Tags: appetizer, cookbook review, Food, Fried pickles, On A Stick cookbook, Recipe
What’s your favorite thing to eat on a stick?
I think mine has always been corn dogs, but after reading through the newest addition to my cookbook collection, corn dog status has officially become threatened. Let’s take a small peek into Matt Armendariz’s first cookbook On a Stick. I don’t think I need to tell anyone that Matt is a rock star blogger, a professional food photographer and now a published cookbook author.
Matt’s photo from On a Stick cookbook. (I was given permission from the publisher to print this photo.)
My photo and the recipe I made from On a Stick cookbook.
Note to self: find a blue weathered piece of wood.
I’m killing three pigs with one bird in this post. (Yes, I’ve been playing way too many games of Angry Birds on my I-Phone).
- Fried pickles has been on my list of things to make for a long time.
- A couple of months ago I uncharacteristically wildly waved my hand to receive a free copy of Matt Armendariz, or Matt Bites, new cookbook. As a “condition” of receiving the cookbook they asked me to talk about it on my blog. I am gladly obliging.
- This gives me the opportunity to talk about a great local product; Tru Kosher Dill Pickles. And they’re jarred right here in my backyard in Littleton, CO.
Fried Pickles With Ranch Dressing: I must say, I was taken with this tasty dish. This is the first time I’ve had them and I loved the warm, crunchy, flavor packed appetizer. Truly a treat for the palate. Matt’s recipe in the book called for pairing sweet gherkins with cocktail onions and dill pickle chips. The trio is then skewered on a stick for great little presentation. For the dipping sauce, I used a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. It’s been years since I’ve bought it and I had forgotten how good it is.
Fried Pickles With Ranch Dressing, On a Stick Cookbook
- 8 wooden cocktail picks
- 1 qt. vegetable oil
- 1/3 C. all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 T. buttermilk
- 1 T. dill, minced
- 1-1/2 C. seasoned bread crumbs
- 8 gherkins
- 8 cocktail onions
- 8 dill pickle chips (I used sliced Tru Kosher Dill Pickles)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 C. store-bought ranch dressing
Preheat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.
Mix flour and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, and dill. Place bread crumbs in a second shallow bowl.
Thread 1 gherkin, 1 cocktail onion, and 1 pickle chip on each cocktail pick. Once oil reached 350 degrees F., toss skewers in flour mixture, shaking off excess; dip in egg and then dredge in bread crumbs until fully coated.
Drop skewers gently into oil and fry 4 – 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Serve with ranch dressing.
On a Stick cookbook. I’m glad I wildly waved that hand to receive a copy of this book. Chock full of fun recipes and great photos, it’s a welcome addition to my collection. With a line of foods that you’d expect to serve on a stick, like corn dogs and satays, he also throws us some curves with fun ideas for deep-fried mac and cheese, pizza skewers and potato chips on a stick. And are you ready for this one…Spaghetti and Meatballs on a stick. Also offered is an extensive dessert section with cinnamon rolls on a stick and deep-fried candy bars. FUN stuff folks. And of course, each recipe partners with a beautiful photo to entice you into hunger.
I’ve already got several recipes bookmarked and look forward to making many of these fun dishes. Thanks for a great cookbook Matt.
Tru Pickles. As I mentioned above, these pickles are bottled not literally in my backyard, but in Littleton, CO. That means I’ve got a “neighbor” turning out some delicious pickles. They say “You’ve never tasted a dill pickle like this”. They’re very good and packed to the gill with crazy good flavor and yes, I’ve never tasted a pickle like this. Grape leaves are packaged in each jar for crispness and a unique flavor experience. I love that they’re a local product, I love how crunchy they are, and they are the most flavorful pickle I’ve ever eaten. They are sold nationally, so take a look at their web-site, Tru Pickles to find out where you can pick up a jar.
So with all that said, whether it be a pickle or spaghetti, get out your skewers and eat something On A Stick.
Fried Pickles…They’re What’s for an Appetizer.
- One Year Ago: Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Italian Sweet Frying Peppers
- Two Years Ago: Tarragon Chicken
Tags: bruschetta, casual dining, Food, goat cheese, recipes, tapas
Love this recipe!!! Goat cheese smeared bread topped with sautéed shiitake mushrooms, briney capers and anchovies…provacative and packed full of flavor. And did I mention easy?
This was the next platter to find its way to the back deck for my Summer Tapas Dinner. Thanks to Greg and Katherine over at Rufous’ Food and Spirits Guide for sharing this wonderful idea. You’ve got to give this one a try. It’s one of those oh-for-pitty-sake good combos. It’s now in my database as a favorite. While you’re at their blog, take a look around. Tons of great recipes and really nice photography.
Before we get to the recipe let’s take a look at some of the water features in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s just short of a 2 1/2 hour drive northwest of our house. We are so fortunate to have such a jaw dropping, spectacular, pristine piece of our country in our back yard. We make a trip to RMNP at least once each summer and I’m always in awe of its grandeur.
Moose Pond. Our cabin was on this pond.
Nautical Neal, our pontoon boat ride on Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake
Heading under the bridge on our way from Shadow Mountain Lake to Grand Lake
Nancy and me, enjoying the ride.
View of Lake Irene from our picnic table, Milner Pass, Continental Divide, Rocky Mountain National Park
View of Grand Lake from our dinner on the porch at Grand Lake Lodge.
Mushrooms with Capers and Anchovies
- 4-6 shiitake mushrooms stems diced caps sliced thin
- 8-10 anchovy fillets minced (I used half that amount, 4 if I remember right)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp salted capers washed and chopped
- 2 tbsp dry vermouth
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Melt 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and saute mushrooms until browned. Add anchovies and garlic and cook until the fish liquifies. Add capers and parsley and cook on medium for a minute more. Add vermouth and deglaze pan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread slices covered in a layer of goat cheese.
Goat Cheese, Mushroom, Caper and Anchovie Bruschetta…It’s What’s for Tapas.
Tags: Appetizers, casual dinner on the patio, Food, recipes, Rocky Mountain National Park, tapas dinner
In Rocky Mountain National Park
Our rock and roll loving, wine drinking, bird watching friends Nancy and Neal (California) and Thomas (Ohio) descended on Colorado last week. A couple of days spent in Denver included a lovely dinner at Ja Ja’s a great little French Bistro, and a tapas-style dinner on our back deck the next evening. Throw in a week-long trip to the high country where we stayed at a rustic cabin at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park on a sleepy little mountain lake, complete with moose, marmot, mink, otter, chipmunk, chickoree, ptarmigan, elk, deer, bats and miscellaneous riff-raff (racoon), and you’ve got a fabulous little vacation. “Paradise” as one of us coined it.
The 10-day extravaganza included many memorable culinary moments:
- Foie gras at Ja Ja’s French Bistro in Littleton.
- Elk medallions at The Rapids Lodge.
- An evening meal on the porch at Grand Lake Lodge complete with a rainbow over the lake and spectacular views of craggy mountain peaks.
- A grilled chicken dinner on the back deck of our cabin.
- Huevos rancheros and a mouth-watering cinnamon roll at The Sagebrush BBQ and Grill.
- Near fist fights over my spicy orange chocolate brownies.
- A picnic lunch at Lake Irene on Milner Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Yogurt and granola breakfasts on the back deck while watching hummingbirds buzz around our heads.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the pontoon boat trip on Grand Lake.
Of course it wasn’t all about food. Lots of hikes, visiting, scenic drives over cliff-hanging Trail Ridge Road, and for you birdwatchers, a hike out onto the tundra produced views of the elusive White-tailed Ptarmigan, one male and a female with three chicks. We topped the week off with a serene pontoon boat ride on Grand Lake with Nautical Neal at the helm.
With all that said, let’s take a look at my tapas meal here at the house. Our Colorado evenings have been so lovely that I opted for a casual meal on the back deck rather than stuff everyone around a dining table. I really enjoyed the mostly no-cook offerings with my new favorite discovery being a shiitake mushroom bruschetta dish that I found from a fellow food blogger. I’ll post that recipe tomorrow. Let’s take a look at the starters.
First up was platter of Amadeus cheese, fig jam, grapes and water crackers. Amadeus is a pasteurized cows’ milk cheese from Austria. It’s pale yellow, smooth, creamy, and rich in texture. It’s one of my favorites with fruit and crackers.
An idea from Vickie over at Part Three was a large plate of assorted skewers made a colorful and filling addition to our outdoor meal. Double stuffed garlic and jalapeno olives, dry salami and sun-dried tomatoes complimented traditional caprese skewers of cherry tomatoes, basil and small fresh mozzarella pearls. You can find these small mozzarella pearls at Costco, along with the double stuffed olives. I really liked how the flavors on this plate flowed. The briney olive and salty salami were complimented with the next bites of cool creamy mozzarella, the fresh basil and sweet tomato skewers.
Stay tuned over the next couple of days for the rest of the story. A couple of great recipes coming up that you’ll want to save for your next tapas style, appetizer party and some more photos of the trip.
Tapas…It’s What’s for Dinner on the Deck.
Tags: chile peppers, corn chips, Food, mexican dip, Recipe, snack, summer dip
Wow, has this ever been a slow culinary week around our house. I really can’t come up with anything very bloggable at all. One night was a quasi-interesting tomato and fresh mozzarella pizza with a crust that we could have used to drywall the unfinished basement. Another was a lack luster whole wheat spaghetti concoction which produced only a single comment of “leaves a funny taste in your mouth!” Another evening we found take out and dried out sushi on the table. It’s been sad folks.
So, just as our local news channels do during a slow news week, I’ve come up with a whimsical piece as filler until some breaking news comes along.
Once our Colorado produce starts coming in, it seems like my mind-set automatically shifts towards Mexican food. Fresh and simple with lively colors and exciting flavors. I just don’t think there’s anything that showcases our state better, especially when the chile roasters get fired up. The aroma is intoxicating.
Pico de Gallo…yup, even a monkey could make this one and that’s exactly what this monkey did. Twice this week, I’ve chopped up fresh Early Girl tomatoes from my garden, diced some sweet onions and jalapenos and sat on the couch with my Costco 55-gallon drum of organic corn chips and enjoyed some delicious fresh fare.
Here’s my pico recipe, nothing earth shattering, but you pico purists will notice I use sweet yellow onion as opposed to red onion. Let’s take a look.
My Pico de Gallo
2 diced tomatoes
1/2 C. diced sweet onion
1 diced jalapeno, seeded and deveined for us
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 Hatch green chile, roasted and skin removed, chopped
a sprinkle of dried Mexican oregano, or about a teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper and a smidge of sugar
Taste and adjust any ingredients and flavors.
Pico de Gallo and a 55-gallon drum of Costco Corn Chips…It’s What’s for a Summer Snack.
Tags: Food, onion rings, onions, recipes, side dish
Can I see a show of hands of how many of you LOVE onion rings?
Can I see a show of hands of how many of you make them on a regular basis?
That’s just what I thought.
I think I tried making them once about 20 years ago. With the mess involved both with the oil, the countertops and that stubborn batter that wouldn’t cling to the onions, I quickly decided they were best left to the experts and should only be ordered in restaurants.
Tags: Appetizers, Food, recipes, wine party
Last Fall, Bob came up with a great idea to get our wine-loving friends together once a month, at our house, to taste test a notable bottle of wine.
When this bunch gets together, and due to a series of incidents at a certain bed and breakfast back-yard gazebo in Oregon, laying down rules is a rule.
Simple. Bob picks out the wine, I provide an appetizer, Tom and Kathy and Dan and Teri trade off turns bringing another bottle of wine and an additional appetizer.
I don’t know why I don’t blog about it more. Maybe we’re just having too much fun to take photos?
I’d like to put a stop to that, so sit back and enjoy April’s event.
For this month’s featured selection we broke out a 2004 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape; It was a big rollicking wine featuring a lot of fruit, minerality and mouth-watering acidity. We all enjoyed this Southern Rhone perennial blockbuster immensely, only wishing we could break the rules and have about two more bottles.
Kathy and Tom had just been to Omaha to visit friends and apparently returned home with their luggage packed to the gills with gourmet foodie items. Really From Omaha?? Nebraska???
Take a look at this great little slate board with the cheese types written below each one. This was definitely an impressive lineup!
From back to front:
Hard to pick a favorite, but mine was the Morbier. You can click on the links to learn more about any of these cheeses.
A great assortment of cheese wouldn’t be complete without a classic array of crackers.
Kathy sliced up a soft baguette, topped it with Cambazola Blue Cheese and drizzled with some balsamic glaze. I couldn’t keep out of these things. Really nice flavors. The glaze was purchased in Omaha? Really?? Nebraska??? I hope I can find some in Denver, that’s a long drive.
My contribution was a recipe compliments of Stephanie over at Plain Chicken. Meatball Sliders. Frozen Italian-style meatballs, simmered in jarred marinara sauce and wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent Rolls with a slice of mozarella. Thanks Stephanie! These were incredibly good, easy to put together and a crowd pleaser. Click on the link for the recipe.
And of course, our Wine Time event wouldn’t be complete without Cheetos, a tradition Dan started at the very first event. Why do those darn things seem to pair so well with every single wine we’ve had???
Note to self: Remember to take photos of people too.
April Wine Time…Appetizers were for Dinner .
Tags: appetizer, Food, recipes, stuffed mushrooms
Stuffed Mushrooms. Always a wonderful treat and with so many recipe variations, any of these bite size offerings are delicious. We happen to think they make a wonderful side dish for steak and that’s exactly what I served for Sunday dinner.
I’ve talked ad nauseum about our wonderful local market who spoils us with fine offerings of seafood, the best aged beef in town, deli meats and cheeses, and gourmet take home dinners, my beloved Tony’s Market. Tony’s also spoils us with weekly emails offering a fabulous selection of mouth-watering recipes. Last week this stuffed mushroom recipe arrived and it was quickly added to my menu. It’s wonderful and actually the only stuffed mushroom recipe that I’ve permanently added to my recipe database.
I served these with Beef Tournedos With Mushroom Wine Sauce and twice baked potatoes. I must say this was a fabulous dinner. The tenderloin was cooked so perfectly, and topped with out of this world red wine reduction sauce, we’ll probably brag about the meal for years. Just one little blogging problem…except for the preparation of the mushrooms, no photos. Not even of the cooked mushrooms. With a meal that special, sometimes you just feel like digging in.
Let’s at least take a look at the stuffed mushrooms.
As Chef Mick instructed, I simply removed the stems, chopped and sautéed them in olive oil with green onions and then filled the mixture back into the mushrooms. I used crimini instead of white mushrooms because that’s what I had on hand.
I picked up this adorable little tube of very soft goat cheese that I spotted in Tony’s cheese section.
Placed a dollop of the cheese on top of sautéed stems and onions.
Then topped with a panko mixture. Last week on Food Network, I watched an Ina show where they ground panko bread crumbs before adding to meatloaf. I decided to copy this to make the crumb topping more manageable on the mushrooms, so spooned panko bread crumbs into my little food grinder, added some grated parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning and pulsed a few times to obtain desired smooth consistency.
These were extremely flavorful. The sautéed stems and onions made for a wonderful base and topped with the salty cheese and Italian toppings the package provided a creamy, savory flavor with a perfect crunchy topping. And with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette, these mushrooms are a real treat. Even though I didn’t follow the recipe exactly as written, thanks to Chef Mick for this wonderful and easy recipe. You’ll find his original recipe below.
Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms Balsamico
6-8 large white mushrooms (I used crimini)
1-2 tsp minced shallot (optional) (I used finely chopped green onion)
pinch of fine sea salt
1-2 tsp olive oil and/or butter
Tony’s Balsamic Vinaigrette, as needed
3 TBS Chèvre, plain or flavored (prefer Haystack herb or pepper) (I used goat cheese pictured above)
Tony’s Italian or Parma Panko breadcrumbs, or your favorite (I used plain panko, chopped in a grinder and pulsed with Italian seasoning and Parmesan)
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (optional)
For service: mixed spring greens – also great with Tony’s Marinara or Vodka Sauce
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wipe mushrooms clean with a wet towel, remove steps and chop. Combine stems with shallots and a pinch of salt, and then sauté with a scant drizzle of olive oil (or butter) until very soft.
Dip or brush mushroom caps with balsamic vinaigrette. Divide sautéed mushrooms between mushroom caps – do not overfill!
Stuff /top each mushroom with chèvre cheese (the amount you use really depends on the size of the mushrooms). Combine 2 TBS breadcrumbs with 1 TBS finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (if using) and sprinkle over each mushroom. Place on a sheet pan or jelly roll pan and drizzle or mist lightly with olive oil.
Roast on top rack of a preheated 425-degree oven for 5-8 minutes or until sizzling and cheese starts to melt. Broil if additional browning is desired. Serve over greens tossed with Balsamic dressing or with warm sauce. Serves 2
Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms Balsamico…It’s What’s for a Side Dish with Steak.
Tags: appetizer, Cooking, Food, recipes, salmon spread
I’m taking a big risk by publishing this photo. You see, my friend Vickie in Montana is as much of a dishaholic as me and as soon as she lays eyes on this little bowl with that adorable kitten peering over the side she’s going to flat-out sneak into my home and steal it. Well Vickie, be warned, we have a complex security system and two yappy little dogs that can bloody your ankles in a heartbeat. OK good…now that we’ve got that out of the way.
I’ll never purchase commercial smoked salmon spread again…ever. In the past, whenever I was feeling wealthy, I’d pick up a small tub of Whole Foods Smoked Salmon Spread. Always a treat and an indulgence. But thanks to Larry over at Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings, I can have my cake and eat it too with this delicious home-made salmon spread. It yielded twice the amount for less than half the cost.
I served this at our Super Bowl Party and upon first bite my friend Cauleen exclaimed, “This is delicious…is it Ina’s recipe?” I simply replied, “Actually no, it’s Larry’s“. In a blink of an eye, and no questions asked, Larry became one of those famous chef’s that are referred to on first name basis. Well, at least famous in our house…and on that day…and for probably 8 seconds. Let’s take a look.
With softened cream cheese, this comes together in a jif. And everyone who tried it at our party, took the time to comment on how good it was. Although Larry smoked his own salmon for this recipe, I just picked up a package of smoked salmon at the grocery store. Can you imagine how good it would be if you took the time to smoke your own?
Larry’s Smoked Salmon Spread:
8 oz smoked salmon
8 oz softened cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
2 tbsp finely diced onion
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 tbsp roughly chopped capers, drained but unrinsed
1 1/2 – 2 tsp dried dill weed
Mix all together, let set over night and adjust for flavor
I didn’t adjust much at all. Thanks to Larry for this great recipe.
Larry’s Home-made Smoked Salmon Spread…It’s What’s For A Party!
Tags: appetizer, Cheese ball recipe, Cooking, Food, Marinara Sauce and Cheese appetizer, Mon Ami Gabi appetizer, Recipe, Super Bowl Ideas
First the recipe. I got this from a coworker, Beth, who dined at the bistro-style restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi, at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. She ordered this appetizer off the menu, loved it so much that she begged, pleaded and threatened the server until he gave up the recipe. And speaking of Beth and before we get to this recipe, Beth Avedis is also an extremely talented singer and artist. Take a look at her website http://www.bethavedis.com/biography.html
I’ve served this twice now. Once on New Year’s Day over at Greg and Cauleen’s house, and the other night for our monthly gathering which we’ve named Wine Time. Both offerings turned out to be wildly popular. This photo was taken before it was baked and staged with a couple of Carr Water Crackers. I transported this dish to Cauleen’s and baked it there, then served with crackers lining the rim of the pasta bowl.
This photo is from the second time I prepared it. It’s been baked and as you can see, I’ve added a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper and served it with sliced french bread. I don’t know what kind of crackers the restaurant used, but I have to admit, I liked the offering of French bread better than the water crackers.
Beth’s Mon Ami Gabi Cheese and Marinara Appetizer
- 1 package herbed Boursin Cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 ounces peppered goat cheese
- Marinara sauce
Let the cheeses come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix all cheeses together and form into a ball. Slather the marinara sauce in an ovenproof shallow pasta bowl. Place the ball of cheese in the middle. Bake until bubbly. About twenty minutes. Serve hot with crackers or bread.
“Well you just KNOW my choice would be the Ghost Pepper BBQ sauce, right? I can imagine how scorching hot that is, I remember watching Adam Richman sweating bullets after eating something with Jolokia Bhuta in it.”
Congratulations Chris and I’ll get those sauces into your sticky hands as soon as I have your mailing address. Thanks to all who participated.
Beth’s Cheese And Marinara Appetizer…It’s What’s For Superbowl.