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Spring Pea Crostini

15 Apr

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While in the mountains, I couldn’t resist making this really springy appetizer. I made it last year and felt that I didn’t share it enough. So, I made it again with mountain views and grilled (not broiled) bread. It was the perfect treat for Happy Hour at 6pm after a long week and drive to the mountains. As you can imagine, they didn’t last long.

You must try this bright green crostini!

Sweet Pea Topping

  • About 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • small handful of basil
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Pulse everything together into a nice chunky paste. Taste for seasoning.

Crostini

  • good crusty bread
  • more olive oil
  • prosciutto

Slice the bread into thick pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil until toasted. Top with pea mixture, a slice of prosciutto and more pepper. And, a splash of lemon olive oil, if you have it.

Grilled Serrano Ham Wrapped Shrimp

13 Apr

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It’s beautiful outside. Tulips are blooming and the snow ball tree in my neighbor’s yard is bouncing in the wind like fluffy clouds.  It’s a perfect night to grill this delicious appetizer of fresh shrimp, wrapped in Spanish Serrano and drizzled (heavily) with red hot chili oil. So simple, yet so tasty and perfect. Well, a sprinkle of fresh parsley could help….but it’s too much work when staring at the shrimp.

But, it’s Monday. I actually just finished a chicken salad sandwich paired with an old glass of wine and a good amount of Netflix. This appetizer is worth dreaming about…for the weekend to come.

Easter Pastel Deviled Eggs

7 Apr

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Over the Easter weekend, I promised my friends I’d prepare a couple new variations on deviled eggs. So in the spirit of Easter pastels, I put together some fun new versions. I was particularly proud of their artistic look. They were equally as tasty. I think the group came to a consensus that the sriracha was the fan favorite – but you pick for yourself.

 Easter Deviled Eggs

  • 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs
  • 1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijion mustard
  • 1 heaping teaspoon, white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Halve the eggs  and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. I cut mine vertically to give the eggs a different look – you’ll need to trim the bottom to get them to stand up!

With a stand up mixer, whisk the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, white pepper and salt, and mix until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.

Divide the mixture into thirds to create creative options! Mix and fill!

Pea & Prosciutto – mix in 1/3 yolk mixture with a cup of Sweet Pea Topping. Top with a small piece of prosciutto.

Sriracha & Black Sea Salt – mix in 1/3 yolk mixture with a teaspoon (or more to taste) of sriracha. Season with black sea salt.

Smoked Salmon and Chive – no need to mix – just top with smoked salmon & chives

 

 

 

 

Birthday Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins

16 Feb

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This weekend we celebrated my friend Masha’s birthday in full gym style with a Sunday morning workout and post-party. It was the first time I’ve done an hour at the gym with a purple party hat on but we all made the most of the challenge. Post workout, we had blood orange mimosas and Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins in tiny “muffin-top” cups. Fitting for the gym, right??

I made these Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins for Masha because of her love of sour cream. They were a great birthday treat and the “muffin tops” were totally worth the laugh. I highly recommend surprising people with an unexpected picnic party. They make life that much more.

Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins, Food & Wine Magazine

topping

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 rounded cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 rounded cup frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon. Rub with your fingers to form coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Butter a 12-cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the egg at medium speed until frothy. Add the sugar and melted butter and beat until pale yellow, 1 minute. Beat in the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until almost blended. In a bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold the blueberries into the batter.

Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full of batter and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack.

A Last Minute Holiday Starter with Endive

20 Dec

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Snow is falling on Mendenhall Street this morning and it couldn’t feel more like the holiday season. I’m looking forward to winding down and enjoying time with my family and friends in the Sunshine State. Our tables will be full of fresh citrus and local seafood. My childhood home continues to be a place of constant cooking and surprise guests. Our living room hosts a ongoing fire by the Christmas tree with the coming and going of my childhood friends, neighbors and family. There is something special about warming by the fireplace with the view of grapefruit trees in full fruit outside.

An easy holiday starter in Florida (or really anywhere with a good seafood market) is Roasted Shrimp Salad in Endive. I love endive because it’s healthier than a cracker with a fresh crispy bite. I’ve served everything from beet salad to blue cheese, pear and walnut in endive leaves. They present beautifully stacked like soldiers or presented like a blooming flower on a round platter. Also, if you haven’t seen this clip of Steven Colbert on endive, its a hilarious.

Shrimp salad is quick and unique. I roasted mine in good garlic olive oil (I’m loving my tin of Nudo Garlic Olive Oil right now) and mix with fresh dill, fresh lemon juice, white wine, red onion and salty capers. A little mayo will help everything stay together. An extra drizzle of garlic olive oil will help with presentation!

This is perfect to serve for an afternoon cocktail hour, before a late dinner or even a lunch. Serve with cocktails or red wine. I’m currently enjoying Rios de Chile red wine from the Cachapoal Valley. 

Happy Everything! I’ll share photos of my family celebration next week.

Roasted Shrimp Salad in Endive 

  • 1 pound shrimp
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Nudo garlic olive oil
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 3 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 5 heads of California endive

Assembly: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss shrimp in garlic olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together mayo, lemon juice and zest, dill, vinegar, capers and onions. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Toss hot shrimp in dressing and refrigerate until cold. Arrange shrimp in the endive leaves to serve. I found that cutting the shrimp in half helped them fit nicely inside each leaf. Garnish with a drizzle of fresh garlic oil.

Truffled Deviled Eggs + Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

18 Dec

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Tis the season for holiday treats.  I am looking toward to wrapping up the year and wrapping up a few small gifts to celebrate the most cherished people in my life. If you are working on last minute gifts before the holidays wrap up (that’s me!), here are some gifts I’ve been giving and in envy of!  And, a recipe for a delicious and easy homemade appetizer fit for any season.

  • For really good friends, a Nudo Olive Oil Subscription could be the coolest gift ever. Literally adopt a olive tree in Italy and have seasonal shipments of freshly pressed olive oil! Or, a gift box of their excellent garlic oil is might be the sweetest food packaging I’ve ever seen. I’m in total envy of anyone who gets this!
  • For your favorite kiddos, I suggest the children’s book “Good Boy, Fergus.” I was lucky enough to read this book to a class of Lindley Park Elementary School kindergarten students this year. The book is a sweet narrative of a Westie who gets in a variety of troubles – much like my own, Winston.
  • For my teammates at work, I made these homemade truffled deviled eggs for our holiday happy hour at Dabney’s house using olive oil from the local MidTown Olive Press. And, gifted a take home of Makers Mark Boubon. You could certainly gift the ingredients – Midtown Truffle Oil, black sea salt from Savory Spice Shop and Massey Creek Farm Eggs! Check out the recipe below.
  • Any gift of consumables are perfect. I’ve already received many a cookie, some delicious homemade cheese straws and a jar of homemade jalapeno pimento cheese that I can’t wait to devour with friends. Tis the season for calories – so step up the pace on your walks and lean into the season.

Truffled Deviled Eggs 

  • 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijion mustard
  • 3(ish) tablespoons truffle oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon, white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black lava salt

Halve the eggs  and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. I cut mine vertically to give the eggs a different look – you’ll need to trim the bottom to get them to stand up!

With a stand up mixer, whisk the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, truffle oil, mustard, white pepper and salt, and mix until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain or large star tip, then pipe the mixture evenly into the egg white halves.

Top each egg half with a tiny sprinkle of black lava salt.

Brrr It’s Cold Out There – Must Have Warm Brie

18 Nov

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Life has been so hectic lately that the chilliness of Fall has totally snuck up on me. This weekend, I walked out the backdoor of my house to find a carpet of pecan tree leaves covering my garden. And I spent Sunday searching for last year’s sweaters and coats.

The calmness of the Thanksgiving holiday is something that I’m looking forward to. A couple quiet days spent lounging by the fireplace with family and pets, wondering when it’s close enough to five o’clock to start cocktail hour. Some wine, a warm brie, seasonal apples and crackers are the perfect effortless snack for these occasions.

I warm brie for just a few minutes (10 at most) in a 350 degree oven. If honey and nuts are in your pantry, they are a nice sticky addition. Add your favorite crackers and crisp apples for the best edible cheese travelers.

I’m looking forward to reporting back from a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving.

 

Halloween Deviled Eggs

4 Nov

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Ive vie decided that deviled eggs are for for any season and any party. While one used to think they were only fitting for summer picnics, I’ve seen them dressed up for winter in caviar or truffles or perfectly decorated as tiny pumpkins with a little extra paprika for Halloween. This weekend they were a perfect starter before friends came over for Halloween chili by the fire.

We had too few trick or treaters this year which was a total bummer. But a little scotch punch helped forgot the angst. I’ll post the recipes for chili and scotch punch this week.

How do you dress up your deviled eggs?

Grilled Brie with Fresh Figs and Mountain Honey

7 Sep

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When my friends informed me that their new condo had an outdoor grill over looking the mountains, I planned the entire weekend around cooking outside. Every meal utilized the grill – including when I brought out the pots and pans and heated them directly on the grill. Nothing beats outdoor cooking – especially in the mountains with a great breeze.

Grilling Brie was an experiment that turned out extremely well. The trick is to keep the cheese very cold until your ready to cook and heat the grill to high. The process won’t take too long – you’re grilling just enough to make beautiful grill marks and heat the cheese through. This will take about four minutes on each side – but please use your own discretion. And, by no means should you press down on the cheese with a spatula.

Meanwhile, warm honey with a handful or two of quarter fresh mission figs.

Once the cheese is starting to ooze slightly and you can see the grill marks, transfer to a platter. Drizzle with honey, figs and a pinch of good sea salt. Serve with crackers or grilled baguette. Crazy good.

Smoked Salmon Dip

17 Jun

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There is something about summer that screams HAPPY HOUR! Gin and Tonic, a splash of Saint Germain, a pour of rose – anything will do. But, you’ll need a good snack to go along.

This past weekend, I modified this Ina Garden recipe for a happy hour gathering.  I added more smoked salmon for more of a fishy bite (closer to my favorite childhood Smoked Mullet Dip). This took less than 10 minutes to make and was a big hit. Save it in your back pocket for your next happy hour.

Smoked Salmon Dip, inspired by Ina Garten

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound cedar smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in a stand up mixer until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

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