Posts tagged ‘Appetizer’

Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Mayo

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Nothing is easier to make than a batch of oven fries. Cut up potatoes, put them in the oven, take them out of the oven. Voíla!

In this recipe, the sweet potatoes are tossed in a bit of oil and spice to add a subtle spice to the sweet flavour of the potato, and they are served (if you like) with a super-simple spicy mayo dip (because if you aren’t going to deep-fry your potatoes, you should at least serve them with mayo, right?).

We like to eat these as a side dish with all manner of entrees, from burgers to baked tofu to chili. It’s a fun and simple way to enjoy what is, in my humble opinion, one of the best winter vegetables out there.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Serves 4

1 large sweet potato, about 1 lb.
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut potatoes into long, thin strips. Try to make them as even as possible so that they will all finish cooking at the same time.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, oil, and chili powder.
  4. Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 – 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. (20 minutes should be long enough for them to cook through, 30 minutes should make them a bit crispy on the outside. Test a few with a fork to make sure they are done).

Sriracha Mayo
Makes ½ cup

½ cup mayo or vegan mayo (I really like vegenaise)
½ Tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh chives (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.
  2. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days.

October 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

Artichoke Heart and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

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Heading out on one last picnic before the weather turns cold? Or maybe you need something to munch on at work or school? Wherever you enjoy it, this easy spread makes a nice, healthy treat that works equally well as a sandwich spread or a dip.

The texture of the spread is similar to hummus, thanks to the white beans that provide its base, but the flavour is something else. The artichokes lend a creaminess that balance the rich flavour of the sundried tomatoes, while the garlic steps in with its own unique kick.

I especially liked this as a dip for veggies and pitas, and in veggie sandwiches (with cucumber, tomato, and spinach). I hope that you will enjoy it, too!

Artichoke Heart and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
Makes 1½ cups

1 cup white beans (such as cannellini beans or navy beans)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup artichoke hearts
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy. (I like my Cuisinart immersion blender for things like this. It is a bit of an investment, but I got it as a gift a few years ago and I use it almost every day for blending dips, spreads, smoothies, and soups).
  2. Serve with veggies or crackers, or as a spread in sandwiches.

Adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

September 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

Basil-Balsamic Baba Ganoush

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I brought home a bag of baby eggplants the other day to make the eggplant and goat cheese pizza that I posted last week, but it soon became clear that I had too many eggplants for just one culinary project. Falling back on an old standby, I decided to whip up a batch of baba ganoush, a Mediterranean dip similar to hummus that I like to use as a dip for veggies and crackers. It also makes a great addition to sandwiches and wraps.

I roasted my eggplants and then opened my cupboards, and found that I was missing two out of the five ingredients for this extremely simple recipe. Time to improvise! I substituted balsamic vinegar for lemon juice, basil for parsley, and pine nuts… well, those I just threw in for fun. In the end, I had a dip very much like baba ganoush but different enough from the original recipe that I thought I should share it with you. I hope you enjoy it!

Basil-Balsamic Baba Ganoush
Makes about 2 cups

1 lb. eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant or 3 baby eggplants)
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon pine nuts (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and place face down on a cookie sheet. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the skin is blistered and the flesh is soft and browned. Let cool.
  2. When the eggplant is cool, scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a blender or food processor.
  3. Add other ingredients to blender (or food processor) and pulse until smooth.

Adapted from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles

August 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

Fresh Summer Salsa

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Yum! As I’ve said before, making fresh salsa is one of my favorite things about summer. Ripe tomatoes, cilantro, some spice, and the coolness of cucumber all come together in a fresh, flavorful condiment that can be used in so many things that it’s almost mind boggling. For some ideas, go here.

Salsa is a fun thing to make, I think, because it is so delicious, so versatile, and rather impressive-sounding (“yes, I make my own salsa…”) but it is extremely easy as long as you have the right vegetables on hand, and a food processor. A food processor is a must here to get the veggies chopped finely enough and consistently enough without your salsa-making adventure lasting until next September. A good food processor can usually be obtained for $30 – 40 (in the United States) and it’s a good investment for salsas, falafel, latkes, and many other dishes.

This salsa is a variation on the recipe that I posted last summer. I didn’t have as many tomatoes around the house this time, so I substituted other vegetables in their stead. I also blended the salsa a little bit less, creating a texture more like pico de gallo than bottled salsa. This particular incarnation was also somewhat reminiscent of a Latin-inspired bruschetta, and went very well on thin slices of garlic-infused baguette. I suspect that an unflavored baguette would treat it just as nicely.

Another Summer Salsa
Makes about 4 cups

1 cup red onion, cut into quarters (1 large onion)
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed (about 1½ cups)
1 bell pepper, veins and seeds removed and cut into quarters
2-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 scotch bonnet chile (or other chile), chopped with veins and seeds removed
1½ cups cucumber, cut into large chunks (about ½ a cucumber)
3 cups cherry tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt, preferably kosher or coarse salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice

  1. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapenos into food processor and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped (about 10 seconds).
  2. Add cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, salt, cumin and lime juice and pulse until finely chopped and well combined (about 10 more seconds).  It’s important to do this in two steps so that the harder veggies (onions, peppers) can be finely chopped without turning the softer veggies (tomatoes, cucumber) into mush.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with tortilla chips, on baguette slices, in tacos or burritos, on salads, in eggs or tofu scrambles and in any other dish you can imagine. It will keep in the fridge for about a week (theoretically; that is, if you don’t eat it all up first).

July 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Healthier Falafel

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Sorry I’ve been away so long. It’s been a crazy few months around here, but I’m back now and I have a delicious falafel recipe ready and waiting for you.

So, I’ve been making falafel at home for years – or rather attempting it. Until now, the texture had never been quite right and I couldn’t figure out how to make a satisfyingly crispy falafel without deep frying. Those days are over. Today, I managed baked falafel that was perfectly crispy, soft on the inside and bursting with flavor, and I knew that I had to share my newly discovered tricks with you.

The first trick is to use a food processor, not a blender. Blenders tend to require a lot of liquid in order to blend the falafel, and this can lead to falafel that lacks texture and falls apart when you try to shape it. A food processor, on the other hand, chops the dry ingredients finely with very little liquid, leaving you with nicely textured falafel that is easy to work with.

The second trick is heat. The falafel is baked at a moderate heat for 10 minutes, to make sure it’s cooked through. Then, the heat is turned up to make the outsides crispy and brown. Just make sure you watch the oven closely while you’re cooking or you may end up with charred falafel instead.

We like to eat falafel stuffed into a pita with some combination of lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber and maybe even hummus or tahini, just like the falafel that’s served by street vendors everywhere. It’s also great as a side dish, with a grain salad (like this or this) and a green vegetable, as pictured below. However you serve it, it’s a delicious meal rich in protein and fibre, and it makes great leftovers. Enjoy!

Healthier Falafel
Makes 24 small falafels

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (or a 19oz. can of chickpeas, drained)
½ cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. water
1½ tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup flour (for a gluten free version, use chickpea flour)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas, onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and parsley until the chickpeas are finely chopped, the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  3. Add the water, lemon juice and oil and pulse a few more seconds, until well mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and mix with flour, adding 1 Tbsp. at a time until the mixture sticks together.
  5. Form mixture into small balls, wetting your hands periodically to keep it from sticking to you. Press the balls  into patties and place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10 minutes, and then turn the oven up to 450F. Bake 10 more minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

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May 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm 1 comment

Caprese Crostini


Need to impress dinner party guests or potluckers without breaking a sweat (ie. turning on the oven)? Caprese Crostini will do the trick, and it’s ridiculously easy to make if you use prepared pesto. Using pesto here instead of fresh basil leaves intensifies the basil flavour and lends a nice texture to the snack. If you’re making this for a dinner party, you can prep all of the ingredients in advance and then put the crostini together in minutes so that they’ll be fresh when your guests arrive.

Caprese Crostini

1 baguette, preferably whole wheat
3-4 roma tomatoes (enough to cover the baguette when sliced)
1 lb. large bocconcini balls or mozzarella
½ cup pesto (recipe follows)
several grindings fresh black pepper (about ½ tsp.)

  1. Prepare pesto if making your own.
  2. Slice the baguette into 1″ slices, and slice the mozzarella and tomatoes thinly.
  3. Spread each baguette slice with pesto, top with one slice mozzarella and then one slice tomato.
  4. Grind pepper over crostini and serve.

Fresh Basil Pesto
makes 1 cup

3 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
3 cloves garlic, chopped
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup pine nuts
¼ tsp. each freshly ground salt and pepper, or to taste

  1. Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth.

September 10, 2008 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

Baked Brie


A few weeks ago, a friend invited me over for baked Brie and I readily accepted. The Brie was incredibly simple and enormously delicious. I couldn’t stop eating it even though I knew that there were two more courses coming, and while we ate it, we talked about how to eat all of the baked Brie at a party without seeming like you were eating all of the baked Brie at the party.

Baked Brie

6-inch round Brie cheese
1/3 cup raspberry (or other) jam
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Place Brie in an oven proof bowl and top with jam and nuts.
3. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Turn up heat to 375F and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
4. Serve with sliced baguette and rice crackers.

June 12, 2008 at 4:49 am Leave a comment

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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.