Tag Archives: Tapas and Bites

Fresh Salsa

Summer and roadside produce stands seems to hand in hand. Local farmers have plentiful bounties and are always willing to sell straight to the customer ! We all love the idea of a bargain, but when I read the sign ” all local organic produce” , “fresh herbs”  and “plum tomatoes” I had to stop!

For days  I’d been thinking on how to vamp up the flavor of our grilled chicken breast  without the use of a grilling sauce  and there it was: fresh tomatoes, herbs, fresh peppers  and spring (green onions). Mix up, serve as a dipping side and yum, yum, yum!

The man had harvested the goods that same morning. Oh what a treat it was… the freshest, truest flavor of salsa I’ve ever had. It’s simple, has 4 ingredients and is chock full of flavor. Careful handling the Jalapeno  , it could irritate sensitive skins! The actual heat of the pepper is concentrated in the seeds and  white stuffs inside the pepper, so discard if you like less heat, or leave it all in for a fiesta in your mouth. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 red plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper, finely chopped ( leave seeds and white out for less heat)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste

Mix the tomatoes and shallots in a bowl, toss in the cilantro and salt. Mix in jalapeno to taste. Serve immediately. This salsa can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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.

Kale and Zucchini Pie

kale-and-squash

Kale is a leafy green vegetable related to mustards, broccoli and collards. It is incredibly packed with vitamins A , C and K, and is considered a great anti-inflammatory. It’s glycemic load is 3 ,This means it will not make your blood sugar spike .
But how does it taste?
It’s zippy and simply yummy in traditional soups and stews but, did you know it can take full center stage in a pie? Well it can! We added thin slices of yellow zucchini and cheese instead of a  pie crust top and presto!  A delicious , nutritious and figure friendly  is born . So from our kitchen to yours to enjoy : Kale and zucchini pie.

Ingredients:

3 cups chopped kale
1 onion , chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup part skim ricotta
2 tbls olive oil
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow zucchini or 2 yellow crooked neck squash , thinly sliced
1 pie crust ( bottom only)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Meanwhile in a large skillet, saute the onions with the oil, salt and pepper over medium heat  till slightly brown. Add the chopped kale and saute till slightly wilted. Turn off the heat and add the nutmeg, ricotta and the eggs. Mix lightly till incorporated.

Place the mixture in the bottom pie shell, distributing evenly, sprinkle  with the grated cheese, then top with the thin zucchini slices till all the mixture is covered. You can get as fancy or as simple as you like, stacking in a fan-like fashion or randomly.

Place in the middle rack of the oven and let bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven , let cool slightly, slice and enjoy!

Variation: you can also make individual pies, just adjust cooking time to 25 minutes.


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