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Clean Ticket Company
     June 16, 2016      #13-167 a2z

No skinny dipping: Take the plunge with healthy, full-fat dairy

By Brandy Welvaert

Headed to a summer cookout and need a delicious dish to share? Whip up a dazzling dip with just a few ingredients, pair it with a pretty platter of chopped vegetables and you can be out the door in minutes.

With dips, as with most simple fare, ingredients really do matter. And local, natural, full-fat dairy will enhance the flavor and health of any recipe.

"I'm hooked on full-fat dairy," says Sara Rissi, spokesperson for Kalona SuperNatural, which distributes natural dairy products such as milk, butter, sour cream and cream-top yogurt.
"We believe in doing less — not more — when it comes to food," says Rissi. "We bring you food in its most natural state."

Kalona SuperNatural's products are organic, non-homogenized, grass-fed and minimally pasteurized— either at a low temperature or a high temperature for a short time — to eliminate harmful bacteria while preserving character.

"Low temperature pasteurization destroys dangerous pathogens, but not the helpful bacteria that our bodies need. Lower temperatures also preserve the fabulous, fresh flavor of milk," Rissi says.

All of the company's products originate on small Amish and Mennonite family farms with average herds of about 30 cows on land that has been in families for 150 years in Kalona, Iowa, and the surrounding region. Products are sold in whole and natural food stores, including the HealthMarket section of Hy-Vee stores in the Quad-Cities. (For a listing, visit kalonasupernatural.com/faqs.)

Rissi calls the company and its products "grassroots." "Unlike larger companies, we know each and every farmer we work with. We visit their land. We know their families. We understand how and why they created their product. Whether it is organic milk, butter or yogurt, we are invested in the lives of our producers and, in turn, they are invested in the integrity of the product we send to market," she says.

Home cooks know that low-fat and fat-free dairy products don't produce the same results in recipes as their natural counterparts, nor do they taste the same on their own. Yet, it's easy to get lured in by the apparent health benefits of reduced-fat foods.

Case in point: Several years ago, I bought a tub of fat-free French onion dip to serve with veggies at a Fourth of July party. I knew it wouldn't have the same consistency or flavor as the regular version, but I was surprised when it turned out to be much worse than I guessed it would be — watery and off-tasting. The container languished in the fridge for a week or two before I finally rinsed and recycled it.

For years, we've been told that fatty foods, including natural, full-fat dairy, can lead to health problems, including cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Eventually, however, the scientific community may side with our tastebuds.
As reported by National Public Radio, a 2013 paper in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care showed that men who ate high-fat dairy products actually were less likely to become obese than men who didn't. A second study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, concluded that eating full-fat dairy does not contribute to obesity and heart disease, but instead decreases the risk for obesity.

If it's been a while since you indulged in natural dairy, you can sample Kalona SuperNatural products June 18 at the Healthy Living Fair.

"Visitors can expect to try our line of Greek yogurts, as well as some of our other products, like chocolate milk. We will also have a prize wheel and will be giving away some Kalona SuperNatural gear," says Rissi.

Kalona SuperNatural and its parent company, Open Gates Group, have been part of the Radish magazine Health Living Fair for years.

"We find that those who attend the Radish show have a great appreciation for local, organic and minimally-processed foods. It is a great opportunity to not only showcase our products, but also interact with consumers," she says.

Soon, you'll be able to road-trip for a taste of Kalona SuperNatural, too. The company recently purchased the old cheese factory in Kalona and will open the Kalona Creamery Shop & Deli this fall.
No matter how you decide to try it — from the supermarket, at the fair this month, in Kalona or in your own recipes — the taste of fresh, natural sour cream, yogurt, milk and butter is sure to remind you of a different time.

"Customers tell us that drinking (our) milk takes them back to their childhood days," Rissi says.

What more reason do you need? Take a dip!

Brandy Welvaert is a former editor of Radish.

Dill Dip

16-ounce container sour cream or plain Green yogurt (full-fat)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Refrigerate for an hour or more before serving to allow flavors to meld. Serve with crackers, chips or fresh vegetables.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Pastry 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter 
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of its liquid
14-ounce can artichokes, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup sour cream
5-ounce container plain Greek yogurt
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the pastry, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flours and salt. Cut in butter and add oil. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice and water. Stir gently into the flour mixture, just until combined. Roll out dough into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick and place on a baking sheet.

For the filling, mix the spinach, artichokes, sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheeses, garlic and cayenne.
Pour filling in middle of pastry, spreading to leave a 2-inch border around the edge. Fold pastry over filling mixture. Bake 40-50 minutes, then broil on low for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm.

Source: Recipes provided by Kalona SuperNatural. Find more recipes online at kalonasupernatural.com/recipes.

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Pastry