40 posts tagged appetizer
Yummy, make-ahead food for a busy day
The weather here in Portland has been just about as perfect as it can get, with low humidity, temperatures in the mid-80s and bright blue, cloudless skies. We spent almost every minute of our weekend outside working on the garden and replacing the roof on our outdoor room. I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen because I made sure we were well-stocked with easy, yummy foods.
One of the things we snacked on were these crispy little taquitos. I rolled up a batch of them on Friday afternoon and kept them covered in the frig. Whenever we were hungry I would pop a few in the oven and 15 minutes later they were ready. They were perfect with some of my easy blender salsa and a nice dollop of sour cream. Makes 12 to 16.
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup green salsa
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (approximately 1/2 of a juicy lime)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 green onions, sliced thin (use white and green parts)
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup grated pepperjack cheese
- Small corn tortillas
- Kosher salt
- Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder and onion powder. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well. You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Keep the mixture in the refrigerator.
You need to soften your tortillas so they won’t crack when you roll them. I usually lightly spray both sides with non-stick cooking spray and stick them in the oven for a minute. Another way to do it is to heat tortillas in the microwave a few at a time for about 25 seconds between damp paper towels.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Roll it up as tight as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Place pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.
Freezer Instructions: Prepare the taquitos through rolling them out and placing them on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until solid then transfer to a large freezer bag. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 and place the taquitos on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Dippity do dah
Hot spinach and artichoke dip seems appropriate for today. Enjoy!
- 1/2 (10 ounce) package chopped frozen spinach, thawed, and moisture squeezed out
- 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon (or more!) Tabasco or Sriracha
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated melting cheese, such as mozzarella, jack, cheddar, pepper jack or a combination of any, divided
Mix everything together including half of the cheese and spoon into baking dish. Sprinkle on remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake in a preheated 350 F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese has turned golden brown on top, 20 to 30 minutes. If cheese is not golden, place baking dish on top rack of oven and turn oven to broil. Watch carefully so cheese does not burn.
Crostini, meaning “little toasts” in Italian, is a small round of toasted bread topped with any number of yummy foods. Goat cheese, garlic, tomatoes, basil, olive tapenade, and mashed peas are all common toppings. I’ve made crostini and bruschetta lots of times, always using a good loaf of bread. Today I was determined to make polenta crostini, never knowing the task before me would be so dubious..
Making polenta is as easy as stirring cornmeal into simmering water or chicken broth until it gets very thick. After it has cooked I usually add a handful of grated Parmesan cheese, some thyme, and a little salt and pepper. To make polenta squares you spread the cooked polenta into a sheet pan, cover it and chill it for an hour or longer. After it has set you can cut it into rectangles or triangles, bake it or fry it and then add your favorite smattering.
I baked it the first time around and we were less than thrilled with the texture. Since I still had half a batch left, and because I’m a big fan of polenta fries, I decided to deep fry it. You can see it’s a lovely little nosh and the taste and texture were more like what I was going for. But while other people were out cutting the grass, walking around the lake and enjoying their Saturday I was working far too hard at these. We ate them in a flash and now I get to clean up my kitchen. :P
Next time I’ll stick to toasted bread when I make my crostini.
Suh-vee-chey. It even sounds delicious. I love this stuff and was sneaking little pieces of shrimp from the glass as I was taking pictures. It’s fresh and light and makes a great appetizer or brunch side dish.
Traditionally, ceviche is made by marinating raw fish in lime or lemon juice. The acid in the juice “cooks” the fish without using any heat. Some people feel more comfortable to slightly cook their fish in boiling, salted water prior to marinating it. I don’t precook mine, but either way you choose, it’s important to use only the freshest, cleanest fish available.
From my internet sleuthing I found many recipes for ceviche. A recipe very similar to the one I ended up with said that these proportions make 4 servings, but those would be huge servings. I would suggest you make half the recipe to create 4 appetizers or make it as-is and invite more people. If you have too much it’s just as good or better the next day.
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds medium-size raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into small pieces (about the size of large blueberries)
- 1 cup fresh lime juice
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 4 green onions (including green), thinly sliced
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (or less if you prefer a milder taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- Tortilla chips
Place the shrimp and lime juice in a large glass bowl and stir to coat shrimp. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until shrimp are opaque. Mix in the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and cilantro. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Remove ceviche from the refrigerator and mix in the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. (I drained off a little of the lime juice from the shrimp before adding the other ingredients.)
Spoon ceviche into glass margarita or martini glasses and top with avocado pieces. Serve with tortilla chips.
Pigs in a blanket
Perfect food for New Years day.
Tortilla de patatas
We’re still enjoying the holiday. A puzzle’s occupying a table in the family room. There are a few candles lit throughout the house and variety of Christmas cookies and tins of candies are strategically placed in busier rooms. I threw together a Spanish omelette this morning and then declared I was finished cooking for the day. So this afternoon I cut up what was left of the cold omelette and served it along with bunches of grapes and some sliced salami. We have crackers and cheese, raw veggies, chilled white wine and everything required to keep us happy for the rest of the day and into the evening.
All that’s needed to make a Spanish omelette are potatoes, an onion, eggs and olive oil. Every time I make this it brings back fond memories of Barcelona. I’m calling these, “Spanish omelette bites”.
Having fun with fundido
In Spanish, “fundido” translates to “molten”, which is a perfect word to describe this cheesy appetizer. Simmering on the stove it bubbled like lava. From skillet to chip it was so smooth and stringy we could stretch it a full 18-inches! It’s a warm, gooey treat that’s perfect for a wet, holiday night in Portland, Oregon.
Queso fundido, a recipe from Bon Appétit magazine.
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 1 serrano chile, seeded, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- Kosher salt
- 8 ounces coarsely grated mild yellow cheddar
- 8 ounces coarsely grated Monterey Jack
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 4-ounce link fresh chorizo or hot Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/2 cup lager
- Tortilla chips
Mix tomato, chile, and oregano in a small bowl. Season with salt; let salsa stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss both cheeses with flour in a medium bowl. Cook chorizo in a medium saucepan over medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until it begins to render, about 1 minute. Add onion and continue cooking until chorizo is cooked and onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Transfer chorizo mixture to a small bowl; return saucepan to heat. Add beer; simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits. Whisking constantly, add cheese mixture a 1/4-cupful at a time, allowing it to become blended and smooth between additions. Stir in chorizo mixture. Using a slotted spoon, spoon salsa over queso. Serve in skillet with a basket of tortilla chips on the side.
Do ahead: Queso can be made 30 minutes ahead. Let stand at room temperature. To reheat, warm skillet with queso fundido over medium heat; stir until melted and bubbly.
Here’s an easy, yummy holiday hors’doeuvre: slice a baby baguette. Spread some cream cheese on each piece of bread, add a thin cucumber slice and some smoked salmon. Add a dab of cream cheese and top with a caper. Sprinkle with dried dill.
I was looking for ideas of what to call this and had lots of help. You can choose from the following: Salmonista; Salmon and the caper; Don’t baguette the salmon; Unbaguettable; Salmon on a throne; Caper on the mountain, Damn the capers, full-speed ahead; One caper too many; and Hairy caper. Thanks for the help, guys.
Inspiration for what I cook in my kitchen comes from many sources, and often times they’re unexpected. It’s s a no-brainer that when the garden’s pumping out squash, tomatoes, lettuce or peas, I look for new recipes that include them or put them in the spot light. But sometimes all it takes to motivate me is seeing a random food photo while flipping through a kitchen advertising circular. The Williams Sonoma brochure was two ticks away from being chucked in the recycling bin when I spied a photo of a gorgeous casserole nestled in a gleaming pan. The picture was the inspiration for my wild rice with butternut squash and leeks. Having people over usually sparks some creativity in the kitchen, and get-togethers with my friends always gives me new fuel for the fire. Food magazines are hit and miss.
Today I made these crab rangoons because an anonymous tumblr individual asked if I had a good recipe. Truth told, until today I had only made them once before. To save calories I decided to bake those rather than deep-fry them. We ended up with soggy-bottomed, hard-topped disasters. This attempt today was a huge success. They’re crispy on the outside with a yummy, warm and creamy filling.
- 1/2 pound imitation crab meat or lump crab meat (I went for the real deal)
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 green onions, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- I package wonton wrappers
- Water (to seal)
If using imitation crab meat, separate it into threads. Combine crab meat (or imitation) thoroughly with other filling ingredients.
Place a teaspoonful of filling in the middle of a wonton skin. Wet the edges of the wonton wrapper with water and fold one of two ways:
- Fold the two opposing corners together. Bring the other two corners to the center and gently press air out while sealing edges.
- Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Gently press air out as you press edges to seal. Brush water on the left and right angles of the triangle and fold corners inward.
Heat several inches of oil over medium-high heat to 360-375 degrees. Fry packages 3 or 4 at a time for a minute on each side or until golden and crispy. Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with plum sauce or sweet and sour sauce.
I couldn’t wait to eat one of these when they came out of the oven and now I’m paying the price with a blister on the roof of my mouth. They smelled so wonderful I gave into temptation. If you’re looking for a tasty food with a great mouthfeel, these win the prize. The flaky, crispy, puff pastry envelopes a hot, cheesy, spinach filling. We had them on their own but they would be great paired with some potato soup.
Now that I given you all the positive stuff, I’ll share with you the frustration I experienced when making these. The recipe comes from this November’s Bon Appétit magazine and the author writes that it makes 6 spinach puffs. However after you squeeze the moisture out of the spinach, fluff it up, add the cheese and the onion, I found it’s waaaay too much for 6 standard-size muffin cups (especially after you line them with pastry). I had a full 1/2 cup I didn’t use. Also, it’s a personal thing, but a 1/4 cup of raw onion would make for a really oniony filling. I used 2 tablespoons and it was plenty. Lastly, the recipe didn’t give an oven temperature, but 400 degrees F was the obvious choice.
I’m giving you the original recipe just in case I’m weird and everyone else finds the recipe works for them. However, when I make them again I’ll cut the pastry into 9 pieces rather than 6, which should work better with the volume of filling.
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup minced onion (see my note, above)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed, rolled out to a 12-inch square, kept chilled
- A standard 6-cup muffin pan
Using your hands, squeeze spinach until dry, forcing out as much water as possible (too much water will make for a soggy filling). You should have about 2/3 cup well-drained spinach. Mix spinach and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg to blend; fold into spinach mixture.
Cut puff pastry into 3 equal strips. Reserve 1 strip for another use. Cut each remaining strip into 3 squares for a total of 6. Place a square in each muffin cup, pressing into bottom and up sides and leaving corners pointing up. Divide filling among cups. Fold pastry over filling, pressing corners together to meet in center. DO AHEAD Spinach puffs can be assembled 3 hours ahead. Cover puffs and chill.
Preheat oven to 400°. Beat remaining egg to blend in a small bowl. Brush pastry with egg wash. Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let puffs cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp paring knife around pan edges to loosen; turn out puffs onto rack to cool slightly before serving.