Monday, April 1, 2013

A = Ambergris and Artichokes

a
The first thing I would like to do is say thanks to the man who started A to Z and who is a blogger par excellence himself, Arlee Bird. Thank you so much Arlee, we bloggers are all grateful to you.

There was a story in the news last January about people finding Ambergris on the beach. Basically it is sperm whale vomit which has floated in the oceans for a long while and hardened whilst it hung Ambergrisaround, eventually ending up on a beach. It’s worth a fortune to the perfume industry as it works as a stabiliser for perfumes. The piece found in January was worth €100,000 which is quite a nice chunk of change. Some people walking an Australian beach found a 32 lb. lump which was worth $295,000, not sure whether that was Australian currency or American. Oh to live near a beach. I remember, as a kid, hunting for amber on the British beaches, not ambergris though. Ambergris is nicknamed ‘floating gold’, one can see why.


I served this dip at a get together I had just before Christmas and one of my guests really went nuts on it. I think it is delicious too. I first got the recipe from Laila at a party we held quite a few years ago for all the Ontario cookery group who had met on the internet.

Artichoke Dip

Laila Svjeneks

Artichoke Dip
1 cup (250 ml) mayonnaise
1 cup (250 ml) shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs (15 ml) grated onion
1/4 tsp (1 ml) hot sauce, or to taste
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 14-oz (390 g) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
Paprika to taste

Instructions: 
Combine the mayonnaise, mozzarella, Parmesan, onion, hot sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper in an electric blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the artichokes and place in a small baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika and bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 20 minutes, until bubbly. Serve warm with crackers or toasted pita bread triangles.
Serves 8 to 12.

Have a great day
Jo_thumb[2]

51 comments:

  1. I have had Artichoke dip but sadly we don't get it in India ! I had never heard of Ambergris ! Interesting ! What I wonder is how one earth did they ever found out whale vomit will stabilize perfumes :P

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    1. Do you not have artichokes in India? I would have thought they would grow well there.

      Can't imagine the answer to that.

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  2. A whale of a start, Jo. Noone will be beachcombing in the UK yet; it's still to cold not that we would find Ambergis we only get basking sharks, I think.

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    1. Used to hunt on the beaches of Norfolk. Never found anything. Basking sharks? Hadn't heard anything about that.

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  3. Hi Jo .. Ambergris - interesting about the shore appearances and their worth. Love artichokes and the dip though .. cheers Hilary

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    1. We used to wander the beach trying to find amber, maybe ambergris was what we were looking for, I was only a kid at the time.

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  4. Now that's interesting. I hadn't heard anything about this 'floating gold', very strange.

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  5. Ambergris - would we even recognise it on a beach - I've always wondered as it's such random stuff- imagine just walking past £100000! Argh!
    Lx

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    1. I know, its enough to set you beachcombing continuously.

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  6. Jo - this is my first time in the A to Z Challenge. Good luck to you.

    The last word in your blog title caught me, but I'll be coming back around for the read and the recipes. ;)

    Ambergris - ugh, who knew!

    Happy birthday to your dad.

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    1. Obviously someone knew about ambergris, but it's an odd thing to use isn't it?

      Not sure why you said happy birthday to my Dad? He died in 1974 so not celebrating birthdays any more.

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    2. My bad! Picked up a comment in the column on the side and thought it was yours--didn't realize it was a blog you follow. ;) I'm new to this, can you tell? LOL

      Yes, ambergris is an odd thing to use.

      Barbara

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    3. Actually that is our son in law's blog, it's his dad's 90th. Makes hubby and I feel young.

      Hope you enjoy the Blogfest, I was new to it last year, it was great. This year I am one of the minions helping the hosts.

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    4. Ah. Well, at least I kept it all in the family. ;)

      Yes, am loving the A to Z so far--lots of great posts for "A"!

      Barbara

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  7. I have always been fascinated by ambergris. Who ever noticed/decided/wondered about the benefits of putting it in perfume?

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    1. I cannot imagine. Whalers maybe?

      Thanks for dropping by.

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  8. Used in perfumes? That is just ewwww....

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    1. Well it is solid when it floats onto the beach.

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  9. Whale vomit worth a fortune? And my books are not? That is just so unfair! :-)

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    1. Roland, THAT is too funny!

      Donna L Martin
      www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  10. That artichoke dip looks fabulous! I just love artichokes, and what a great way to start out the challenge. :)

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    1. Thanks for the compliment. The Dip is great. I love artichokes and am very jealous of a friend in Arizona who grows them.

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  11. Never heard of ambergris and wouldn't know what to do with it if I would have come across it...lol...great post!

    Good luck with the challenge! I participated last year and had a blast!

    Donna L Martin
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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    1. Heard of it all my life, never seen it though. Wish I had, I could just make do with a few thousand dollars.

      Me too. Good luck to you as well.

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  12. The dip sounds tasty!
    Whale barf - not so much.

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    1. I bet you'd pick it up if you found some Alex. Especially at that price.

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  13. Really? That is very interesting to realize something I would have step around in disgust is worth so much money. How funny!

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    1. In fact if you saw it on the beach, it wouldn't look a lot different to other rocks and such, that's why people hunt on beaches to see if they can find it, difficult to spot. There are, I believe, lots of tiny pieces, probably worth a few hundred.

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  14. sperm whale vomit! That is disgusting! Unusual A to Z post you've got here ;-)

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

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    1. Not really, as I keep saying, its been kicking around in sea water for a long time and is quite solid.

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  15. This sounds SO GOOD! Time to go cook dinner ;-)

    New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z Challenge" and I look forward to visiting again!

    Sylvia
    http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

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    1. It is good Sylvia, I have been making it on and off for years and really enjoy it.

      Thanks for dropping by.

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  16. Mmm, that dip looks delicious! Not so much the Ambergris though, Lol. :) Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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    1. I bet you would like the Ambergris if you found a good sized chunk fetching $100,000

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  17. When I walk the beaches I am usually looking for beach glass.... will have to up my game to whale puke...LOL!!

    Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

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    1. It would probably look very much like beach glass Patricia.

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  18. Always learn something when reading your blog, Jo.

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    1. Nice to know. I think I should maybe have found a better picture of ambergris though.

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  19. Replies
    1. I assume to the artichokes not the ambergris.

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  20. Ambergris--that's new to me. I guess if I were familiar with it, I wouldn't be having to decorate my guest room on a shoestring. Oh, and thanks for the artichoke recipe. (I blogged about artichokes; thanks for stopping by!)

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    1. You have to have a beach handy of course. I could use a lump of the stuff myself.

      Ah artichokes, hubby shops on Wednesday and buys me a couple. Friend in Colorado grows them, I am so jealous.

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  21. Thank you for the recipe. I am always looking for new stuff to make with my daughter.

    Dropping by from A to Z. First year participating and very excited.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

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    1. You're welcome. Hope you enjoy A to Z

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  22. Artichokes aren't a vegetable you see much of in Australia, at least not in my city. But I love their pungent taste and may just try this dip one day.

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    1. Once again, I would have thought artichokes would grow OK in some parts of Oz. You don't need fresh ones for the dip of course.

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  23. Seems to be delicious :)

    Will try it out soon!

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    1. It is delicious, one of my favourite dips.

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  24. The artichoke dip is delicious...very more-ish. I only recently learned about ambergris. I guess not only do you have to live near a beach but one where whales are in the vicinity. Love your quirky combinations.

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    1. Yes, its always popular when I serve it.

      Whales don't necessary have to be nearby. Ambergis drifts in the waters for years before it is thrown up on the beach by which time it is quite solid.

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