Ok, not really bacon, just bacon salt! It's totally vegetarian and it adds a smoky, salty flavor to a lot of things. I'm not advocating that everything should taste like bacon, but in this recipe it really adds a great kick.
Even without the peppers, the goat cheese mixture could be a great dip for crackers, veggies or even added to a veggie sandwich. Delish!
2 Bell peppers, any color
½ cup Goat Cheese
½ cup Greek Yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp Bacon Salt (or to taste)
Prep the peppers by cutting off the top and fashioning the remaining part into little "boats."
Combine all other ingredients in small bowl and mash with fork until well combined.
Place peppers on medium hot grill, skin side up, for three minutes. Turn over, fill with goat cheese mixture, and cook for three more minutes.
In addition to the Tuscan Stuffed Mushrooms I made for our Italian summer progressive dinner the other night, I also did these light crostini that were a big hit. I was worried that the edamame would make it too sweet, but the arugula provides a nice foil, as does the fresh lemon.
The original recipe calls for fava beans, but since they’re scarce when not in season, the edamame substitution makes this a super easy dish. I even swapped the Parmigiano-Reggiano the original recipe called for with the Pecorino Romano I was already using for the mushrooms.
1 cup shelled, frozen Edamame, thawed
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp Olive Oil, divided
1-1/2 cups Baby Arugula (1-1/2 ounces), divided
3 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
16 Mint or Basil Leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Pulse edamame in a food processor until very coarsely chopped, then transfer half of mixture to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup arugula, cheese, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to edamame in processor and purée until smooth.
Add to bowl of coarse edamame, then coarsely chop remaining cup arugula and gently fold into mixture.
Cut diagonal slices (1/3 inch thick) from baguette and place on a sheet pan. Brush or drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil. Bake until pale golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
Spoon mixture onto baguette toasts, then drizzle with oil and top with mint or basil.
Tuscan Stuffed Mushrooms
We are lucky enough to live within walking distance of a number of friends in our neighborhood in south Boulder. We have long toyed with the idea of doing a progressive dinner at our respective houses, and finally, last Saturday, we made the magic happen! We chose a theme of Italy 1962, and dressed and cooked accordingly.
My job was simple—I was the first house, so I was responsible for appetizers, and tried to go out of my way to make them special. Of course I turned to Giada De Laurentiis for inspiration, since she’s got a way of making simple ingredients taste great. (You can find her original recipe here.) I served these with some edamame-arugula crostini (I’ll post that recipe later), as well as some simple prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. Voila! Delightful Italian summer afternoon fare.
One note was that I wished I had worked harder to find large button mushrooms—some of them were so small it was hard to fit any stuffing in! And use your hands to pull out the mushroom stems—it will pull out in one piece and create a nice little cavity for your filling.
1/2 cup jarred Roasted Red Peppers, diced
1/2 cup pitted Green Olives, diced
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 Scallions, diced
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 pound large White Button Mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
1/4 cup Fresh Basil Leaves, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400* F.
In a medium bowl, combine the roasted red bell peppers, olives, cheese, scallions, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the mushrooms, cavity side up, on top. Spoon the filling into the mushrooms, and bake until the mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the mushrooms to a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped basil and serve.
_A friend forwarded this recipe from a fun site called Iowa Girl Eats—she said it would be perfect minus the ham the recipe originally called for. And perfect it was for a little Easter picnic brunch with my mom.
I made the quinoa and grated the zucchini the night before, so they were easy to mix up and make in the morning. We packed them up and took them to Chautauqua along with some egg salad, fresh fruit and yummy croissants from a bakery near my mom’s house. They don’t need to be hot to be delicious.
I tweaked a little for ingredients, pan size and preference. I doubled the batch, too, so you’ll have enough leftover to stick in the freezer—just take a few out at night, put them in the fridge and they’re the perfect filling, wholesome breakfast. And don’t be afraid to switch up ingredients! These would do well with a variety of veggies.
Makes about 24 muffin-sized cups
4 cups cooked Quinoa (about 1.5 cups uncooked)
4 Egg Whites
2 cups Zucchini, grated (1 large zucchini should do the trick)
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 small can Green Chiles
½ cup Cilantro, chopped
¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
4 Green Onions, sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350*. Liberally spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray (make sure it’s liberal—they can get a stick-to-the-pan-y if not).
Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Fluff and add to large bowl.
While quinoa is cooking, grate zucchini into a separate bowl and toss with ½ tsp salt together. Let stand 5 minutes, then transfer to sieve/strainer. Press out excess liquid before adding to bowl with quinoa.
Add remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly and spoon into muffin tins, filling to the top of each cup.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Let cool about 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
Kale chips are an easy and savory way to get some greens into the whole family’s life. And so easy! Grab a bunch of Lacinato kale, strip the leaves off the stems by hand and chop/rip them right into a colander. Rinse and let the leaves drain while gathering your other ingredients and preheating the oven to 350.
Once they’re drained, toss them onto a foil-lined baking sheet with the following:
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Olive Oil
A couple dashes of something salty, like, well Salt, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
A sprinkling of Smoked Paprika (optional)
Bake for 5 minutes, then stir them/turn them as much as possible, and resume baking for another 5-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!
These are a great complement to soups, parties or just an afternoon when you are craving a (healthier) salty snack. My kid loves them.
White Bean Dip
Good gracious it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. It’s not like I haven’t been cooking, maybe it’s just that I’ve been cooking the old standards for awhile. I do that a lot—buy the staples that’ll make a few easy dinners and appetizers so that I always know I’ll have something on hand.
One of those things is the Lemon Curry Hummus I always make, filled with protein and easy to take to parties. But I’ve been making it so long that I decided it was time to swap it out for something new and exciting. A friend told me about this easy white bean dip from Giada de Laurentiis. She’s the queen of easy and delicious and I always feel fancy cooking her food. That being said, I took this on our annual hut trip in December along with some pita chips (sturdier than crackers when you’re getting stuffed in a backpack with 30 pounds of other goodies). True to form, it was easy and delicious.
1 15 oz can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed (these are also called White Kidney Beans, I’ve learned)
2 cloves Garlic
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1/4 -1/2 cup Fresh Parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender, but I found that it tends to chop up the parsley a little too finely and you end up with a green white bean dip, which confuses people.)
Put in a fancy bowl and serve with pita chips, homemade or otherwise.
Seven Layer Dip
An old classic, but with a fresher twist. Try making your taco seasoning mix with easy ingredients you’ve probably got around the house. Whip up your own guac, too. Recipes below.
1 16 oz. can Refried Beans (make sure they’re veg!)
1 package Taco Seasoning Mix*
8 oz. Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt)
8 oz. Guacamole**
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup Salsa
1 4 oz. can Diced Green Chiles
2 large Green Onions, sliced
1 small can Sliced Black Olives
1 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
Combine beans and seasoning mix in a small bowl. Spread on the bottom of square baking dish. Top with sour cream/yogurt, then guacamole, cheese, salsa, green chiles, green onions, and black olives.
*Taco Seasoning Mix
6 tsp Chili Powder
5 tsp Paprika
4 1/2 tsp Cumin
3 tsp Onion Powder
2 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Mix all ingredients until well blended. You only need about 7 tsp of this mix to equal a package, so pack up the rest in a tightly sealed container and save for later!
1 ripe Avocado
1 tsp Lemon or Lime Juice
Dash Garlic Salt
4 Cherry Tomatoes, diced
3 tbsp Red Onion, diced
3 tbsp fresh Cilantro, minced
Smash everything together. Add additional salt to taste.
Jalapeno Black Bean Dip
I love anything with beans and cheese...this one came from my friend AK who served it at her housewarming party awhile ago. You could even use my Salsa Verde or Brent's maple-syrup infused salsa to add to the beans.
1 16 oz. can Black Beans
1 tbsp Jalapenos, chopped (usually 1 small jalapeno)
1/4 cup White Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tbsp Salsa, any kind
2 cups Cheddar/Jack Cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350*.
Mash beans in baking dish. Add remaining ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the cheddar/jack cheese. Mix well, and bake for 20-30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese, and bake until cheese on top melts.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.
If you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden (like we do) and are tired of sauteeing or grilling them, try this fabulous recipe.
My friend Lex gave me the idea for the tzatziki, so I made this one up on the fly. I grated the zucchini by peeling off short strips with a veggie peeler.
2-1/2 cups Zucchini, coarsely grated/peeled
1 tsp Salt, divided
1 Egg yolk
1/2 cup Flour, and more as needed
1/2 cup Feta, crumbled
1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped
1 tbsp fresh Basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh Dill, chopped
1/3 cup Olive Oil, and more as needed
1/3 cup Corn Oil, and more as needed
Toss zucchini strips and ½ tsp salt together. Let stand five minutes, then transfer to sieve/strainer. Press out excess liquid, and put zucchini in a dry bowl. Mix in egg, yolk, ½ cup flour, feta, and ½ tsp. salt. Mix in green onions, basil, and dill. If batter is very wet, add small amounts of flour at a time until batter is thick enough to drop into oil by spoonfuls.
Heat olive and corn oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop rounded spoonfuls of batter into oil, and fry patties until golden brown, about five minutes per side. Add more oil if necessary.
Transfer finished patties to paper towel and keep warm in a low oven.
4 oz. plain Greek Yogurt (I used Fage’s “Total”)
2 tbsp. Cucumber, grated
1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
1-1/2 tbsp. fresh Dill, chopped
Dash Garlic Powder (or real garlic, though the powder incorporates better)
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve chilled with warm patties.
Cilantro Cream Dip
My friend Therese has an amazing garden--they have cilantro, basil, spinach and salad greens coming out of their ears! She let me steal a bunch of everything the other day, since we don't have much of these things in our garden.
I casually mentioned how obsessed I am with cilantro, and she promptly sent me this recipe, which she says is delish. Looks super easy too.
1 8 oz. package Cream Cheese, softened
1 tbsp Sour Cream
1 7 oz. can Tomatillo Salsa
1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. Celery Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 bunch fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh Lime Juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a serving bowl and serve with your favorite corn chips.