Category Archives: Appetizer

Tuna Croquettes and Fried Zucchini with Feta-Chipotle-Basil Sauce

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Dinner was inspired by a recipe for Tuna Croquettes, courtesy of Alton Brown, one of my favorite tv chef personalities. We had a little breading leftover from the croquettes, and I had just picked a couple choice zucchini from the garden, so we dunked them in an egg-wash, coated them with the breading and fried ’em up. And of course we’d need some sort of dipping sauce to go with them, so we mixed up some things we had around; feta, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, herbs & spices. A very tasty, and pretty healthy, dinner!

Fried zucchini

  • 1 C Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Penzey’s Northwoods seasoning
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1 egg, beaten

Mix bread crumbs and seasoning evenly together.  Dip sliced zucchini in egg , then coat on both sides with bread crumbs. Fry in just enough oil to cover the bottom of a 12″ frying pan. Remove from oil when the bread crumbs are starting to turn golden brown and place on a cooling rack above a paper towel lined pan.

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1.5 c sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 or 2 canned chipotle peppers, seeded
  • a large handful of fresh basil leaves (I’d say we had about 15)
  • 1/4 c or more crumbled feta cheese

Throw it all in a food processor, or use an immersion blender, and blend until it’s the consistency you want.

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Zucchini is a Wonderful Thing

I had a personal triumph in the kitchen last night. I made food that my husband raved about, and not just “no, yeah, this is good honey. I like it just fine.” It was, “wow! This is amazing! How did you come up with this? SOOO GOOD!”

And I owe it all to the humble zucchini.

Continue reading Zucchini is a Wonderful Thing

Grilling in February: Grilled Blue Cheese and Pesto Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Holy WOW! I haven’t posted in a LONG time. Sorry! Turns out, January and February are busy months! And also I haven’t done much cooking :/ And I have not taken any photos of what I have cooked . I always feel like there’s not much point in posting without photos! Luckily, we did cook a day or two ago, and although I didn’t take any photos of it, I’ve made and photographed it before! So today is a bit of a re-blog with a little twist at the end: Grilled Blue Cheese and Pesto Stuffed Sweet Peppers, a.k.a. The Best Way to Make Vegetables Bad For You. Continue reading Grilling in February: Grilled Blue Cheese and Pesto Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Cheddar Biscuits

Cheddar & Herb Biscuits

Wowee wowow! Who needs Red Lobster’s biscuits? These are amazing! Not to mention SUPER easy. The recipe only made 9 biscuits and that is a very good thing as we ate half of them within 5 minutes. They’re not bad as leftovers either. My only edit to the original recipe would be to omit the extra salt. The cheese is plenty salty enough. I lied; there is one more edit: add basil and oregano to the butter that you brush over them. Continue reading Cheddar & Herb Biscuits

Grilled Chicken, Peach, Blackberry & Basil Pizza

SO GOOOOOD! It’s another sort of putzy recipe, but completely worth it. If you try no other new recipe this summer, you MUST do this one. The original recipe came from HowSweetItIs.com and we only changed it slightly. It suggests making your own pizza dough and has a recipe for that, but we just bought “dough-in-a-tube” from the refrigerator section in the grocery store and it turned out just fine. One word of caution about the balsamic glaze that goes on top: if you make it yourself make sure you are in a WELL ventilated area. This stuff is like mustard gas when you boil it! We had to vacate the house for a while. Only later did we discover that you can buy reduced balsamic vinegar in the store (sometimes it’s called balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar reduction). Live and learn, I guess. The reduction was well worth the pain, though. Continue reading Grilled Chicken, Peach, Blackberry & Basil Pizza

Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen

Anniversary Dinner

Three recipes for today!

1. Blue Cheese Fondue with Pears
2. Stuffed Mushrooms
3. Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen with Blue Cheese Dressing

It was our anniversary on Monday and per our tradition a fantastic from-scratch meal was made. Yes, most people question the idea of working for your meal on special occasions like anniversaries, but Husband and I have always enjoyed cooking together. We haven’t had a chance in a very long time as our schedules are never in sync so this was a special treat for us.

I only took a few pictures, and not many of the finished product – everything was too tasty and we devoured it before pictures could be even thought of. But everything turned out REALLY good.

First, appetizers. I didn’t know Husband was planning to surprise me with my all-time favorite food: stuffed mushrooms (especially Husband’s version) so I planned to make an appetizer as well. I made a cheese fondue from a particularly… uh… higher-class-than-me cook book that I have never used. It’s a British cookbook so the measurements were all in milliliters and grams and I had to look up substitutions and term definitions for some of them, but all in all it turned out alright.

Blue Cheese Fondue with Pears
This makes a TON, so you better have a lot of friends coming over

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 8 oz. shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. Gorgonzola cheese (original recipe calls for Roquefort cheese, a french blue cheese, but it was $7 for 3.5 ounces! No thank you.)
  • 1/2 C dry white wine (we used Little Black Dress’ Pino Grigio)
  • 4 Tbsp half-and-half
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 6 pears, quartered and sliced (I tried a variety; Bartlet, Red Anjou, and Bosc. The Red Anjou were my favorite; sweet like the Bartlet but with a nice flavor as well. The Bosc were perhaps not ripe enough; they were not sweet at all and were crisp like apples)

Directions

  1. Rub the cut side of the garlic clove on the sides and bottom of the fondue pot
  2. Pour in the white wine and heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat
  3. Gradually add the cheeses until melted and blended
  4. Whisk together the corn starch and half-and-half. Add to the cheese mixture.
  5. Add the nutmeg and pepper.
  6. Keep warm and serve with sliced pears.

Husband’s Stuffed Mushrooms

I don’t know what the proportions of this delectable dish are, nor do I think that I know all of the ingredients. They are locked away in Husband’s head, but this will get you started to a delicious stuffed mushroom.

Ingredients

  • Cream cheese
  • Blue cheese
  • Bacon or cured ham
  • Large stuffing mushroom caps
  • Butter, melted
  • Bread crumbs
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Fry the bacon and crumble to small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Wash the mushroom caps and line them up in a baking dish, “cup” side up
  3. Cream together the cream cheese and blue cheese. Spoon into mushroom caps. Top with bacon pieces.
  4. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and melted butter until well mixed. Sprinkle over the mushroom caps.
  5. Bake in the oven at ___°F until the bread crumb topping is golden brown and the cheese mixture is heated through and melty.
Stuffing the Mushrooms
Stuffing the Mushrooms

Once the appetizers were devoured we started eating the main course: Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen. Yes, Husband chose that recipe mainly because it has a funny name, but it was really delicious! Spatchcocking is a method of preparing the hen whereby you cut out the spine, spread the bird out and place it with the inside facing down, then flatten the bird out and chop it in half between the breast plate. See a video of it at BBC.com. The recipe is adapted from one in my Nigella Kitchen cookbook.

Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen and Universally Useful Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1 Cornish hen
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp Fresh chives, or to taste, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried Sage, or to taste
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 6 ounces (about 6 cups) watercress, spinach, and arugula salad or other feisty leaves
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil or good extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon steak sauce
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, good white wine vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and leave the bread slices out on a wire rack to dry a little.
  2. Spatchcocking the Hen
    Spatchcocking the Hen

    To spatchcock the Cornish hen, get some strong, sharp scissors (or poultry shears) and cut down either side of the spine, take out the spine, then press down on the breast to open it out flat. Cut the Cornish hen in half. Put it into a small roasting pan.

  3. Drizzle the hen with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, thyme, chives, black pepper and sage, and throw in the garlic cloves. Roast until the hen is reddish-gold on top, and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Poultry should be cooked to 162°F at the thickest part.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the blue cheese, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, buttermilk, whole milk and vinegar in a bowl and mix gently until well combined. Thin if necessary with a little iced water. Put it in a covered container and set aside in the refrigerator.
  5. Cut the dried sourdough bread slices into croutons. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan and fry the croutons until golden and crisp. Set aside.
  6. When the hen is done cooking, remove from the oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the spine and oregano sprigs. Arrange the salad leaves on a couple of plates.
  7. Set each half of Cornish hen on top of the salad on the plates (include some of the garlic cloves if you wish). Take the blue cheese dressing from the refrigerator and pour it over the hen and the salad. Sprinkle with croutons.
Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen
Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen
Deviled Eggs with Bacon

Devilish Deviled Eggs with Bacon

None of the ingredients in this are measured. If you want to make them, which I would suggest you do, just do everything to taste. I would recommend, however, sticking to 1/2 tsp  or less of the balsamic vinegar, and don’t go too overboard on the mustard. Unless you really like mustardy eggs.

Balsamic & Bacon Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard (dijon or yellow)
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Feta cheese
  • Paprika

Directions

  1. Boil the eggs in which ever way you’ve been taught. I put the eggs in a pot of cold or room temp water, bring them to a rolling boil and then start the timer for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes I use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop them out and put them in a large bowl filled with ice cold water. Works perfectly for me
  2. Fry the bacon so it is crispity and crunchity (I fried up the rest of the bacon for bacon & broccoli sprout sandwiches. Mmmmm)
  3. When the eggs are cool peel them and cut them in half.
  4. Scoop the yolks into a food processor (or a bowl if you want to mix it by hand). Add mayo, mustard, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and feta. Puree to your heart’s content. Crunch up the 4 pieces of crispy bacon into little pieces and throw it in the processor (or bowl) give it a quick pulse or stir to mix it together.
  5. Either with a piping bag (poor man’s piping bag: a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off) or 2 spoons, using one to scrape off the other, fill the empty egg halves with the egg glop.
  6. Dust the tops with paprika.

Buffalo Wings and Tacos

These days GO PACK GO! and J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS! can be heard for miles around coming from my living room. With my home team, the Packers, and Husband’s beloved NY Jets both making not only the playoffs, but also their divisional championships, it’s been pretty exciting on Sundays! What’s more amazing is that our local stations have actually been playing the games so we’ve been able to save a few dollars and eat at home. But I was missing the traditional Sunday trip to Buffalo Wild Wings and the tasty wings so I set out to make them myself. Continue reading Buffalo Wings and Tacos

Garlic Butter Rolls

Delicious Garlic Butter Rolls

Just like you get from Pizza Hut or other places with fluffy, buttery, garlicky, wonderful breadsticks… except they’re round.

I got the recipe from: Shutterbean.com. I cannot tell you how easy and DELICIOUS these are! Hers look way better than mine (she’s a professional photographer, after all), but it’s all about the flavor when you’re cooking for yourself. We ate all 12 rolls immediately… shameful, I know, but they are just too good! Grab the recipe here.