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Archive for Appetizer

::super snack:: Red Pepper Hummus

Beans and I were good buddies throughout my pregnancy. With my love of starch, most specifically noodles, a variety of beans helped me get through the first couple months without starving myself of any and all nutrition. And there are so many things to do with beans. Once things were back to normal with my eating, we had a go at a new snack.

This recipe was inspired by Cooking Light’s Cooking Through the Seasons, but I didn’t follow theirs exactly. I just did what I wanted. In my opinion, Eden Organics has the BEST canned beans. It is a bonus that they are one of the only companies of canned foods that has stated that all of their cans are BPA-free. Yes, BPA is from plastic, not tin cans… but modern tin cans are lined, and sometimes with bad stuff. Just one more tiny effort to keep us and our little Bean safe from bad stuff.

What You Need
1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas
1 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp tahini
~1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
drizzle of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

What you do: Drain & rinse those beans! Chop up the peppers. Zest and Juice your lemon.

Put all of your ingredients in a food processor.

Serve with pita chips, veggies, or a spoon ¬†ūüôā However you like your hummus.

::super snack:: Quick & Easy Guacamole


So you are still debating about what to take to the July 4th picnics this weekend? You are already taking sweet mango salsa on Saturday and want to change it up in case you see the same people Sunday? Of course! That must be the problem!

Good guacamole is expensive. Buying some to take isn’t the most cost effective thing. And with the unemployment rate out of control, everyone wants to impress for less. The bright side, is good guacamole is also cheap to make! Think under $4 for ~2-3 cups of guacamole cheap. And you get to brag that you made it.

The other bright side… tweak it to be exactly what you want. This is for a single batch (perfect snack size for 2-4 people, but feel free to double or triple to take to your picnic!)

What You Need:
1 avocado
1 small-med tomato
1 jalapeno
1/2 lime
bit of cilanto

Scoop avocado into bowl. Peel, seed and chop tomato and add to bowl. Core and seed jalapeno and mince. Add to bowl. This is obviously a discretionary amount depending on your tastes. We like about $.12 worth of jalepeno for a bit of kick. ūüôā Juice the 1/2 lime into the bowl (also discretionary, feel free to start with a quarter lime and test from there). Chop however much cilantro you want ūüôā

Mush everything up with a fork. Keeping the pit in the bowl helps the avocado from browning. If you aren’t using it right away, cover it tightly with saran wrap and store in the fridge.

Yields: ~1-1.5 cups

::summer love:: Sweet Mango Salsa


I have a new obsession with mangoes this summer. ¬†Those Vietnamese Salad rolls? ¬†I totally plan to make a dessert version of them with mango. ¬†They are already in the works. ¬†I cannot wait. ¬†Before my obsession started though, I had some things to learn. Like how to cut a mango for one. Really prior to this salsa, my only mango experience was Mango Sticky Rice, which is totally on the list of things to learn to make this Summer. I thought I didn’t even like mango. And I still might not. At least not on it’s own, too sweet for me. Combined with other things though…I think we will get along just fine.

Ok, so in comes the salsa. Homemade salsa is also a semi-new obsession. It is so yummy and fresh and better than most store bought. The key to homemade salsa though is being willing to tweak it. I have made this salsa a few times now, and every time it ends up a little different. Keep that in mind when you making it. Sometimes it might need a little more garlic or a little more lime, etc. I think this turns out best made the night before, letting the flavors settle together a bit, and then tweek.

What I Used
1 mango, diced
1 large fennel bulb, sliced thin and cut into smaller pieces
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
6 cloves of garlic
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 lime, zested & juiced
1 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the fridge. It is as easy as that! It isn’t the prettiest salsa, but it is delicious. Based on our experiences, it works best with a sturdy chip. Tostitos just aren’t strong enough.

Yields: ~3 cups salsa

::super snack:: Roasted Garlic & White Bean Hummus

So?! ¬†Did everyone watch LOST last night? ¬†What did you think? ¬†Were you at a Lost viewing party? ¬†We were. ¬†It was absolute craziness. ¬†Everyone came dressed as a character. ¬†Since I had baby showers to attend earlier in the day, I went as Off-Island Kate. ¬†The version where she is getting ready for her court appearance. ¬†In other words, since I had makeup on, this seemed like the easiest solution. ¬†PTB went as On-Island Disheveled Jack. ¬†In other words, it was an excuse not to clean up his stubble. ¬†OR, it was an excuse for me to draw tattoo’s on his arms. ¬†Something I have not done since before we were married ¬†hahahaha. ¬†As many people joke, who knows if Chinese symbols on people’s arms actually mean what they think they mean. ¬†Instead of replicating Jack’s tattoo perfectly, I tattooed the symbols off the Chinese menu for Chicken with Broccoli onto his arm. ¬†And then drew him a chicken and a broccoli. ¬†ūüôā

Ah, enough LOST talk.  I should have made something for yesterday, and if I did, it would have been island-y and tropical.  Or it would have been wild boar.  Instead, I was running around all day like a crazy person.  All weekend really.  No time to cook.  Only time for snacks.  So an easy, anytime snack is what you get on this Monday!

What You Need
1 head of garlic
1 can cannellini beans
1 Tbsp tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

Start by roasting the head of garlic.  A single head of garlic is easiest to roast in a toaster oven.  Peel the outer layers of paper and slice off the top so that the cloves are exposed.  Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil.  Roast for about 30 minutes in a 400F oven.

Once the garlic is roasted, allow it to cool a bit so you can easily remove the cloves.  Drain and rinse the can of beans and put everything into a food processor.  Blend until you reach your desired consistency.

To add a little variety, we split our batch in half.  One we left as is, one we added 3 Tbsp of harissa for a spicier richer flavor.

::recipe:: Roasted Garlic Potato Soup

Roasted Garlic & Shallot Potato Soup

You have to like, no, you have to love garlic to love this soup. ¬†And if you have never had roasted garlic before, throw an extra head in the oven so you can have one as a spread and test it out. ¬†This soup is a great excuse to use an immersion blender as well ¬†ūüôā ¬†This recipe is modified from the 2007 holiday issue of Cooking Light.

Roasted Garlic & Shallot Potato Soup

Let’s get started! ¬†Turn your oven to 400¬ļ and get out a dutch oven and a roasting pan (any baking dish will do really.) ¬†Whenever I roast vegetables, I line the pan with a double layer of foil. ¬†Fold it together where they meet to avoid any leaks. ¬†Makes cleanup so much easier.

While the oven is heating, get together your ingredients:

Step One
4 whole garlic heads
5-10 shallots (depending on size, try for about 3/4 lb)
olive oil, salt, pepper
Step Two
(you’ll have plenty of time to prep the rest during step one)
2 medium onions coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup dry white wine
Step Three
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 large baking potato, cubed (3/4 to 1 lb)
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Step Four
1 cup 2% milk

Once your pan is lined with foil, remove the outer paper on the garlic, leaving the individual cloves unpeeled, and cut off the top of the head (so that the individual cloves slightly are exposed).  Place in the roasting pan, drizzle with about a tablespoon of oil, and salt and pepper.  Cover the pan with foil and place in the over for 20 minutes.  Add the shallots to the pan (also unpeeled), drizzle with another tablespoon of oil, and salt and pepper.  Cover again, and bake for another 25 minutes.

While your garlic & shallots are cooling, heat 1.5 tbsp oil in the dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion, cover and cook until lightly brown (stirring occasionally).  While cooking, remove your garlic cloves from the wrap, and peel the shallots.  Once the onions are light brown, add the garlic, onion, and wine to the pot.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave uncovered while the wine reduces (~5 min.

Add all your step 3 ingredients to the pot, increasing the heat, and bring to a boil. ¬†Once boiling, reduce to a simmer again, and cover until the potato is tender (~15 min). ¬†If you have an immersion blender, this is your opportunity to take advantage and blend! √ā¬†Otherwise, allow the soup to cool a bit and then use your blender to puree smooth. ¬†Return to the pot and stir in the milk, cooking over medium heat for another 5 minutes.

Serve with some cheesy croutons and enjoy!

Serves: 4        Cost: ~$4/serving