Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip & Homemade Pita Chips

This, dear readers, is one of my very favorite things.  It’s the food52 winner for Your Best Spinach Recipe, and it is the most delicious spinach dip ever.  If it were humanly possible I would swallow the whole bowl like a snake ingesting an egg. 
This dip tastes completely different than the traditional mayonnaise-based spinach dip. It’s much lighter and fresher tasting, due to the greek yogurt and fresh spinach (hot tip: I’ve also made this with chard, when that’s available, and it’s equally delicious).  You’ll notice that I’ve successfully drowned out this dips healthier profile with a slick pool of olive oil.  I blame Andy for this one- the guy loves olive oil.  Feel free to be more judicious in your drizzling 🙂
I always serve this dip with homemade pita chips (recipe follows).  These are super simple, and way better than the store-bought variety, but the success is contingent on your starting with good fresh pita bread.  Austinites- I use the small rounds of Phoenicia white pita, which is available at good ole Central Market.
Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip
Adapted very slightly from Shayma’s recipe from Food52
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups plain full-fat Greek Yogurt (I use the 17.6 oz Fage Total yogurt)
  • kosher salt
  • few pinches dried mint (optional: for sprinkling on top of finished dip)
  • handful crushed walnuts, for topping finished dip
  • olive oil, for drizzling on finished dip
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add a generous amount of salt, and then the baby spinach.  Boil for about a minute, until the spinach has completely wilted but is still bright green.  Drain well, and allow the spinach to cool slightly.
  2. Put the cooled spinach in a kitchen towel and squeeze as much of the water out as possible. Chop fine.
  3. Return the now empty pot to the stove and set the heat to medium. Saute half of your minced garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil and add the spinach. Add a pinch of salt. Stir for a minute or two. 
  4. Remove from the heat, allow to cool.
  5. In a large shallow bowl, mix the yogurt, the remaining minced garlic, and the sauteed spinach until well combined. Add salt to taste. 
  6. Sprinkle with dried mint, crushed walnuts, and a drizzle of good olive oil.  Serve with pita chips.

Pita Chips

  • 1 package good pita bread (I like Phoenicia, available at Central Market)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. Cut each pita round into six wedges, and peel apart the two layers, creating 12 wedges from one pita round.  Repeat for as many wedges as you can fit on your baking sheet in a single layer (I usually do two pitas at a time).
  4. Toss the pita wedges with olive oil, and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the chips are mostly golden and crispy.

Guacamole!

Hi, friends! Don’t you just want to stick your face into this bowl of guacamole? No? Just me? Well, it really is delicious… Andy and I had this for dinner tonight along with grilled skirt steak fajitas and deep fried plantains with crema (!) It was a happy night in the ole Arizpe household. Side note- why was this the first time I’ve fried plantains? They are so, so tasty.

When I was growing up my mom would occasionally make guacamole with one of those seasoning packets they stock in the produce section next to the avocados, and oh man! We would go wild for it! Not to knock the seasoning packet, but this guacamole is so much better.  It’s loosely adapted from Rick Bayless, with way more lime and no tomatoes.  If you don’t have a go-to guacamole recipe, I humbly present this for your approval:


Guacamole

  • 2 large avocados, diced large
  • 1/2 small onion, diced finely (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno or 1 serrano, seeds removed, minced
  • 1 handful cilantro, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3-4 tablespoons lime juice (from 1-2 limes)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
  1. Put the diced avocado in a small bowl and mash half-assedly with a fork.  You want it to be a little chunky so as to distinguish itself from the guacamole that comes out of the Taco Bell caulking gun.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and salt) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.  If it seems flat, add more lime or salt or both.
  3. If you’re not serving it immediately, press a piece of saran wrap onto the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate.

Also, just for fun, here’s the cast of characters and (bonus!) a hot little pic for you meat lovers:

In case you were wondering, this is just a piece of skirt steak, seasoned with kosher salt and pepper, and grilled until nicely charred over a charcoal fire.

Crispy Latkes and Pink Applesauce

Oh man, oh man.  April is busy.  I would like to sit down and not move for six hours. I really like sitting.

Feast your eyes on our Passover table! We celebrated late, but had an absolutely wonderful Seder.  I was particularly pleased with how my brisket turned out (braised with rhubarb and honey from the All About Braising cookbook).  I’ll share that recipe with you guys later because it’s feeling more and more summery here, and you’re probably not in the mood to braise five pounds of beef for three-and-a-half hours.

What I do want to share are my favorite latke and applesauce recipes. Do you have a food mill? You need one to make pink applesauce.  And don’t you want to make pink applesauce?  It’s oh so pretty.  (Food mills are also totes awesome for making baby food.  You can food mill anything!) Anyway, the pink applesauce is so lovely and pink because you cook the apples in their skins. Then you put the quartered apples into the food mill and zip it through, and the food mill magically keeps all the skins while spewing out the applesauce. Delicious!

Oh, and latkes! I hope you’ve all had them- they are one of life’s great pleasure.  Light and crispy potato and onion pancakes- what’s not to love?  Here’s a picture of some of the 48 (!) I made for Passover:

The key to a really crispy latke is to squeeze the water out of the grated potato and onions really thoroughly.  Oh! Oh! And when you serve them, you have to have little bowls of sour cream along with the applesauce.  It is impossible to eat latkes without both applesauce and sour cream.  Trust me on this one.

Crispy Latkes
from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 large baking potato (1 pound), peeled
  • 1 small onion (4 ounces), peeled 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  1. In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer strands, lay the potato sideways in the chute of your food processor. Transfer to a colander or wrap in a cheesecloth sling, and squeeze as dry as possible. Let stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze dry again.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, egg, salt and pepper together. Stir in the potato onion mixture until all pieces are evenly coated.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

Do ahead: Latkes are a do-ahead-er’s dream. You can also keep latkes warm in the oven for an hour or more, if you’re waiting for stragglers to arrive. Cooked, they keep well in the fridge for a day or two, or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to two weeks. Reheat them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven until they’re crisp again. Bonus: If you undercooked them a bit or didn’t get the browning on them you’d hoped for, you can compensate for this in the oven.

Pink Applesauce
from Martha Stewart (of course)

  • 1 1/4 pounds red apples (about 4), such as McIntosh or Macoun, unpeeled, cored and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft, 15 to 30 minutes. Pass apple mixture through a food mill fitted with a medium disk. Applesauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.