I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for good dip recipes. Appetizers before meals, especially when inviting guests, are essential in our household. The first one is an Artichoke Lemon Dip, and the other, an easy avocado dip - a healthy revision of a classic green goddess dressing. Both would go well with fresh summer vegetable crudités, like celery sticks, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, bell pepper strips, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus spears.

Artichoke Lemon Dip Recipe

14oz can of artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained

1/4c chopped fresh parsley

1/4c packed, grated Parmesan cheese

1Tbl lemon zest

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2tsp fresh black pepper

1/4tsp salt

8oz cream cheese, room temperature

3-4Tbl lemon juice

Put the drained artichoke hearts, parsley, Parmesan, lemon zest, garlic, and salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until a paste forms; don't over-process it.

Place the cream cheese in a medium sized bowl. Add the artichoke parsley mixture and the lemon juice. Stir until well blended. Add more salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Garnish with a few fresh leaves of parsley or ribbons of lemon zest.

Pair this with Brander’s 2018 Cuvee Natalie, a perennial favorite named after owner and winemaker Fred Brander’s late daughter, is a blend of 43% Pinot Gris, 36% Sauvignon Blanc and 21% Riesling. The Sauvignon Blanc is estate grown while the Pinot Gris and Riesling are from Kick-On Ranch in Los Alamos. This wine is fermented to dryness in stainless steel to preserve the floral aromas and stone fruit notes of this unique blend.

Green Goddess Avocado Dip

2 small ripe avocados

2 green onions

1/4c tightly packed parsley leaves

1/4c tightly packed basil leaves

3Tbl lemon juice

2Tbl mayonnaise or Greek yogurt

1/2tsp sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve alongside crudités.

Pair this dip with Star Lane’s 201 Star Lane Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. In 1996, with forty years of winemaking experience, Jim and Mary Dierberg’s dream of producing wines worthy of their 250-year plan became a reality. After a long search through France and Napa, they discovered the potential of Santa Barbara’s cool coastal valleys. The family planted the Dierberg and Drum Canyon Vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills along with the Star Lane Vineyard in Happy Canyon.

Aromatically, heavenly-perfumed citrus, white peach and green tea emerge from the glass of this Sauvignon Blanc to give a sense of weight and depth they’ve increasingly noted from these blocks. However, the palate delivers a surprise as this wine illustrates amazing complexity! Capitalizing on a backbone of bursting fresh citrus and clean minerality, mingling with a touch of ripe tropical fruits and honeyed Semillon, this vintage stuns non-believers of California Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy!

John David Finley is a free-lance writer and author of the cookbook, Sacred Meals from our Family Table, which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at sacredmeals@comcast.net.


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