Archive for the ‘Appetizer’ Category

Parsley Shallot Butter

October 2nd, 2013 3 Comments

  I was searching at the Farmers Market for shallots and unable to find any so I finally asked one of my favorite vendors.  He pointed to containers on the table filled with what appeared to be red onions. Shallots!  Shallots the size of baseballs!  It’s a cook’s dream…I only have to peel three shallots instead of thirty.  Either Gilligan’s Island radioactive vegetable seeds have been distributed, or they’re the result of using the incredible Cowsmo manure fertilizer from Wisconsin.

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Balsamic Maple Walnuts

September 24th, 2013 3 Comments

  It’s time for a little image-tribute to the last days of summer and the radiant color of its bounty.  These are two photos from my friend David Cavagnaro of Pepperfield Project.  I never tire of looking at his pictures.  He photographs using only natural light, calling himself “stubbornly anti-technological” but the results are brilliant.     “We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.” .

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Green Coriander Seed Paste

August 13th, 2013 No Comments

  If you’re growing cilantro in your garden it probably looks like this right now: a mass of beautiful little flowers and bulbous green seeds.  Usually I don’t have time to deal with them and just wait until they dry in the garden then harvest the coriander seeds for use in the winter, but sometimes I catch them at this perfect stage when they have flavors of both fresh cilantro AND coriander seed. I know that there is an ant-cilantro

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Marinated Potato Salad

July 23rd, 2013 2 Comments

  Potato salad you can take to a picnic and not worry about the mayo.   I recently made this for an outdoor meal with 340 people.  It held up well and tasted even better after it rested for a few hours.  Because of the rainy spring and late plantings there weren’t many local potatoes ready yet so I added zucchini to bulk it up to the 14 gallons that I needed to make.  We’re just beginning the season where

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Preserved Lemons (and Kumquats)

July 16th, 2013 No Comments

    YELLOW! With the summer sun blazing every day, it seems like the season of yellow.   Preserved lemons, a.k.a. lemon pickles, are known as a North African condiment but they appear in dishes all over the region. The entire lemon is preserved in a bed of salt and lemon juice to keep it usable for many months and the result is a distinct lemon flavor that adds a surprising sparkle… yet is also kind of mellow.  I’ve often

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Lime Butter

July 3rd, 2013 2 Comments

    There is no end to the mixture of seasonings and herbs that can be mixed with an oil to infuse it.  Flavored butters are no exception.  Herbs, citrus, garlic, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, spices….all of these are tasty in a whipped butter.   I have found the Pure Lime Oil by Boyajian to be an incredible product that I use both in desserts and in savory dishes.  I have the 5 ounce bottle that I’ll be using for years,

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Cajun Tofu

June 18th, 2013 1 Comment

  I used to cook with tofu like I might cook a fish.  Tofu is somewhat bland and fleshy but with a delicate texture…so I started using it as a blank slate for other flavors.  This concoction became a Deli sandwich, served with a Lemon Caper Aioli, tomatoes and lettuce.   . Let the tofu sit for a few minutes to let the liquids soak in, then sprinkle with the spices.   .. . I like my tofu crispy or chewy,

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Rhubarb Chutney

June 4th, 2013 2 Comments

  Mmm..more things to make with the rhubarb that is popping up all over. You can make almost anything into a chutney.  Chutneys are either raw or cooked, but since this one includes rhubarb it will definitely be cooked! . . . . . Last week’s post had lots of words, this week has very few! .  .   I made a version of this for a small wedding years ago, serving it alongside slices roasted pork loin.   Rhubarb

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Watercress Pepita Pesto

May 21st, 2013 No Comments

  Green green green—after numerous May snowfalls, finally Spring has erupted into GREEN around here!  And with it I want to eat more green.  I found watercress in a store recently and it seemed like the perfect addition to a Spring dinner.   Watercress grows in our local streams and in the past I have picked it from ones that I think (and hope) are clean (no ‘hot’ manure, no field runoff).  Commercial greens are usually grown hydroponically in alkaline

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Mini Spinach Frittatas

May 14th, 2013 No Comments

  These little buddies are great for parties (graduation season is approaching…) or you could make them as larger patties and serve them for supper.  They’re even good as leftovers and road food.  Because they have a medium-mild flavor I often serve them with a garlic aioli or a Middle Eastern lemon-garlic dip.  Vehicles for big flavor! . . . As spinach cooks it releases an enormous amount of water.  The spinach needs to be as dry as possible so

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Asparagus with Ginger and Cumin

April 16th, 2013 3 Comments

  I remember years ago on spring mornings my mother and some configuration of us daughters would take walks along the gravel road, making our way to the hallowed spots where asparagus grew wild along the field fencelines.  In late summer the asparagus would of course mature into the tell-tale towering green wisps making these spots NOT so secret, and if passers-by paid attention they might come back the next spring and have their own harvest party.  But in my

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Messmör (Swedish Whey Butter) and Hyggelig

February 20th, 2013 14 Comments

  I often call myself a 1/4 Extrovert and 3/4 Introvert and being alone most of the time is fine with me.  But once in a while I love a gathering, the Exchange.   My friend Dennis recently taught me a Danish word with no direct English translation, and I think it describes what I love about little gatherings.  The word is Hyggelig (pronounced hoogly): the art of creating intimacy…that feeling after dinner with friends when you hang out for

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Garlic Bruschetta and Dog Story Part 1

January 31st, 2013 3 Comments

Connections and communications with a couple of canine compatriots gave us an interesting beginning to the Northwoods adventure. . Our home-base hostel-cabin was full last weekend so we were trying to decide what to do when a friend invited us to go with them to the Audubon Environmental Learning Center in northern Minnesota—it was a primitive cabin but we were geared for that.  We couldn’t ski very much because of lack of snow, but we could at least leave town on

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Risotto Cakes

January 24th, 2013 No Comments

  We’ve been preparing for our annual North Woods trip, making lists and checking them twice, scurrying around doing last minute tasks.  We’ve also been doing snow dances every day…and with this dry weather it looks like more dancing is in order if we hope to do any cross country skiing.     Even though it’s only 5 1/2 hours to get to our main home-base it takes us days to arrive.  Many people to visit along the way…since summer

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Mushroom Walnut Pâté

December 26th, 2012 1 Comment

  . Brown spreadables, they are not the brightest of treats but they pack a load of flavor.  Do not underestimate brownish mushy delights!  This Mushroom Walnut Pâté is another of my dependable and crowd pleasing appetizers for catering and would be perfect for a New Year’s Eve party.  It can be made a few days ahead, it’s tasty and vegetarian, and people love it. . . It uses a method similar to the Savory Pesto Cheesecake post, the soupy mixture cooked

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Cilantro Pesto Mini Pizzas

December 12th, 2012 No Comments

  . Party treats! Tasty tidbits with the bonus of striking colors —-Red, Green and White—-these could be perfect for an end-of-December Holiday party, or for celebrating the colors of the flags from Italy, Belarus, Algeria, Burundi, Madagascar, Mexico, Lebanon, Iran, Oman, Hungary or Bulgaria! Versatility, it’s always a good thing..   . I often make these as personal pizzas (I make a batch of small crusts, par bake them, then freeze them), but it can easily be converted into

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Kimchi

November 13th, 2012 4 Comments

  Just thinking about my bubbling buddies in the next room makes the salivary glands in the back of my jaw squirt. . I realized this month, when trying unsuccessfully to figure out menus for events next summer, that I had become tired of food.  A crazy season of catering with every waking moment thinking about menus, figuring out amounts, ordering products, prepping food, storing food, serving food, cleaning up food, pricing food….that though I still loved all aspects of

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Carrot Cardamom Puree on Cucumbers

August 22nd, 2012 2 Comments

  I think that these pictures say everything and the less I add the better. I will just give you the setting: a cool August evening, candle lanterns hanging in the trees lighting up the hillside like giant fireflies, a 60’x40′ tent in a grassy meadow, and the bride in a lacy wedding dress that nearly hid her cowboy boots underneath.  A perfect setting to eat these little gems.   . .. The edible flowers are from local vendors and my

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Savory Pesto Cheesecake

July 9th, 2012 No Comments

    Savory cheesecake…why not?  It’s like a pâté made with ricotta cheese. Are you hosting a party and want something that can be prepared a day ahead, a treat that includes the greenery of summer and is also a hearty spread for crackers?   Need an afternoon munchable served as people drink their mojitos?   Here you go.   I use this appetizer both in the summer when the herbs are fresh, and in the winter when the frozen pesto brings

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Dill Cumin Popcorn

June 18th, 2012 5 Comments

  This is a photo of my mother that depicts what we hope she experienced this week as she crossed over to the other side.  She would be sailing down a waterslide with a huge smile and her arms up in the air.   What an incredible process, this dying thing, I am in awe. . Here is another photo—she LOVED to laugh! . . Our family has been together a lot lately, and without fail the fall-back task to

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