Archive for Recipes — Appetizers

Roasted Green Bean Antipasto Revisited

Assemble all but the pine nuts and the balsalmic vinegar in a large roasting pan.

While the green beans and potatos are roasting, toast the pine nuts over a medium high heat.

Add the toasted pine nuts to the mix. I serve the balsalmic tableside since the kids prefer this dish without!

Recipe here.


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Recipie Free Salsa

For someone who lives in South Texas, I’m way too much of a worrywart when it comes to making salsa. I always want a recipe. But I made a double batch of my avocado tomatillo salsa for Cinco de Mayo last week and I have some odds and ends leftover from that and other cooking projects. I threw this salsa together, and while it looks much less red than most of us are used to, it tastes delicious and very fresh. Salsa is very forgiving, I’m learning and when you make it fresh it’s a great, preservative-free snack. I froze most of this batch in ice cube trays which I then transferred to freezer bags so I can thaw out just as much as I need when it’s time for a snack!

This salsa included: 5 tomatillos, 3 vine-ripe tomatoes, one chopped onion, 3-4 garlic cloves, a handful of fresh cilantro, one seeded jalapeno, the juice from half a lime and salt. (I guess that’s a bit of a recipe after all, eh?)

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Refrigerator Pickled Relish

Known just as “relish” in the Tex-Mex influenced South, this is far different from the relish you put on your hot dogs. We used to serve this in the Mexican restaurant I worked at in college and it was made from scratch in the kitchen, not bought pre-made.

And it’s so easy to make and so good, one of my husband’s favorite snacks. I used produce from the new Pearl Brewery Farmer’s market and Greenling. Just like the refrigerator pickles, this will be ready to eat in about 5 days.

In a pot on the stove combine 2 cups of water, 1/3 cup of white vinegar, a tablespoon of salt, 2 tsp of sugar, and a few grinds from the pepper mill. Heat on low just long enough to desolve the salt and sugar.

In a bowl with a lid or a glass jar with a lid (just not metal, mmmkay?) add two large peeled and coined carrots, one onion sliced and the rings seperated, one jalapeno slized, 3 garlic cloves sliced, and 5-10 peppercorns.

Pour the liquid over the veggie mixture, seal tightly and shake it like a polaroid picture. Stash in the fridge and forget about it for a few days (unless you want to shake it once a day or so). The veggies will last in your fridge for about 3 months. Not that you won’t eat them first!

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Sweet and Savory Spinach Salad

Before dressing
(before dressing and tossing)

After dressing
(after dressing and tossing)

(from the March 2009 issue of Southern Living)

2 tbsp pine nuts
1 package or bunch (about 6 ounce) of fresh baby spinach, thoroughly washed
1 cup seedless red grapes, sliced
1.4 crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup raspberry-walnut vinaigrette (Newman’s Own)

Heat pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.

Coarsley chop spinach. Toss together spinach, grapes, feta cheese, and vinaigrette in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with pine-nuts and serve immediately.

The Southern Living article on salads notes that red and purple grapes “contain flavonoids that help reduce cholesterol, protect against heart disease, and promote lung health.”

They also mention that “a small handful of nuts or seeds on your salad can make your meal more filling, helping to reduce hunger pangs and overeating throughout the day.” You may have noticed I already am a big fan of sunflower seeds in my salad. It gives me that nice crunch that I was missing when I stopped using croutons!

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Summer Salads

I tend to add alot more goodies to my salad this time of year, when there are alot more goodies to add.  This salad was made with local lettuce, tomatos, and cucumbers.  As well as avocados, sunflower seeds, and homemade sourdough croutons.  Yummy!

Tossing and Turning: I posted this link last year, but it bears repeating…it’s a mix and match salad inclusions PDF printable from Oprah’s website.  It’s full of wonderful ideas!

For more salad and salad dressing recipes from Oprah, click here!

What salads do you love?

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Refrigerator Pickles

Amber did some good old-fashioned (and delicious looking!) canned pickles.  I like the super crunchiness of Classen pickles so I thought I would try my hand at some refrigerator pickles this past week.

These were super-easy!  I used the recipe from here.  The only difference was I heated the solution enough to dissolve salt (since I was using a coarser grain sea salt).  I used two large garlic cloves and some fresh dill.  (I wasn’t a huge fan of the dill and ended up taking it out a few days later, but my husband liked it).

The flavor started to emerge on the 3rd day.  My husband has eaten a few but I’m letting them soak up the flavors a little longer.  They will last a good three months in the fridge.  Think I’ll do some hamburger slices next!

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Fried Okra

Fresh okra is easy, and is the only way my husband will eat it unless it is in gumbo! 

Wash the okra and slice off the ends.  Slice into rounds and soak in buttermilk.  I often dip my veggies into egg before the cornmeal coating, becuase it picks up more coating that way.  But buttermilk will be plenty here since the okra will release a thick…well, goo…when you cut it.  (This goo is what works so well as a thickner in gumbo!)

Make a breading of two parts corn meal to one part unbleached all purpose flour plus salt and pepper to taste.

Heat canola oil and medium to medium high heat (I use a cast iron skillet for all my frying).  Pull the okra from the buttermilk, dip in the cornmeal mixture until covered on all sides then fry in the oil.

Drain on paper towels, a brown paper bag, or kitchen towels.

You may want to add a little more salt to the finished product.

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