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Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos

1 Dec

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Bon Appetit swooped in and helped me jazz up my Thanksgiving leftovers.

There really is no better way to put it:

“Leftovers. They’re perfect, really. You’re in the middle of a four-day weekend, the house is once again empty, the kitchen is clean, and all that remains is a giant Ziploc bag full of turkey for you to eat from the fridge in your pajamas. Without leaving the house, you have all you need to make sandwichespot pierisotto, you name it. But what if there were something more? Something even better? What if there were… Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos?”

And then I proceeded to make Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos, and they were just the crunch I needed to get me over the hump of mushy comfort food remnants.

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Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos

from BonAppetit 

Tortilla Chips

Stuffing

Turkey, shredded or cut up (if you have leftover crispy skin, throw that in, too!)

Mashed potatoes

Gravy

Cheese, shredded

Raw Brussels sprouts, cut into slivers (or any kind of green vegetable)

Cran sauce

Sour cream or Greek yogurt

Combine pieces of leftover stuffing with a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. This is your base layer.

Shred the turkey (The skin, too! It gets crispy in the oven) and nestle it with the chips/stuffing. Mashed potatoes are next, acting like refried beans. A little grate of white cheddar and a drizzle of gravy. Pop in a 425 degree oven until it gets oozy and crispy all in one, about 10-15 minutes.

Out of the oven and in come a few hits of leftover cranberry sauce (I like to say “cran sauce”), a few pinches of leftover raw brussels sprouts shavings (made this salad on Thanksgiving day), and some dollops of sour cream.

Savory Pumpkin Dip

19 Oct

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A quick snack for my over-worked brain.

A variation on the Yogurt Tahini Sauce from my last post. Just add pumpkin puree. This is definitely becoming my new ‘hummus’ (I usually eat A LOT of hummus, and even though there are no garbanzo beans in this recipe, it is still a nice change…).

Tear up some bread (I found a great rosemary bread at my farmer’s market) or serve with crackers or veggies.

A little dash of paprika on top makes everything pop.

This dip is accompanying me to a pot luck this weekend. I am also going to make it next week with the group of vivacious ladies and gents. at the senior center where I conduct nutrition lessons. So easy, requires no cooking, and you get all the goodness and nutrition of yogurt, sesame, pumpkin, garlic, and lemon. Hurrah!

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Savory Pumpkin Dip

a variation on this dip

1/3 cup tahini paste

2/3 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

paprika, for dusting on top

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Summer Squash Fritters

9 Jul

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Holy smokes, I’ve fallen head over heels for fritters!

Maybe the fact that the word “fritter” implies fried, I have steered clear of anything fritter-related in my kitchen. Until NOW.

…and I’ve had my share of deep fried apple fritter mania in the past (Gosh, I was so young here. This was an event at the restaurant I used to work at where I had to make tons of apple fritters, I was scooping batter out of buckets!).

pizzaiolo fritters

I shall steer clear no more…these Summer Squash Fritters are lightly pan-fried on a cast-iron skillet, and they totally bust my fears of frittering at home. They are like potato latkes, but a bit healthier and more colorful.

I’ve been making so many quick pasta dinners and taco/quesadilla/migas dinners these days, and tonight I was looking to do something out of my usual throw-together repertoire. Alas, Deb from the Smitten Kitchen has saved dinner once again.

These lil guys hit the spot. With a fried egg on top and a shake or two of hot sauce, I was dancin’ in my dinner seat! You just can’t beat the golden brown crisp exterior of these fritters, oozing supple and sweet summer squash in every bite.

The summer squash are lookin’ mighty fine at the New York City farmer’s markets right now. Vibrant, plump, and simply aching to be eaten.

And if summer squash is not your thing, how about Broccoli Parmesan Fritters? (also in season right now in NYC). Deb has quite an extensive fritter library, so go check it out here if zucchini is not your thing.

These fritters would be an excellent for brunch, too.

Now go fight your fritter fears and experience the goodness.

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Summer Squash Fritters

adapted from The Smitten Kitchen 

I got about 6 fritters out of this batch (serves 2 people as a main dish)

1 large zucchini + 2 small and thin yellow summer squash

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus extra to taste

2 small garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese (I used a spicy chipotle cheddar. zing!)

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

olive oil or canola oil, for frying

Trim the ends off of the zucchini/summer squash and grate the squash on the large holes of a box grater.

Place a colander over a large bowl. Add the grated squash to the colander with 1 teaspoon of salt and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, press the squash against the holes of the colander and drain as much excess water as you can. You will probably get a lot of liquid out of the squash! This reduces the likelihood of soggy fritters.

Dump the liquid down the sink, rinse the large bowl, and add the pressed grated squash to the bowl. Stir in the garlic, lightly beaten egg, cheddar, and black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the zucchini batter.

In a large heavy skillet (cast iron is indeed dreamy here), heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches (I used a 1/4 cup measure) of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet only a few at a time (I did 3 fritters at a time) so they don’t become crowded and lightly nudge them flatter with the back of your spatula. Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you find this happening too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more (if you are making a bigger batch, you can keep finished fritters in a 200 degree F oven to stay warm).

Enjoy with a poached or fried egg on top and a few good shakes of hot sauce, so the yolk runs down and around the fritters (I wish I took a picture of this but I chose to shove the goodness in my face instead!).

**Deb says: These fritters keep well, either chilled in the fridge for the better part of a week and or frozen in a well-sealed package for months. When you’re ready to use them, simply spread them out on a tray in a 325 degree oven until they’re hot and crisp again.

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Summer Salad Round-Up!

24 May

Summer is about to hit us in full force, and I want us to be prepared for the potlucks, barbecues, picnics, and shenanigans to come. Pretty soon I will transition from roasting all of my veggies to shaving them into ribbons and enjoying them raw, preparing grain-based salads, bouncy pastas, light sautés, and brothy soups. It will simply be too dang hot turn on the oven.

Here are some ideas for no-cook (or very-little cook…) hearty salads to ring in the sunshine and keep us lookin’ nice and cool. Variations and substitutions are encouraged. Have fun and experiment.

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Potato Salad with Pickled Red Onion. Can you say 4th of July party?! This salad is salty, crunchy, acidic, herby, and creamy all-in-one. Heck yes.

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Get your fix of beans with this 3 Bean Summer Salad with Corn, Tomato, Avocado & Lime. Colorful and bright, this salad is great on its own or even used as a taco filling or chip dip.

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Radishes are taking over the farmer’s marktes in NY right now. Snag a bunch, slice them thin, and add them to this Israeli Couscous Salad. You could also try making a variation of this salad with a Miso Dressing.

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This Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad is an old-time favorite. If it’s too hot to roast cauliflower, feel free to use whatever vegetable is easy to prepare and catches your eye. The dried fruit and Mediterranean spices remind me of summer fun.

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You better get your hands on asparagus NOW, before it goes out of season! Enjoy it in a Farro Salad. I recently made a variation of the potato salad above and added asparagus to it.

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No Cook Summer Fruit Salad. I like to use a mix of fresh fruit and dried fruit, with some fresh herbs and cinnamon to pack a punch. It is hard not to eat the whole bowl in one sitting.

Miso Soup

7 Dec

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Miso soup goes from appetizer to dinner with the addition of noodles, larger tofu cubes, broccoli, and avocado.

The broth is made with just 2 ingredients: water and miso paste. The rest is up to you: noodles or rice, tofu, egg, seasonal vegetables, chili flakes or oil, scallions, herbs, garlic…Heidi Swanson, who inspired this soup, even suggests using tea instead of water.

I’ve gabbed about my love for miso paste before, and once you have a tub of it hanging out in the fridge, you know that you can always make some soup when you’re in a dinner pinch.

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Miso Soup

adapted from 101 cookbooks

serves 2-3

**NOTE: You may need to add some salt to the soup. Taste and add as necessary. Sometimes I like to add a splash of soy sauce for a deeper, saltier flavor, too.

3 ounces dried noodles, soba or spaghetti
2 – 4 tablespoons white miso paste (to taste)
2 – 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
2 handfuls of chopped broccoli florets (or spinach)
Additional toppings: a pinch of red pepper flakes, avocado cubes

Cook the noodles in salted water. Add the broccoli during the last minute of cooking. Drain, run cold water over the noodles/broccoli to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water, and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Put the miso paste in a small bowl and pour a bit of the hot water over the miso, whisking so it thins out a bit (this is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.

Split the noodles/broccoli between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy.