Category Archives: appetizers

closeup of basil buttermilk soup

Basil Buttermilk Soup

august 11, 2020

closeup of basil buttermilk soup

Cooking doesn’t always need to involve heat. Chopping, tossing and blending are all easy methods of cool food preparation, with no flame in sight. The work of a good blender is the only electricity involved in making this refreshing summer soup featuring just-picked basil and chilled buttermilk. Continue reading

grilled shrimp with herbed pistachio sauce

Grilled Shrimp with Herbed Pistachio Sauce

july 2, 2020

grilled shrimp with herbed pistachio sauce

Ever skip a recipe with “grilled” in the title because you either don’t have a grill or don’t want to bother with grill setup? Me, too, except in this case my grill is currently snoozing and I’m too lazy to replace the tank. Cast iron grill pan to the rescue, and failing that, the oven broiler. Both of these are great substitutes for grilling. Smoky flavor will not be imparted but with items like shrimp which take minutes if not seconds to cook, that won’t matter. Continue reading

jar of vidalia onion chutney

Vidalia Onion Chutney

may 28, 2020

jar of vidalia onion chutney

Vidalia onions, those paper-skinned squatty sweet onions from Georgia, are back for a limited time. Eat them raw (they’re so mild  you won’t suffer from onion after effects) while you can. Use this easy chutney recipe for preserving their goodness for months to come. You’ll dream of late spring when you slather it atop your grilled burgers in summer, your roasted vegetables in fall and your bean soups in cold weather months.

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cheddar walnut spread

Cheddar Walnut Spread

december 5, 2019

cheddar walnut spread

One of the easiest appetizers to serve for impromptu gatherings, pre-dinner nibbles and large crowds is a good spread for crackers and crisp vegetables. This is why hummus is so very popular. If it’s not homemade, there will be various flavors to consider at your local market. This cheese and walnut spread is like hummus for those who don’t fancy hummus. The consistency is similar and the versatility is similar in that you can use this make-ahead spread with crispy things, schmear it on on sandwiches and wraps and use it to add creamy cheesiness to mashed potatoes and polenta. Continue reading

asparagus salsa verde

Asparagus Salsa Verde

may 9, 2019

asparagus salsa verde

The less done to fresh asparagus, the better. Brief blanching, quick roasting or a few hops in the saute pan will do. If you’re lucky enough to score some tender, first-of-the-season asparagus, no cooking at all is just fine. Shaved in a salad or finely diced, as in this Asparagus Salsa Verde, asparagus has a pleasantly grassy flavor and gentle crunch that is unlike any other vegetable. It needs a bright wake up from citrus or acid to come to life. This salsa combines fresh asparagus with lime juice and green as far as the eye can see—except for a few bits of red onion for flavor and contrast. Continue reading

black eyed pea and cheddar fritters

Black Eyed Pea and Cheddar Fritters

december 26, 2018

black eyed pea and cheddar fritters

Time once again to eat something special for the new year to bring luck, health and prosperity. And treat your belly to something delicious as well. Of course I’m talking about black eyed peas, which every southerner knows is absolute for the  new year’s menu. The vegan version of Hoppin’ John published a few years ago is a thick stew, or a chunky soup, and can be made with smoked meat for a non-vegan version. Today’s black eyed pea fritters are versatile in that they may serve as an appetizer or a light meal and can be accompanied by all kinds of sauces and spreads.  Continue reading

Goat Cheese Polenta with Mushrooms

november 29, 2018

goat cheese polenta with mushrooms

Here’s one for Meatless Monday. Satisfying in a creamy, hearty, chewy way, this goat cheese polenta with wild mushrooms will feed four as a starter course and two as an entree. I’ve been making polenta with parmesan cheese for eons, and for some reason never thought to try goat cheese. What was I thinking? Even those who have not joined the goat cheese fan club will appreciate the slightly tangy and very creamy addition of chèvre to this dish. Continue reading

Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Apricots

september 5, 2018

herbed goat cheese stuffed apricots

Knowing apricots were in season, and feeling certain I had seen them at markets, I began to dream of ways to serve them as a one-bite appetizer, preferably with a cheesy filling. But my local markets only carried red apricots, which resemble tiny plums and have the aroma and flesh of the standard golden apricot. And so, red apricots became my friend.

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Eggplant Dip with Harissa Aioli

august 22, 2018

eggplant dip with harissa aioli

Eggplant has been looking and tasting good at the roadside stands this summer. Roasting brings out the slight sweetness of the vegetable and reduces the astringency of eggplant, which has the unfortunate honor of being in the top three of least liked veggies when I tally my client preferences. The others are brussels sprouts and lima beans, but I always figure that someday folks will have their epiphany and decide these are loved and enjoyed after all. One can always hope.

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Socca Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes

march 29, 2018

socca pizza with roasted tomatoes

The esteemed food writer Michael Pollan said it best : Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Starchy carbs are not my enemy, but I do feel better when I stick with Pollan’s suggestion to let plant based foods become the star in my meal planning. There is no substitute for my beloved potatoes and they are always welcome at the table. Grain based products like pizza and breads are an occasional craving, so replacing starchy grains and enjoying a quick bread made with almond flour, or this pizza made with chickpea flour, is the way I choose to enjoy the things I love.  Continue reading