Welcome to cabin fever. It’s a real thing — restlessness rising from a prolonged stay in a confined place. The thing is, in the pre-pandemic summertime I’d swim, travel, and write or edit a book. This year, my life, like maybe yours, has been turned upside down due to the new normal.
Sure, I try to maintain structure, like walking the dog, planting trees, writing articles — and cooking up immune-boosting summer-ish vegetables. It’s all part of my long stay healthy “staycation” (a vacation at home).
So this week I decided to enjoy making a homemade veggie dip including a small bread bowl and crunchy, stress-busting gourmet crackers. The dip is often enjoyed as an appetizer for more than one — but these days one is the new normal number.
Spinach-artichoke dip brings me back home to my roots in California. South of San Jose we have fields of artichokes, garlic, mushrooms, and spinach. While it may not be a Pacific Northwest or enjoying my favorite Emerald Suite in Seattle with a bay-city view — it is inspired by life the way it was in our Golden State and provided a homey feel-good vibe.
Spinach-Artichoke Dip and Bread Bowl
1 cup parmesan cheese shavings (save ½ for topping)
1/3 cup sour cream
½ cup Greek Yogurt (I used honey vanilla)
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
½ cup baby spinach, rinsed, drained
½ cup fresh artichoke hearts, cooked, drained, chopped (I used fresh, raw mushrooms)
½ teaspoon Herb de Provence (a mix of Italian dried herbs)
Ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons European style butter (salted), melted
1 small round sourdough bread (I used one purchased at Safeway)
Whole grain crackers
In a mixing bowl, combine cheese, sour cream, and yogurt. Stir. Fold in garlic, artichokes chunks (or mushrooms), spinach, spice, and ground pepper. Put in fridge. Meanwhile, cut top off bread. Scoop out bread. Brush bowl with butter or dip bread into bowl with melted butter. Fill bread bowl with dip. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until bread is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Serve hot. Cut or cut into quarters and dip. You can serve with crackers. Serves 1. *You can put in the refrigerator for leftovers.
The bread bowl was small – ideal for one. This fun to make and eat bread bowl with dip helped beat a bout of cabin fever on the south shore. On the deck with my oasis garden spots, I savored the treat as you will, too. As I often say, “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.” Who wants their own bread bowl?
Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, HonTey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is www.calorey.com.