Corn Dip

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I’m almost embarrassed to admit that in my household of only two people, who generally consider themselves to be pretty healthy, this dip barely lasts 24 hours. It’s that good. It’s the perfect mix of the sweet corn, creamy cheese and tiniest bit of spice. I’m a real whimp when it comes to spicy things so I usually only add a tiny bit of cayenne and add some paprika instead. But, if you’re a spice lover you can certainly up the heat or add a diced jalepeno. I also somehow only had about half an onion, so I added some green onion to to this batch. I used canned corn because that’s what I had, but fresh would be great!

I’m bringing this dip toAngie’s Fiesta Friday party! Hopefully everyone there likes it as much as I do (or maybe hopefully not so I can eat it all myself..eek)photo(83)!

Corn Dip
2 cans sweet corn
1 small onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
8 oz cheddar cheese shredded or cubed
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Drain the corn and place in a bowl. Combine the corn with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all mixed together well. Place in an even layer in a baking dish.

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3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it begins to brown on top, enjoy!

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Roasted Red Peppers

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Sometimes I’m really amazed at how the simplest of ingredients can make the best tasting dishes. These peppers are a true example of that. This past Christmas, my mom gave me Stanley Tucci’s cookbook. His recipe for roasted red peppers immediately caught my eye. They looked so soft and delicious, I knew I had to make them. I’m actually surprised it took me this long to try them.

Once these peppers got cooking, I was immediately disappointed that I only had five peppers to roast and kicking myself for not buying more. These peppers will fill your kitchen up with the most wonderful smell, I can’t even explain it you just have to try them! These are great on their own, with some bread and cheese or as an accompaniment to many other dishes.

Roasted Red Peppers Recipe adapted from The Tucci Cookbook
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1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400. Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast them for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning them slightly every 15 minutes to make sure they roast evenly.

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2. Remove the peppers and let them cool for about 30 minutes. Once they’ve cooled, carefully peel off the skins. Tear the peppers into strips, removing any seeds and place them in a bowl, trying not to get any excess liquid in the bowl.

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3. Toss the peppers with the olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley. Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Fries

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So I know last week I brought you a very healthy recipe that I was very excited about. But, given the upsetting loss of my alma matar, Syracuse, this weekend I found the need to drown my sorrows in food, orange food appropriately. I’m not usually big on french fries, but sweet potato fries are my one exception. I love their slight sweetness with a little crunch. I made two different dipping sauces for these, one a little sweet and the other a little spicy.

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3 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra to grease the pan
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 and grease a baking pan with a little olive oil to keep the fries from sticking.

2. Peel your potatoes and cut them into thin fry shapes.

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3. Toss the fries in a large bowl with the olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper. Lay them in an even layer on the baking sheet.

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4. Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes until they begin to brown, turning every 10 minutes, enjoy!

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili vinegar

1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.

Sriracha Ketchup Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon sriracha

1. Mix the ketchup and sriracha together in a small bowl.

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Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes

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These roasted tomatoes are a very quick and easy appetizer or snack. They’re the perfect combination of the soft roasted tomato, slightly crunchy baked breadcrumbs and melted mozzarella – you pretty much can’t go wrong!

These were also a great way for me to incorporate an awesome lemon bergamot balsamic vinegar I bought and can not get enough of. My mom and I discovered an olive oil and balsamic tasting room in Alexandria, VA that any foodie in the DC area should check out! Olio has tons of different oils and vinegars for you to try out – flavors I never would have even thought of. I ended up purchasing the lemon bergamot because it has a nice citrus note to it. I’ve been looking for more and more ways to incorporate this balsamic into my dishes (so let me know if you have any suggestions)!

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Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes
6 Roma tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small red onion finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each tomato in half lengthwise and scoop out the center. Place the hallowed out halves on a paper towel to draw out some of their moisture.

2. While the tomatoes are drying prepare the filling by combining the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

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3. Place your tomato halves on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Carefully spoon the filling into each tomato.

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4. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the filling starts to look crisp and golden, enjoy!

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Roasted Chickpeas

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These roasted chickpeas are such a great and easy little snack. They’re prefect when you want something salty, but you want to avoid opening a bag of chips. I like just the tiniest bit of spice in mine, so I add a bit of cayenne pepper. However, if you’re more of a spice lover, feel free to add a little more or some red pepper flakes as well. This recipe double or triples very easily, so it’s a great appetizer for a crowd!

Roasted Chickpeas
1 can of chickpeas
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the chickpeas and pat them dry. Toss the chickpeas in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add them to a basking sheet and spread them out evenly. Bake them for about 45-50 minutes, stirring them every 15 minutes. They should be hard enough to crunch down on when you bite, but not too dark in color. Enjoy!

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Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

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I have never liked mushrooms.  Sorry to any of you mushroom fans out there, but I have just never liked them.  I think it’s the slightly slimy texture that just completely turns me off.  I basically avoid them at all costs.

However, this week I got some in my farm basket and I realllly try not to let anything I get go to waste so I decided to give it my best try to make something I didn’t absolutely hate out of these mushrooms.  After scouring recipes and multiple Google searches for “mushroom dishes that don’t taste like mushrooms” I decided my best bet was to add bacon to them.  When in doubt, just add bacon, right?

So, I mixed up this quick bacon stuffing and gave these mushrooms my best shot. While these aren’t something I would make too often, I have to admit I didn’t hate them.  Also, when I shared them with people who actually enjoy mushrooms, they loved them. So, if you’re a mushroom-friendly individual I think you’ll like these.  The mushrooms I had were pretty small, so I think this recipe would work better with larger mushrooms (that way you can stuff more bacon into each one)!

Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
20-30 white button mushrooms, cleaned with stems twisted off
5 slices of cooked bacon
1 cup of uncooked rice
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 yellow onion very finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumb
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
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2. Cook your rice according to the instructions on the package. I used brown rice in mine but any kind would work.

3. Chop up your cooked bacon and add to to a bowl with the parsley, chopped onion, garlic, breadcrumb, olive oil, salt and pepper.

4. When your rice has cooled, at it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine them all.
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5. Carefully spoon about 1/2-1 teaspoon (depending on the size of your mushrooms) of the filling into each mushroom.

6. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes (again depending on the size), until the filling on top starts to brown, enjoy!
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Arancini

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These arancini have quickly become a holiday favorite with my family. While we don’t do the full blown out Italian seven fishes dinner, we do avoid meat on Christmas Eve and make at least a couple of fish dishes. My mom introduced these rice balls to our vegetarian Christmas Eve menu a few years ago and they were an instant success.

This year I took on the arancini duty and am happy to have this recipe under my belt now.  While I usually shy away from things that need to be fried, these are totally worth the effort (and I usually make my husband do the frying part for me)!

Arancini
2 cups uncooked rice
1 container of small fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half
2 cups breadcrumbs
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
vegetable oil for frying

Note: I’ve found that it’s easier to make this recipe in thirds (as described below) to get the right texture for your rice mixture.

1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package and let it cool completely once cooked.

2. Place 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs in a small bowl.

3. When the rice has cooled, add 1/3 of the cooked rice, 1/2 cup of breadcrumb, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1/3 cup of grated cheese and 1/3 of the chopped basil in a bowl and stir to combine. The mixture should be just a little sticky, so you can easily roll it into a ball. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more rice.

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4. Take a small amount of the rice mixture and form it into a ball. Make a small indent in the middle of the ball and place half of one of the small mozzarella balls in it, cover it with a bit more of the rice mixture and roll into a ball.

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5. Roll each ball in the bowl of breadcrumbs and then set aside.

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6. Continue the same process until all of your rice is used up.

7. Heat about 3 inches of vegetable oil in saucepan on medium heat to 350 degrees. When the oil has reached 350 degrees carefully fry the arancini in small batches for about 4 minutes each, until brown.

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8. Place each arancini on a paper towel to drain and serve warm. These pair great with some marinara sauce, enjoy!

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Feta and Olive Stuffed Dough Balls

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So I wasn’t really sure what to call these.  They’re inspired by a Turkish dish called pogaca, which are basically delicious little dough balls stuffed with feta and parsley.  I happen to have a lot of olives around and wanted to incorporate those so I added them to the filling.  Then, I decided I wanted a touch of spice so I added Turkish pepper paste.  The pepper paste is difficult to find in American grocery stores but you could mix some cayenne or red pepper into tomato paste and get a similar product.

I just love the dough that these call for, it’s absolutely beautiful and always comes out great.  If you have a phobia of making dough (like I did for a long time) this is a great one to try to boost your dough making confidence.  These can make a great appetizer, but they’re hard to stop eating so for me they usually end up being a meal on their own!

Feta and Olive Stuffed Dough Balls
Dough:
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1 cup of milk
1 1/2 Tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Filling:
3/4 cup pepper paste (see above for substitute)
1/2 cup pitted olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 Tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Egg Wash:
1 large egg, whisked

1. Combine the yeast and 1/2 cup of the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and let stand for about 10 minutes.

2. Combine the rest of the dry ingredients for the dough and add them to your mixer. Combine using the dough hook. Next add the melted butter. Then, add the rest of the milk slowly.

3. Continue to mix using the dough hook for about 5 minutes, you should have a slightly sticky dough at this point.

4. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise for at least an hour.

5. While your dough is rising, make your filling. The easiest way is to combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until they become a spread like mixture. If you don’t have a food processor you can also chop the olives and onion and just stir everything else in.

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6. Once the dough has risen, roll it out in small batches using a rolling pin until it’s about 1/8 inch thin. Use a circular cookie cutter (or the top of a glass) to cut out circles that are about 2 inches in diameter. Place the circles on a baking sheet.

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7. Fill the middle of each circle with a small amount of the filling. Then bunch up the ends together to hold the filling. Place the “bunched” side down on the baking sheet. Brush each dough ball with the egg wash and bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until they start to brown. Enjoy!

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Quick and Easy Onion Tart

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This weekend I was craving something salty, crunchy and cheesy.  But, I was also feeling a bit lazy and really didn’t want to spend a lot of time preparing something.  This onion tart uses one of my favorite “cheat” ingredients – puff pastry.  You pretty much can’t go wrong with puff pastry, everyone loves it, it’s super quick and always come out great. I used Boursin cheese in my tart since it happened to be on sale this week and it’s easy to spread, but you could use anything you like is either soft and spreads easily or melts well.  This quick and easy tart was the perfect Sunday afternoon snack and would be great as an appetizer.    I’d love to hear if any of you have a favorite recipe that uses puff pastry – let me know!

Quick and Easy Onion Tart
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
2 medium yellow onions
3 T Boursin cheese
2 t olive oil
salt
pepper

1. Slice the onions into thin strips and cook in a large pan with the olive oil on medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

2. While the onions are cooking prepare your puff pastry. Add some flour to a baking sheet to prevent the pastry from sticking. Place the puff pastry on the pan and poke it all over with the tines of a fork.
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3. Spread the cheese in a thin layer over the puff pastry, leaving about an inch empty around the edges.

4. When the onions have cooked until they’re translucent add them on top of the cheese.

5. Fold up the edges of the puff pastry and use fork to seal them. 

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until the puff pastry just starts to brown, enjoy!
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