The Stuff (Otherwise Known as Artichoke-Spinach Dip)
If Yetta reads this, she’s going to laugh her ass off. The Stuff was first introduced to us by a former coworker who spent the better part of the afternoon after we had devoured it creating cute little recipe cards for us. They had clip art and everything.
I’ll spare you that, but I can tell you that The Stuff kicks ass. I’ve brought this tasty dip to many an affair, and there’s never any left at the end. Chefs have asked me for my secret, and I love seeing their faces when I tell them. When I’m invited to potluck dinners, my friends say, “Oh yeah, bring The Stuff.” When I oblige, people exclaim, “Oh, yeah! You brought The Stuff!” while piling their plates high. My mother, one of the best cooks in the land, always buys the ingredients for me to make The Stuff as an appetizer on Thanksgiving AND Christmas Day.
I imagine some suburban housewife created The Stuff upon discovering artichoke hearts and not having the faintest idea what to do with them. The thing about suburban housewives is that, laugh at them all you want, they know comfort food. If you don’t trust them, trust me—this is the best artichoke-spinach dip you’ll ever eat.
1 can artichoke hearts, in water, drained
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed (don’t try fresh, and for the love of all that is holy, do not try canned)
1 small can diced green chilies (found in the faux-Mexican section, alongside the “taco” seasoning)
1 cup mayonnaise (don’t use salad dressing)
1 cup parmesan cheese (the recipe calls for the powdery stuff, but you can used fresh grated, and it will still be yummy)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (Alas, I don’t know my conversions very well).
Squeeze all the water out of the chopped spinach. Do this thoroughly, or the dip will be runny.
Chop the ends off the artichoke hearts, and discard (make sure you get the choke). Chop the rest into decent-sized pieces.
Dump the squeezed spinach and the chopped artichoke hearts in a bowl.
Dump in the small can of diced green chilies.
Dump in the cup of mayonnaise.
Dump in the cup of parmesan cheese.
Dump the mixture into small, ungreased casserole dish (I use a Le Creuset small oval baker).
Bake at 375 degrees for 15–20 minutes or until top is slightly brown and the mixture is bubbly.
Serve hot. This dip goes with pretty much everything, and I’ve seen people eat it with a fork. I tend to bring nice crackers (try to spruce up the suburban housewifey thing a bit, you know). Watch as people devour and laugh when you tell them that your secret is mayonnaise.
Fluff and the Stuff at Thanksgiving at Mom & Dad’s
* And you thought I was going to be vulgar
**I really can cook. I’ve slaved hours for dinner parties before, pulling fresh, homemade bread out of the oven as I put the finishing touches on the soup, appetizer ready, wine at hand, and main course under control. When time is short, and party time is upon me, however, this is the one thing I count on to please.