Category Archives: 15.Appetizers and Party Food & Hors d’Oeuvres

Crepes, The Easy & Painless Way

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# 1 crepes to eat

Crepes, The Easy and Painless Way

No measuring is daring and it can be fun. It’s certainly the quick way to cook and you might be surprised at how well you can do this.

Crepes are a good substitute for morning pancakes and they certainly are good for lunch, dinner or dessert. They are so versatile. So, it’s up to you with what you want to fill or top them: ricotta cheese and berries? Jam? Veggies and cheese? Chicken bits with a lovely sauce over it all? Or topped with a delicate orange or lemon Crepe Suzette sauce? Variations are endless and fun to invent. You can even have an array of fillings on the side and let guests or your family invent themselves. What I myself had this morning were crepes filled and topped with ricotta and fresh berries. Yum, they were delicious!

I could go on and on about fillings and toppings but what I am giving you here is just the basic crepe recipe. The trick with this recipe is to use the SAME SIZED cup or glass for placing the eggs, flour, milk and butter because you are going to eyeball your amounts within these four vessels. A vessel that holds about 2 cups (oops—I shouldn’t have said that—sorry) will make enough crepes for 4. My picture showing my vessels with the ingredients are for half of the listed ingredients i.e. 1/2 a vessel of eggs, 1/2 vessel flour, slightly less than 1 vessel full of milk & 1/8th vessel of melted butter.

I use a Teflon crepe pan but if you don’t have one, then make sure to put a little oil or butter in your pan first. I like to make sure my pan is quite hot (when an entered droplet of water sizzles). If your first crepe doesn’t turn out quite right, fear not because you’ll know whether to turn the heat up or down to make the next one right.

To keep your crepes warm, you can have a double boiler top all ready to put them in; or wrap them in foil or in a dish covered with foil in a 200F or 250F oven. I also have had left over batter which when whisked again make fine crepes the next day. You also can freeze left-over already made crepes. So see how versatile these guys are?

#2 cups full bowl whisk yes

Ingredients:

  • Eggs-1 vessel full
  • All-purpose flour-1 vessel full
  • Whole milk-1 ¾ vessel full
  • Melted unsalted butter-1/4 vessel full
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch baking powder (optional)
  • Pinch powder sugar (optional
  • Drop or so vanilla (optional)
  • Lemon or orange zest (optional)

Instructions:     #3 crepe in pan

  • In a bowl that has a pouring spout is the best, whisk well or beat with electric beaters the eggs.
  • Add the remainder of the ingredients. Whisk or beat till you have a smooth batter.
  • Heat your crepe pan or a small size skillet. Add a bit of the batter, just enough to partially cover the bottom because then you want to roll your pan around so the batter slides smoothly over the whole pan bottom. You don’t want a thick crepe. You want a crepe that is fairly thin.
  • Cook until the edges begin to brown—anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip over with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds or more. You can peek to say how brown the bottom of the crepe is getting.
  • Pile them up on your oven warmed platter and cover; or place in the top of your double boiler that is warm by boiling some water in the bottom part.

 

Bon Appétit —-From Margot’s Table to Yours

 Want some more recipes or small group catering: visit http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com or email Margot at margot@eyeonsunvalley.com

 

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Guacamole: The Basic Plus 14 Fresh Ways

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GUAC: JUST IN TIME FOR THE SUPERBOWL –The Basic Plus 14 Fresh Ways

Skiing on Big Game Day in Sun Valley is usually superb because you mostly have the mountain and trails to yourself. The rest of the folk are prepping the chicken wings, guacamole and wondering about “flat footballs”.

 

You’re on your own for the chicken wings but here’s a little help for the Guac and believe me that will NOT be flat. Frankly, I like a good tasty strong Bloody Mary to go with any one of these recipes—but if beer, wine or a margarita is your preference, go for it.

 

And just in case you’ve bought too many avocados, next week I’ll have a nice little breakfast oven baked avocado/egg recipe just so those extra avocados won’t go to waste. It’s easy, delicious, healthy and not flat either.

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The Basic GUAC’ for 8 (Way # 1)

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lime (taste as you add)
  • 1/2 to 1 Tsp. ground cumin (taste as you add)
  • 1/2 C. diced tomato (fresh and drained canned)
  • 2 Tblsp. chopped/minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 C. diced/minced red onion
  • S & P, to taste (can be as much as 1/2 to 3/4 Tsp. salt)
  • Hot sauce, to taste or 1/2 to 2/4 Tsp. red pepper flakes (taste as you add)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic

Directions:

  • Slice avocados in 1/2; remove the seed; spoon flesh into a medium sized bowl.
  • Using a fork, mash the avocados until the consistency of your desire has been reached. If you wish a rougher chop, use a knife to slice through the avocado flesh and then a fork. And you might add the lime juice to the pulp to start with so that the avocado doesn’t brown.
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Serve immediately.
  • medium up

14 Fresh Ideas For A Switch On The Ole’ Basic GUAC’

  • Fast and Dirty: In place of the tomato, cilantro and red onion, stir in 1/2 C. of your favorite jarred salsa, 1 Tblsp. olive brine and 2 Tblsp. chopped green olives.
  • Mango-Balsamic: In place of the tomato, stir in the diced flesh of 1 mango. Use scallions in place of the red onion and 1 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar in place of the lime juice.
  • Chipotle-Corn: Stir in 1 minced chipotle and 1 Tblsp. adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo. Add 1/2 C. corn kernels (fresh, defrosted frozen or drained canned)
  • Tzatziki: Use 1 C. finely diced seedless cucumber in place of the tomato and red onion. Use dill in place of the cilantro. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves.
  • Roasted Garlic and Poblano: Roast a head of garlic wrapped in foil with a little olive oil until tender and brown, about 30 minutes at 400 F. Roast a poblano pepper under the broiler, turning frequently, until the skin is charred. Carefully remove the charred skin from the pepper (with gloves maybe), then chop the flesh. Squeeze the garlic pulp from the skin and mash. Mix both into the guacamole, omitting the onion.
  • Minted Cotija: Follow the basic recipe but add 3 Tblsp. chopped fresh mint instead of the cilantro and add 2/3 C. crumbled cotija cheese. Season with S&P.
  • Maple-Bacon: Follow the basic recipe but use 3 avocados, 2 Tblsp. white wine vinegar, 2 Tblsp. soy sauce, 2 Tblsp. maple syrup, 2 chopped scallions and 1/2 C. chopped cooked bacon. Season heavily with black pepper.
  • Ginger-Hoisin: Add 2 Tblsp. grated fresh ginger and 2 Tblsp. hoisin sauce to the basic recipe.
  • Citrus Tabbouleh: Replace the tomato and onion with 3/4 C. purchased tabbouleh and the zests of 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange. You can also add 1/3 C. pomegranate seeds. You’ll love the color of this version.
  • Shrimp Scampi: Use lemon juice in place of the lime juice and basil in place of the cilantro. Omit the cumin, tomato and onion. Stir in 1 C. chopped cooked shrimp, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • Pico de Gallo Guac: add 1/2 C. of chunky tomatoes, 2 Tsp. of minced jalapenos and 2 Tbsp. of chopped green peppers to the basic recipe. Don’t like green pepper, choose the milder red, yellow or orange one.
  • Calorie Conscious Guac: Delete one of the avocados and add 1/2 C. of LIGHT sour cream or LIGHT plain yogurt. Here you’ll have a creamy and fluffy guac minus some calories. You may like to do this even with 2 or 3 avocados because it’ll be a bit different.
  • Greek Guac: Add 1/4 C. of chopped Kalamata olives and red peppers and instead of the cilantro and lime, add basil and lemon juice.
  • Guac in those little peppers: Yes, you know those cute little peppers in all colors, all ready in a package. Serve a tray of those, cut in half and filled with your favorite Guac. Fun, easy and colorful. And you still can have chips and drinks on the side.

 

Nuts, Nuts, Nuts to the Holiday

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spiced nuts 1

spiced nuts 2

 

 

 

Nuts, Nuts, Nuts to the Holidays—

Spiced nuts are so easy to make; they are an easy, lovely little treat to give to someone you like for the holidays. Here are 3 simple recipes that you can make in a jiffy and of course, if I were you, I would keep some of these nuts for myself because of course I hope that you like to treat yourself as well. Any kinds of nuts would suffice for these recipes; however, I have mentioned the ones that I like the most for each individual recipe.

Nuts Recipe #1:   Sugar and Spice Nuts (This is very tasty with raw cashews and raw almonds)

  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 Tblsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbslp chili powder
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 Cups raw cashews and almonds

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the sugar with the salt, chili powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy.
  • Add the nuts to the egg white along with the sugar combo.
  • Mix well until all the nuts are well coated.
  • Spread out on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Cool the nuts and store in an airtight container.

Nuts Recipe # 2: Curried Nuts (this is very good featuring raw cashews)

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 6 Tblsp. curry powder
  • 4 Tsp. Kosher salt
  • 6 C. nuts

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 250
  • Whisk lemon juice, curry powder and salt in a large bowl. Add nuts, toss to coat and spread in an even layer in 2 lined with parchment paper baking sheets
  • Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes.
  • Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

Nuts Recipe #3:   5 Spice nuts (this is very good featuring raw pistachios)

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tblsp. orange juice
  • 6 Tblsp. Chinese Five-Spice Powder
  • 4 Tsp. Kosher salt
  • 6 C. nuts

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 250
  • Whisk orange juice, 5-spice powder and salt in a large bowl. Add nuts, toss to coat and spread in an even layer in 2 lined with parchment paper baking sheets
  • Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes.
  • Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

 

 

Ten Wonderful Recipe Ideas for ALLLLL of that Zucchini in Your Yard

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10 ideas for eating all that zucchini in your garden

1 Pasta: Grab yourself one of those veggie spiral cutting gizmos, which let you render produce into pasta-like ribbons. Zucchini does particularly well. Toss the zucchini spirals in a hot skillet with a splash of oil for a minute or two, then dress with sauce and cheese as you would pasta. Or boil up real pasta, then add the zucchini for the last minute. Drain and dress.

2 Dip: Slice a zucchini in half and toss it on a medium hot grill. Cook until lightly browned and tender, then pop it into a food processor. Add tahini, garlic, salt, pepper and a splash of lemon juice, then process until very smooth. Use as a dip for vegetables and chips, or as a sandwich spread.

3 Salsa: Dice and toss together 1 medium zucchini, 1 large tomatillo and 1/2 red or orange bell pepper. Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapenos and a splash of hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

4 Fries: Cut the zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick sticks, then toss them first in a beaten egg, then in seasoned bread crumbs. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, then bake until crisp outside and just tender inside. As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle them with grated Parmesan cheese.

5 Boats: Slice a zucchini in half, then use a melon baller to scoop out the insides of each half. Mix together loose sausage meat, grated cheese and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Pack the mixture into the hollowed out zucchini halves, then bake or grill (over low heat) until cooked through.

6 Frittata: Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the zucchini as thinly as possible. Whisk 6 or so eggs, then pour them into an oiled pan and cook over medium-high until the bottom is just set. Scatter the zucchini slices evenly over the top of the egg, then crumble feta over it. Broil until lightly browned and the center is set.

7 Grain salad: Toss finely diced raw zucchini with cooked and cooled farro or barley, halved cherry tomatoes, diced red onion and crumbled soft goat cheese. Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

8 Tart: Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the zucchini as thinly as possible. Unfold a sheet of puff pastry (thawed according to package directions). Run a paring knife along the outside of the pastry about 1 inch from the edge and cutting only halfway down. Arrange the zucchini slices in the center, then sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake at 400 F until puffed and lightly browned.

9 Chips: Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the zucchini as thinly as possible. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet, mist with cooking spray, then season with herbs, spices, salt and pepper, whatever you like. Bake at 375 F until the chips are nicely browned.

10 Casserole: Cut a whole mess of zucchini into 1/2-inch rounds. Arrange several layers of them in an oiled casserole dish. Top them with a bit of marinara and some ricotta cheese. Repeat this layering until you fill the casserole dish about three-quarters of the way. Bake at 350 F until tender, lightly browned and bubbling at the edges.

Shrimp Bruschetta with Arugula and Wine

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Shrimp Bruschetta with wine and arugula


Ingredients

Baguette slices or toast points

Topping:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 packed cup arugula, chopped
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

Directions

For the toasts or baguette slices: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the bread/baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Rub the warm toasts/baguette slices with the cut side of the garlic. Set aside.

For the topping: In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste, and add them to the skillet. Cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes start to soften, about 4 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tarragon, arugula, mascarpone cheese, and chopped shrimp. Stir until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Arrange the toasts/baguette slices on serving plates and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.

 

Bruschetta with Strawberries, Balsamic and ONE Mint Leaf

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Bruschetta with Strawberries, Balsamic and One Mint Leaf

 

strawberries only

Strawberries for an appetizer? Yes indeed and I tell you, this is a really delightfully light and delicious treat to offer your guests for a hot summer day. Best of all, it’s a breeze to make. The only thing I have found that it’s best served when the strawberries are heated so that’s a last minute thing but not necessarily so because you can make the sauce ahead of time, refrigerate it for a day or 2 or even freeze it and then reheat it briefly in the micro (about 1 minute and I put the micro at 1/2 temp just to check that it’s not getting too hot and syrupy).

 

Ingredients

  1. One box of Melba Snacks Whole Grain Crackers or something similar
  2. 6 Tbsp. brown sugar (I use the light brown variety)
  3. 1 Tsp. grated lemon zest
  4. 2 Tsp. lemon juice
  5. One quick tiny squirt of Balsamic (CAREFUL—not too much)
  6. 3 C. cleaned, hulled sliced strawberries (you can also dice them if you prefer)
  7. 4-6 Tbsp. mascarpone
  8. A bunch of washed whole mint leaves

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine and whisk well the sugar, zest, juice and balsamic together.
  2. Heat a large Teflon skillet over medium-high heat and add the above mixture. When it begins to bubble (30 seconds to 1 minute) add the strawberries and stir until the juices begin to release their flavor and the berries are heated through (30 seconds to 1 minute more)

stawberries in pan

3.  If you are serving this immediately, I would recommend spreading the mascarpone on the crackers before you have made the sauce and have the crackers all ready on a pretty platter to finish off and serve.

4. After you have placed the sauce on top of the mascarpone, top each with a mint leaf. That will make the whole deal!!!

 

Bon Appétit strawberries on crackers

Cajun Shrimp Bruchettas

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 Cajun Shrimp Bruschetta
Make the sauce the day before and refrigerate for the ingredients to meld well.
Serve on bruchettas or some good crunchy crackers; if you wish, spread some whipped cream cheese before topping with the sauce; be sure to place one good sized basil leaf as the very last topping.
Ingredients for sauce:
1. 1-2 tblsp. olive oil
2. 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3. 1 small onion, finely chopped
4. 2 or 3 small garlic cloves minced
5. S&P to taste
6. Cayenne to taste
7. 1/4 C. finely chopped Basil
8. 3/4 to 1 C. bay shrimp—chopped
9. 1 C. canned crushed tomatoes or 3-4 fresh finely chopped Roma tomatoes

Ingredients needed for the finished product
a. Whipped cream cheese to spread on bruschettas before putting the shrimp mixture on.
b. Bruschettas that you have made or bought
c. Whole basil leaves for very last topping

Directions:
1. In a medium sized frying pan, sauté the celery, onion and garlic. Season with S&P and cayenne to taste.
2. Add the chopped basil, chopped shrimp and the canned crushed tomatoes if you are using that or the fresh chopped tomatoes if you are using that. Sauté over low heat uncovered for 5-10 minutes.
3. Place sauce on bruschettas or some nice crackers which, if you wish, have been spread first with whipped cream cheese; top it all with a large whole basil leaf.
4. Serve and enjoy.

Below are 2 ways to make your bruschettas: (PS—this is an Italian word so the “ch” is pronounced as a “k” for a totally correct pronunciation. )
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Slice the baguette on a diagonal into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Using a pastry brush, coat one side of each slice with olive oil. Place slices on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven and baking sheet. Place the tray of bread slices in the 450 degree oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Serve olive oil side up.
3. Alternatively, you can toast the bread without coating it in olive oil first. Toast on a griddle for 1 minute on each side. Take a sharp knife and score each slice 3 times. Rub some garlic in the slices and drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil on each slice. This is the more traditional method of making bruschetta.