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Cannellini Bean, Artichoke, and Fresh Rosemary Dip with Homemade Pita Bread

Cannellini Bean, Artichoke, and Fresh Rosemary Dip with Homemade Pita ChipsCannellini Beans are ubiquitous this year.  I’ve been talking to anyone who will listen about this years food trends.  Reading as many food lits as I do, each year seems to garner ingredient trends.  This year I see cannellini beans everywhere, along with smoked paprika – well smoked things in general.  I’ll remember more later, and I haven’t been keeping official track, but some other examples are like the year everything was topped with a chutney.  And the year the tangine was featured prominently in every catalog and food mag.  And the year or couple where every food article written seemed to be about Aisan cuisine.  I haven’t taken a running tally, and maybe it’s my imagination or maybe the universe is conveniently placing items in my precense of which I should take note.  Either way, I don’t remember cannellini beans being so ever present before this year.  Cannellinis are white Italian kidney beans.  This dip merges them with artichoke hearts, fresh rosemary (swiped from Emily’s garden, Thanks!), and a few more staples to create a hummus like alternative dip.  The recipe for the dip came from Farmgirl Fare [1], a food blog written by Farmgirl Susan [2].  Her site was recomended to me by a John D. on the rec of his school’s nurse, and this recipe for Cannellini Beans, Artichoke Hearts, and Fresh Rosemary Dip [3] literally jumped out of the computer at me.  I’ve also started my own Homemade Pita Bread Experiment inspired by the recipe on her site.  I’ll be detailing those adventures in an upcomming day.

I’m a big fan of the slow food movement [4].  If you’re not familiar and don’t want to read that wikipedia article, my 30 second summary of what slow food means to me is based on creating foods from start to finish using natural, less processed, more local, more seasonal ingredients to cultivate healthy, whole meals which are good for your body, nourish your soul, and create great conversation.  Now I live a very moderate lifestyle, meaning attempting to use moderation in all (most) that I do.  And I certainly don’t mean to insinutate that I never go through a fast food drive through.  Some things catch my attention in the prepared foods market, like the woman I witnessed seeking pimento cheese at the grocery today.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but pimento cheese has about five ingredients.  If you buy it preprepared, there’s also going to be preservatives and other stuff, and it’s stored in plastic, and you have to throw away (recycle) the container.  I’m not overly concerned by getting sick from plastic or food preservatives, but I know it will taste fresher and better if I made it myself.  And I get the satisfaction of my time in the kitchen.  I realize that not everyone derives as much joy from food prep as I do, and to you fellow groceryer, I am in no way insinuating that a market should not exist for you to purchase prepared foods.  I just love what I do, and this is what works for me.

So the dip is quick and the pitas are not.  Though if you’d asked me last week how to make homemade pitas, I would have shrugged and my initial thought would be that it would probably require a special oven or at a minimum, special equipment.  Internet, I am here to tell you – that is not true.  There in lies the power of food blogging.  I write this blog for me.  I love that people enjouy reading it, but it started because I thought someday I might like to write a cookbook.  Before this year I’ve never written any of my recipes down, and my recipe box probably contains a sad 25 note cards.  Plus, I could talk about food, think about food, read about food, and create food all day long and that gets boring for my loved ones.  I read a lot of blogs in the past several years, but ironically, no food blogs.  I had no idea how large and crowded this community was.  It’s a phenomenal wealth of information available for you, the Internet, free of charge.  I think the end result will be that we’ll all wind up phenomenollay better cooks, and more and more people will realize the pleasure of dining intertwined with the pleasure of creating.  So thank you google, and thank you FoodieFarmGirl, and all the others to be unveiled during my adventures in pita making and beyond.

Cannellini Bean, Artichoke, and Fresh Rosemary Dip adapted from Farmgirl Fare [3]

1 can organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can artichoke hearts (not the marinated kind!), rinsed and drained

2 very large cloves garlic, chopped

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 c. finely grated fresh Pecorino Romano Cheese

1 tbsp chopped fresh Rosemary

ground sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Place first four ingredients in a food processor, pulse for 3 minutes, then turn to on for 3 more minutes.  Keep your food processor in the on position and drizzle olive oil through top to emulsify.  Pour contents to a bowl and stir in  rosemary and cheese until combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Chill for at least two hours, then serve on crostini or pita chips.