Archive for ‘Appetizer’

May 16, 2012

The BEST guacamole

Benjamin Stanley

Serves: 6

  • 6 avocados
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • Southwestern Chipotle Ms. Dash
  • Salt and pepper
  • LIME and/or lemon
  • Olive oil

Serves: 6-10

(If you wanna go “nutritional serving size,” figure about half – to a quarter an avocado per person. If you wanna go “this shit is delicious and we’re having a party”, go with full avo per person or more. That being said, it doesnt keep real well, so take that into consideration.)

Start with your avocados. Kinda squishy and just the right color green. Cut out any ugly spots.

Next are the onions and peppers. Now, if I’m making guac with 6 avocados, I’ll use about half a red bell pepper and half an onion. give or take.

Dice the onion and pepper up, and sautee them in a pan with a little olive oil. I add in a little Southwestern Chipotle Ms Dash ( I forget the exact name, I always just call it “Senorita Dash”). I’ve thought about adding corn into this medley, but have yet to act on it.

While all that is sautee-ing, get to mashing. Just take a fork (or adequate mashing tool) and just smush it all up together. Once pretty well mashed, i like to add a good bit of sea salt and a lilttle bit of cracked pepper, and lately I’ve been adding Season-All to the mix. Even more important is Lime. Squeeze a lime in there, maybe a little lemon if you like, but lime is the superior flavor. Then I pour in the sauteed veggies and mix them into the guac. From here on out it’s basically just taste and adjust, taste and adjust. Its better too be too salty rather than too pepper-y. Maybe more lime, maybe not, just kinda tweak it to how you’re feeling about it.

It is best served warm – but if you must wait to consume, put it all in your bowl/serving dish/whatever, and squeeze more lemon/lime all over the top of it. this will help prevent it from browning – which i dont think effects the taste, it just starts to look gnarly and inedible. I also like to make a little like 1/4 indent in the top of the guac bowl and pour a little salsa in it.

*Chef’s note: This is by far my favorite guacamole. And no, I am not biased because it is my brother’s recipe. He just happens to be a guac god. This is very easy to make, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about eating it. I hope you enjoyed his instruction as much as I did :) Also, my favorite way to peel the avocado is not to peel it. Just slide your knife around the whole avocado until it splits into two, then remove the pit, and the green flesh will slide out like butta with a spoon. Also, notice how there’s no nasty cilantro in this guac? I love my brother.

April 2, 2012

Bacon-wrapped pineapple shrimp

Rachael Ray

Makes: 4 appetizer servings

  • 12 jumbo shrimp, deveined
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple cut into bite sized chunks or 1 (14-ounce) can pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
  • 6 slices center-cut bacon, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 12 wooden toothpicks

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Holding a shrimp, nest a chunk of pineapple in the natural curve of the shrimp then wrap bacon around the shrimp and pineapple and secure with a wooden toothpick. Wrap and secure all 12 shrimp then add to the hot pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until bacon is crisp and shrimp are opaque and firm.

*Chef’s note: Tasty, tasty, tasty. I used a whole 1.5 pounds of medium shrimp, 7 or so pieces of low sodium bacon and fresh pineapple chopped in small pieces. It was a bit tough to assemble these with smaller shrimp and short bacon, but I decided the bacon didn’t need to go all the way around; as long as everything was in one bite, who cares?! I also marinated the shrimp for about 20 minutes in Trader Joe’s “Soyaki” sauce first, which I definitely recommend, as I think it completed the dish. After reading negative reviews, I decided to precook the bacon a bit first in a skillet (until cooked a bit but still pliable), and then I finished the whole thing in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. Easy peasy, no flipping involved! When I ran out of bacon I just used the marinated shrimp and pineapple, then just the marinated shrimp. All tasty stuff. [Another lovely plate by Ms. Kay, by the way.]
January 1, 2012

Handy-pasto antipasto pizza

Rachael Ray

Makes: 6 appetizer servings

  • 1 tube store-bought prepared pizza dough
  • 2 cloves grated or finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cups shredded provolone cheese
  • A couple handfuls Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • A pinch red pepper flakes
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 1 small heart romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 8 slices Genoa salami, chopped
  • 2 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped banana pepper rings or chopped hot peppers of any kind
  • 1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts or marinated mushrooms
  • A handful pitted green or black good quality olives, coarsely chopped

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Press dough onto baking sheet and top with garlic, cheeses, and pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and bake 15 to 18 minutes. Top the cooked pizza with lettuce, salami, roasted peppers, hot peppers, artichokes or mushrooms and olives, cut into squares and serve.

*Chef’s note: Tasty! A nice switch from typical pizza. This serves 3 people as a meal. Sliced provolone works fine. I left off the roasted red peppers and banana pepper rings (but tossed the lettuce in a little olive oil and red wine vinegar), used the artichokes instead of mushrooms and used black olives. You can pretty much throw whatever you like on top, but don’t skimp on the Parm. and garlic–they make the pizza!

July 4, 2011

Cold crab dip

Paula Deen

Serves: 12-15

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh lump crab meat, picked free of shell

In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, chives, parslet, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, stirring until smooth. Gently fold in crab meat. Cover and chill up to 3 days. Serve with pita chips.

*Chef’s note: I halved the recipe, and it still probably could have fed a dozen people as an appetizer. I also used 12 ounces crab (instead of the 8 it should have been halved), and it still was way too creamy for me. My family enjoyed it, but it kind of weirded me out to the point I didn’t want to eat any more. The flavor was all right, but too much cream cheese for me.