Now that we’re already into the second month of 2020, perhaps it’s about time that I write one of my “that’s-the-makings-of-yet-another-post” post, as I’m fond of saying. (My regular readers surely know what I’m talking about—and any new readers will know soon enough!) There may be many of these over the coming year, but for now here’s one of them—and a great recipe to share. You can find many good versions of this dip online, but this one is exceptionally easy and locally famous.
It’s been awhile since I owned my own restaurant (I’ve had several). At other times I also ran my own business as a personal chef and was as a manager for Steele’s Market. I’m retired now, and as you know I write this blog for Selene River Press. It’s my bliss!
It’s always a pleasure to do research for my column, and my readers are the most thoughtful people to ever come into my life. It delights me that some of you ask questions for your elderly loved ones or honor those who have passed.
One of my first Q&As was with a Georgian gentleman asking about his mother’s split pea and hambone soup recipe. I’ll never forget his story. I get many requests for lost recipes, and I understand why. We want future generations to share in the culinary legacy that unites us. Lest we forget, food is the tradition that connects us all. This is why my favorite kind of research is learning about handed-down recipes.
Some of you may remember this, but the second Steele’s Market (the first was on Oak Street) was located at Foothills Parkway, just across the road from the famous Foothills Fashion Mall. Remember those days? Didn’t you love it when lavishly dressed windows in department stores showed the latest fashions?
In many malls, Penney’s would be located on one end and Sears at the other. You could spend all day browsing, window shopping, and meeting friends. I knew parents who would drop their children off for the day—there was food, movies, and security guards walking around to keep everybody safe. We all had designated times and places to retrieve the kids. It was indeed a different time.
Back in that day, I became the new manager for an extension of Steele’s Market at the Foothills Fashion Mall named after the owners’ only daughter, Carol Anne. I was hired by Carol Anne herself. Carol Anne’s Deli & Restaurant was its name. A brilliant idea. Though it was definitely a restaurant, we made sandwiches just like a deli. Customers could select one of our premade sandwiches from the showcase up front, but we could also make them to order.
The food court didn’t exist then. Little shops like Orange Julius and big enterprises like Delfannies Restaurant dotted the arterials and walkways. You could also find more than a few mom and pop sandwich shops and pizza places. (The coming of the food court may just be the makings of yet another post.)
As I said, Carol Anne interviewed and hired me herself. With an all-female staff, I hired two housewives, Kathy and Karen, to help me “man” the store. They were eager employees, so happy to do what they did at home—but for pay.
Our baker, Annette, came directly from the Steele’s Market bakery shop. She made the huge cinnamon rolls, cookies, and pastries that we sold out of every day. The aroma of baking bread is unmistakable, but when perfumed with heavenly scented cinnamon it will make your mouth water. Did you know some places now pump smells outside to attract hungry shoppers? We didn’t back then—it was all natural!
But let me tell you, our biggest seller wasn’t our cinnamon rolls. It was our warm artichoke dip with homemade Asiago cheese bread—a recipe that was given to me by Carol Anne herself, and that I am now happy to share with you!
Carol Anne’s Warm Artichoke Dip
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise (homemade if possible)
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
½ cup chopped green onions
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or Sriracha sauce
Special equipment: 6-cup ovenproof casserole
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the casserole dish. Mix artichokes, sour cream, mayonnaise, Asiago cheese, and green onions in a bowl. Add cayenne pepper or Sriracha to taste.
- Blend well and spoon into the prepared casserole.
- Bake 25–30 minutes or until heated through.
- Serve immediately with Asiago cheese bread, another bread of your choice, or bruschetta slices.
Image from iStock/cheche22.