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Archive for the ‘Appetizer’ Category

As you know, I decided to make a tasty risotto for Nate the other day. But I realized that the meal was lacking in protein and I try to serve us balanced meals as often as I can.

I racked my brain trying to figure out what to serve with it, since I had zero desire to cook up any sort of meat. Nate suggested that I make an appetizer, and that’s when I remembered an interesting type of dip I’d seen going around the blogging world.

This dip is made with a bean base, like hummus, but with the addition of peanut butter and honey it becomes a wonderful spread for apples, graham crackers, or whatever else you want.

It’s simple to make too, since you just dump all the ingredients into a food processor. I used my small 3-cup one.

I hope you’ll get past the fact that this is made from beans and give it a try. This is a perfect way to serve your kids a snack that’s healthier than cookies and chips. Serve it to your family and don’t tell them what’s inside 😉


High Protein Peanut Butter Dip
Recipe by Me 

Serves 4  for a snack with things to dip

Ingredients
1 (15oz) can White kidney beans (aka cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate graham crackers and sliced apple for serving

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend well.

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For Christmas, Nate surprised me with a quick long-weekend trip to San Francisco over MLK weekend. He considers SF his “hometown” because he was born there- never mind that his parents moved to the east coast when he was 3 months old.

If you try to tell him that he’s from Delaware, he will vehemently deny it. I used to ask him why it was so important for him to be “from” San Francisco, but now that I’ve been there I can see why he’s so adamant about it being his birth place. It’s a beautiful city with equal parts beach, mountains, forests, suburbs, city. It has a little bit of everything.

view of SF from the Rock.

On Saturday we went to Alcatraz. The audio tour was beyond cool. If you haven’t been, you must go! We also visited the ferry building with its amazing food, the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts, the Wharf where dozens of sea lions come to sunbathe, and the picturesque Land’s End walking path with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sunday morning we ventured out to Muir Woods, hoping to get there before the crowds. I think it could be one of the prettiest, most serene places I’ve ever been. There’s something about a damp, shady forest that I find so relaxing…not to mention how amazingly fresh it smells!

I don’t know about you, but my sense of smell is my strongest sense and I find myself smelling everything. It’s a little weird, actually, the way I smell any new thing I encounter. For some reason I feel the need to assess a smell even if I know it’s going to be a bad one. Maybe I’m part dog.

Though nothing will even come close to the smell of that cool damp forest, odors emanating from the kitchen come a close second 😉 While this soup isn’t the most fragrant thing I’ve ever cooked, it smells pretty darn delicious on a cold winter’s day, warming the room (and your belly!) right up.

It’s a very light soup, lighter than I’d imagined. I served it with some Cheddar Dill biscuits (recipe on Friday), but perhaps it would be best as a first course or a very light meal with some crusty bread.



Winter Vegetable Soup with Lentils

Slightly Adapted from Real Simple

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serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco) or more to taste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce; optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, breaking them up with a spoon, for 5 minutes.

Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Stir in the sweet potatoes, kale, lentils, thyme, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread, biscuits, or as an appetizer.

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Ok, no more pasta recipes for now.

In fact, I’m switching to an entirely different food category. No more dinner…on to snacks! Everyone likes snacks.

I made these little beauties as a appetizer before our New Year’s Dinner.

These taste exactly like Cheez-its. I know they don’t look the same but I promise they taste identical.

I adapted this recipe from Food52– The original recipe called for smoked paprika but I didn’t have any and didn’t feel like buying any so I used regular old paprika. I’m sure the smoked one would have added a different taste but then they would have tasted like smoked Cheez-its and that’s not quite the same.

I added quite a bit of cayenne as well. I loved how spicy they were but Nate wasn’t such a fan of his mouth tingling, so go easy on it if you have a sensitive fiance.

My only issue with these adorable little things is that they’re so tiny that rolling the dough into like 40 little balls is kinda of time consuming…and annoying. But if you have them time, then it’s totally worth it.

I hope you’re having company over soon because you need to make these! Or maybe you just want a snack. Either is fine.


Cheese Crackers

Barely Adapted from Food52

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Makes about 40

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
1 cup Panko bread crumbs (I used whole wheat panko)-*note these are not regular breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment.

Put flour, butter, cheese, cayenne, paprika and salt into food processor and pulse till completely blended and a ball forms. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Add panko and process in small pulses (as few as possible) to incorporate panko into dough.

Scoop small balls of dough (about 1/2 teaspoon) and roll in the palm of your hand. Place on cookie sheet and flatten with fork or spatula. (You can also roll the dough out about 1/2 inch thick and use small cookie cutters.) Sprinkle the tops with smoked paprika and more salt if desired.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until the bottom is lightly browned and the crispettes are cooked through.

Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Well, that’s what they say. I’m not sure how true it is, though, because I eat an apple almost every single day and I get sick way more than Nate. Although, come to think of it, Nate eats an apple every.single.day with his lunch (I told he he’s a creature of habit!). So maybe the old saying IS true 🙂

Regardless, I think apples are pretty tasty. As soon as fall comes and the air starts gettin chilly, I do a lot of apple-eating. So when October’s #lovebloghop got announced with the ingredient-of-the-month as apple, I was pretty pleased.

Since I’ve been on a flatbread kick, I decided to do a little experimenting. I don’t how this zany little idea got in my head, but I wanted to make a dough out of sweet potato that wouldn’t require yeast.

Because the dough would hopefully have a nice sweetness to it, I wanted a topping that would complement it. I settled on sauteed onions and apples with rosemary. I just felt that those flavors would all meld so well together.

And then, I added cheese. Cheese? Yes, please.

You know what else they say about apples? An apple pie without the cheese is like a hug without the squeeze.

Ok, so I’ve never actually had apple pie with cheese, but I’m told that putting a little cheddar in the crust or on top is just delightful.

I’m not usually a recipe-creator, but I thought I did a pretty good time this time around.

October is #applelove month!  Hosted by:

Baker Street http://bakerstreet.tv/
Bloc de recetas http://blocderecetas.blogspot.com/
Bon a croquer http://www.bonacroquer.com
CafeTerraBlog http://www.cafeterrablog.com
Cake Duchess http://www.cakeduchess.com
Elephant Eats http://www.elephanteats.com
Hobby And More http://hobbyandmore.blogspot.com/
Knitstamatic http://knitstamatic.wordpress.com
Mike’s Baking http://www.mikesbaking.co.uk
Mis Pensamientos http://juniakk.blogspot.com
My Twisted Recipes http://www.mytwistedrecipes.blogspot.com
Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives http://lisamichele.wordpress.com
Queen’s Notebook http://www.queensnotebook.com
Skip to Malou http://www.skiptomalou.net/
Teaspoon of Spice http://www.teaspoonofspice.com
The Daily Palette http://www.thedailypalette.com
The Spicy RD http://www.eastewart.com/blog
Vegan Miam http://www.veganmiam.com
Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen http://versatilekitchen.blogspot.com

Please join in on the #applelove fun by linking up any apple recipe from the month of October 2011.  Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #applelove event. The twitter hashtag is #applelove :). 

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Yeast-Free Sweet Potato Flatbread with Apples, Carmelized Onions, Cheddar and Rosemary

Recipe by Me

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Serves 6 as an appetizer

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
s+p to taste
1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1-2 small potatoes)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup shredded cheddar (or more if you like things cheesy)

Heat oil in saucepan over med-hi heat.

Add onion and cook 10 min or until soft.

Add 1 tsp vinegar to deglaze, scraping up all stuck bits, and add apples and rosemary.

Cook 5 min or until soft. Add rest of vinegar and sugar and cook 5-10 min more.

Bake (or microwave) sweet potato until soft. Remove skin and mash. Combine sweet potato, flour and baking soda in a small bowl and combine well. Add more flour as needed. Knead until dough forms into a ball. Dough will be slightly sticky.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle (or desired shape) until 1/4 inch thick. It should fit on 1/2 of a baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with more olive oild and spread apple mixture and cheese on top. Bake 5 more minutes at 350 or until cheese melts.

Cut into squares and serve immediately.

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I’ve been on a flatbread kick lately. But not just any flatbread…flatbread that doesn’t require yeast, is quick to make, and has the delicious, doughy, flaky bread consistency.

Lucky for me I have a new food buddy who came to the rescue. I’ve recently reconnected with a friend from high school, Emily, who was living abroad in Paris for the last two years and just moved back to nyc.

It’s very exciting to have someone I can discuss food/cooking/recipes with 🙂 I have a lot of other friends who like food, but liking food and knowing how to cook it are two very different things. Emily actually has a food blog as well that has some great recipes!

So when I told Emily about my flatbread dilemma, she provided me with two recipes, both based on the Indian roti bread. I kind of combined them into one puffy, flavorful masterpiece that I highly recommend. It goes extremely well with an Indian Spiced Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew that I will be posting in the next week.


Yeast-Free Cilantro Chickpea Flatbread

Adapted from Bon Appetit

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makes 8- four inch flatbreads

3/4  cup unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup (or more) plain low-fat yogurt
Olive oil (for frying)

Combine first 6 ingredients into medium bowl. Whisk to mix. Stir in cilantro.

Add yogurt and stir with fork until small clumps form. Knead mixture in bowl just until dough holds together, adding more flour or yogurt by tablespoonfuls for soft and slightly sticky dough. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead just until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into ball, then roll each dough piece out on floured surface to 4 1/2-inch round. Brush large nonstick skillet generously with olive oil; heat over medium heat.

Working in batches, add 3 dough rounds to skillet; cook until golden brown and puffed, adjusting heat to medium-high as needed to brown evenly, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer flatbreads to platter; serve warm. 

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I’ve been promising you guys my family’s favorite salsa recipe and I finally got around to making it. As I mentioned in my last post, I visited my friends this past weekend and thought the salsa was a perfect appetizer on a lovely summer day. Plus, I wanted to get you this recipe in time for 4th of July. Obviously, it goes perfectly with any cookout along with some tortilla chips. Although, it’s so good that sometimes I just eat it with a spoon.

There’s nothing particularly special about the recipe, but my family has been making it for years. I’m not sure where it came from originally, but the recipe is called Brad’s Salsa…so thanks, Brad, whoever you are.

The ingredients are pretty standard for a salsa recipe. It uses canned tomatoes instead of fresh though. Is that normal? I’m not sure, but it makes one tasty dip. And for all you cilantro haters out there, I’m sorry, but this recipe contains a lot of it. I guess you could leave it out but it just wouldn’t be the same.

I think what makes it so amazing are that the ingredients are just so fresh. It’s best served after having mellowed out together for a day, giving it all a change to meld togetehr.

Because I made this on the weekend, I was actually able to take some pictures in daylight! I know. Amazing.

So here you go. Enjoy the pictures and the recipe. I hope you make it for this weekend’s festivities!


Brad’s Salsa
Recipe from Brad?

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Ingredients:

1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained (juice reserved), chopped
1 small can diced green chiles (in the ethnic/mexian aisle at the market)
1 Tbsp jalapeno, diced fine (optional)
1 red onion, diced fine
1 clove garlic, diced fine
tabasco to taste
juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients. Add some of the reserved tomato juice if desired. Let mellow for 12-24 hours in refrigerator. It tends to get more watery as it sits, so don’t overdo the tomato liquid.

*Note: if doubling this recipe (which I always do), be careful of doubling the chiles and jalapeno. Be sure to taste before adding more than a single recipe’s worth.

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…and it really ain’t easy bein’ cilantro. Cilantro gets such a bad rap sometimes, and I don’t know why. It seems so nice and mild to me. It’s never caused any trouble. And yet for some reason, it has so many haters.

This could in part be due to the fact that some people are genetically predisposed to think cilantro tastes like soap. Weird, but true. I certainly hope you’re not one of those people. You’d be totally missing out. I also hope you’re not one of those people who lacks the gene for winking…because that’s just sad.

We happen to love cilantro in my family. We have an amazing fresh salsa recipe (I might post that near the 4th of July) and we always add way more cilantro than it calls for. Perhaps that’s why warm weather makes me want some cilantro.

So when I came across this recipe for Cilantro Lime Dressing, I thought I’d give it a try.I had hopes of it being really creamy, but it wasn’t so much, so I added in some light sour cream I just happened to need to use up and the result was delicious. Too bad it doesn’t photograph well.

I tossed it with green beans, orange slices, cucumer and fresh mint. It ended up being a fairly tasty combo but not worthy of putting on my blog (because of the combo of veggies/fruits, but not because of the dressing). I think in the future I’d just stick to dressing a plain old lettuce salad, but you can do whatever you want with it. I won’t judge.

Now if you don’t like cilantro, I can’t promise that you’ll like this recipe, but you could at least make it for everyone else to enjoy. Just understand that you’ll be missing out.


Cilantro Lime Dressing

Adapted from Everyday Health

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Makes about 1 cup

*This dressing is best after refrigeration because it gets creamier. Make a day ahead.

Ingredients
1.5 cups cilantro, packed
1/3 cup oil, olive, extra virgin
1/3 cups lime juice
1/3 cups orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, black
1 pinch garlic, minced
1/3 cup low fat sour cream

Puree cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper, garlic and sour cream in a blender or food processor until smooth.

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