Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

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E is for Edamame

July 24, 2012

Indeed. E is for Edamame. They are probably one of my favorite legumes. I may have used “Erik Enthusiastically Eats Edamame” as one of those ice-breaker thingies in school. Yeah, I heart them that much. They are such a vivid springy green bean, packed full of protein and off the charts on the versatility scale. Why when I was an economic vegetarian in college, edamame were my equivalent of Frank’s Red Hot. I really put that shit on everything…well sans desserts. RamenàEdamame Ramen! Mac n’ Cheese + EdamameàAsian Mac n’ Cheese! Boring Salad + Edamameà Somewhat Exciting Poor College Student Salad! Yay!

So have you ever played that game “Eat the Fridge?” It is the game one plays when they are having first world problems like:

“I’m soo hungry and I want a meal but I don’t want to go to the store. It’s soo far. What do I have in the fridge that is about to wither and die?”

Well that is how this recipe was born. I had a lot of items in my fridge, and they all happened to be green…and expiring soon.  Best of all it is super easy, relatively inexpensive, and healthy because it is like Green!

Erik’s Green Goodness Edamame Hummus

  • 1 package of frozen edamame, de-shelled
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of green onion (I had greens from a candy onion)
  • 1 jalapeño (with seeds if you want that extra kick)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook edamame on the stove according to instructions. Actually cook a few minutes longer to help soften up the edamame further.  Strain and rinse well.

In a food processor (or magic bullet if you are me), put your edamame, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and olive oil. Will it blend? I believe so. Process for a few minutes, stir with a spoon in between pulses to mix it up a bit more. If necessary, add up to ¼ c of water and/or more olive oil if the beans aren’t blending properly. When it is as smooth as you like (I like a really smooth hummus) stop pulsing and put into the fridge to chill up. Serve with pita chips, rice crackers or artisan crudités (my fancy way of saying cut veggies).

~Erik

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Candied Curried Pumpkin Seeds

November 1, 2011

It’s hard to believe it’s already November.  It seems like I was only just in the early stages of planning my Halloween costume and pulling out decorations!  Yikes…time is moving at warp speed.

Seeds, fresh from the pumpkin. A colander waits in the wings....

On a less depressing note, I have finally perfected toasted pumpkin seeds.  For years, they have been my ultimate downfall.  I’ve tried countless recipes and methods and techniques, and they always turn out too chewy and not right.  NOT ANYMORE, my friends.  Not anymore.

I scoured the internets searching for the perfect method and piecing together different recipes (you’d be surprised how many wide variations there are in temperature and cook time).  And I found something interesting…

If you BOIL the seeds first for about 10 minutes, the shells soften and become much more edible.  So simple.  Then you let them initially dry on a paper towel, then complete the drying in the oven on low heat.  THEN, you add my special blend of spices and bake for an additional 40 minutes.  Magical.

Boiling the seeds -- my new secret step!

I’ve been using the “Candied Curried” recipe for several years, mostly for pecans or mixed nuts, and everyone loves them.  It may sound like a weird combo, but trust me, unless you have some aversion to curry, you’re going to love this recipe.  They make for a great holiday snack at parties, and they’re also great to package in little treat bags with a cute ribbon as a sweet/salty/spicy addition to any gift.

Seasoned seeds, straight out of the oven. Mmm...

So, without further ado…the PERFECT toasted pumpkin seed recipe.

Candied Curried Pumpkin Seeds

  • Seeds from 1 pumpkin (~2-3 cups), thoroughly washed of pumpkin guts
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (to taste)

Remove seeds from pumpkin and wash thoroughly to remove all pumpkin guts.

Boil seeds for 10 minutes in water with a pinch of salt.  Lay seeds out on a paper towel to dry.

Spread seeds onto a baking sheet (lined with heavy duty foil or a silpat) and bake at 275 for an hour, tossing seeds every 15 minutes to ensure even drying.

In a saucepan on medium heat, melt butter and honey together.  Combine remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl on the side.  Stir seeds (or nuts, etc.) into honey/butter mixture, coating evenly.  Add dry spices and turn out in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Bake at 250 for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through cook time.  Remove from oven and cool completely before enjoying.

And to round it out, a picture of the carved pumpkin!

Om nom nom...

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Happy New Year, and Asparagus Spiral Appetizers!

January 2, 2011

Looking for an easy, yet elegant appetizer for a cocktail party or a get together with family or friends?  Well look no further.  Seriously, whether vegetarian or not, this quick concoction is sure to impress any crowd.  And it’s so tasty I could hardly wait to share it here.  I want everyone to make it.  Really, it’s that delicious.  Plus, I got a new camera for Christmas that has a pretty good food setting, so I’m excited to share pictures!

We decided to make this appetizer for New Year’s Eve after Erik’s dad showed us a recipe he’d found online.  We tweaked it a bit, omitting the proscuitto it called for (though that does sounds awfully delicious – the meat eaters among us will have to try it that way and report their findings).  Though, we certainly didn’t miss the meat, and neither did the Bowens.

The original recipe didn’t mention a sauce, but I couldn’t really imagine it without one.  And since I have an ongoing love affair with horseradish, I thought nothing would be more fitting than a horseradishy dipping sauce.  Erik suggested horseradish hollandaise.  Bingo.  It coupled so nicely with the asparagus and puff pastry.  (Though I am ashamed to admit we used hollandaise from a packet…never again will I stoop so low, especially since hollandaise is a relatively simple sauce to make).

Also, ideally, I’d make my own puff pastry, but that is quite another adventure…

So, without further ado, the recipe…

Asparagus Spirals with Horseradish Hollandaise

  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup whipped cream cheese, seasoned as desired
  • 30-40 asparagus spears, washed/dried/trimmed
  • 1 recipe hollandaise sauce (whether from a packet or homemade – we’re not judging)
  • 1-2 tsp. prepared horseradish

For the asparagus:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil.  Unfold thawed puff pastry sheets and spread ½ cup of cheese on each sheet.  Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut puff pastry into thin strips (cut as many strips as you have asparagus spears).  Wrap each strip around an asparagus spear, using the cheese-side to stick the puff pastry to the asparagus.  Place on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until puff pastry is lightly golden brown.

For the sauce:

Stir 1-2 teaspoons of prepared horseradish (depending on your taste preference) into the finished hollandaise.  That’s it.  Really.  Dip the asparagus, and enjoy!  But, a word of caution…once you start snacking on them, it’s hard to stop.

 

~ Josie