Five Ingredient Cranberry Pistachio Goat Cheese Bites

December 19, 2014 in Appetizers

Festive holiday appetizers in five minutes flat!

Cranberry Goat Cheese BItes

Festive Holiday Cheese ball – one bite at a time.

I love that during the holiday season we make and eat such festive foods!

These little goat cheese bites are perfect on any holiday buffet – they are tart and creamy on the inside and sweet and crunchy on the outside. And with just five ingredients, they come together in just minutes.

Just take a tablespoon of the cheese mixture and roll it and chill it and then roll in pistachios and cranberries. That’s it. Really!

Happy Holly Days, y’all ~

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Crispy Baked Portobello Fries

October 12, 2014 in Appetizers, Snacks

Portobello slices make crispy baked “fries.”

Portobello Fries

Crispy Mushroom Fries – with Sriracha dipping sauce

We live in times of culinary adventurousness, my friends. I mean, when I was a youngster no one would ever have dreamed of making fries out of anything but good ole Russets. Preferably from Idaho.

But now, all bets are off and fries come from too many vegetables to count. Here at Apron Strings, one of our favorite has been Green Bean Fries. And our Sweet Potato Tater Tots were a huge hit.

I decided to try my luck with mushrooms, and chose Portobellos because the caps can be cut into long planks like home style fries. There are two tricks: One trick is that you have to remove the gills from the caps, because this is where a lot of water comes from and will make your mushroom fries soggy. Then trick two: the oven has to be very hot so that the fries cook quickly.

I loved these fries so much, The Hubs and I stood over the pans eating them fresh out of the oven and we had to make another batch to get photos. Yes, I sacrifice for my art.

– posted by Donna

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Pumpkin Deviled Eggs

October 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Holidays, Snacks

Pumpkin – in shape and flavor – deviled eggs.

Pumpkin Deviled eggs

Deviled Eggs with a splash of pumpkin!

October begins today, and you can tell by all the pumpkin recipes on food blogs everywhere. I love fall flavors, and especially pumpkin, so I decided to try pumpkin puree in deviled eggs.

Turns out, pumpkin and eggs are heavenly together!

You just decrease the amount of mayonnaise in your usual deviled eggs and swap it with pumpkin puree. And, we had some season’s end okra in our garden, so the tips made perfect handles for the pumpkins. You could use any green veggie – string beans or green onions or even a piece of bell pepper.

I won’t say how many the Hubs and I ate, but let’s just say this became our dinner after the photo shoot. Just a sprinkle of chili powder on top and these babies are perfect for a fall appetizer, snack, or == ahemmmm  == dinner.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

— posted by Donna

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Lemon Tarragon Watermelon Salad

July 22, 2014 in Appetizers, Side Dishes

Watermelon Salad gets a new flavor profile with lemon and tarragon.

A fresh take on Watermelon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Tarragon.

A fresh take on Watermelon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Tarragon.

I love that classic watermelon and feta combo, and I make this salad often in the summer. So sweet/salty/tart – and few things are better in the summer than cold, crunchy ripe watermelon fresh in the summer.

So I decided to try out some new flavors with this salad. Lemon and Tarragon pair perfectly with this watermelon salad. You just whack up a little lemon vinaigrette – and Voila! – instant watermelon salad. I tried a new method of plating this salad as well – just lay a watermelon slice on a plate and then cut into cubes, leaving the round watermelon shape intact. Pretty and yummy for a light summer dinner.

Happy Summer all ~

– posted by Donna

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Japanese Crab and Cucumber Salad

July 16, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

Easy. Refreshing. Elegant. And stunningly delicious.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant.  Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant. Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

This delightful crab and cucumber salad is simple and elegant and just stunningly delicious. I have made this salad three times this week alone – it’s that good. And, Okay, my garden is overflowing with cucumbers right now. So, yeah. Cucumbers on the menu every night. It is a very flexible salad – I have used the paper thin cucumbers as a base and then put different things on top – nectarine slices, feta cheese and green onions are two different combos I have tried. All yummy.

There are three ingredients plus a dressing so delicious I may have eaten half a bowl of it with a spoon. Not confirmed, just sayin’.

The key to the salad is the dressing – it is sweet, sour, tangy and smokey – full of umami and a perfect ying-yang dressing. The Japanese name for this salad is Sunomono – which literally means “Vinegared Thing.” I made a whole bottle of the dressing just to keep in the door of my fridge.

Also, the cucumbers have to be sliced paper thin so that they are soft and pliable. Use chilled cucumbers and crab (or shrimp!) and toss with the dressing at the last minute. Amazing. And Addicting.

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Kale Apple and Toasted Walnut Salad

June 8, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes

Kale, Apples and Walnuts in a (creamless) creamy walnut dressing.

Kale Apple Walnut Salad

Make it ’cause it’s healthy. Eat it ’cause it’s YUM.

Walnuts? In June? I know, walnuts are often thought of as a fall ingredient, but they are available year round and add an amazing toasted taste and crunch to a salad. So. They can be a summer food, too.

We are joining the California Walnut Vistual Salad Party with other bloggers this week, so be sure to check out the other recipes at walnut.org

I have been a huge walnut fan for the last 12 years. Walnuts are one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth, especially with heart health. Since my husband had a severe heart attack in 2002, I have made an effort to get lots of walnuts into our diet. We even make walnut butter, and yes, I know, a little over the top – but it’s YUMMY, and easy to do in your handy food processor. Just toast and then whirl with a little oil.

I fell in love with Aida Mollencamp’s Kale, Apple and Walnut Salad. I was especially intrigued with the [creamless] Creamy Walnut Dressing. It is so delicious you will want to eat the dressing with a spoon. I left out the pancetta and made the salad vegan. Another change I made was to toast the walnuts to give them a more intense flavor. NOTE: Do not skip the toasting of the walnuts – this totally transforms their taste and their texture. Just spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until they are fragrant and browned.

– posted by Donna 

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Quickles – Quick Garlic Pickles Recipe

June 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Condiments, Snacks

Sassy and crunchy pickles – pronto.

Quick Pickles

Crunchy and sassy pickles you can make in minutes.

Home made pickles are surprisingly easy to make. Just pickle them in the fridge – not on the stove top – and you’ll be amazed at how easy, fresh and crunchy they are. These beauties take just a few minutes of prep time and are ready in just 2 hours of chilling.

I have tried for more than 30 years to find a pickle recipe that is easy and also has the perfect balance of flavors and textures – and THIS it it.

I followed the basic recipe of Mountain Mama Cooks Refrigerator Pickles, with a few tweaks of my own. I added just a bit of sugar to give the sour just a little sweet balance. And I added in some sliced red jalapeños for a touch of heat.

Perfect nosh for your next picnic!

– Posted by Donna

 

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Cauliflower Ricotta Style Spread

May 23, 2014 in Appetizers

Cauliflower “ricotta” spread even cauliflower haters will love.

Cauliflower Spread

Now here’s a cauliflower recipe everyone can love.

If you think you hate cauliflower, think again.This recipe is coming to you from a person who hates cauliflower: ME.

Oh, sure. I have tried to like it. After all it is one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth. And lately, there has been an explosion of cauliflower rice recipes on the world wide web.

My co-blogger/daughter Anne has set the bar pretty high for cauliflower creations. Just a few: Cauliflower Rice Sushi, Green Goddess Cauliflower Rice, and Lemon Pesto Chicken Cauliflower Rice. Seriously creative.

And then there was this recipe a few days ago: Fried Cauliflower Rice with Shrimp, Sugar Peas and Red Pepper by the fabulous Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen. This recipe (MUST try asap!) put me over the edge – I had to try making something out-of-the-box creative with cauliflower!

So, I decided to experiment with a recipe that is a spread – and turns cauliflower into a type of “ricotta.” This spread is so delicious and perfect for topping crostini or scooping up with veggies. And you can smugly pat yourself on the back for eating something that tastes decadent, but gets more cruciferous veggies into your diet. Win/Win!

–posted by Donna

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Roasted Asparagus Dip with Spring Crudites

April 18, 2014 in Appetizers

A spring veggie platter is a spectacular edible centerpiece.

Spring Veggie Platter

Spring Veggies never looked so pretty. Asparagus dip is a bonus!

When spring veggies are piled high in the produce section, it brings my heart joy. I literally do a little shopping cart dance when asparagus is in abundance. I am desert born and raised, after all, and warm sunny weather makes me feel that all is well in the universe!

So I wanted to make a platter of crudites (raw or slightly blanched vegetables for dipping) that is really a work of edible art. This spring platter fits the bill, especially if you add some roasted asparagus dip in the center of a cabbage bowl. I created the dip with the same flavors of the warm artichoke dip/spread, on lightened up. The dip is delicious – like roasted asparagus with a hint of briny artichoke hearts.

Use whatever veggies you like – but I recommend blanching the tougher vegetables a bit to soften them – I did mine in the microwave oven.

Put this on your buffet or table at your next spring feats and you will get rave reviews – guaranteed.

Happy Spring All ~

– posted by Donna

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Beet Deviled Eggs

April 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Holidays, Side Dishes

Double duty beets: flavor inside and color outside deviled eggs.

Beet Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs, flavored and colored with beets.

Beets add sweetness and flavor to the classic deviled egg – and a bonus: soak your peeled hard boiled eggs in beet water to add a rosy hue to the outsides of the eggs!

Once a year in early spring I become a deviled egg fanatic. I have tried all kinds of mix-ins to the yolks, and I have to say that it was a surprise how delicious the sweetness of the beets was mixed into the yolks. They are delicious mixed with a little Dijon to balance the sweetness.

There are lots of food bloggers doing naturally dyed eggs – so beautiful! I just added my beets in two places!
See How to Dye Easter Eggs the Natural Way, Simple Bites
Tea Stained Easter Eggs, Yummy Mummy
Vegetable Dyed Eggs, Weelicious

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