Archive for the 'Appetizer' Category

Salsa and Red Bean Dip — Sometimes simpler is better

Serves 6 to 8
Adapted from Woman’s Day magazine

We had some friends over the other night and I wanted to make something new. A dip maybe?
My wife had found this recipe in Woman’s Day magazine and I decided to give it a try.
It is just store bought salsa and red beans (or black or white) mixed in a blender. What could be more simple?
The results: a delicious dip that is ready in a minute or two. Give this a try. You will not be disappointed.

Recipe follows.

Continue reading ‘Salsa and Red Bean Dip — Sometimes simpler is better’

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Tasty Japanese Cucumber Salad


Adapted from an old Internet recipe
Serves 4

I am always up for something new. And when that “something new” turns out to be simple to prepare and tasty it’s a win/win.
So it is with Japanese cucumber salad or Sunomono. It is the simplest of dishes yet is crisp and refreshing. It can accompany just about any meal.
There is not much more left to say, except be careful cutting up the cucumbers. See what happened to me here.

Recipe follows
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How to Grill Vegetables

This is not so much a recipe as it is a tutorial on grilling vegetables on a gas grill. First, it’s not hard and it makes vegetables taste wonderful.
It brings out the natural sugars and caramelizes them and also adds a smoky flavor you cannot get any other way.

Which vegetables and how do you prepare them?

Just about any vegetable can be grilled with the right equipment. Some like green, yellow, orange or red peppers can be done right on the grill. Others like asparagus will need a vegetable grate (great for shrimp, too) like this one or a grilling wok (great for shrimp or scallops, too) like this. Tongs and a large spatula are a help, too.

Below, I will list various vegetables, the perpetration and the best method of grilling:

Asparagus

There may be nothing finer than fresh, locally grown asparagus grilled.  Snap off any tough ends of the asparagus.  Toss with vegetable or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook on a hot grill for a total of six to eight minutes, turning frequently.  Keep a close eye on the asparagus because when it can go from done to OVER DONE very quickly.  Do not overcook.

Eggplant

Slice eggplant into 1/4- to 3/8-inch slabs like the squash above or rings. Coat with vegetable oil or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on a hot grill for 15 to 25 minutes to cook through.

Corn

Use the freshest local corn you can find. Remove all the husks except the last layer. The corn should be completely covered with husk and there may need to be two layers in some areas. Peal back these husks and brush the corn with melted butter. Place on a hot grill and cook 8 to 10 minutes total rotating the corn frequently.

Green Onions

Coat onions with vegetable oil or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a hot grill (you can use a vegetable grate if you have one) and cook for a total of 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Do not overcook.

Sweet Onions, Sliced (Vidalia, Maui, etc.)

Slice onions about a 1/4- to 1/2=inch thick. Rub with vegetable or olive oil and sprinkle with salt a pepper. Place on a medium grill and cook for three to five minutes per side (depends on thickness of the slices) until you get grill marks and the onions are just cooked. Don’t overcook. They should be just beyond crisp.

Whole Peppers

Rub the outside with vegetable or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place whole peppers on a hot grill and cook on that side until the skin is charred, about two to three minutes. Rotate the pepper 90 degrees and cook that side the same way. Cook the pepper until the entire skin is blackened. Place the pepper in a paper bag and allow the pepper to cool. The pepper will steam inside the bag and make removing the skin very easy. Peal the skin off the pepper and use your favorite recipe. Delicious. Note: This works with hot chili peppers like jalapenos, too.

Pepper Slices

If you have a vegetable grill or grilling wok like this one, slice the ends off the peppers and remove the seeds. Or, place the pepper end flat on a cutting board and cut from the top to the bottom just outside the core of the pepper. This will give you four slabs and the seeds still attached to the core. Either way, slice the pepper into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Toss the strips with vegetable or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Preheat the grilling wok on high and place the pepper in the wok. Grill the pepper with the lid down for about two minutes. Open the lid and toss the pepper slices with a wooden spoon. Cook a total of about four to five minutes. Do not overcook.
If you do not have a grill wok, just place the oiled and seasoned slabs on the grill and cook until just done. Remove from the grill and cut the peppers into slices.

Summer Squash and Zucchini

Place either on a cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch slabs longwise. Coat each side with vegetable or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place slabs on a hot grill and cook for about three to four minutes per side.
Alternatively, you can cut the zucchini or summer squash into cubes, coat with oil, add salt and pepper and cook in a grill wok.

Tomatoes

Thickly slice tomatoes. Coat with vegetable oil or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on a hot grill two to four minutes per side.

Button Mushrooms

Leave small mushrooms whole; larger mushrooms should be cut in half or quartered.  Toss mushrooms with vegetable or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook on a vegetable grate over high heat for about five to ten minutes.

Portobello Mushrooms

Okay, not a vegetable, but the technique is the same. Coat with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a medium hot grill. Cook for four to six minutes per side.

THE FUN PART

Grilled vegetables are great by themselves, but mix and match them and you have a party. Grill peppers and onions with grilled sausage is great. Try grilled eggplant and onions with you next Italian meal. Make vegetable kabobs on bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes. Yum. The possibilities are endless.

Good luck and good grilling.

Mussels in Beer

Adapted from a recipe at http://www.beeradvocate.com

Serves 4

I just love mussels. My family? Not so much.
But, whenever we are having a seafood dinner involving many different kinds of seafood, I usually can sneak in some mussels. This is a very easy recipe and the flavors the beer adds to the mussels are amazing.
I also use this recipe when I make paella and I will post that recipe later.

Recipe follows.

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Sourdough Pizza Crusts for Barbequed Chicken Pizza

Adpated from an Internet recipe.

Makes two pizza crusts

Recently I posted an English Muffin recipe here that uses up excess sourdough starter (the sourdough starter recipe is here). Well, here is another recipe that does the same thing only this time you end up with pizza crusts. They are easy to make and they freeze wonderfully; you just have to pre-bake them first.
Assuming you have excess sourdough starter, one of the nice things about this recipe is that you can have pizza in about 45 minutes from the time you start.
You can make just about any kind of pizza using theses crusts, but we really like barbecued chicken pizzas.
To speed things up, we just buy a rotisserie chicken and cut it into chunks. Then once the pizza crust is pre-baked, rub some olive oil on the hot crust, spread your favorite barbecue sauce on the crust, toss the chicken with some additional barbecue sauce, add some chopped onions and/or green pepper, and top with mozzarella cheese. Then bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and browns a little on the top.
Yummy!

Recipe follows.

Continue reading ‘Sourdough Pizza Crusts for Barbequed Chicken Pizza’

Deviled Eggs

deviled-eggs

This is not really a recipe but a post pointing you to a website all about deviled eggs.  Boy, does this guy know about deviled eggs.  And rightfully so, the website is called The Deviled Egg Gourmet and the address is: Deviled Eggs.

There are pages and pages taking you through how to make deviled eggs.  Maybe more than you ever wanted to know.  But, it’s a fun read and you do learn a lot about eggs.

The recipes are at the end and there are some good ones.  I made the one with pickle relish and horseradish.  I would never have thought to put horseradish in deviled eggs, but it was very good.  You should visit the site and give it a try.

Guacamole

Guacamole
This recipe has been developed over the last 20 years
Serve 4 to 6

My family loves fresh guacamole.  I have been making it for a long time and this recipe has evolved over the years.  It contains a few tricks and some different ingredients, but it tastes great and always disappears.  One of the secrets is seeding the tomatoes.  This reduces the amount of liquid in the guacamole and makes for a better consistency.  Remember to start with “soft to the touch” avocados; so buy your avocados early and let them ripen on the counter.  Guacamole is all about the avocados!

Recipe follows.

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