you try it.
Artichoke, Cheddar, Chipotle Spread
- 1 8- ounce package cream cheese softened
- 1 8- ounce package frozen artichoke hearts defrosted and divided, drained of liquid
- 2.5 ounces sharp cheddar crumbled in the food processor
- 2 pieces chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic clove of one garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
I used my mini food processor for this--it should work just fine in a regular one.
Divide the defrosted artichoke hearts in equal portions. After squeezing the liquid out of my artichokes, I yielded 6 ounces. Divide in two. Process one half portion of the artichokes in the processor until you have small chunks. Remove from bowl and set aside. Next add the cheddar and crumble until you have small chunks. Remove from bowl and set aside.
You don't have to rinse the processor bowl between steps. Next, add the cream cheese, the other half of the artichokes, peppers, salt, lime juice, paprika, garlic and olive oil and process until smooth. Adjust the seasonings according to your taste. Stir in the crumbled cheddar and artichoke hearts. Serve with crackers and/or cucumber slices.