Category Archives: appetizers

Parmesan Quinoa Cakes with Homemade Pesto

Standard

2013-07-16 004

OR with Homemade Marinara and Whipped Feta.

2013-07-11 074

Before I go into this recipe I have to share some photos from my hike this morning.  I mean, come on.   They don’t call Crested Butte the wildflower capital of Colorado for nothing.

2013-07-03 034

2013-07-03 045

This was our camping spot last weekend at the blue mesa where we played in rafts and hung out with friends all weekend.   And then we came home to a beautiful rainbow!

2013-07-14 0012013-07-14 0042013-07-14 007

Flowers, farmer’s markets, camping, hiking, outdoor music concerts and rafting have been filling up our summer.   I have missed several Sunday Farmer’s Markets because we have been camping.   Max asked me about them the other day.  He likes to go and get treats and it’s nice to know everything is organic and free of dyes.  A coupel local moms started a great Popsicle stand where they make homemade fresh fruit pops and they put a cucumber slice on the bottom of the stick so it doesn’t drip.   I mean really.  How cute is that?

I think our market might have more food vendors than farmers selling fresh produce but the vendors are making delicious and healthy fare.

The other week when I was there, I was waiting for the chef to cook the falafals  for my falafal plate and saw him fry them in a big pot of oil.  I though, well, there goes my healthy lunch. I looked down at the big pot of oil and I wondered what kind of oil he was using.   I debated in my head for a moment if I should ask him- and wondering if at this point if I even wanted to know.  I had, after all  just paid a good amount for a plate of greens, hummus and falafal so I was going to eat it either way.   Is ignorance bliss?  I decided to ask.   When he told me we was using organic coconut oil I was surprised.  And relieved.

A few years ago I probably wouldn’t have given a thought about the oil that was being used to cook food I was going to put into my body.   I used to always have a bottle of canola oil in my cabinet and used it for baking.  But when he said Organic Coconut Oil, I smiled.  It is the healthiest oil he could be frying my food in.

If you want to read about oils and which ones are healthy to cook with and which can be toxic click here for an article from food matters, here for an article from Marks Daily Apple and here for an article from Integrative Medicine at University of Kansas Medical Center.

2013-07-11 028

Now for the recipe.  Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

Watermelon, Feta, and Basil Bites

Standard

2013-06-28 030

I am not the cutesy type but these little bites are a pretty perfect addition to  a 4th of July BBQ.   I added blueberries simply to make them more festive but if you are making this for another occasion, you could leave them out.

The recipe takes about 10 minutes to assemble.  It doesn’t get much easier than this.

2013-06-28 006

Watermelons are so refreshing on a hot day.  Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice on top and it brings it to a whole new level.

These bites look like tomatoes and might confuse someone (my husband, possibly) as they wonder how a tomato could possibly be so crunchy.   A curious and confused expression might paint their face until they realize (or are told) that they are eating a watermelon.    Confusion clears up and a content smile appears.   Ah.   That’s good.

2013-06-28 015

That little round cookie cutter pictured above is what I used to make my watermelon circles.  It’s about 2 inches in diameter.

If you really want to get cutesy, use a star shaped cookie cutter.   I just couldn’t go there.

Crested Butte might be a tiny town, but we throw one heck of a parade.  It used to be so small that all the floats would go around twice.    There’s everything from Rocky Mountain Biological Lab scientists covered in leaves dancing down the street to people biking through a circle of fire.  It’s entertaining for sure.

The 4th is a hang out type of day.   Wherever you are hanging out for the day, these little bites are perfect to bring along.

2013-06-28 0072013-06-28 0082013-06-28 009

To chiffonade the basil, stack about 5 piece of basil on top of each other and roll lightly.  Thinly slice the roll and you will get lots of thin strips of basil.

If you don’t like basil (gasp!  Who doesn’t like basil?try substituting mint. Read the rest of this entry

Spiced Cashews (or mixed nuts) with Rosemary

Standard

2012-12-05 010

I just saw a note in the corner of my screen and it was from WordPress wishing me a Happy 1 year blogging anniversary!   I had totally forgotten.  But Yay!   1 year.

Here is a great recipe to share with you today as we are in the thick of the Holiday Season.  This is the perfect thing to bring to holiday parties.   It only takes about 20 minutes tops- and 15 of those minutes are the nuts baking so you can do something else…like take a quick shower.

I prefer this with just Cashews because I think they taste better and looked nicer,  but they were good with mixed nuts too.   I am a little ticked at myself for not taking a picture last week before I brought the Spiced Cashews to a party.    The dish was an Read the rest of this entry

Tomato, Green Chili and Corn Tart

Standard

Eric and I bought a bunch of Hatch roasted green chilies from a women on the side of the road in Taos, New Mexico thinking we would freeze most of them for later use.    Now we are wondering why we didn’t buy more!   First I made a batch of Green Chili Sauce and used it for a quick meal one night with a package of premade polenta, green chilies, cheddar cheese.  I had to go to a meeting that evening so I prepared the dish and left Eric with instruction to bake it for about 30 minutes.  I got home at the tail end of dinner to an almost finished baking dish.   It tasted somewhere between an enchilada and a tamale and had plenty of heat.

This week I made a tart using cherry tomatoes, roasted green chilies, and fresh sauteed corn.   I did cut a corner and used a frozen pie crust.  I know it’s shocking.   But true.  It was gluten free though which is really neither here nor there, but if you are GF, it is good to know that there are frozen pie crust options at the store.

I brought this to a friends house that night and actually finished baking it there because I was running late.   When I took it out of their oven, my friend starting digging in with a tortilla chip and eating it as an appetizer.  Not quite how I imagined it going down… but it worked.   And it disappeared pretty quickly.   So you could forgo the crust and make this into more of an appetizer/dip kind of dish. Read the rest of this entry

Lima Bean, Kalamata Olive and Basil Salad

Standard

I hope everyone has been enjoying their summer!  Mine has been great.  And busy.   Camping, picnics, music, guests,  birthday parties, shuffling kids to camps and activities, art shows, and finally, to really slow me down -back surgery.  It was long overdue and I am already feeling great.   No more hunching over in pain with a herniated disc while cooking over my stove.  I can walk with ease and it is such a great feeling!

So I am finally getting a new recipe on my site.     The kids are both in school and the transition I was worried about was almost too easy this morning!   Max is at his first day of Pre-K and has been really excited to start.   Cecilia has been less thrilled about going to school without her big brother but she was such a big girl this morning and there were no tears in sight.   Phew.

I don’t know where August went.  The first week was focused on Cecilia’s Birthday party which was all she could talk about this summer (she is so my daughter) . We had an Art Party and it was  a lot of fun and the finger painting was not as much of a mess as one might think.  But what are birthdays really about?   I mean you can have a great theme but what do the kids really want?  Cake.  It’s all about the cake.   And Cecilia talked about her birthday cake all summer.   If she was mad at Max, she would say, “your not going to get any of my birthday cake.”   That started in June!    She wanted a pink cake and she wanted a flower cake.   When I made her a pink cake in the shape of a flower, she asked, “where are the flowers?”  Sighhh.   “Honey, the cake IS a flower”   I made an ice box cake but instead of buying the Nabisco Chocolate Wafer cookies, I make my own using a variation of this recipe.  It  might be  my favorite cake ever.  Homemade chocolate wafers in between homemade whip cream.  I highly recommend trying this recipe. Read the rest of this entry

Avocado and Orange Salsa

Standard

Here is a fresh take on chips and salsa or chips and guacamole.    It’s sort of like gualsa, but that just doesn’t sound right.  Call it what you will.

It is a great dish to bring to parties and has a burst of orange sweetness in every bite with some heat from the jalapenos.

Avocados are another food that I didn’t really eat until after college, which seems so weird now.  My son Max was eating guacamole when he was a year and a half.   But he also eats edamame which, again, I didn’t even know about til maybe ten years ago.     My friend Hillary really got me hooked on avocados when we moved to Crested  Butte after we graduated.  I was skeptical but it didn’t take more that a taste of her guacamole to turn me into a fan.   Avocados are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat, are the best fruit source of Vitamin E, and studies show certain compounds in avocados help to prevent certain diseases like cancer and heart disease.    Eat ‘um up folks!

This is another recipe I adapted from the amazing cookbook Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule.   The photography is enough to make each dish look truly delicious and this recipe is just that.

The hardest part to this recipe is segmenting the orange.  But once you know how to do it, it’s actually pretty quick.   I use a serrated paring knife and cut off the rind on one end to make a flat area.   Then from top to bottom, I cut off the rind.    After all the rind is off,  I cut segments in between the white pith.   Many of you probably know this already but for those who don’t, here is the play by play- Read the rest of this entry

Sweet Potato Cakes

Standard

These are so delicious.  Really.  They are.  They are the perfect appetizer to bring to a party or would make a great lunch with a salad or soup.

I was looking at some food blogs a couple of months ago and I tend to be a little tab crazy. Oftentimes there are a dozen tabs open on my browser and I can’t even remember what linked me to where,  But somewhere along the way, someone recommended a cookbook that interested me and next thing I knew, I was ordering it.

It is a beautiful vegetarian cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi from his column ‘The New Vegetarian’ for London’s The Guardian’s Weekend magazine.   I looked at it for a month or so before I actually tried one of the recipes mainly because I couldn’t decide which to try first.   I think I made a good choice.  It was one of the less complicated recipes and since my kids love sweet potatoes, I thought they would love them.

My hopes were a little to high in that regard.   On the plate below, the only thing the kids ate, besides a fly size taste (and that might be too generous)  of the sweet potato cakes, were the carrots and peppers.   Followed by more carrots and peppers.  Followed by whole wheat toast with butter, sprinked with ground flax seed,  It’s one of the few things I can get away with!  Followed by another piece of toast with jelly – and some peanut butter hiding under it.   Oh well.   Just gotta keep trying I guess.  Eric and I talk the talk about being firm with the kids and saying, “if you don’t eat this, then you can go to bed hungry.” but we don’t walk the walk.   We cave.    After they took the ” try it bite” aka the “no thank you bite,”  they had worked themselves up to an intensity far beyond what you would think would be the normal scope for trying a bite of a new food.  It really would have been cruel not to give them something else to eat.

If you are making this for kids who don’t like spicy food  I would take out some of the mixture before adding the red pepper.  And if you don’t want to fry the cakes, I am sure they would taste great baked.  Let me know if you try that!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Eric and me.

RECIPE:  makes about 16-20 small cakes

(adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)


2 medium Sweet Potatoes, cut into chucks

2 tsp Shoyu soy sauce

3/4 cup flour ( I used a gluten free blend, but use your favorite)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp green onions, chopped

1/2-1 tsp finely chopped red chili (OR NOT, if you are serving to kids or don’t like spice)

2 Tbsp butter, for frying

Sauce:

2 Tbsp mascarpone (sour cream or plain yogurt)

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 Tbsp Olive oil

Steam sweet potatoes chunks for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft all the way through and you can easily stick a fork in it.    In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher.  Add shoyu, green onions, flour, salt, sugar, and pepper( if using) and mix.   Form into patties.

In a large pan on medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter (or oil) and fry half of the cakes.  Fry for about 6 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.  Place in between two sheets of paper towel to soak up the extra butter. Repeat with the rest of the cakes

For the Sauce, mix all ingredients well and add a dollop on top of each sweet potato cake.