Tag Archive for 'appetizer'

Island Guacamole

top down island guac

This island has a way of enveloping all of your senses; it is a slice of magic on the map. From the wafting sweet floral and fruity fragrances to the contrasting aroma of its salty ocean water Kaua’i captured my heart from the first moment I laid eyes on it some eight years ago. I wish I could claim that I lived here – we visit as often as is possible, as soon as we save up enough for our airplane tickets, we return with smiles on our faces.

Continue reading ‘Island Guacamole’

Red Pepper Unicorn Hummus

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I’ve been blogging since 2008 and yet it seems like I just started recipe writing yesterday. It has gone by in a blink. I never really planned on blogging. When I started this blog it was a way to promote my first cookbook. Just for fun. Years later, I can easily admit that it has been more fun than I ever expected. There are a few times that I wondered if I could maintain it, especially in the past six months. I’ll admit that I’ve struggled to post. Behind the scenes I am still on the mend; I feel great, but my stamina has not returned. There are days that I wonder if it ever will come back, but those that have gone before me assure me it is only a matter of time. >tick, tock<

Despite my lack of posting, I certainly have not stopped enjoying my love of food – whether it is my cooking or someone else’s food I remain passionate about flavors. A few months ago while at work, I ordered a mixed hummus plate for lunch. It was so delicious I couldn’t get it out of my mind. In fact, I obsessed over it. I went back and ordered it five more times. Eventually I asked to meet the chef, and told him how much I loved it. He was so pleased to know how much I relished this recipe that a smile grew across his face. While he didn’t have a recipe to give me he eagerly shared his ingredients list. I left confident that I could crack the code on this recip-mystery.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my family was invited over to our friend’s home for dinner. >Something that you may not know about me is that as much as I enjoy cooking and creating in the kitchen I ADORE when other people cook for me. It’s something special that holds a great deal of significance to me and I wanted to bring something special that I made.< After much contemplation, I decided to try to recreate this recipe. My daughter was stunned, she knows that I NEVER entertain or prepare something to serve for the first time that I have not previously tested. And yet, I wondered if perhaps this was my recipe unicorn. Despite her reminders of my prime cooking directive, I had to take a risk and make this recipe without an official test run. And I am happy to report that Red Pepper Hummus turned out spot on. I was thrilled! I still am. I can’t wait to make it again. It is just-that-good! And yes, I do think it is my recipe unicorn.

Red Pepper Unicorn Hummus

Ingredients

1 (16 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers, reserve remaining oil

1 cup walnut pieces, plus 2-3 halves to use for decoration

1 TBS sugar

3-4 cloves garlic

½ lemon, juiced and seeds removed

3 cloves garlic

½ cup gluten free bread crumbs

Optional Serving Suggestions:

pita bread points

baguette slices

crackers

vegetables: cucumbers, celery or carrots

Directions

In a small pan, over medium high heat, add all of the walnuts and sugar. Stir regularly until sugar melts and nuts are coated and sugar is an amber color. Transfer from pan to a plate to cool.

In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients EXCEPT 2-3 decorative candied walnuts and blend until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add oil from the jarred bell peppers, a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Place hummus in a decorative bowl and decorate with 3 decorative walnuts. Serve with vegetables, crackers or toast.

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Beetroot Not-So- Ho-Hummus

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Isn’t it peculiar how sometimes we perceive the direction of our lives to be mandated by a fortune cookie, horoscope, a face-up penny or a ‘sign’ like 1:11pm or or knocking on wood? The list can be seemingly endless. I can’t tell you how many tunnel wishes I’ve made over the years- saving those wishes for the REALLY BIG moments when Continue reading ‘Beetroot Not-So- Ho-Hummus’

Guacamole Grows Up

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One year ago I had a kitchen accident, an accident that took me down a wild path of recovery and self-discovery. The outcome at a glance was very fortunate, but there is no denying that it has redefined me in many ways. Continue reading ‘Guacamole Grows Up’

Thanksgiving Party Food Survival Plan

Photo By: Stephanie Lynn

Photo By: Stephanie Lynn

With so many festive food gatherings it’s important to have a party survival plan as you head into the holiday season. Food sanity for is at a premium. I am not only talking about what to avoid eating at parties, but more importantly ideas on what to bring. You guessed it, this post is about figuring out some new go-to options to give you some stress relief and put your name emblazoned at the top of next year’s party list for Continue reading ‘Thanksgiving Party Food Survival Plan’

Spooky Green Spider Deviled Eggs

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This is a spin on my good ‘ole spider egg recipe. It is one of those recipes that hardly feels like a recipe as most of the real work is the time spent just cutting up the olives into the right decorative shapes. With All Hallows’ Eve quickly approaching, parties are bound to pop-up, and this just might be your stand-out dish to bring to share.

In our family, Spider Deviled Eggs have become a Halloween tradition. I would undoubtedly miss seeing these annual ‘spiders’ Continue reading ‘Spooky Green Spider Deviled Eggs’

Insalata Caprese

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Living in Northern California, with a generally moderate climate, I do feel spoiled by the constant flurry of good fresh foods I have access to. While I am cognoscente of it, I have an indulginest attitude. Ergo- I am lucky, I am appreciative, and I enjoy every opportunity to partake in the available local bounty. This time of year the bounty is abundant with the most succulent tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Good produce makes for great food. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a great cook to prepare delicious food. What you need is Continue reading ‘Insalata Caprese’

Fava Bean Edamame

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Fava Beans (or broad beans) although very common in Italy are not usual fare in the U.S. While they do continue to grow in popularity, they can be a chore to prepare. Fava beans, when in their pods, look like an overgrown sweet pea. Their taste is richer than most other beans; smoother and richer.

It never fails, I am suckered in each time. During the spring and summer I hunt fava beans out at the farmer’s market and I select a couple pounds of the plumpest, Continue reading ‘Fava Bean Edamame’

Blackberry & Proscuitto Goat Cheese Herbed Pizza

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Blackberries make summer memories

Summer simmers along, with hot days and warm still nights. This is the sign of a good blackberry summer. The berries hang heavy and ripe on their briers, waiting for eager hands to gather them. Heaving buckets heaped with berries comprise the Mt. Shasta Blackberry Festival’s iconic food – blackberry pie. As the summer days melt away, this end-of-summer staple, sweet tangy blackberries, ease us into the next season.

For our family, the Mt. Shasta Blackberry Festival has been a staple. There is nothing quite like a good ole’ fashioned summer party to push away the back to school blues. The potato sack races, watermelon eating contest and balloon toss contests are often picturesque images seen only in a Martha Stewart magazine but here, Continue reading ‘Blackberry & Proscuitto Goat Cheese Herbed Pizza’

Ricotta Kale and Spinach Gnudi (pronounced “nu-dee”)

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Summer in Florence, Italy conjures up memories of light meals involving quick summer preparations. And this past week with the heat temperatures hitting over 100 degrees Fahrenheit I was on the prowl to capture a taste of Italian summer.

Whenever I think of Italy, I flashback to my year spent in Florence Continue reading ‘Ricotta Kale and Spinach Gnudi (pronounced “nu-dee”)’