Tag Archives: appetizer

Curried Carrot Bisque

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With the new year in full swing and keeping with my resolution of eating more veggies, I thought I would post this lovely soup recipe today.

It’s been a while since I have posted a soup dish, and as a result since I have extolled the virtues of this simple meal. Yes, soup can be a meal!

I could fill my belly with the endless warmth that soup provides for days on end. Especially in this chilly winter weather we are wading through. To come home to a simple soup to soothe the soul sounds simply satisfying and stupendous to me. Wow! That was a lot of alliteration.

I’m not sure what it is about soup, but it really does cure all! When I’m feeling a bit under the weather a simple bowl of tomato bisque with a grilled cheese makes me feel sooo good.

And on a busy night where I don’t have time between kids activities to cook a big dinner, throwing together a quick chicken noodle with leftover vegetables from the week is how I survive.

I hope you enjoy this spicy twist on Tomato Bisque inspired by Chobani’s #MadeWithChobani project!

Shopping List:
3 cups carrots roughly chopped
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2-3 teaspoons curry powder, a little less if you don’t want it too spicy
2 cloves garlic, whole
Juice of 1 lime, about 1 tablespoon
1 5.3 oz. container plain Chobani yogurt
One pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. In a medium stockpot bring to a boil the carrots, stock, curry and garlic. Let this summer for about 20 minutes or until carrots are super soft.
2. Transfer to a blender and purée (with steam vent open) for about a minute until it is a smooth consistency throughout.
3. Return the purée to the pot and stir in the yogurt and the lime juice. Then warm it back up and serve it garnished with cilantro and croutons if you like.

Serves: 4 appetizer portions or 2 meal portions

For more recipes with Chobani click here.

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Savory Tarlets: Fig Jam and Brie and Roasted Tomato Basil

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With the holiday season upon us, I thought I would post an oldie, but a goodie. If you’ve never used puff pastry sheets before, you are definitely missing out. It is by far my favorite trick when entertaining .

You can purchase the lovely dough in the frozen food aisle of any grocery store. Simply thaw it, then bake it off to make a fancy breadstick or a topping for a pot pie, or in this case savory tartlets. Top these buttery little rounds with whatever is in season and suits your taste.

Puff pastry makes something simple become decadent. So next time you sign up for a potluck, you might just find yourself using this delicate dough.

Shopping List:

1 box puff pastry sheets (2 sheets per box)

1/3 cup fig jam

4 ounces brie

1/4 cup of sliced almonds

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded

Instructions:

1. Thaw the puff pastry sheets, then them roll out to 10 inches x 12 inches. Use a 3-inch round glass or cookie cutter to cut out  approximately 16 tartlets. You can roll out the scraps of the dough once to make remaining tartlets.

2. Lay out the circles of dough on two parchment lined baking sheets. Then, top one tray of circles with 1 teaspoon of fig jam and a thick slice of brie. Top the other tray with a teaspoon of cherry tomatoes, a teaspoon of parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of basil. Drizzle the tomato pizzettes with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Top the fig and brie ones with a pinch of sea salt only.

3.  Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown at edges. Top the fig and brie tartlets with almond slivers.

Makes: 24  tarlets

A Party? In a Bowl? Why yes, thank you! (A Super Bowl Party Appetizer Wrap-Up)

As many of you know I love to entertain, mostly because I love to make mini-foods. But really because I enjoy hanging out with friends while celebrating something special. So, it’s been a pretty long tradition–ok so it’s only been 4 or 5 years, but what ‘evs–of hosting a small group of friends for a Super Bowl Viewing Party.

Normally, I will make a couple of heartier dishes and ask the other families to lighten the load by bringing a dish to share. Here are some of my favorite Super Bowl Go To Party Faves!

Nothing like a hot dip to get the party started, yeah? P1050450Baked Green Chile Artichoke Dip
Simply fresh flavors make this one pop.

P1050799Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
You’ve got to have something for the kiddos, too.

Pizza Pop 'ems
Pizza Pop ’ems

Pizza Pop ’ems
And, who doesn’t love bacon? P1040448

Bacon Carmelized Onion Pinwheels
Ok, maybe the vegetarian doesn’t love bacon? Real men do eat quiche.P1030196

Spinach and Feta Quiches

I really don’t care who wins, FYI.

Bacon and Carmelized Onion Pinwheels

In my former life when I held dinner parties for adults, rather than kids, I used to pull out every stop to make an impression with some star ingredients. And I think I kind of do the same thing now, but with a more realistic working-mom approach. With that idea I still love to include food that caters to adults, but with flavors that kids will enjoy too. And the icing on the cake is that I’ve come to realize that a few shortcuts that help to make it seem like I’ve fussed a lot, is certainly worth it.

So one of my favorite shortcuts that makes everything fancier is puff pastry dough. You can easily throw anything in there, and it tastes like you’ve slaved for hours because of the buttery richness of the dough. So, this classic pinwheel appetizer marries some wonderful flavors that certainly impress and at the same time is pretty easy to throw together with a kid or two underfoot. I guess I will need post some of my other favorites with puff pastry, like empanadas and custard pies.

Shopping List:

2 sheets puff pastry thawed

1 onion, carmelized (see instructions below)

1 cup crumbled cooked center cut bacon (see this post for a simple technique)

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

4 Tablespoons deli mustard

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Whisk together the egg and water, then set it aside to use later.

3. Lay out the puff pastry sheets on a floured surface to prevent sticking.

4. Spread 2 tablespoons of mustard on each sheet. You want to try and leave a 1/2 inch border on one of the short ends, but otherwise paint a thick layer of this good stuff.

5. Divide the carmelized onion in half and evenly distribute it on top of the mustard.

6. Again, divide the bacon in half and chuck it on top of the onions.

7. Now here’s the tricky part, start rolling it all up from the short end of the pastry. Try and make it as tight as possible, so pull and stretch if you need.

8. Using a serrated knife cut each roll into 1/2 slices. Try to use a gentle sawing motion, so as not to rip the dough. I ended up cutting about 15 slices in each of mine.

9. Place them cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. The brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the parmesan on top.

10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on top. I ended up baking both sheets at the same time, to save a bit of time, but if you do the same, just make sure to rotate your trays half way through so that the bottom tray gets some sun too. Also, it allows for even baking. Enjoy!

CARMELIZED ONIONS: a lovely base to many a good dish.

In a large saute pan on high heat pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil for a minute so that the oil is hot. Meanwhiile slice your onion. Slice them however thick you like, but know that the thinner you slice the faster they carmelize. Once the oil is hot, add your sliced onion, and coat it in the oil. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the onions become translucent. At this point you can turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it cook away–ignoring it slightly.  You do want to make sure you stir them, so they brown evenly though. It will take about 30-45 minutes for them to get really sticky, so if you’re short on time, do a big batch to use all week and they will definitely freeze well in a freezer safe bag. Having these on hand certainly comes in handy when at the dinner crunch. You can slap them on a burger or sandwich for sure, or you can plop them on some chicken for French Onion Chicken or use them as the starter to a French Onion Soup or slide them inside a tortilla for an inspired take on a quesadilla. The possiblities are endless.

Blue Cheese Toast

Some days a freshly toasted slice of bread is all I need to satisfy my hunger. The crunch, the smell, the homey feeling fills my belly with love. There’s not much to do to a piece of toast to improve it in my book.

But I am a BIG lover of cheese, and I just can’t resist cheese toast. I thought this might be a nice upgrade on the simplicity of cheese toast. I could probably call this Crostini, and then you’d think it was a whole lot fancier than it is. That’s the reality. This is super easy and tastes fantastic and fancy. I don’t think great tasting food has to be complicated to be impressive.

Shopping List:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

2 teaspoons of sliced green onions

1 6-inch sandwich roll

Instructions:

1. Heat the oven (or toaster oven) to 450 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, mix with the back of a fork the butter, cheese, pepper and green onions.

2. Slice the roll into 6 1/2-inch slices. Divide and spread the cheese mixture on each peice of bread.

3. Cook these on a baking sheet in the oven (or toaster oven if you like) for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and bread is starting to brown.

This is a super easy and impressive appetizer.  Or serve alongside a salad or a soup too.