Category Archives: Appetizers

Homemade Cheese Board

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It’s safe to say that I have a bit of a problem. That problem is cheese. Yes. C.H.E.E.S.E. That being said, I am always ordering cheese boards at restaurants and seeing how differently they do it compared to the others. I have yet to meet a cheese board I didn’t like so I think its pretty fool proof (so long as I dont get one with goat/sheep cheese, that type of cheese freaks me out. One day I will get over my goat/sheep cheese phase but for now, it is what it is).

I went grocery shopping not long ago at Le Big Y in Palmer and noticed when I was at the cheese/butter case that they had these individually wrapped “cheese tastings” by Sargento. Well opportunity was knocking and I answered. I snagged 3 different types that I wanted to try (and one was a long standing favorite) then continued shopping my little foodie heart out.

After I put all my groceries away, I forgot about my little samplers until later on that week when I was at home by myself putting around the kitchen. I was looking for something to munch on (because boredom is the devil and makes me eat) while sipping wine and SURPRISE! There they were staring back at me from my cheese drawer!

I sliced up an apple, grabbed some stone ground crackers (because I am weird and keep them for surprise company in case I whip up a dip of sorts) and sliced up the samplers.

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The top right is Sargento’s New Zealander, Asiago in the middle, and Bruschetta Jack on the bottom. I have to say that it was genius to start making “tasting” packages, and that I was not sorry I ate the whole cheese board by myself! Well for the exception of the Bruschetta Jack because strangely, that one particular cheese was horrible! I dont know why, I love Montry Jack and Pepper Jack but Bruschetta Jack?

Nope.. Never again.

Could just be me, like I said before I am a weirdo so try it for yourself and maybe let me know?

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Ciao!

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Homemade Guacamole and Tortilla Chips

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I went grocery shopping a couple of weeks ago, and was looking at all the majestical plants and poking around in that area when I turned around and came face to face with the most inviting display of avocados I had ever seen in my life. These babies were practically begging me to take them home and show them a good time. Trust me when I say, a good time was had by all involved…

Sh!t got real….

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Ingredients

1 Pkg Corn Tortillas (not flour);

Canola Oil

4 Avacados

3-4 limes; juiced

2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro; minced

1/2 Red Onion; minced

Mind you that this is just a basic recipe, you can add whatever you want to your guac based on what you like… if you want heat, add some hot peppers. You dont like cilantro… Who needs it… Not you! You like grapes… I hear people add these too! We are in Merica’ and we do what we want! (that last one was a joke, please dont take it to heart)

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Stack your tortillas up like Legos and cut them into wedges like you would a pizza, set aside.

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Mince your onion…

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Then do the same to your cilantro.

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So majestical….

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Cut your avocados in half and discard the pits.

I find the easiest way to scoop and mash avocados is once you remove the pit, score a grid pattern with a knife like a hashtag “#” then scoop it out with a spoon and mash. Makes it a bit more manageable.

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Combine avocados, onion, cilantro, and lime juice mashing to your desired consistency. (Also disregard my gross brown bits I had to remove, apparently one was a little over ripe in some areas)

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Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once you can drop a tortilla in and it sizzles (but doesn’t smoke) then feel free to drop more in working in batches.

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Fry 2-3 minutes each side until they start to turn a slight gold in color. Also adjust heat accordingly, you dont want them to cook up too fast because I find they dont quite crisp up in the center.

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Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and enjoy!

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Bacon Wrapped Potato Bites

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Bacon Wrapped Potato Bites are so dangerously tasty and easy to make, its almost a sin! The guys over at The Kitchn really knew what they were doing when they created these little delectable bites. Feel free to click on the above link to see their original recipe as well as brows their recipes and kitchen solutions! Loads of good stuff there, its my new go to site!!!

With that being said, this recipe is super flexible… dont like rosemary? you can just use salt and pepper or any other spice you like paired with potatoes and bacon! Also if your nervous about making a spicy sour cream dipping sauce that goes with this recipe… Just use plain sour cream spiced up with chopped chives or green onions! Use your imagination people, the possibilities are ENDLESS!!!!

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Ingredients

1 Lb Small or Medium Potatoes

Salt & Pepper

1 1/2 Tsp Fresh Minced Rosemary

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Pkg Thick Cut Bacon

1 Cup Sour Cream

1-3 Tsp Hot Sauce

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

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Mince your rosemary nice and fine….

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Doesn’t that look nice? I like to think so!

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Start by scrubbing and drying your potatoes.

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Chop potatoes into 1″ cubes or slightly smaller. According to The Kitchn, the smaller they are, the more poppable they are going to be… Your call here guys!

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Transfer potatoes to a large pot and cover with water.

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Salt the water and bring to a roaring boil cooking only 3-4 minutes.

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While the potatoes are doing the magic, make your spicy sour cream dip by combining 1-3 tsp hot sauce with 1 cup of sour cream. Chill until the potatoes are ready to be served. A suggestion from The Kitchn is to just “swirl the hot sauce into the sour cream instead of fully mixing it in, you’ll get a roulette of spicy and cool bites”. True story…

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You want them slightly fork tender, but not cooked all the way because they will fall apart on us! (And yes, I am still doing the wooden spoon trick to keep the pot from boiling over… dont knock it!)

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Drain potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary then toss around in the pot well to even coat.

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Voila!

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Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set up an assembly line of sorts with the baking sheet, potatoes, bacon, and tooth picks. It makes life easier.

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Also crack open a beer… again, it makes life easier…

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Wrap each cube with a slice of bacon and secure with a tooth pick. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip the potato bites and cook another 20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked all the way and crispy.

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I made half bacon wrapped potato bites and half just roasted potato bites in the off chance my 5 year old niece was being a picky eater. Rest assured, she had her fair share of the bacon wrapped potato bites!

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Enjoy!!!

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Roasted Asparagus Crostini

Sorry I have been a bit of a recluse as of late. I have been busy between weddings, work, getting back into the swing of school banking, and just life in general. No worries though, I have still been working on material for the good ole’ blog so there are LOTS of new and exciting things to share!

The first I will start with is an Asparagus Crostini.

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Essentially “crostini” means “little toasts” in Italian where they are eaten as appetizers. It is made up of sliced baguette or french bread which is toasted or grilled then topped with cheeses and meats or vegetables. Very easy and very yummy!

This recipe was inspired by http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/asparagus-crostini-recipe/index.html

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Ingredients

1 Loaf of Baguette OR French Bread

1 Asparagus Bunch

1 Cup Ricotta Cheese

1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/3 Cup Sugar

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Minced Garlic

 

Preheat oven to 350.

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First mince your garlic then trim the asparagus and cut the stalks in half.

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Slice the bread into 1/4″ slices and arrange on a baking sheet.

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Drizzle bread with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and set aside.

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Scatter asparagus on a baking sheet with the minced garlic then toss with remaining Tbsp Olive Oil.

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Roast in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

While the asparagus is roasting, use this time to make the balsamic glaze. Combine 1/3 Cup balsamic vinegar and 1/3 Cup sugar in a small sauce pan and simmer on high for about 3-5 minutes while whisking constantly until reduced by 1/2. Remove from heat and set aside.

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Tada!

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Broil the bread on high for 2-3 minutes or until nice and golden (mines a bit over done because I got distracted by Saki)

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Next spread each bread slice with 1 Tbsp of ricotta cheese.

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(This is where I should have thought better of my plating selection…. white on white doesn’t work well with pictures)

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Top with a few pieces of roasted asparagus and garlic then drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

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Insalata Caprese

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So this is something that I put together for our good friend Allie’s birthday party at our house over the weekend. It is very basic and there are many different variations you can make based on your taste…

Hey, you like garlic? Add some chopped garlic!

Don’t like balsamic glaze? Pfffft… don’t add it to the platter!

All that maters really is that the 4 main components are there…. Tomato, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil!

If you think it would be best with Italian dressing? Do it!

Maybe a bit of parsley? Why not!

You get the point!

Here is what I did for my basic Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad)

Ingredients

1 Ball of Mozzarella; sliced

4 Roma Tomatoes; cored and sliced

Fresh Basil Leaves

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Balsamic Glaze

1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 Cup Sugar

Assemble the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil alternating each one. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

In a small sauce pan bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil whisking constantly and reduce to a simmer while still whisking. Once it starts to reduce by half, remove from heat and allow to thicken.

Drizzle balsamic glaze over the insalata and serve!

Here is a run down as to what else happened….

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I made my bacon wrapped pineapple!

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We caught some butterflies!

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We got a bit saucy…

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I told you….

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Then we popped some champagne!

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Fin