Posts Tagged appetizers

The Devil Made Me Do It

Here’s another staple of appetizerland that I’ve never made before: deviled eggs. This Food Network recipe isn’t anything special. In fact because I omitted all of the garnishing, they were really just your basic deviled eggs.

The funny thing about this recipe is that it comes from Paula Deen and contains absolutely no butter. I know, right? There’s also no deep frying (which would make it more like a Scotch rather than devil egg… but some people consider the Scottish to be devils… so there’s that). Anyway, no butter, no lard, no oil. Just some mayo which seems pretty standard for deviled eggs.

Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs

  • 7 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • ¼ C mayonnaise
  • 1½ T sweet pickle relish (I abhor sweet relish, so I used dill relish. And, it came out just fine and dandy.)
  • 1 t prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper, for taste
  • Paprika, for garnishing
  • Sweet gherkin pickles sliced and pimentos, for garnishing (I hate both of these so I eschewed them completely.)

Halve the eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with all the icky stuff above. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Results

A decent, easy-to-make deviled egg. Now that I’ve tried this one, I can honestly say that I prefer my eggs in salad format (egg salad sandwich being my all time favorite sandwich). But, if I have to devil eggs, these are suitable, if a bit bland. I might add a dash of Tabasco next time.

Deviled eggs on a plate

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Here Piggy Piggy

Continuing my appetizers for dinner mood, I decided to try my hand at the king of all finger foods—pigs in a blanket. I don’t remember ever having these as a child. I think my mom was probably too afraid of the choking hazard a blanketed pig posed to my style of eating (inhale anything that seemed like junk food). By the time I could safely eat these delightful little morsels, I was old enough to fully appreciate the full-blown hot dog. (And, yes, I just realized how kinda dirty it is to put the words blown and hot dog next to each other… so, I’m with the dirty birdies reading this.)

I found this recipe on the Food Network web site so it’s a little bit more highbrow than just wrapping mini weenies in flaky crust. (Yeah, that’s right. I called pigs in a blanket highbrow. I know I’m slipping. Call it depression, call it motherhood. But I’m tired.)

Neely’s Pigs in a Blanket with Tangy Dipping Sauce

  • 1 (8 oz) can original crescent dough
  • ¼ C Dijon mustard
  • 20 mini hot dogs or cocktail franks
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Poppy seeds or sesame seeds (I used sesame seeds.)

For the dipping sauce:

  • ½ C sour cream
  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • 3 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T whole grain mustard

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut each triangle of crescent roll dough into thirds lengthwise, making three small strips from each roll. Brush the dough strips lightly with Dijon mustard. Put the mini hot dogs on one end of the dough and roll up.

Arrange them, seam side down, on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

While they’re baking, let’s make the sauce. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. (Can be made a day ahead.)

Serve the pigs in a blanket warm.

Results

Really, really good. I am ashamed to admit it, but I like pigs in a blanket. This was just a bunch of yum.

Pigs in a Blanket

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Mermaids Monday

I’ve been having a Mermaids moment lately. Well, let’s be honest. I’ve been having a Mermaids month. Of what, pray tell, am I speaking? It’s the moment in time when you realize that you’ve actually been cooking like Cher in Mermaids. I know, not a very good movie to be referencing, but it kind of sticks with you, right? Oh, you haven’t seen it? Or, at least, not recently? Have no idea what I’m blathering on about?

Fine. I guess I have to do all the heavy lifting in this relationship. Cher starred as a single mother in the 1950s or 1960s. Her daughters were played by Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci back when they were young, dark haired, and not at all having troubles with their careers. Anyway, Cher’s character would only ever make finger food for dinner. That’s it. Just canapés, things on sticks, and chips with dips. I’ve been kind of doing that lately. And, even better, they haven’t been anything terribly creative. We’re talking the Kraft web site here… nothing fancy.

That’s right, I took a month off from blogging to bring you carrot pinwheels from kraft.com. (February in the Midwest just depresses the hell out of me.)

Carrot Pinwheels

  • 4 flour tortillas (8″)
  • 6 T chive and onion cream cheese (although I’ve used regular cream cheese)
  • 4 carrots, finely shredded (about 1 C… I discourage buying the pre-shredded variety as they are a bit too fat and long to make a decent roll)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

Spread tortillas with cream cheese. Top with vegetables. Roll the tortillas tightly; wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Unwrap roll-ups; cut each into six pieces just before serving.

Results

You’ll really only get four or five pieces per wrap, depending upon how thin you slice them. (If you want pretty rolls, you’ll have to snip off the rounded edges of the tortillas. So, that limits what you can serve. Or, instead of 8″ tortillas, opt for the large 10″ variety to get more out of each roll.)

Carrot pinwheels on a plate

Obviously, I doubled the recipe.

And, that’s it. Easy as wrap! They’re good for appetizers or if you have a finicky toddler at home. I’m not going to oversell it because it’s just a wrap, after all.

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Dip, Baby, Dip

Huzzah for autumn! Bring on the wool and tweed. Welcome to anything infused with pumpkin. Oh, the pheasant, the duck, the other random game birds. But most importantly, welcome the fall cocktail party with its earthy drinks mixed with sage.

And, I have two of the quickest dips for that impromptu party. They can both be served with crusty French bread or crackers and each take about 10 minutes to prepare if you have a food processor. They both come from the Cook’s Encyclopedia series that I so love… Vegetarian Cooking and 30-Minute Cooking, respectively.

Potted Stilton with Herbs

The recipe calls for the cheese to be served in individual bowls, but I’ve found putting the dip in one bowl and making sure it’s at room temperature before serving works just fine. Serves 8

  • 8 oz Stilton or other blue cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 T port (dark rum will do if you’re not into dessert wines)
  • 1 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 T snipped fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ C finely chopped walnuts
  • Salt and pepper

Put the Stilton, cream cheese, and port in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and then season with salt and pepper.

Spoon into bowl and level the top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm. When ready to serve, bring out of fridge and sprinkle with chives.

Results

That’s it. Could it get any easier? I usually serve it with a cheese spreader as it’s not really a dipping dip, but rather a spreading dip.

Stilton and Herb Dip

Smoked Mackerel and Apple Dip

Serves 6-8

  • 12 oz smoked mackerel, skinned and boned
  • 1 soft eating apple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • ⅔ C fromage frais (I’ve swapped out cream cheese or Neufchâtel when I’m too lazy to hunt down fromage frais.)
  • Pinch of curry powder (I use sweet rather than hot.)
  • Salt and pepper

As a note, smoked mackerel is really easy to skin… just pull. Before you continue, just take your fingers and kind of mush the mackerel. You’ll be able to find any errant bones. Now, on to the recipe.

Place the smoked mackerel in a food processor with the apple, cheese, and seasonings.

Blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is very smooth. Check the seasonings and transfer to a small serving dish.

Results

Smoked mackerel dip

Done. See? Completely easy. If you want to go all out, this recipe tastes pretty great with curry toasts or chips. (You know, Pringles used to make an absolutely addictive curry-flavored chip. My heart has not been whole since they stopped making them.)

Anyway, 20 minutes and you have two dips with happy autumnal flavors. Now, kick back and enjoy those cocktails.

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