Category Archives: appetizers

Watermelon with Spicy Tahini Sauce

june 26, 2015

watermelon with spicy tahini sauce

The ideal scenario for summer outdoor dining and entertaining may be summed up in several steps. Throw something on the grill. Steam some ears of local corn (or grill them, as in grilled corn and sugar snap pea salad). Toss a simple salad. Serve something chilly for dessert – ice cream, gelato or sorbet.

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Spicy Ham Spread

 

april 3, 2015

spicy ham spread

After you’ve carved the Easter ham to your satisfaction, you’re likely to have some tasty leftovers. One can only eat so many sliced ham sandwiches, so I’m offering a spicy ham spread that’s nothing like the canned versions you had in your formative years.

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Spicy Grapefruit Mint Cocktail

january 9, 2015

spicy grapefruit mint cocktailWhen there is a chilly bite in the air, it’s time for winter citrus.  I enjoy lemon in my summertime tea, and lime juice in warm weather salsas and salads, but winter is when the perfume of pink grapefruits, tangerines, Meyer lemons and blood oranges is at peak and best enjoyed.

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Oysters in Leek Cream

december 26, 2014

oysters in leek cream

Cousins Ryan and Travis Croxton of Rappahannock Oyster Company are putting Virginia oysters on the map, and on the plates of discerning diners across this great nation. The right kind of media attention has made heroes of these fellows, who were once derided for starting oyster aquaculture from seeds planted carefully in and around the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay, giving particular taste characteristics of “neighborhood ” oysters.

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Smoky Rosemary Roasted Pecans

november 21, 2014

smoky rosemary roasted pecansThe holiday season is here and we need quick and easy snacks for entertaining that can be made ahead, ideal for guests dropping by for a little holiday visit.  Two operative words here are quick and easy.  For these smoky  roasted nuts , add two more words : delicious, and versatile.

My smoky rosemary roasted pecans are an ideal accompaniment to wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.  They elevate the most simple salad to exalted status when scattered atop dressed greens.  Have homemade  vinaigrette on hand for the healthiest salads. Use these nuts to gussy up substantial salads, too.

Chopped, they give the wow factor to dips and spreads when mixed into whipped cream cheese and sour cream.  Envision these nuts folded into a stuffing for roasted pork loin or seared chicken breasts.  Pureed soups will appear ready for their photo shoot with an artful drizzle of creme fraiche and a few roasted pecans.

smoky rosemary roasted pecans

Make these nuts up to a month ahead and store tightly covered at room temperature in a cool spot.  Package them in pretty holiday tins or jars and give some homemade kitchen love.

smoky rosemary roasted pecans

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company       smoky rosemary roasted pecans

makes two cups

ingredients

2 cups pecan halves
1 ½ tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt – I like La Baleine

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. In mixing bowl, toss pecans with melted butter, smoked paprika and sea salt until all nuts are coated well.
  3. Add rosemary and toss until combined.
  4. With spatula, transfer nuts to ungreased heavy sheet pan and bake for 35 minutes.
  5. Let nuts cool on baking sheet and when cool transfer to airtight container.
  6. Store at room temperature in a cool spot for up to one month.

 

 

Burrata Caprese Salad

september 12, 2014

burrata caprese salad

Tomato season is winding down in Virginia.  Time to enjoy the last of these fruits of summer, fresh in salads and salsas or preserved with canning and slow roasting.  I like to make my green tomato chutney which carries me through to next summer.

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Dilled Veggie Goat Cheese Spread

january 17, 2014

dilled veggie goat cheese spread

 

It’s that time of year again, when gyms are at full capacity and holiday excess gives way to spartan diets and promises meant to be broken, eventually.  The time of year when we divide foods into two groups : good, and bad.

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slow roasted tomatoes with garlic and herbs

october 1, 2013

slow roasted tomatoes with garlic and herbs

 

When you are given a gift of late season tomatoes, you have only two choices; you can eat them all right away, or make them last longer by preserving them for later enjoyment.

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grilled eggplant with caponata relish

september 12, 2013

grilled eggplant with caponata relish

When summer’s end robs us of vegetables that peaked earlier in the season, we can always count on eggplant as a farmer’s market lure with its high gloss and firm form.  Its meatiness holds up well to grilling and it marries well with tart or sweet condiments, marinades and sauces.

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herbed shiitake mushrooms

may 17, 2013

shiitake mushrooms from Pine Fork Farm in Quinton, VA

luscious shiitake mushrooms from Pine Fork Farm at the SOJ Farmer’s Market

They were the biggest, fattest, meatiest shiitake mushrooms I had seen.  So impressively massive, in fact, that I had to ask Teal Brooks of Pine Fork Farm if they were a particular type or new cultivar.  Nope, she replied, they were standard issue, but perhaps the clean and clear conditions at her farm in Quinton, Virginia were responsible for their luscious largeness, or perhaps they were grown with love.

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