Tag Archives: appetizer

Zucchini Fries/Sticks

No matter what you call them; zucchini fries or zucchini sticks these are out of the garden, baked and so good!
image1 large/2 small zucchini
1 1/2 cups flour (I used gluten free chickpea flour)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 cups bread crumbs (I used gluten free)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon dried oregano

Place 2 cookie racks inside 2 separate baking sheets and lightly brush or spray with extra virgin olive or canola oil to coat.

In a medium bowl combine the flour and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
In another medium bowl beat the eggs.
In a medium/large bowl combine the cheese, bread crumbs and spices.
Cut the zucchini into roughly 3″ lengths and then into 1/4-1/3″ sticks.
Coat a handful of the zucchini sticks in the flour mixture (I usually just toss with my fingers) then coat in the beaten egg (I use a fork to flip and rotate around) and finally toss in the cheese and bread crumb mixture (I use a fork to flip and rotate around). Place the zucchini sticks on the prepared cookie racks making sure they are not touching. Continue this process until the racks in the pans are full. When the second pan is half full, preheat the oven to 450.

Bake the zucchini sticks for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown. I served the sticks with ketchup and an avocado cut inside the skin and filled with salmon salad.


Endive Stuffed with Hungarian Inspired Vegan Pate

DSC_0039 2 endive (or 1 endive and crackers for spreading the remaining pate)

Bean Pate *see note below
1 cup dried black eyed peas; soaked 8 hours and cooked till tender (3 cups cooked)
1 clove garlic; crushed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (good quality; I like California Olive Ranch)
2 teaspoons red wine or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon marjoram
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Rinse black eyed peas after soaking. Cover with fresh water an inch over the black eyed peas, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium low (if the pot boils over reduce heat further) and simmer till tender (about 1 1/2 hours). Remove from heat and rinse.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Scrape down sides frequently until well combined and smooth. If using a small food processor it is fine to process in two batches just divide the liquid in half making it easier to process. Chill several hours or over night. Separate leaves from the Endive. Fill each leaf with the desired amount of pate (this will vary with the size of the leaf). I usually save the last tiny inner leaves to garnish or to finely chop into a salad.

*this pate is also great with a cheese board (I serve it traditionally with our Christmas meal for the vegetarians and vegans) and crackers

Spicy Smokey Sauce for those who dare
2 Tablespoons fresh pressed lime juice
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon tomato paste (I recommend Amore brand)
1 clove garlic; crushed
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

Stir all ingredients and serve in a small dish for those who like it spicy to drizzle on the stuffed endive or crackers topped with the pate.

Aranitas (Puerto Rican green plantain fritters) with Creamy Salsa Sauce and Guacamole

DSC_0007The following recipes makes 4 sides/appetizers; multiply as needed
I made this as part of today’s brunch without realizing that my son and husband consider them a Puerto Rican delicacy!

Aranitas (vegan, gluten free)
1 large green plantain
canola oil for frying
sea salt to taste

Preheat a small pot with 1 1/2 inches of canola oil over high heat. Peel green plantain (slice through the skin on the “seams” and with fingers separate and pull to remove. Some will peel easily but others come off in small tedious chunks). Shred plantain using the small section of a grater into a bowl.  To test the readiness of the oil place a single strand of the plantain in the pot. If it sizzles and rises to the top immediately it is hot enough. Using two tablespoons grab and squeeze together the shredded plantain and place into the hot oil. Fry just a few at a time, don’t crowd them, so that they fry hot and fast. Remove with a slotted spoon or two forks and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Repeat until done and sprinkle with salt as desired.

Creamy Salsa Sauce (vegetarian, dairy free) AKA “Chimichanga Sauce” in our family
1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade) *you can also use plain yogurt or sour cream
2-4 Tablespoons salsa (or more to taste

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the amount of salsa as desired or make a spicy and a mild batch to suit the diners.

2 ripe avocados (usually the skin turns dark and the fruit will be tender when gently pressed; leave out at room temperature until ready to use)
juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
dash ground cumin
4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro; chopped
2 small tomatoes; minced
1/4-1/2 red bell pepper; minced
2 Tablespoon minced onion or scallion
1 clove garlic; crushed
(1 jalepeno; minced or dash cayenne pepper)

Cube the avocados; cut the avocado in half lengthwise, remove the pit, cut the interior lengthwise and across in the skin and scoop out with a spoon. Place avocado and remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl, mix and serve. Guacamole is best made just before eating. I usually prep all ingredients except the avocado and do those just before serving.

Edamame Hummus

image12 oz edamame (defrosted)
1-2 cloves garlic; crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Pinch-1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh pressed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

I used fresh edamame that I cooked in water with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes, drained, cooled and pealed but using frozen and defrosted is fine. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and grind until well combined. I find that I need to add 1/4-1/2 cup water to process till smooth  start with 1/4 cup and add more as needed a tablespoon at a time.

I served the edamame hummus with quinoa tabouli and blue corn chips.

Homemade Hummus with Garlic Scapes

The lovely pale green color of the hummus is from the garlic scapes. I picked our first snap peas of the season to dip and served organic whole wheat pitas for Xav while I dipped gluten free blue organic corn chips. Cheese for those that eat dairy is a wonderful compliment and a soup (I made a scallop chowder). This is a version of my classic house hummus. Instead of using garlic I substituted with garlic scapes. Depending on how many you add you will get a light delicate garlic flavor or add more to intensify the experience.

1 cup dried chick peas; soaked over night, rinsed and boiled till soft (or 2 cups canned chickpeas  drained and rinsed)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water
5-10 garlic scapes; cut into 1/2-3/4 inch lengths
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
if necessary- add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time for consistency
Traditional hummus uses tahini but my family prefers it without. If you like the traditional style add 2-4 Tablespoons tahini.

Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until smooth and creamy (this will take longer than usual since the scapes need to be ground finely). At this point you will see if more water is needed for consistency. Add more water one tablespoon  at a time as you process. Taste and add more salt if needed. To add a kick you can add some cayenne pepper. Serve hummus with vegetables and/or crackers for dipping (gluten intolerant or celiac will find that tortilla chips dipped in hummus is delicious). To make this into a light summer meal add cheese and fruit.