‘appetizer’ Category

  1. spinach phyllo triangles

    November 28, 2012 by Angie

    These take some time to make but they’re really popular and tasty appetizers. I make them a few days before, freeze them, and bring them to Thanksgiving every year. The phyllo dough is finicky but if you keep it covered while you work it’s not so bad.

    Makes about 36 spinach phyllo triangles.

    Ingredients

    1/2 package (one sleeve) of phyllo dough, thawed
    olive oil
    1 cup onion, diced
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    2 10 oz packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    2 tsp oregano
    8 oz crumbled feta cheese
    2 oz shredded parmesan cheese
    freshly ground pepper
    around 4-6 tbsp melted butter (I use Smart Balance.)

    Steps

    1. Take the phyllo dough and frozen spinach out of the freezer to thaw. You’ll almost definitely have to defrost the spinach in the microwave because it’s an ice block.

    2. Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the spinach.

    3. Dice an onion.

    4. In a deep frying pan, heat the olive oil. Saute the diced onion and minced garlic. When that looks good add in the spinach and oregano and cook until the spinach is warm. Add ground pepper to taste.

    5. Remove the spinach mixture from the heat. Stir the cheeses into it.

    6. Now the filling is ready and it’s time to set up your phyllo triangle assembly station. Melt some butter in the microwave – you can start with 2 or 3 tablespoons.

    7. Put a layer of damp paper towels down on your work surface, I use a cutting board. On top of that place a layer of plastic wrap then your sheets of phyllo dough. Cover them with another plastic wrap/damp paper towel situation to keep the phyllo dough from drying out while you’re working.

    8. Take one sheet of phyllo dough out and brush it with melted butter. Repeat by stacking two more sheets of phyllo dough with butter brushed on top of each. Cut through all three layers longways to make five or six long, thin strips.

    9. Spoon a small amount of spinach mixture at the bottom of each of the thin strips. Fold it over like a flag to make a triangle shape enclosing the spinach mixture inside. Brush with melted better and place it on a prepared cookie sheet.

    10. Once you’ve constructed all of your triangles you can freeze them if you want to have them on hand for the holidays or you can bake them up right away. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375.

    I got 36 triangles from this recipe and stacked them between parchment paper in this Tupperware.

     


  2. zucchini fritters

    September 21, 2012 by Angie

    Zucchini fritters are a serious favorite of mine. This is the third or fourth time I’ve made them and I think I finally found the secret to getting the batter to stick together to form solid fritters. This time I added a flax “egg” and vowed not to mess with them so much during frying. I let them fry on one side until it was abundantly clear that they were browning and becoming a cohesive fritter, then I gently flipped them. Letting them cool on a plate lined with paper towels helped too. It absorbed some of the oil and once they cooled down they were more firm.

    Yield: 12 medium-sized fritters

    Ingredients

    2 large zucchini, grated
    1/4 of a yellow onion, grated
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
    1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal combined with 3 tbsp water)
    salt, pepper, & garlic powder to taste
    olive oil for frying

    Steps

    1. Wash and trim the zucchini then begin grating it using a cheese grater. Place the grated pieces into a colander or squeeze in paper towels to remove some of the water.

    2. Grate about a quarter of an onion.

    3. Make your flax egg in a small bowl by combining 1 tbsp of flax meal with 3 tbsp water. Set aside.

    4. In a large bowl, combine the grated zucchini and onion. Add in the flour, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix well.

    5. Stir the flax egg into the zucchini mixture.

    6. Heat a pan coated in olive oil on medium heat.

    7. Make four small fritters and drop them into the hot pan. Use a spatula to flatten the fritters. Once the bottoms/sides of the fritters is starting to look brown, gently flip them over and flatten with the spatula. When the second side is brown, remove the fritters to a plate lined with paper towels to cool for a 3-5 minutes.

    I made Robbie’s current favorite, blackened tofu, to eat with the zucchini fritters for dinner last night. Two thumbs up from both of us! I’m looking forward to eating leftovers for lunch.

     


  3. baked brie

    September 13, 2012 by Angie

    The challenge for Week 37 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking is European. I’ve always wanted to try baking Brie in a puff pastry with jam inside so that’s what I did. Not sure how authentic this recipe is but the Brie at least is undeniably European. I followed Rachel Ray’s recipe for the most part. I used cranberry pepper jelly and skipped the nuts. I baked for ten minutes longer than her instructions suggested but the puff pasty still didn’t brown as much as I would have liked.

     This recipe is really easy, looks pretty, and tastes good but I think I prefer to skip the puff pastry part and just eat hot, melty Brie on crackers or apple slices with jelly.


  4. vegetable and goat cheese tart

    August 15, 2012 by Angie

    Week 33 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking challenge is vegetables. I’ve been wanting to make some kind of savory tart so this was the perfect excuse. I looked at a ton of recipes for vegetable tarts using puff pastry and borrowed from the better looking ones. Most featured just goat cheese and tomatoes or just goat cheese and asparagus but I wanted to maximize my vegetables for this challenge so I used yellow onion, garlic, tomatoes, and asparagus.

    Ingredients

    1 sheet of puff pastry
    4 oz log of goat cheese, room temperature
    1 vine ripe tomato, thinly sliced
    about 10 asparagus spears, woody ends removed
    quarter of a yellow onion, thinly sliced
    about 2 tsp minced garlic
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    2 tsp olive oil
    salt & freshly ground rpepper

    Instructions

    1. About thirty minutes before you plan to start building your tart, take one sheet of puff pastry from the freezer and lay it on the counter to thaw. As it started to thaw I was able to unfold it without breaking it. I made the tart on parchment paper on a baking sheet and slid the whole thing in the oven when it was ready.

    2. While you’re waiting for the puff pastry to thaw you can prepare the vegetables by washing and cutting them. Take the goat cheese out of the refrigerator to get it to room temperature.

    3. When the puff pastry is malleable, use some flour and a rolling pin to roll it out a little larger and flatter. The better recipes I looked at said to score a border around the edge of the puff pastry so that it will become puffier while baking and make more of a crust edge. I did that and also stuck the inside of the border with a fork several times. It seemed to really help with making a crusty edge.

    4. Spread the goat cheese to cover the inside of the scored border.

    5. Dredge the thin tomato slices in a plate of balsamic vinegar then arrange them on the goat cheese part of the tart. Next place the onion slices and then arrange the asparagus spears. Drop small chunks of minced garlic throughout the tart.

    6. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees. Drizzle olive oil then balsamic vinegar over the goat cheese portion of the tart leaving the crust untouched. Grind sea salt and pepper over the same area. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is fluffy and slightly browned and the vegetables look cooked.

    How pretty is that tart?

    Robbie cut it for us with the pizza cutter into quarters. We ate the tart with a big salad and were quite full. I, personally, can eat an unlimited amount of goat cheese, but this is probably better cut into more pieces for an appetizer for 4 or more people. I will definitely be making this and probably similar variations again. Robbie and I thought it was delicious and were impressed with its classy appearance as well. I don’t know why but it just looks so fancy to me!


  5. mini tofu quiches

    July 28, 2012 by Angie

    My love for FatFree Vegan Kitchen grows even stronger after trying this recipe for mini crustless tofu quiches. These vegetable-filled quiches really have an egg-like taste and texture. I had never used Mori-Nu silken tofu before and I always dread dragging out the food processor but this recipe wasn’t scary or all that labor-intensive after all.

    I used green onion, garlic, and spinach for the vegetables. We ate all twelve of them (they’re little) with a salad for dinner last night.


  6. baked breaded zucchini bites

    July 22, 2012 by Angie

    The theme for week 29 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking Challenge is summer. It can be a summer decoration or a summer ingredient. I made baked breaded zucchini bites because zucchini is everybody’s favorite summer vegetable, right? Well, it’s mine. We used to order a similar appetizer all the time at Bar Louie in International Plaza along with their amazing soy burger. As part of a large anti-vegetarian conspiracy they removed both from their menu and now offer only a portobello burger. Eww. Now we must improvise at home.

    This was pretty easy to make. I chopped the zucchini into rounds and sticks then set up my breading stations. There’s a a little plate for soy milk then the Italian-style bread crumb/parmesan cheese/garlic powder mixture then the cookie sheet. Baking these instead of frying let me stick to the guidelines of the challenge and avoid a lot of fat from the oil. You can also skip the parmesan to make these vegan. I sprayed the tops with olive oil and baked them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

    They held together better than I thought they would without egg and they tasted really great. I’ll definitely make this again. They’d be great for a party.

     Don’t forget the spaghetti sauce for dipping!


  7. cheddar bay biscuits

    June 7, 2012 by Angie

    This week’s 52 Weeks of Baking Challenge is to recreate a restaurant or store-bought food. I went with Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits!

    Cute Husband loves these buttery, cheesey, garlicky biscuits but, as this is probably the only menu item we could/would eat at Red Lobster (on account of the vegetarian thing), he never gets to have them. I followed this copycat recipe from Good Morning America. I’ve seen it elsewhere online as well. It’s easy and they come together quickly.

    These biscuits are insanely good. We each taste-tested one and I’m sending the rest off to work with Robbie because it’s too dangerous to keep them in the house.

    I haven’t been to a Red Lobster since the mid-90s so I can’t weigh in on their authenticity. Robbie says they look and taste like the real thing and they taste awesome to me so I consider it a success. I think these would be great for Thanksgiving instead of serving a plain roll. Pretty sure they could be made a day or so ahead of time and refrigerated, saving the butter/parsley/garlic powder step for after they’ve been warmed up just prior to serving.


  8. seven layer dip

    May 30, 2012 by Angie

    I don’t even feel bad about eating this delicious seven layer dip because it’s a slimmed-down version with a shredded Romaine lettuce base, fat-free sour cream, and reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese.  Still have to watch out with those chips though – bummer.

    Based on the recipe “7-Layer Mexican Dinner Dip” from 400 Calorie Fix by Liz Vaccariello.

    The seven layers are:
    1. lettuce


    2. bean mixture


    3. veggies


    4. avocado


    5. salsa


    6. sour cream


    7. cheese

     

    Ingredients

    4 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
    1 tsp olive oil
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 clove minced garlic
    1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
    1/3 cup water
    1 tsp ground cumin
    2 medium tomatoes, chopped
    1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
    1/4 cup chopped green onion
    1 avocado
    1 cup salsa
    1 cup fat free sour cream
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 cup reduced fat shredded Four Cheese Mexican cheese (I like the Sargento brand.)
    Chips for dipping (We are in love with Beanitos brand low-glycemic corn-free chips.  You can make your own not-horribly-bad-for-you chips by baking whole wheat tortillas.)

    Directions

    1.  Make the bean mixture by heating the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onion and garlic for about a minute then add the beans, water, and cumin.  Cook for about 5 minutes then let it cool.  Mash the mixture using a potato masher.

    2.  To make the veggie layer, wash, chop, then combine the tomatoes, cilantro, and green onions in a medium-sized bowl.

    3.  In a small bowl, mix the fat-free sour cream and chili powder.

    4.  In a big clear dish like a 9×9 glass brownie pan, assemble the dip starting with the lettuce layer and ending with the cheese layer.  Use the chips of your choice for dipping.

    I made this for a potluck at work a year or so ago and it was a huge hit even with my co-workers who are usually not into “healthy” or “vegetarian” food.  It tastes so fresh that everyone loves it.


  9. vegan hot dogs with cashew queso

    May 25, 2012 by Angie

    There is a magical place in Downtown Orlando that only comes out at night.  It’s the Sah Nevaeh Vegan Hot Dog Cart.  We could eat an unlimited number of these hot dogs.  The Buddha Dog is the way to go with all the toppings.  Robbie and I have been salivating over and trying to recreate these perfect hot dogs for a few years now.  We were in Orlando last weekend and used that opportunity to order three and gobble them down standing up on the sidewalk.  We did our best to analyze the ingredients between exclamations of how amazing they are.  It’s a saltier soy dog on what seems to be a steamed bun with three-bean vegan chili, vegan cheese sauce, onions with sweet red sauce, sauerkraut, vegenaise, and curry-naise.

    Here is our latest attempt using Smart Dogs hot dogs, wheat buns, homemade cashew queso, Inglehoffer Stone Ground Mustard, Vegenaise, Health Valley 3 Bean Chipotle Vegetarian Chili, ketchup, and diced onion.  Get the cashew queso recipe here courtesy of the Post Punk Kitchen.

    Cashew Queso: Really queso-like and great on hot dogs and chips.

    I don’t think we’ll ever manage to copy the masterpiece exactly but this rendition is pretty amazing in its own right.  We had our friends over for dinner and drinks.  One BFF ate three hot dogs so I think that’s a ringing endorsement.  I was too busy having fun with them to take many photos but here is a shot of my hot dog after it fell over under the weight of all those tasty toppings.  Messy but so good!

     


  10. guacamole

    April 19, 2012 by Angie

    We are big fans of guacamole.  I make a batch just about every week.  It’s so easy and delicious. The only trick is getting the avocados just right.  If they’re not ripe enough then they’ll be too hard to squish with a fork but if you let them sit around the kitchen too long they get black and scary on the inside.  I buy the ones that look the least bruised and let them hang out on my baking rack in my kitchen for 2-3 days before I use them.

    Ingredients:
    2 Haas avocados
    1/4 of a red onion, diced
    1 small tomato, diced
    juice of half a lime
    sea salt
    freshly ground pepper
    chili powder
    garlic powder

    Directions:
    Wash the avocados, tomato, and lime.  Dice the red onion and tomato and place the diced pieces in a bowl.  Cut your lime in half to get it ready to go.  Cut lengthwise down the avocado to cut it in half.  Yank out the seed.  Dump the insides of each half of the avocado into a second bowl.  Repeat with avocado number two.

    Mash the avocado halves with a fork until it’s just a little lumpy.  Add the diced onion and tomato to the bowl with the mashed avocados.  Stir.  Squeeze the lime half so that the juice covers the guacamole mixture.  Stir the mixture and add sea salt, freshly ground pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder to taste.  Eat immediately.

    We like to eat our guacamole with Beanitos chips or as part of a black bean bowl.  I heat up two cans of El Ebro black beans with olive oil and some of the diced red onion.  To assemble, start by scooping some of the cooked black beans into a small bowl then add a generous serving of guacamole topped with shredded Mexican cheese and salsa.