Bring on the kitcshy American party-foods!

In America, lots of suburban women go to backyard barbecues or church potlucks and bring dishes like “Macaroni and Cheese”, “Tuna Noodle Casserole”, or rainbow Jello molds.

I have to admit, I think this is kind of awesome.

However, the ultimate American kitschy party favorite, or maybe penultimate, after “Taffy Apple Salad” (so amazingly delicious), is the Spinach Dip Bread Bowl.  I was really quite surprised this savory snack hadn’t yet become a hit here in New Zealand as well.  It’s the kind of recipe that normally involves buying a loaf of “Hawaiian Bread”, basically a giant squishy brioche, cutting a hole in the middle, and filling it with a mixture of frozen spinach, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and an onion soup packet.

Of course, as we know, our motto here on Holloway Road is “If it ain’t from scratch, it don’t go down the hatch”.

So, commence spinach dip bread bowl creation.  Step 1.  Bake a loaf of whole-wheat bread.

I use the no-knead “Artisanal Bread in 5 minutes a day” recipe, which creates a really nice, yummy “boule” shaped loaf.  (Boule is French for ball).  You can follow their recipe, I won’t bother repeating it here.  But I will post a picture of my beautiful final product, before inserting spinach dip.

Step 2 – Make spinach dip.

My recipe for spinach dip, although imprecise, created something better, and healthier, than my previous attempts/failures, like the soupy shit I brought to the Montreal Children’s Library Christmas Party in 2009.  Don’t worry, I also brought cupcakes and a quiche.  The secret ingredient to my new-and-improved spinach dip of success?  ONION POWDER!  (Available at Moore Willie’s, for you NZ folks who can’t find it at the New World).  Like an onion soup packet, but no MSG, partially hydrogenated milk solids, etc.

  • Wash some fresh spinach from the Victoria Street market.  I think I used an entire $2 bunch.
  • Chop it up.  Boil it in your homemade veggie stock, if you’re awesome like me, and make veggie stock every week with your left over peelings and whatnot.  If you don’t have veggie stock… I guess you could just use water.  Or maybe put some other kind of stock powder in the pot.  The vegetarian chicken kinds are alright.
  • Once the spinach is soggy, drain it, and make sure to squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.

Put it in a bowl.  Add to it:

  • 2 tbs cream cheese (I prefer the low-fat kind)
  • 2 tbs sour cream (see above)
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise (see above)
  • 1 cup natural yogurt (see above), or more, as needed.
  • 2 tbs onion powder
  • 2 cloves of smashed & diced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Step 3 – Mix it all up real good.  Cut a hole in your boule, scoop out the bready innards, slice them up into little dipping chunks, spoon in your dip, and place an awesome map-on-a-toothpick decorative flourish on top.  Wait for the dip and bread bowl to disappear before your eyes.

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