Tag Archives: Appetizer

Steak Tartare #SundaySupper

Steak Tartare

Welcome to another Sunday Supper!! This week our theme is Year End Cravings – so what have I been craving lately? Among other things, beef tartare. Tartare is not ever going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you love it, you love it.

Steak Tartare from Bar Americain

I first sampled it in a lovely restaurant in Paris – actually, Matt ordered it and I ate off his plate like any good wife would, lol. It was a sight: coarsely ground beef mounded on a plate with a raw egg yolk nestled into a well in the top of the beef, and all the traditional mix-ins on the side (capers, cornichons, mustard, etc.)

Steak Tartare Bar Americain

As an aside, I *really* wish I’d had my camera ready to capture the look on Matt’s face when the plate arrived, seeing as at the time he wasn’t 100% sure what tartare even was.

Steak Tartare Bar Americain

This version combines the beef itself with many of the traditional tartare mix-ins, so there is less work for the diner. And what can I say other than it was one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten. Like I said earlier, I love tartare, I’ve had it many times, and this is truly one of the best versions I’ve tasted.

Steak Tartare Bar Americain

A few things to note before making it at home: you need the freshest, most high-quality beef you can find. Don’t grab something shrink-wrapped in the case, talk to the butcher and tell him or her what you’re making. Secondly, this is not a make-ahead dish, you’ll want to serve it immediately. As written, this will serve four people.

If you are a tartare lover, then you must try this recipe. Unbelievably delicious. Enjoy!

Steak Tartare #SundaySupper

And don’t forget to check out what the rest of my #SundaySupper peeps have been craving!

{Two Years Ago: Butternut Squash Latkes with Pine Nut Yogurt Sauce, Cornmeal Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Butter}

Source: ever so slightly adapted from The Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
MUSTARD SAUCE:
1 large egg yolk
2 anchovies in oil, patted dry
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs whole grain mustard
2 tbs red wine vinegar
¾ cup or so olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

TARTARE:
1 ¼ lbs. filet mignon
2 tbs Dijon mustard
3 tbs olive oil
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
6 cornichons, finely diced
2 tbs brined capers, drained
3 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and black pepper

GARLIC TOAST:
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup or so olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4-6 (1/4-inch) slices semolina Italian bread

Directions:
First make the MUSTARD SAUCE: combine the egg yolk, anchovies, both mustards, and the vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth.
With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil, drop by drop at first, and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day before serving.
To make the TARTARE: put the beef on a plate and stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes as this will make dicing the beef easier.
Whisk together the mustard and oil in a large bowl. Add the jalapeno, shallot, cornichons, and capers. Mix to combine.
Remove the meat from the freezer and cut into ¼-inch dice. Put the steak in the bowl with the jalapeno mixture, add the scallions and parsley, and fold gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the GARLIC TOASTS: preheat the broiler to HIGH. Combine the garlic and oil in a small bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Brush one side of each slice of bread liberally with the garlic oil, then broil the bread until lightly golden brown on one side. If your slices are very long, cut each in half.
To assemble, spoon some steak tartare onto the toasts and drizzle mustard sauce over each one. Serve immediately.

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut, and Sage Cheesecake

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

If you should ever find yourself looking for an extremely elegant and beyond delicious appetizer you could set out at a holiday (or other) party that will feed a small army, then you are in the right place. If you ever need an appetizer to blow people away, you’ve come to the right place. This is it.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

First of all, people will go, “Wow, you made a savory cheesecake?”. Secondly, well, you will completely blow them away with this dish. I would know. My darling husband and a decent handful of close friends plus some acquaintances are floating their way back to Earth right now because I served this to them.

Suffice it to say, everyone went crazy over it. It’s rich, filling, tangy, creamy, and unique. Also, it’s better the second day, so this is perfect make-ahead food for a party. And honestly, I can’t say enough good things about it!

savory gorgonzola, walnut and sage cheesecake

I’ve definitely done my part dabbling in dessert cheesecakes, but this was my first savory cheesecake. It’s something I’ve been curious about for awhile now, but I really had no idea if I would like it at all. I approached the whole endeavor with a bit of uncertainty, but I’m most assuredly now a savory cheesecake convert. I was thoroughly impressed with the whole thing.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

The crostini toasts are optional. I found it fun to smear the cheesecake on the little toasts, but it’s also delicious just eaten with a fork. (Or with your fingers when you’re pretty sure no one’s looking.). Enjoy!

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

Sources: adapted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein and The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild

Ingredients:
CRUST:
1 ¾ cups fresh bread crumbs
1 cup grated parmesan
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of kosher salt

CHEESECAKE:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
4 oz. sour cream
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
6 oz. crumbled gorgonzola
2 tbs minced fresh sage
4 oz. walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 French baguette, sliced (optional)

Directions:
For the crust, preheat your oven to 350 F. Mix all crust ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-10” diameter well-greased springform cake pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust while preparing the filling. Maintain oven temperature.
For the filling, add the cream cheese and sour cream to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together until the mixture is fluffy. Add the salt and pepper, and with the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the heavy cream and mix until just combined, then add the gorgonzola, sage and walnuts. Mix gently until combined. Shut off the mixer.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust, then wrap the bottom of the cheesecake pan well with aluminum foil. Place the pan in a roasting pan or large, high-sided baking dish. Carefully pour hot water into the pan so that the top of the water level barely comes halfway up the cheesecake. Bake in the preheated oven for 70-90 minutes, until the cheesecake is lightly browned on top, slightly puffed and set on the sides and the center moves slightly when shaken. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack and cool completely. Serve chilled or at room temperature. To serve, either slice and eat with a fork, or use a butter knife or cheese knife to smear a portion onto the baguette slices.

Vegetarian Pâté with Chestnuts and Porcini

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Pâté seems to be the perfect elegant party food, especially around the holidays. It appears to be most likely featured in the December issue of popular food magazines, and even cookbook entries tend to extoll its December-y seasonal virtues.

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Pâté is traditionally made with cooked and pureed chicken livers, but today I wanted to share a vegetarian (vegan, actually!) version. Firstly, because your vegetarian friends and guests cannot eat the chicken livers, and secondly because many of your carnivore friends and guests probably won’t eat the chicken livers either.

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Chicken livers have gained of lot of foodie ground in the past decade or so, but they are still fully capable of dividing an otherwise peaceful room of people. Personally, I find them delicious and will eat them in whatever form except for over- or undercooked; but I am not everyone.

This particular pâté will solve all your problems. It’s still completely delicious, completely sophisticated and completely seasonal, but no one will lodge any complaints. (Except maybe your chicken liver loving friends… Nah, they’ll take one bite and get right over it!)

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This cocktail party favorite is very easy to throw together, and since it must chill before you serve it, it automatically falls into the make-ahead category, which we all know is ideal for hosting a party. Everyone will adore this one, promise. Enjoy!

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Source: Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

{One Year Ago: Recipe Round-Up: 75 Comfort Foods}

Ingredients:
5 tbs olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
5 oz. (about 2 cups) thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
2 tbs brandy
¾ cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1/3 cup jarred roasted chestnuts
1 tbs finely ground dried porcini mushrooms
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
¼ tsp ground turmeric
Toasted bread slices, for serving
Cornichons, for serving
Radishes, stemmed and halved, for serving

Directions:
Set a medium high-sided skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes, then add 2 tbs olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
Shut off the heat and carefully add the brandy. Swirl the brandy around gently, then turn the heat back on. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom, then shut the heat off again and transfer the contents of the skillet to your food processor. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add the cashews, chestnuts, dried porcini powder, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, turmeric, and the remaining 3 tbs oil. Process until very smooth, scraping down the bowl a few times to get every last speck of nuts of spices incorporated. Be patient, as this may take a few minutes.
Once the mixture is completely smooth, scrape the pate into a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Serve with the toasted bread slices, cornichons, and radishes.

Parmesan Thyme Cocktail Crackers

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Well, I think the holiday season is officially upon us. For some corporations people, the season has been breathing down our throats alive and kicking since the end of October, but I dislike getting involved in anything that smacks of the merry holiday spirit until after Thanksgiving. But, it’s now December, so here I am, merry spirit and jingling bells!

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All month long I’ll be sharing ideas appropriate for the season. Personally, I grew up celebrating Christmas, so in the spirit of write what you know, I’ll be sharing some recipes appropriate for Christmas dinner or brunch, but my hope is that most of them could be translated/adapted to a table for whichever holiday you celebrate.

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I’ll also be posting several ideas for the holiday cocktail parties! Because we all get invited to or host them all month long; sometimes we’re asked to bring a dish, other times we host it ourselves and do all the work. Either way, you have to make some food decisions, and I’m going to hook you up with elegant, delicious, small bites that would be perfectly at home in any seasonal cocktail party.

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Starting with these beautiful, amazing little crackers, perfect to nibble accompanied by a cocktail or glass of wine. They are about two bites each, require no utensils whatsoever, and your guests will go nuts for them. Elegant AND adorable, full of flavor, perfect chewy texture, and the pop of fresh thyme is really what makes these. I loved them, and hopefully you will too. Enjoy!

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Source: ever so slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Ice Cream}

Ingredients:
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. (about 1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Up to ¼ cup water

Directions:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper, and combine.
With the mixer still on low, add the flour a little at a time and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles. Slowly add the water, 1 tbs at a time, until the dough begins to come together.
Dump the dough on a floured cutting board, press it into a ball, and shape the ball into a 9-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the log into about ½-inch-thick rounds with a sharp knife. Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake 17-22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through. Cool and serve at room temperature.

Sweet Potato Roasted Garlic Hummus

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Alright, I’ve got one more Thanksgiving leftovers post to share with you, and this one does not involve turkey! This is for your leftover sweet potato mash that you are sick and tired of reheating and eating as is. What do you do? You turn it into hummus!

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Yep, you throw it into your food processor with some canned chickpeas, quick roasted garlic, which I’ll show you how to make, plus some tahini and give it a whirl. Once the food processor has done its thing, you have a delicious, nutritious snack that doesn’t resemble your Thanksgiving spread but also allowed you to not waste food. Win!

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I love hummus with carrot sticks, and frankly that’s all I had in the house the day I made this, but feel free to also use celery sticks, pita chips, red bell pepper slices, and whatever else you can dream up as dippers.

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Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, everyone!! I hope you have a beautiful, delicious, and safe holiday! I’m out until Sunday. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Praline Pancakes}
{Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes, Apple Pie}

Source: slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:
1-2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tbs olive oil, plus more for roasting the garlic
2 tbs water, or more as needed
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
⅔ cup leftover mashed sweet potatoes
1 tbs tahini
½ tsp finely minced fresh rosemary (more to taste)
Kosher salt to taste

Directions:
To roast the garlic, simmer the peeled cloves in a small saucepan with olive oil for 15-20 minutes over low/medium heat. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon, and when cool enough to handle, use your fingers to coax it out of its skins. Add to the food processor.
Puree all ingredients except rosemary and salt in a food processor until smooth. Add more oil or water as needed. Add the rosemary and salt and pulse a few times to incorporate.
Serve with dippers of your choice.

Butternut Squash, Onion, and Espresso Bruschetta

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Does your family have Thanksgiving appetizers? I tend to think they are necessary. I mean, usually on Thanksgiving Day, you have the one large meal, but generally it’s not served until mid to late afternoon. Obviously eating a regular sized lunch is out of the question, but asking people to not eat anything until the big meal is a bit unreasonable. A little snack earlier in the day is a necessity.

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And this year, I think you should shake things up and serve these wonderful little bruschettas. Nothing about them was the least bit unbalanced. All the diverse flavors melded perfectly together in one harmonious bite (though rest assured, you’ll take more than one bite!).

This is fairly easy to throw together too, as steps can be taken ahead of time, and it’s supposed to be served around-ish room temperature anyway (a little warm is also just fine though). The butternut puree is incredibly thick, kind of like peanut butter! I was a bit skeptical, but that wasn’t needed – it was perfect. The espresso powder sprinkled on top might sound weird, but it works soooooo well. It provides a bitter note that perfectly balances out the sweetness of the squash.

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I think I’m using the word “perfect” a little too often, but well, that says it all! Try this one, either as a snack earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, or a wonderful h’or d’oerve at a holiday cocktail party. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Scones, Bacon-Wrapped Monkfish with Apple-Shallot Jam}
{Two Years Ago: Sweet Potato Biscuits, Chili Dogs}

Source: slightly adapted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Ingredients:
2 cups peeled, cubed, and seeded butternut squash (about 1 small)
1 small onion, roots cut off and quartered
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs olive oil
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne
1 loaf Italian semolina bread, sliced on the diagonal and grilled or toasted
Instant espresso powder, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Spread the butternut squash and onion quarters on a baking sheet, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and then drizzle with olive oil. Shake the pan or toss to evenly coat everything. Bake until the squash is soft and golden, 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then scrape the contents of the baking sheet into your food processor.
Add the cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne. Process until very smooth. Using a small cereal spoon or a butter knife, spread a dollop of puree onto each bread slice. Sprinkle a small amount of espresso powder on top of the puree. Set out on a platter or tray and let your guests dig in.

Three Peppercorn Grilled Chicken Wings

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Sometimes the best meals we have come not from careful planning, or thinking long and hard, or thoroughly perusing our cookbook collection. Sometimes they are the result of off-the-cuff spontaneity that involved a very small percentage of our brain power. It’s frequently said that the average human only uses ten percent of their brain (no clue if that’s true, by the way) – I think I used maybe one percent to come up with this casual dinner.

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Seriously thrown together, and yet the results were one of the most amazing and delicious meals we’ve eaten all summer. The wings were grilled perfectly, to ensure crackly crispy skin with moist, tender meat, and the peppercorn rub gave a lovely bite that really awakens your palate with every taste. They tasted rather sophisticated, almost Parisian – a nice twist for the ubiquitous chicken wing.

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I really cannot recommend these highly enough. As much as Matt loooooves my buffalo wings, he declared these in the top five chicken wing meals he’s ever eaten. And that, my dear reader, is very high praise. If Matt doesn’t like something, he will tell me.

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Oh, and I just love the vindication of meals like this – where you acted on barely an impulse, put so little thought into cooking something, and it turns out to be one of the best meals you can remember in a long time. It’s nice. So much nicer than when you put tons of thought and planning into a meal that turns out so-so. But that’s a different conversation for another time.

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I hope you love these as much as we did! Enjoy!

{One Year Ago: Chipotle Bacon Macaroni and Cheese}

Source: spice rub adapted from Burgers, Fries and Shakes by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
2 tbs green peppercorns
2 tbs pink peppercorns
1 tbs black peppercorns
1 tbs granulated sugar
½ tbs kosher salt
1 family size package chicken wings, split and tips saved or discarded

Directions:
First make the peppercorn rub. Using a mortar and pestle, grind all the peppercorns by hand. Work in batches if need be. You want them to be cracked, not powdery. Alternately, you can fill a clean pepper grinder and crank them all out on the coarse setting. Or, place the peppercorns in a clean coffee or spice grinder and grind until coarse, but not down to a powder.
Place the peppercorns in a bowl. Add the sugar and salt and mix thoroughly with your fingers. Set aside.
Preheat your outdoor grill to very high heat. Oil the grates. Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and add the peppercorn rub. Toss to coat thoroughly.
Place the wings on the grill, not touching each other, skin side up. Cook about 6 minutes, then flip the wings so they are skin side down. Cook at least another 6 minutes, possibly longer. Double check with a meat thermometer. It should read 165 F when done.
Remove the wings to a plate and let them rest about 5 minutes. Then, dig in with lots of napkins!

Grilled Cherry Tomato, Garlic and Goat Cheese Toasts

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So, picky eater that I was growing up, I actually rarely objected to tomatoes – in fact, I would even go so far as to say that I liked them as a child. When I was in grad school, in my early twenties, I did a summer abroad program in Austria, and every afternoon I would venture out to the closest farmer’s market and buy a large, gorgeous, in-season, juicy red tomato. I’d stand out in what Europeans think is a hot sun and eat the whole thing like it was an apple, juices running down my hands and dripping off my elbow to the ground. It was my afternoon snack; it was a daily moment of pure happiness, the kind that the freshest and most beautiful food can bring.

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So imagine this – I married a certified tomato hater. Apparently, Matt had zero tolerance for them growing up, even to the point he would pick them out of his sandwiches or fast food burgers. (Actually, when I think about it, that habit of his lasted well beyond childhood…)

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Determined spitfire that I am though, I saw this as a challenge rather than an incompatibility, and I wasn’t content to file it in the agree-to-disagree cabinet, despite the fact that no marriage doesn’t have such a filing cabinet, ours included. I pestered asked inquisitive questions about his dislike of tomatoes until he finally told me in detail why he hated them so much; turns out he had eaten one too many out of season tomatoes and then decided that all tomatoes were tasteless and mealy.

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This is pretty easy to correct, right? I simply make sure we only eat raw tomatoes, in any form, when they are perfectly in season, and I’m fortunate that I can get local tomatoes from either Jersey or Long Island, so they don’t suffer in transit to our local grocery store or farmer’s market. And now, Matt loves in-season, good-quality tomatoes (especially heirlooms). Yea!!

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And thus, I can make lovely appetizers like this one, and Matt will happily eat it and love it. You should too before summer tomatoes disappear for another year.

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{One Year Ago: Summer Corn and Roasted Pepper Pie}
{Two Years Ago: Creamy Smoked Trout on Pumpernickel Toasts, Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramel-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brittle}

Source: adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
About 1 lb. cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
8 oz. goat cheese, softened
1 tbs minced herbs, such as parsley, thyme, basil, or a combination
1 tsp minced garlic
1 loaf of round country bread, sliced somewhat thickly, then each individual slice cut in half crosswise
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
A few sprigs or leaves of herbs, for garnish

Directions:
Soak some wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Thread the cherry tomatoes onto the skewers, then set them on a plate. Brush them well with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill them a few minutes on each side, turning as you go, until they are charred and the skins are starting to bust. Don’t take them too far – you don’t want them cooked completely through. They should still have some bite to them; we’re not making tomato sauce here.
When done, remove the skewers to a plate and let them cool slightly. Then use a fork to carefully remove the tomatoes from the skewers.
Meanwhile, preheat a small skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Add a nice film of olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the garlic slices and cook them slowly, until they are golden and softened, about 5 minutes (but watch closely as you do not want to burn the garlic!). Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
Also meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, minced herbs, minced garlic, salt and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
Once the tomatoes have come off the grill, place the bread slices on the grill, just to toast and get some marks. This will take about a minute per side. When the bread comes off the grill, immediately rub at least one side (or both sides if you prefer) with the cut garlic.
To assemble, use a butter knife to spread some of the goat cheese onto one side of the bread. Sprinkle a few of the sliced, cooked garlic on top, then top it with 3-4 cherry tomatoes, pressing slightly to nestle them into the cheese. Place the assembled breads onto a platter and garnish with herbs. Serve immediately.

Pepperoni Pizza Toasties

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Today is a very happy day. Why? Because it’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day, woohoo! This month I was assigned Annie’s Noms. Annie is the beautiful lady behind this baking-centric, UK-based blog. Annie lives in the UK with her adorable boyfriend, where they split the kitchen duties: she bakes, he cooks.

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Though Annie successfully obtained a degree in interior design, her heart belongs to baking. She blogs full-time, and has filled her page with insanely scrumptious, delectable baked treats. So of course, contrarian that I am, I had to pick one of the savory recipes on her site.

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These little pepperoni pizzas are simple, familiar (flavor-wise), and yet they couldn’t be more delicious. They are so cute, so easy to eat (maybe too easy!), and surprisingly addictive. Annie originally wrote this recipe for the oven, but I ended up grilling them. It was 78 F and sunny without a cloud in the sky. I mean, really, what choice did I have?

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Either way will work just fine, and I’ll include directions for both methods. Enjoy these, guys! And be sure to check out Annie’s fantastic blog!

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{One Year Ago: Creamy Cantaloupe and Guanciale Pasta, Zucchini Snack Cake, Mexico City Street Corn, No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce, Vegan Blueberry Muffins}

Source: adapted from Annie’s Noms

Ingredients:
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced about 1-2 inches thick, on a diagonal (to get more bread surface per toast)
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
6 oz. melty cheese, such as cheddar, low-moisture mozzarella, or fontina, shredded
About half a package of pepperoni slices

Directions:
Pour the tomato sauce into a small saucepan. Add the Italian seasoning, plus salt and pepper to taste. Warm on medium-low to low heat. Don’t let it boil, you just want it warm.
OVEN METHOD: preheat your oven to 400 F (or 200 C). Lay the bread slices on a baking sheet (use 2 if necessary). Toast the bread in the oven for just a few minutes; this is just to avoid the bread getting soggy with the toppings.
Remove the bread from the oven and spoon about a tbs of tomato sauce on each toast. Top with a nice pinch of cheese and spread it evenly. Lay 2-3 pepperoni slices per toast on top of the cheese. Bake 7-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove and serve immediately.
GRILL METHOD: make a 2-zone fire, with one side a bit hotter than the other. Working in batches if necessary, grill the toasts on one side until nicely toasted, about 3 minutes on the hot side. With tongs, remove to a plate, flipping them as you move them, so the toasted side is facing up on the plates. Add the tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni as instructed for the oven method. Carefully add them back to the hot zone, for 2-3 minutes. Make sure you’re not burning them. If the cheese has melted, then remove the toasts to a plate. If the cheese isn’t completely melted, then move the toast to the less-hot zone of the grill and leave them there for a few more minutes, until they are nicely melted. Remove to a plate and serve.


Chipotle Pinto Bean Dip with Jicama “Chips” + A Cookbook Giveaway!!!

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Welcome back! This week I am giving away my surprise excess copy of Mark Bittman’s The VB6 Cookbook! And each day of blogging, I’m sharing a delicious recipe from the book, to give you a taste of what you’ll be getting if you win. The giveaway goes on until Friday at 5 pm EST, and you can enter at the bottom of this post – don’t miss out!

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Yesterday I shared his insane Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs – totally vegan, and beyond delicious. I was in awe. Today I’m sharing one of the snacks chapter recipes. I have a huge weakness for bean dips, and they are super easy to make at home. Being from Texas, Frito scoops are quite common and popular for use as a dipper. Tasty? Oh yes. Healthy? Ummm, not really.

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So I was incredibly pleased to see Bittman’s take on what the heck we should be using to scoop up creamy, spicy bean dip. He had several, but the idea that really jumped out at me was jicama. Jicama! Yes! Why didn’t I ever think of that? Jicama is perfect for bean dips. It’s crispy, it’s sturdy, and it’s commonly used in Mexican or Tex-Mex cooking, so it doesn’t feel out of place at all. I am seriously doing this again.

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A quick warning about the bean dip: you can use one chipotle in adobo or two. It will surprise no one that I used two, and I can assure you it is super spicy that way. If you’re not into the heat, definitely use only one! enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Grilled Romaine Hearts with Bacon Blue Cheese Vinaigrette}

Source: The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:
2 (15 oz.) cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup packed cilantro sprigs
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1-2 chipotle in adobo, plus a little bit of the adobo sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large jicama, peeled and sliced into discs, like chips

Directions:
Put all the ingredients except the scallions and jicama into your blender. Puree until very smooth, adding water if it’s too thick and not completely cooperating.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Transfer the dip to a bowl and garnish with the scallions. Serve with the jicama “chips” for dipping.

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