This morning I work up at 4:30am and jumped out of bed, not only because it was Saturday which means its basket day, but also the idea that I was getting something new to experiment on. I was going to have some fun with these wonderful new thing called persimmons that I had never heard of. Persimmons are not something I know anything about (shocker I know, I really am a newbie about some things. I’m just trying to make it in the big, NOT SO BAD produce world…haha! I like to joke about it now, but what I really am is a reformed extremely picky eater. Who is only learning about certain foods now because I was so closed minded about them before. I am a changed woman
Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category
White button mushrooms are earthy, pleasing to eat, and the perfect appetizer! Mushrooms are available for many recipes but the holiday season is a great time to think about stuffing mushroom caps. The mushroom cap can be stuffed with a wide variety of fillings. This recipe is one of my favorites to use when company is coming!
In planning a menu for a Games Night the idea of tapas came to mind. This reminded me of a recipe in the August 2013 Better Homes and Gardens August for Lemony Ricotta Summer Squash Galette. Not only was it easy, it used ingredients already on hand! I also knew I could easily change a few ingredients and use up even MORE!
Beautiful Ataulfo mangoes from Bountiful Baskets paired with red peppers 3 for $1 at one of my favorite stores, what does that mean? Well, in my kitchen it means “Sweet and Spicy Mango Chutney”. I don’t know that this could technically fall under the “chutney” category as it has no nuts, no raisons, and none of the curry flavors I associate with chutney. It’s probably more like a salsa but since that is the name it came with, and I do not think it’s polite to rename someone else’s baby…chutney it is.
This recipe is beautifully simple to create and has a wide range of uses. I start by dicing mangoes, red bell peppers, and yellow onion. That all simmers in a mixture of brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and lime juice. I add in finely chopped garlic and finely chopped ginger along with a happy helping of crushed red peppers. When that is smelling good and looking pretty I pack it all into my warm pint or half-pint jars and water-bath the heck out of it (15 mins in my neck of the woods).
The shelf- life is supposed to be 1 year but with it’s delicious taste and versatility, mine has never lasted that long. What do I do with it you wonder? Thanks for asking because I really want to tell you. One of my favorite ways to use it up is for a Sunday slow cooker meal that has become a family favorite. I pop in a lightly seasoned pork roast, add a touch of water and let it go low and slow until it’s literally falling apart. I shred that sucker up and mix in a pint of “Sweet and Spicy Mango Chutney”. This “Sweet and Spicy Mango Pork” is then served over rice or in cabbage leaves and topped with macadamia nuts for a delicious Asian dinner.
We have discovered that this recipe is great on the grill. I open a jar, pour some into a ziplock bag and pop in a few chicken legs or thighs, whatever I have on hand. I let that marinade for an hour or so (don’t go much longer or the vinegar will break down the chicken too much) and then put the chicken on the grill. I serve extra sauce (NOT any that was used as marinade) right at the table.
I have also found success making it into a salad dressing. I take a half-pint jar of the “chutney” and whisk that up with a combination of olive and sesame oil and use it to dress a chopped green salad or an Asian-style cabbage salad.
Last , but certainly not least, this sauce makes a great dip for my favorite wonton recipe. I add a touch of sesame oil and some soy sauce to the chutney and then let my guests dunk away. (I’m including the wonton recipe here just for fun.)
Chutney, Salsa, Sauce or just YUM! Whatever you decide to call it I hope you enjoy this delicious way to use up those mangoes.
Have you ever tried eggplant in your meatballs? It adds a nice depth to the flavor, and has the extra benefit of adding a little bit of health to your dinner.
It will be 22 years this Spring that I have been married to my Darling Husband, and for 22 years I have tried to get him to eat fresh peppers. He will eat them roasted or hidden in soups, stews and casseroles but raw, not a chance. So here I sit with these cute little sweet colorful chili peppers, I don’t want to cook them…what to do…what to do… then i hear a cooking show on the television…pimento cheese spread. Hmmmm…I have red peppers from the Italian pack sitting on the counter…I could make that!
A quick charring under the broiler peel and dice, whip together the cheese spread and slice the little peppers in half, fill with pimento cheese spread and onto my deviled egg tray (love when I find another use for a specialty platter.) and I now have an appetizer!
I took them in and sat then down near my husband and before I knew it half the tray was gone! YES!!! I got my husband to eat sweet chili peppers!!!
One of the (many) drawbacks of being a gluten-free and nut-free household is that PB&J sandwiches are few and far between. This is hard for me because not only do I love that lunchbox staple, particularly when accompanied by a tall glass of milk (another no-no in our house), but I also really love making jams and jellies. Unfortunately these goodies just don’t get used up as quickly in our home as they used to so I have had to make a decision- stop making them OR get creative with them. I have learned that one of the (many) advantages to being a gluten-free, nut-free household is that I have the opportunity to get creative with the products I have on hand so that is the choice I have made. Recently, I have taken my love of jam making to new levels. I have been trying to find unusual ingredients and flavor combinations and then use them in ways that I have not tried before. Pineapple-Lime Jam is now one of my favorite cake filling flavors. (and thanks to BB I have a frequent supply of pineapple). Apricot-Rosemary Jam has become a go-to for an elegant Sunday meal of glazed Roast Chicken. One of my most requested flavors is Strawberry-Chipotle. As strawberries pop up in the basket and the offerings page I try to keep some out of the view of the kiddos in order to make a batch of this delectable delicacy.
The fresh, sweet strawberries pair beautifully with the spicy smokiness of chipotle peppers. The result of this pairing is a rich, red-hued jam that is versatile and delicious. The deep red of this jam and the resulting sexiness (yes, I’m weird and totally think food can be sexy) of the dishes it creates make this a perfect part of a Romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. I’m giving you here the basic jam recipe and three of my favorite ways to use it up. I will warn you that these are not all the healthiest of recipes. (I’m a sucker for cream cheese) But for a special occasion they are fabulous!
Recipes with (v) are vegetarian.