My summer in the Windy City got away from me. It was eventful and busy! My first night I ate at one of Chicago’s best restaurants, Girl & The Goat, and the next morning saw one of my best friends graduate from med school. I squeezed in more great food at The Publican, The Bristol, and Frontera Grill, among others, and on work trips even managed to visit a couple of DC’s finest, too (Rose’s Luxury, Little Serow*).
I got one A’s game in with my dad while home on a work trip to San Francisco, but never made it to a Cubs game despite living a 15 minute walk from Wrigley Field. I ate my way through the Taste of Chicago, saw Salt N’ Pepa at Market Days, rode Divvys on Lakeshore, and threw the first bachelorette I’ve ever been to. I finally saw a live taping of Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me, checked out all the amazing architecture by boat, hosted some of my favorite humans, and drank some good cocktails. My sister got married and I went the furthest north in the US I have ever been (Ontonagon, MI).
This summer in sum: I did a bunch, I learned a lot.
But it’s time to bring it back. Being back in Ann Arbor and getting back into the swing of things has been nuts. I still haven’t quite moved everything back into my room from the basement, and things have already reached a fever pitch at school (week four, people). But no matter the craziness, every year, my program has second years host first years at a series of potlucks to help break the ice. We then proceed to Circus Bar (yes that’s a thing) where they charge less for a can of PBR than they do for water (also a thing, albeit an illegal thing). My contribution? Artichoke dip.
This dip is not fancy. This dip is not healthy. This dip is not complicated. This dip IS delicious. Artichoke dip like my mama makes (another recipe to add to the “thanks mom” pile)—it’s always a hit.
*I now need more shrimp paste in my life. If you’re in DC, go, it’s one of my top 10 meals in life for sure!
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained/squeezed thoroughly then roughly chopped
- 1 c mayo (don’t hate the player, hate the game)
- 1.5 c finely grated parmesan/parmigiano reggiano, divided
- 1 4oz can diced green chiles (mild—these are for flavor not heat)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Optional: 1 tsp red pepper flakes (this time I left them out since I didn’t know people’s tolerance for heat, and didn’t want to scare off any first years)
- Salt (teensy pinch) & pepper (I ❤ black pepper, so I use a liberal amount)
- For Serving: Crackers/chips (personal favorite: Trader Joe’s Pita Crackers)
- Preheat oven to 350ªF
- Dump everything in a bowl (leave 1/2 c parmesan out for later)
- Stir it around a bunch (it will sound gross, and probably not look too appetizing)
- Pour into an oven safe dish (something around 7-8 inches, though here I used a pie plate because that’s all I could find) and spread evenly
- Sprinkle your remaining parm across the top and bake for 20ish minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbly
- DEVOUR (but careful not to burn your mouth!).
I’ve gussied this up occasionally, throwing in some preserved lemon, roasted garlic, and smoked paprika, but honestly, the original is the best. Simple, warm, creamy goodness. You can prep the dip a day in advance and then throw it in the oven when you’re ready. As Ina would say, “how easy is that?!”
It is so easy to throw together with stuff many people have hiding in their cupboards, making it the perfect appetizer to bring along to that last-minute dinner party you got invited to. Or for a girls’ wine and cheese night. Or for life just generally.