Appetizers · New Favorite

Smoky Eggplant Dip

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It started with fried Eggplant in my Mother’s kitchen, and through the years I have experienced eggplant in many ways.  I have made Ina Garten’s Eggplant Spread dozens of times.  This recipe is more like baba ganoush, with that wonderful smoky flavor.  The dip would be wonderful served with a fresh Greek Salad.

SMOKY EGGPLANT DIP

Makes about 2 cups

2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, or to taste
6 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well-stirred if a new container
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste, if desired
Pinch of cayenne or aleppo pepper
Pinch or two of ground cumin
2 tablespoons well-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
Toasted sesame seeds or za’atar for garnish (optional)

  • Heat oven to 375°F.
  • Brush a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Prick eggplants a few times with a fork or tip of a knife. Over a gas flame, grill or under a broiler, evenly char the skin of your eggplants. I like mine quite smoky and like to leave no purple visible. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, trim off stem and cut lengthwise. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until very, very tender when pressed. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Next Step Option 1: Food Processor: In a blender or food processor: Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and into the work bowl. Add tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin and 1 tablespoon parsley. Blend in short bursts (pulses) until combined but still coarsely chopped.
  • Taste and adjust ingredients if needed. You may wish to add more salt and lemon.

To serve: Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter with second tablespoon of parsley, and some toasted sesame seeds or za’atar, if desired. Serve with pita wedges or naan.

Recipe from Smittenkitchen

Appetizers · Family Favorites · Holidays

Smoked Salmon Dip

Dips and appetizers are a staple for the holidays.  In 2020, we will not be having the large holiday parties and gatherings, but we can still enjoy our favorite foods and traditions in our homes.

Ina Garten’s Smoked Salmon Dip is an easy, delicious dip that last well in the refrigerator for a day or two.   Smoked Salmon is a favorite of mine, anytime of year, but dip time is holiday time!

SMOKED SALMON DIP

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced

  • Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth.
  • Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper, and mix.
  • Add the smoked salmon and mix well.
  • Chill and serve with crudites and/or crackers.

RECIPE FROM INA GARTEN 

Appetizers · Garden · New Favorite · Sandwiches · Sauces · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cherry Tomato Jam

Sungold cherry tomatoes have become our family’s favorite tomatoes, eating them off the wine as a treat.  They are so sweet and incredibly delicious. Just perfect for Cherry Tomato Jam. 

Each year I seem to have an abundance of tomatoes, making salads with them, roasting them with peppers and garlic and much more.  Tomato Jam recipes were popping up this year and I decided to try it.  It’s so easy and delicious.  I haven’t tried to can it because it disappears from the frig long before the expiration date.  Serve it on a crusty bread or on top of a soft cheese.  I also made a Grilled Cheese with a schmeer of tomato jam.  YUMMO!

CHERRY TOMATO JAM

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
32 ounces (2 lbs.) cherry tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pints)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 large spring thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel or non-reactive pot over medium heat.  Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until softened.
  • Add the chili powder and smoked paprika and sauté 30 seconds more.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until the tomatoes burst and thicken, for about 10-15 minutes.  If at any time the pan becomes dry and the tomatoes begin to burn, add a tablespoon or two more of water and reduce the heat a bit more.
  • Remove from heat and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 10-14 days.

 

 

Appetizers · Garden · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Sweet Yellow Squash Pickles

Zucchini is normally the vegetable that you are drowning in by the end of summer.  This year it was yellow squash.  After making two batches of Lemon Yellow Summer Squash Bread and roasting pans of mixed garden vegetables, I moved on to a new recipe for Sweet Yellow Squash Pickles.  My Mother always made Bread & Butter Pickles and I loved them.  These are very similar and quite delicious.  A new favorite for my yellow squash harvest!

4 small yellow squash – cut in thin (1/4-inch slices or less); about 3 cups
1/2 cup thinly slices red onion
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • In a large non-metal bowl, combine the squash and onion. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Then, drain the liquid from the vegetables.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and dry mustard. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the squash and onion mixture and then return to boiling.
  • Remove from heat. Ladle the hot vegetables and liquid into sterilized canning jars.
  • At this point, the jars can be processed for long-term canning or covered and stored as-is in the refrigerator for up to one month.
  • Chill at least 24 hours before serving.

Recipe from Inspiredbycharm.com 

Appetizers · DIY · Family Favorites · Garden · Home · My Roots · Vegan · Vegetarian

Easy Dill Pickles

My Mother always grew a large garden and had a plentiful canning room in the basement with many types of pickles, tomatoes, corn, green beans, chicken, beef, peaches, pears, apples,  jams. jelly, and more.  What she didn’t can, she froze.  I fondly remember the annual family gathering to pick, husk, parboil, cut and pack sweet corn for the freezer.  How wonderful to enjoy this bounty during the long, cold Iowa winters.

This year I had a plentiful harvest of cucumbers. With the first hard freeze shortly after Labor Day,  I had to pick most the produce, including many cucumbers.  I made my Mom’s Easy Dill Pickle recipe and it didn’t disappoint. The addition of fresh garlic to the second batch will be a new twist!

EASY DILL PICKLES

Medium Cucumber, sliced into spears or slices
Fresh dill
White vinegar
Water
Salt
Alum
Optional:  Peeled cloves of garlic

  • Wash medium size cucumbers and pack in canning quart jars.  Add fresh dill to the top (stem and all).  Place 1/4 teaspoon alum in the top of each quart jar of cucumbers.
  • Boil canning lids and rings in a separate pot.
  • Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.  To each quart of liquid add 4 tablespoons salt. Heat liquid to boiling point.  Pour liquid, while hot, over pickles.
  • Immediately place lids and rings on each jar.Let stand until cool.  Check to assure lid has sealed. Let the pickles sit in the brine for a few days/weeks. Store in a cool place.
  • I’ve also made these pickles and just placed in the frig, skipping the canning process.
Appetizers · Holidays · New Favorite · Vegetarian

Gobble Gobble Vegetable Platter

Let’s be honest.  Thanksgiving is typically not a vegetable-rich zone.  I love the idea of adding a vegetable platter for adults and children to munch on before, during and after the main event.

 

Inspired by Pinterest, I made this platter last year thinking my 4 year old grandson would think it was cool.  In passing, he may have thought as much but the adults seemed to enjoy it more.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.  Wishing many blessings to you and yours.

Eatingrichly.com

Appetizers · Breads · New Favorite

Focaccia with Carmelized Onions, Pear and Blue Cheese

Pears have been plentiful this year and I had to find a savory recipe to use extra pears when I discovered this fantastic recipe.  The focaccia recipe itself is wonderful and worthy of a totally different set of toppings; however, it’s hard to beat pears and blue cheese.

This is a recipe I’ll make over and over and over…

IMG_7612

FOCACCIA WITH CARMELIZED ONIONS, PEAR AND BLUE CHEESE

1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 large Bosc pear, cored and sliced
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola)

  • In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the oil; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and the salt and knead until smooth.
  • Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let stand for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 450°. Oil a 9-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the sheet and press it down to fit. Dimple the dough all over with your fingers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let the dough rise until puffed, about 20 minutes. 

IMG_7600

  • Scatter the onions over the dough. Arrange the pear over the onions and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.

IMG_7601

Recipe from FoodandWine.com

Appetizers · Family Favorites · Holidays

Snowman Cheese Dip

During the holidays there are so many parties and potlucks and it’s fun to make something that people remember. Charlene, an AT&T co-worker, shared this recipe several years ago after she brought this to one of our office potlucks.

The first time I made it, I had the snowman standing upright. Big mistake, no one wanted to dip into it and have Mr. Snowman tumble. Give Mr. Snowman a rest on a platter and surround him with crackers.  He’ll be a big hit!

Snowman Cheese

 SNOWMAN CHEESE DIP

1 tub whipped cream cheese
2-8 ounce bars cream cheese
4 ounces dried beef, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 tablespoon dried parsley
bunch of green onions

  • Mix cream cheese bars and chopped dried beef.  Add chopped green onions (white part only). Blend in garlic, horseradish and parsley.
  • Form into 3 balls (small, medium and large) using waxed paper.  Stack into snowman shape using a toothpick to attach. (NOTE:  I lay the snowman down on the platter)
  • Spread whipped cream cheese over snowman using wet knife. Garish and serve with crackers, carrots, pretzels.

Garnishes:

  • rosemary branches or broken pretzel twists for arms
  • black olives cut into pieces for mouth & buttons
  • tiny baby carrot for nose
  • dried cranberries for halo
  • piece of red pepper for heart
  • green onion tops for scarf
Appetizers · Family Favorites · Garden · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Fresh Corn and Tomatillo Salsa

My garden continues to produce plenty of tomatillos and when paired with fresh sweet corn, cilantro and seasonings, it makes a wonderful salsa. I’ve also used it to top my favorite Papusas from the Farmer’s Market. It wold also be wonderful paired with chicken or fish. A new favorite!

CORN AND TOMATILLO SALSA

4 ears fresh corn kernels
2 seeded and finely chopped jalapeno peppers
4 cups husked, chopped tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
tortilla chips

  • In a large skillet, combine the corn kernels and jalapeño peppers. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, until the jalapeños are soft.
  • Add the tomatillos, green pepper, onions, lime juice, water and coriander to the corn and jalapeño mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Cool. Stir in cilantro.
  • Cool salsa in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
  • Serve with tortilla chips

Recipe adapted from:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/19686/corn-and-tomatillo-salsa/?internalSource=search%20result&referringContentType=search%20results

Appetizers · Family Favorites · Garden · Gluten Free · New Traditions · Vegan · Vegetarian

Tomatillo Salsa Fresh from the Garden

Last year was the first time I ever planted tomatillos plants in my garden. While my tomatoes struggled last year, the tomatillos went crazy and they are even crazier this year given all of the summer rain in Colorado.

My first try at tomatillos salsa went the easy – route and it was delicious. I froze a few bags for winter enjoyment, too! I plan to branch out this year and try a few other recipes, too!

GREEN TOMATILLO SALSA

8 ounces (5-6 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 jalapeno (or 2 serranos), stemmed
5-6 sprigs fresh cilantro (thick stemmed removed), roughly chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
salt to taste

  • Chop the tomatillos and the jalapeño.
  • In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos, jalapeño, cilantro and 1/4 cup water. Process to puree, then scrape into a serving dish.
  • Stir in the chopped onion and salt.