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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Quick and good appetizers

Faced with a potluck supper the other night, I leafed through a pile of recipes I wanted to try and came to this simple idea: spread hummus on a plate (use on small container, about 8 oz.) and cover with diced plum tomato, red onion, cuke (seeded), and feta cheese. I'm not a fan of flavored hummus--I prefer Cedar's Original, won't use the garlic--too garlicky, and avoid the artichoke-olive like the plague. I don't eat olives. Cental Market was out of original in the size I wanted, so I tried tomato-basil. Really good. I put it in a star-shaped small plate, so it was showy--and had very little to bring home.
Zucchini oven chips are a bit more trouble but worth it--mix 1/4 c. dry breadcrumbs, 1/4 c grated Parmesan (fresh, not the stuff in a green cardboard tube), a pinch each of salt, garlic powder, and fresh ground black pepper. Slice two zucchini, dip in milk, and then in the cheese/crumb mixture. Spray an ovenproof rack and put it over a cooksheet; lay zucchini slices on the rack and bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Keep a close eye for the last few minutes--they turn brown and crisp and can go from brown to black quickly. Look for this at,,10000001087041,00.html.
And finally, from Pinterest, here's the quickest salsa ever: Put all this in a blender and whirl away:
2 c. coarsely choped, rinsed, husked tomatillos (no, you don't have to cook them)
1 jalopeno (or 1 can chopped--my preference, because I'm a wimp about peppers)
2 large avocados, peeled, halved, pitted, and diced
One large slice white onion or to taste
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Supper at my house tonight was zucchini chips (above), tomato cheddar pie, deviled eggs, and a make-ahead salad. I thought the idea of a tomato/cheddar pie sounded great, but when I read the instructions I realized I'd better make it yesterday, which I did. It was delicious but so rich that I couldn't eat much--and it was a lot of work. A biscuit-like crust that was hard to work with, a filling that alternated layers of tomato, a mayo-based sauce, and cheddar with just a bit of parmesan. My guests loved it, and the husband went home with a huge piece that he said he'd eat tomorrow. I still like the idea but think I'll look for other recipes. I have one in my file that calls for a ready-made crust. I'm not very good at pie crusts, but I can do an ordinary one. This biscuit-like one had the stickiest dough ever--next time I'd freeze it or chill a lot longer, and I'd dust it with flour before rolling it between sheets of waxed paper. No wonder the recipe said peel off carefully--half the dough went with the paper.  And I think that buttermilk based dough was one thing that made the pie so rich.  So it was a nicely conceived summer menu, my guests liked it, but I wasn't quite satisfied. Will try again.

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