Friday, December 30, 2011

Artichoke Dip

My sister Kathy makes a baked artichoke appetizer that's too good to pass up. So my goal with this recipe was to use that as inspiration and make it every bit as delicious, but vegan. This dip can be served hot, cold or heated on top of slices of a baguette.

Artichoke Dip

1 garlic clove
1/2 C raw cashews
1 t fresh lemon juice
2 6oz. jars of marinated artichoke hearts
pinch of onion powder
crackers or baguette for serving

In a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely minced. Add the cashews and process until the cashews are chopped small but not finely processed. Add the remaining ingredients, picking the artichoke hearts out of the jars and transferring only the oil that comes with them. Pulse until the the ingredients are well mixed.

You can serve the dip either hot or cold with crackers or a sliced baguette. To warm it up, put it in an oven proof dish and set it in a 350 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes. If you want to serve it on toast, slice up 1/2 of a small baguette, place the slices onto a sheet pan and put it into a 350 degree oven. Keep an eye on it. The slices will toast quickly. Remove the baguette slices and put the dip on top of each slice. Place it back into the oven and heat for 5 minutes. Serve.

Note: The photo isn't mine.

Stuffed Artichoke Hors d'oeuvre

This appetizer is elegant, delicious, easy and fun to make. It's perfect for the New Year celebration. I posted it this past summer and it has become a favorite recipe of mine. You'll have to try it and tell me what you think!

Stuffed Artichokes

1 can of artichoke hearts
2 T olive oil
2 T onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1/2 C. packed baby spinach leaves, chop finely
6 T diced oyster mushrooms
1/8 t sea salt
3 T panko bread crumbs
fresh lemon

Drain the can of artichoke hearts and cut them in half. Scoop out the center of each half and mince the center leaves that you've removed. Set aside. Dry the in-tack artichoke hearts with a paper towel so little moisture is left.

In a saute pan, add the oil and heat to medium low. To that, add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the spinach, chopped artichoke, mushrooms and sea salt and saute until the mixture is cooked down nicely (only a few minutes). Finally, add the bread crumbs and heat through.

Scoop out enough mixture to fill each half of the artichoke hearts. It will work out perfectly if you don't overfill. Set the stuffed artichoke hearts onto a baking sheet and broil until the tops are nicely browned. Squeeze lemon over the top of them when they come out.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Black Bean Dip

Here's a healthy appetizer for the coming New Year festivities! Happy New Year everyone!!

Black Bean Dip

1 clove of garlic
1 15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 T. diced green chiles
2 t. fresh lime juice
1/4 C. salsa
1 T. rough chop cilantro
2 green onions, white and some green chopped

corn chips or veggies for dipping

Process the garlic in a food processor until minced. Put the remaining ingredients, except for the green onions, in the food processor and process until smooth. Stir in the green onions in serve with chips and/or veggies.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tomato Confit

This is a dish I made for Christmas dinner. It's easy, beautiful and a wonderful side... plus, it's red! But one of the best features of this recipe is that it can be made in advance and served at room temperature if you don't have enough space in the oven. It's perfect for entertaining. Enjoy!

Tomato Confit

12 - 15 small tomatoes - about 2 inches round
6 basil leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
enough extra virgin olive oil to come about half way up baking dish
sea salt
freshly cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil water in a large pot and get an ice water bath ready in a bowl. Prepare the tomatoes by cutting a small X on the bottom of each one. Put the tomatoes into the boiling water and time for about 15 seconds or wait until you see the skin begin to crack. Immediately remove the tomatoes and place them into the ice water bath to cool. Peel and core the tomatoes once cooled. Place the basil, thyme and garlic in the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to hold the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes, core side down, on top of the herbs and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Pour the olive oil into the dish until the oil comes nearly half way up the side of the tomatoes. Bake for about 50 minutes. Cool the tomatoes and place them in an airtight container. Remove the garlic and herbs from the olive oil and pour the oil into the container with the tomatoes. Refrigerate. This can be served at room temperature or you can reheat them before serving. They will last for 3 days refrigerated.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Napa Valley Spiced Almonds

It's already the middle of December so I'm beginning to plan dinner for Christmas day. I'm also playing with ideas for appetizers and I think I'll be setting this dish out. It was two summers ago when my dear friend Meg shared this recipe with me. I posted it on my blog then and it has continued to receive a lot of attention, so I'm sharing it with you again. It's subtle, delicious and addictive!

Napa Valley Spiced Almonds

2 C almonds
2 t olive oil
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t turmeric
1/2 t fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the spices. Pour the olive oil over the almonds and toss to coat. Stir the spices into the almonds. Once the spices and almonds are combined and the almonds evenly coated spread them onto a sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, checking often. Allow the almonds to cool before serving.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash

This time of year I will often roast acorn squash with a rub of Earth Balance and brown sugar. My family loves squash prepared this way but it's very sweet. This is a slightly different take on that recipe. It's still sweet, but not overwhelming so, and it's so simple it becomes an easy addition to any meal.

Roasted Acorn Squash 
Cook Time: 1 hour 

2 acorn squash
1/8 C maple syrup
2T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
1/4 t sea salt
freshly grated nutmeg
8 sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and place the squash on a baking sheet with the cut sides up. In a bowl mix the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, honey and sea salt. Brush the cut sides of each squash with the mixture and grate nutmeg over the squash. Lay two sage leaves on top of each squash and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, pull the squash out and baste. Put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Repeat the basting one last time using up the liquid mixture and finish roasting for another 20 minutes or until tender.

Note: Once again, the photo isn't mine.