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Spring Vegetable Tart

6 May

It is asparagus season, this makes me very happy. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables because it tastes great and can be used in so many different types of recipes. Asparagus is great all by itself, in a salad, hot or cold, roasted or steamed…I could go on forever.

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Now when most people think of tarts they think dessert, I know I always did, until I began to cook and opened my mind to all kinds of new things in the world of food. According to Wikipedia “a tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry.” So when I was looking for something to bring to my sisters that was a bit different than the usual, I found a recipe for an Asparagus Leek Tart, it was perfect.

Ingredients

4 small leeks or 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced and rinsed well

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into small pieces

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/3 cup milk

2 eggs

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

1 heaping tsp of fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme if you don’t have lemon thyme

1 tsp of fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp concentrated balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or line with foil and grease lightly with shortening or butter. Set aside.

 

Melt butter and olive oil together in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes and remove from heat and keep to the side. While the leeks are cooking blanche the asparagus for two minutes in boiling water and then put into ice water to stop the cooking. Add asparagus to the leeks and set aside.

 

On a lightly floured surface roll out puff pastry dough into a rectangle and transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. Using a fork score around the edges to create a crust and pierce the dough all over so that it doesn’t puff up too much in the middle.  Bake for 10 minutes.

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While the pastry is cooking whisk together the eggs and milk in a mixing bowl until well combined. Add cheese, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

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Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the puff pastry from the oven and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Using a fork gently push the air out of the center of the dough so that it flattens in the center.

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Scatter the asparagus and leeks evenly on the dough, pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables. Bake for 20 to 25 until set. Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle with concentrated balsamic vinegar, serve and enjoy!

 

Thank you The Life Jolie for this delicious recipe!

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Rock’n Egg Rolls

28 Feb

Once again I decided to tackle something that seemed beyond my cooking skills, egg rolls. Frying is something that has always been scary to me, dangerous even. And guess what? So much easier than I imagined and super delicious!

I handed the plate to my husband and he reluctantly took a bite, looked up and said “Wow, I was skeptical but these are really, really good!” I can add the recipe to my list of keepers.

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These egg rolls are vegan but you can certainly added finely chopped cooked chicken or shrimp.

Ingredients:

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 to 3/4 head savoy cabbage (about 11 ounces), finely chopped

3 medium carrots, shredded

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp cooking oil + more for frying

1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sesame oil

freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 cup cool water

1 package of egg roll wrappers

Directions:

Heat a wok or large sauce pan over high heat. Add the 1 Tbsp cooking oil.

Add the cabbage, carrots, mushrooms and ginger and stir-fry for a minute or two then add garlic and cook until vegetables start to soften.

Add rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt and pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another minute.

Remove the filling and place on a baking sheet in a thin layer to cool. Raise one end of the tray to allow for the liquids to drain away from the filling.

Mix the cornstarch and water.

Fill the egg roll wrapper with a heaping Tbsp of vegetable mixture. Dip your finger in the cornstarch/water mixture and paint the edge of the wrapper, this will seal it. Roll the egg roll, making sure you roll it tightly.

Heat up about 1.5 inches of oil (I used vegetable oil) in a large fry pan. When the oil is hot enough, place the egg rolls in the hot oil carefully and fry in batches. Fry until golden brown about one minute each side.

When you remove the egg rolls place on a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet to let them drain.

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Serve with duck sauce and enjoy!

*Recipe courtesy of Detours in Life

 

Not your Momma’s 7 Layer Dip

15 Jul

Who doesn’t love 7 layer dip? Well, here’s a Greek version and not only is it super tasty, it is also kinda healthy. I made it this past weekend for a small gathering and it was huge hit (there was nothing left). You can serve it with pita chips, warmed pita bread cut into triangles or bagel chips. Stacy’s actually makes a new pita crisp that I happen to love because it is thinner and lighter than the regular pita chips. Vegetables are good too, especially if you or your guests are gluten free.

I dip, you dip...we dip!

I dip, you dip…we dip!

I adapted this from SkinnyTaste.com. There are just a few changes, the first one being she makes hers in a 9″ x 13″ Pyrex pan, not to insult her but I happen to like to serve in a prettier way so I made mine in a white ceramic serving dish. Secondly, I beefed up the amount of hummus and greek yogurt to make it more substantial, 8 oz seemed to spread out too thin. Give it whirl and let me know what think!

1 1/2 cups hummus

1 1/2 cups plain low-fat or no fat Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh chopped dill

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Pinch of Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion

1 cup chopped English or regular cucumber (seeded)

1 cup seeded, chopped tomato

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

In a small bowl combine yogurt, dill, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the dish of your choice, spread the hummus as the first layer, then the greek yogurt mixture, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and lastly the olives.

Super easy, super tasty and good for you!

*The dish should be 1.5 or 2 quarts.

From Tarts to Tartines

26 Apr

The definition of a tartine is a “fancy French open faced sandwich topped with a rich spread”, what could be bad about that?…  And now that asparagus season is in full swing here is a very easy, very yummy asparagus tartine; the perfect hors d’oeuvre.

Tartine a la Asparagus!

Tartine a la Asparagus!

1 lb Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces

2 Tbsp Olive oil

Sea Salt

Pepper

1 Loaf crusty rustic bread

1/4 Basil pesto

1 Cup ricotta cheese

2 Scallions, chopped

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl toss the asparagus with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread asparagus out on baking sheet and roast in oven for about 8 minutes until tender but not mushy.

In the meantime cut bread into thin slices, put on baking pan and brush with remaining olive oil. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes until slightly crispy.

Combine pesto with ricotta cheese to create the spread. To assemble, spread the ricotta mixture on each slice of bread, top with two or three pieces of asparagus and sprinkle with sliced scallions. Arrange on a pretty platter and serve’m up!

 

Roasted Tomatoes-Italian Style

3 Mar

Last night we had friends for dinner and I always have a theme, so last night it was “A Night in Italy”.  I just think it’s more interesting and fun with a theme and you can get really creative with the decor, the menu and your outfit! The menu was simple starting with an antipasto, then we sat for an arugula salad and shrimp marinara with crusty italian bread followed by italian pastries and a dessert cocktail of prosecco with raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries. All this while listening to Italian music and drinking Italian wines.  The one hors d’ oeuvre  I made last night, that I have made before that is always a big hit is a Roasted Caprese Salad. They fit nicely not just because they are Italian but they are the colors of the Italian flag! I got the recipe from my BFF Karen, who is also my sister-in-law (she was my friend first)  and she got the recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. I do not even like tomatoes but I love these and so easy to make. I highly suggest you try them!

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

12 Plum Tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed (I like to use the Campari tomatoes)

1/4 Cup Good Olive Oil, plus more drizzling

1 1/2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Teaspoons Sugar (I do not use the Sugar)

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

16 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh Basil

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees (I do 250 in my oven, because they were cooking too quickly and burning).

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan with the cut sides up in a single layer.  Mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar with the garlic and drizzle over the tomatoes then sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar if desired.  Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into 1/2″ slices, if too big then cut in half and a arrange on a platter. Put a small basil leaf on each piece of cheese then layer with a tomato and drizzle with more olive oil if desired and serve with baguette slices. 

A great addition to any party…happy eating!

St. Partick’s Day Leftovers…Irish Eggrolls

25 Mar

 

So here we are one year later, and to celebrate my anniversary I am going to go back to the beginning and write about corned beef and cabbage. What to do with the leftovers?…last year my friend Robin told us about Bubble and Squeak and this year she told me about Irish Eggrolls. When she first said it I thought…ewwww. But I must admit she was right, they are delicious!

And once again I did not follow a recipe, I threw caution to the wind and winged it. There are many recipes out there if you feel you must but for me it’s like an experiment and when it works out it makes it that much more satisfying. 

To start you will need the leftovers:

Corned beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots

Vegetable Oil

1 Package of Eggroll Wrappers-they are in the refrigerated section

Chop the corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put the mixture on an eggroll wrapper as directed on the package.

Getting ready to roll the roll

Getting ready to roll the roll

Once they are rolled, heat oil in skillet-I put the oil in the pan till it was about half full. The oil should be heated to 375 degrees. Once the oil is ready put the eggrolls in and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side then remove and drain on papertowels.

Almost ready...

Serve with mustard and enjoy! These were a big hit at our St. Patrick’s Day feast and I think they will be a reoccurring item on our menu. I actually didn’t use leftovers, I got up early and made the cored nbeef and cabbage meal early, let it cool and then made the eggrolls to serve at our dinner so I could get everyone’s opionion and I’m glad I did!

 

So, thank you everyone for making my first year a success! I have learned alot about blogging and I hope that you have learned some new recipes. Belated Happy St.Patrick’s Day and Happy Cooking!!!! ~Christina

Dippity Do Da Dips!!!

22 Jan

With the Super Bowl quickly approaching I thought I would share two of my favorite dips. They both have the same base of cream cheese and sour cream and who doesn’t love those!  They are super easy to make and a definite crowd pleaser.  So, here goes…and I would like to thank my friend Cathie at work for the chili dip idea!

Taco Dip

One Package of your favorite Taco seasoning

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

8 Ounces Sour Cream

1 Cup of your favorite Salsa

6 to 8 Ounces of Shredded Cheese-I used a Mexican blend

Taco Dip

Taco Dip

Turn on the broiler in your oven. Mix the cream cheese and sour cream together, add taco seasoning and blend well. Spread the mixture in a shallow casserole dish (a quiche dish works well), spread the salsa evenly over the cream cheese mixture and then sprinkle with the shredded cheese.  Put under the broiler for just a few minutes, about 3 or 4 to melt the cheese.   Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos and ENJOY!

Chili Dip

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

8 Ounces Sour Cream

2 Cups Chili-I used leftovers and warm it up a bit

6 to 8 Ounces Shredded Cheese

Chili Dip
Chili Dip
Turn the broiler on in your oven. Mix the cream cheese and sour cream together well, spread into a shallow casserole dish. Spread the chili over the cream cheese mixture, sprinkle with  shredded cheese. Place under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese-about 3 or 4 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos. So good it’s almost a meal!
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