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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dead Man's Dip


1 unsliced loaf whole-wheat or brioche bread (about 1 lb)
1 regular breadstick (I was unable to find hard breadsticks, so my little coffin is missing this decoration.)
3 cans (14 oz each) artichoke hearts, drained
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 block (4 oz) fat-free or 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel), softened
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp hot red pepper sauce
Decoration: paprika and a clean plastic toy skeleton
Dippers: baby carrots; red and yellow bell pepper strips; celery sticks; cucumber slices
You'll need: two 6-in. bamboo skewers and some toothpicks
PREPARATION:
1. To make the bread coffin: Using a serrated knife, horizontally slice through top third of bread loaf, keeping top of bread attached along the long side opposite you; this will be the coffin lid. Carefully raise lid three-quarters open. Insert a skewer through bread top at each back corner of the lid, carefully threading each skewer through the bottom part of the loaf. This will keep lid open. Using kitchen shears, snip top of skewers flush with bread lid.
2. Following the contours of the loaf, and starting 1/2 in. in from loaf edges, score a rectangle in cut surface of bread bottom with a small knife. Carefully discard bread from inside the rectangle, leaving a 1/2-in. bread wall on all sides and a hollow into which to put the dip. Hollow out bread from coffin lid. Insert 3 or 4 toothpicks into breadstick along one length. Attach breadstick handle to front of coffin.
3. Pulse artichoke hearts, Parmesan, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic and pepper sauce in food processor until finely chopped. (If serving hot, place dip in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high 3 minutes or until hot.) Carefully spoon dip into prepared bread coffin. Decorate with toy skeleton, if desired. Sprinkle top of dip with paprika. Serve with assorted dippers.
Plan Ahead: You can make the dip up to 3 days ahead and refrigerate, then heat in the microwave and serve hot or at room temperature. Make bread coffin up to 1 day ahead; store airtight at room temperature.

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