Tag Archives: Appetizers

Guacamole

guac

How we love guacamole! But how do we not love the store-bought weird grey- looking stuff! Our quest for the perfect guacamole started a couple of years ago thanks to the generosity ( and overstock) of a neighbors guacamole tree. Although avocados might have a bad rap or being fatty,  they contain 0 trans fats and do contain 20 vitamins a a cargo load of minerals such as potassium.  In our search for the perfect flavor we discovered a couple of useful facts: you MUST use lime, lemons an guacamole do not jive, and second: you must use fresh peppers. Use serrano peppers if you prefer mild, use jalapenos is you prefer a bit more spice.  ENJOY!

 

Ingredients: (for 2 cups)

2 large ripe avocados
3 firm medium tomatoes, diced
3 jalapenos or Serrano peppers, finely chopped
1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 green onion with the stalk, chopped
the juice of 1/2 or 1 lime
salt to taste

Cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix. Place the diced tomatoes and onions into the bowl, mix well and add jalapenos and salt to taste, depending on the desired spiciness. Toss all the ingredients together evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Taste for salt and spiciness. As with all salsas, if too mild add more peppers; if too spicy, add more tomatoes

Use as a dip or as a condiment for fajitas and grilled meats.

Green Beans, Sausage & Sweet Tomatoes

Are you short on time and want to prepare a wonderful dinner?  As they say necessity is the mother of many inventions,  but don’t let the lack of time deprive you and your family from enjoying a delicious dish! Nowadays you markets have an assortment of chicken sausages. They have less fat than the traditional pork sausage and come in varieties such as apple and spice, smoked paprika, and if you like it spicy andouille and jalapeno!  Use fresh vegetables ( or a shortcut with frozen ones) and inexpensive  Queso Blanco and you’ll make a great  dinner for any time of the year.

Ingredients:

2 cups pole or green beans, blanched ( use frozen for a shortcut)
2 smoked chicken & apple sausages chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1/2 cup Queso fresco diced
2 Tbsp olive oil

Brown the sausage in a skillet with the olive oil, take the sausage out, keep warn.; lower the heat and place the tomatoes and queso in the drippings, stir gingerly till queso starts to melt.

Arrange the beans on a serving dish, layer on top the sausage and the tomato-queso mix. Serve with spicy tortilla chips for a snack, or over whole wheat pasta fir a dinner.

Grape Tomato Italian Bruschetta

Bruschetta are delicious starters, they appeal to most palates and are so easy to prepare. A key ingredient is a tasty tomato, but where to get a tomato that is tasty in the middle or winter? It’s not that there are dozens of farmers markets with luscious fruits on display. Market tomatoes are , well, forcefully ripened, mushy and bland in flavor. The solution a miniature gem that grows year-round in hothouses :the grape tomato! If you never had one they are sweet, have the taste of a a full size summer tomato and are simply delightful to serve! Up until now they were reserved to prepare salads, but when duty calls this mighty fruit can live up to the most demanding fresh tomato recipes, like this bruschetta. Enjoy!

2 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup black pitted olives, sliced
1/3 cup green olives, sliced
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 sweet onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes, onion and garlic in bowl and mix gently. Let sit for a minute , then add the olives, the oil, vinegar and salt pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes. Serve over grilled sliced Italian or French bread sliced 3/4 inches thick. If you are on  a gluten-free diet, serve on rice crackers instead.

Squash zucchini and shallot bake

zucandsquash

Are Starches ruining your complexion? Do you miss potatoes like crazy but must reduce your carbs? Then this zucchini, yellow squash and shallot bake is just for you! What an simple and elegant dish to accompany a roast, baked fish or scrambled eggs. If you add tomatoes you’ll have a completely deconstructed ratatouille ! It’s extremely fast to make , it took us 1 minute  of prep time  and 20 minutes of baking. A great recipe to keep in mind if you have unannounced extra guests!

 

Ingredients:( for 4 side portions)

1 large zucchini
2 medium yellow or crooked neck squash
1 Shallot
1 medium carrot 
3 Tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp herbs de Province

With a mandolin on number 1 ( or thinnest size) slice zucchini, the squash, the carrot and the shallot into a large bowl. Carefully toss with olive oil, and the condiments.. Arrange mixture  in a 8×4 loaf pan and bake for 2o minutes  in a 325 degree oven. The vegetables will be cooked but still crisp  and not mushy! Use a pair of cooking tong for serving or to arrange on serving platter. Enjoy!

 Tools:

Kyocera 10.5-in. Double-Edged Ceramic Mandoline Slicer with Handguard, Black Kyocera 10.5-in. Double-Edged Ceramic Mandoline Slicer with Handguard, Black 

Get the advantage of ceramic using this Double-Edged Mandolin, the perfect tool for quickly and evenly slicing vegetables and fruits. Made by Kyocera, leading manufacturers of professional knives, the double ceramic edge is second only to diamonds in sharpness and holds it’s edge 10 times longer than stainless. So sharp, it makes it a cinch to create paper-thin slices of food like potatoes, carrots, jicama, cucumbers, squash or apples, to name a few. Won’t discolor or rust. Safety handguard included. Dishwasher safe.

 


OXO 16-in. Mandoline Slicer OXO 16-in. Mandoline Slicer 

OXO’s very versatile V-Blade Mandoline slices fruits and vegetables with ease. Four blades and a simple height adjuster let you make straight slices, crinkle cuts, French fries and julienne strips in a variety of thicknesses. The blades store on board and are easily removable for cleaning. We’ve added bonus cubing blades for large or fine dice too! A textured surface keeps food from sticking to the Mandoline and the food holder securely holds food and protects your fingers. The handle and turning knob are soft for comfort and non-slip feet keep the Mandoline secure on your work surface. Fold the feet and lock the Mandoline for compact and safe storage. Hand wash the blades; the Mandoline body and food holder are dishwasher safe. Features Include: Sharp, V-shaped blade of hardened stainless steel easily slices both firm vegetables like potatoes and soft fruits like tomatoes Straight and wavy blades for straight or crinkle cuts Four easily adjustable slice thickness settings: 1.5mm, 3mm, 4.5mm and 6mm Julienne blades for French fries or fine julienne strips Straight, wavy and julienne blades conveniently store on board and remove for cleaning Bonus cubing blades for large or fine dice store in a handy box Soft handle and turning knob for comfort and non-slip feet for safety Textured runway keeps food from sticking Food holder securely holds food and protects fingers Mandoline locks closed and feet fold in for safe and compact storage Hand wash blades. Mandoline body and food holder are dishwasher safe

 


 

 

 


Baked Sweet Potato Chips

sweet-p-chips1

We LOVE potato chips!  We love the crunch, the taste and , like any finger food how much fun the are to eat!  We also love chips make with other vegetables like parsnip and turnip. But our favorite chip that is not made with russets is the sweet potato chip. Potato Chips come in baked or fried versions. Most commercial versions are fried in soybean oil and laden with salt.  So we tried to produce a chip just as delicious without as much oil by baking them in a mix of olive  and canola oil. The result: delicious! We flavored ours with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and cinnamon, they are the best side for a nice panini.

 

Ingredients ( for 2 LARGE portions)

2 medium sweet potatoes sliced in setting 1 on a mandolin
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
dash of cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and arrange rack to middle.  Meanwhile, toss  sweet potatoes with the oils and gently mix with both hands  trying not to break the thin potato slices. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle sheet with salt and pepper. Arrange slices on sheet, not letting overlap or touch. Sprinkle top with more salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or till the sides begin to toast, remove from oven and turn potatoes once with the help of a spatula or cooking tongs. Bake for 3 more minutes and remove from oven.  If you like ,sprinkle with rosemary or the spice of your choice.  Let cool and enjoy!

 

Tools:

Kyocera 10.5-in. Double-Edged Ceramic Mandoline Slicer with Handguard, Black Kyocera 10.5-in. Double-Edged Ceramic Mandoline Slicer with Handguard, BlackGet the advantage of ceramic using this Double-Edged Mandolin, the perfect tool for quickly and evenly slicing vegetables and fruits. Made by Kyocera, leading manufacturers of professional knives, the double ceramic edge is second only to diamonds in sharpness and holds it’s edge 10 times longer than stainless. So sharp, it makes it a cinch to create paper-thin slices of food like potatoes, carrots, jicama, cucumbers, squash or apples, to name a few. Won’t discolor or rust. Safety handguard included. Dishwasher safe.

 

 

 






OXO 16-in. Mandoline Slicer OXO 16-in. Mandoline SlicerOXO’s very versatile V-Blade Mandoline slices fruits and vegetables with ease. Four blades and a simple height adjuster let you make straight slices, crinkle cuts, French fries and julienne strips in a variety of thicknesses. The blades store on board and are easily removable for cleaning. We’ve added bonus cubing blades for large or fine dice too! A textured surface keeps food from sticking to the Mandoline and the food holder securely holds food and protects your fingers. The handle and turning knob are soft for comfort and non-slip feet keep the Mandoline secure on your work surface. Fold the feet and lock the Mandoline for compact and safe storage. Hand wash the blades; the Mandoline body and food holder are dishwasher safe. Features Include: Sharp, V-shaped blade of hardened stainless steel easily slices both firm vegetables like potatoes and soft fruits like tomatoes Straight and wavy blades for straight or crinkle cuts Four easily adjustable slice thickness settings: 1.5mm, 3mm, 4.5mm and 6mm Julienne blades for French fries or fine julienne strips Straight, wavy and julienne blades conveniently store on board and remove for cleaning Bonus cubing blades for large or fine dice store in a handy box Soft handle and turning knob for comfort and non-slip feet for safety Textured runway keeps food from sticking Food holder securely holds food and protects fingers Mandoline locks closed and feet fold in for safe and compact storage Hand wash blades. Mandoline body and food holder are dishwasher safe