By Kim Dannies
The holidays always make me feel nostalgic in a nice, old-fashioned way. It’s the time of year I can feel homesick, even when I am already at home. It’s fun to splurge on some classic snacks while decorating and wrapping. Kettle chips, popcorn triangles, gluten-free crackers, toasted naan bread, crudités—all are excellent scoopers for noshing the season.
Hot Artichoke Dip
My pal, Mary Ellen, makes this classic a healthy one—from Cooking Light 12/05
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and drain one 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts and one 15.5-ounce can of Great Northern beans. In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream, 1/3 cup low-fat mayo, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, half of the artichokes and half of the beans. Process until smooth. Add remaining artichokes and beans, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Pulse 20 times. Spoon mixture into 8-inch baking dish. Top with 1/4 cup cheese and bake 25 minutes.
Sister Jo’s Spicy Nuts
Heat oven to 275 degrees. In a prep bowl mix 1 egg white, 2/3 cup sugar; 1 tablespoon orange juice, 1 tablespoon orange zest; 1 tablespoon smoked cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, allspice and salt, each. Add 3 cups mixed nuts and coat well. Split batch between two cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake 35 minutes, stirring and turning every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, nuts will crisp as they cool.
Onion Chive Dip
Dice 5 pounds of Spanish onions. Heat a large sauté pan with 4 tablespoons olive oil and cook the onions on medium heat until they are caramelized, 30 minutes. In a food processor, mince the zest of one lemon. Add the onions, 8 ounces of cream cheese, 16 ounces of sour cream, juice of one lemon and process until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Chop a bunch of fresh chives, fold into dip.
Mom’s Classic Clam Dip
Mash 16 ounces of soft cream cheese with two 6.5-ounce cans of minced clams and their juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Bugles and Fritos corn chips.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters. Archived Everyday Gourmet columns are at kimdannies.com. Kim@kimdannies.com.