Tag Archives: party

Beet Hummus

beet-hummus

You may have seen beet hummus before – that dip that transcends all dips, the upstager on the party table, flamboyantly fuscia in color, with FIESTA written all over it. Yep, that would be the beet hummus. Sure, the name is rather frumpy, but it makes up for any nomenclatural dowdiness with its captivating vibrance and subtle sweetness tinged with citrus and spice. In this recipe, I match the powerful visuals with bold flavors, and spike the hummus with Sriracha and lime, which stand up well to the earthy backdrop of the beets and round out the flavors.

beet-hummus-tastefood

Beet Hummus

This dip is a looker, it tastes great, and it’s healthy, too. Serve it with a kaleidoscope of cruditees for dipping, such as carrots, watermelon radishes, and cucumber wedges. Eating your daily dose of veggies never tasted this good.

Makes about 2 cups

2 to 3 medium red beets, about 12 ounces, roasted until tender, skin removed
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or half lemon/half lime)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process to blend. Add more oil to your desired consistency (it should not be soupy) and taste for seasoning.
2. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with finely grated lemon zest, chopped mint, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita and cruditees.

Cheddar and Horseradish Potato Poppers

potato poppers tastefood

I was tempted to give you a recipe for a deflated cheese soufflé for the upcoming Superbowl, but decided to rise above deflategate and make these little poppers instead. Twice baked mini-potato poppers are a great appetizer to enjoy while watching the big football game. While they are a little time consuming to make, they can easily be prepared in advance then popped into the oven at the last minute.

Cheddar and Horseradish Potato Poppers

Something tells me that crispy bacon bits would be a great extra addition to the filling…. just saying. If you agree, then consider mixing a small handful of rendered bacon bits into the potato filling, or sprinkle on top in place of the thyme.

Makes 20; serves 4 to 6

20 round small potatoes, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup sour cream or whole milk Greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely grated Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 to 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh horseradish
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Fresh thyme leaves

Heat the oven to 425°F.
Trim the potatoes: Slice a small tip off of each potato to create a flat bottom for the potatoes to stand without rolling or tilting. Slice about 1/4 off of the tops and discard the tops. Place the potatoes in a bowl with the oil and toss to coat. Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut-side down. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.
Using a teaspoon, scoop out the centers of the potatoes without piercing the bottoms. Place the potato flesh, garlic, sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter, horseradish, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Using a fork, mash until well combined. Carefully spoon the filling back into the potato shells, mounding the stuffing. Arrange the potatoes, stuffed-side up, on a baking sheet. (The potatoes may be prepared up to 2 hours in advance to this point. Cover and refrigerate, then let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before continuing).
Sprinkle the Parmigiano over the potatoes, then transfer the potatoes to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and golden, about 2 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with thyme.

Sizzling Fourth of July Grill Menu

We are wilting under the shroud of a spectacular heat wave here in the Bay area. Stifled by the temperature, nothing is moving – even the leaves are too warm to rustle. It’s so hot right now, it’s impossible to cook. In fact it’s so hot right now, it’s impossible to even write about cooking. So, let me treat you to a photo round up of a sensational summer grill menu in preparation for the fourth of July. Keep cool.

Blackberry Spritzer tfBlackberry Spritzer and Mojitos

gazpachBeat the Heat Chunky Gazpacho

fattoush salad tastefoodFattoush Salad

ribsSummer Solstice BBQ Baby Back Ribs

marinated chicken skewers tfGrilled Chicken Skewers with Sriracha Marinade

quinoa kale slaw tfRed Quinoa and Kale Slaw

apricot bruleeCaramelized Apricots on the Grill with Yogurt and Honey

Ring in the New Year with these Party Appetizer and Menu Ideas

The New Year is approaching, and the holiday festivities continue. During this busy time it’s fun and easy to get caught up in socializing, so it’s important to have a few tricks up our sleeve for entertaining, drop-in visitors or an impromptu get-together. Let this blog do some of the work for you. Here are a few menu ideas for holiday bites and appetizers to have on hand or to serve for a party. Meanwhile, savor the moment and enjoy some family time, take a walk in the forest or open that new book  you got from Santa.  Best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year!

Food52 – The Cookbook

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Last weekend I was delighted to host a book launch party for Amanda Hesser, Merrill Stubbs and 20 Bay area members of the recipe site Food52.  Amanda and Merrill, the co-founders Food52, were in the Bay area promoting the newly released Food52 Cookbook –  a compilation of a year’s worth of winning recipes. Food52 “grew out of an insight that many of the best recipes come from home cooks.” Each week a contest is announced and entries submitted from the F52 community. Amanda, Merrill and the F52 editors whittle the entries down to 2 selections which are then voted on by the entire community. The winning recipe earns a spot in the cookbook. I am more than honored that 4 of my recipes are in the first cookbook.

Aside from publishing recipes, Food52 has evolved into an active and thriving online and offline community, sharing recipes, news, tips and advice while creating long lasting friendships bound together by a love for food and cooking. So, when Amanda and Merrill arrived in San Francisco on their book tour, it was natural that we would gather the Bay area F52 community and enjoy a lunch together. Potluck, of course.


Homemade charcuterie garnished with lots of cheese

Here’s a riddle:
What happens when you gather 20 passionate foodies for a potluck party?
Answer: You are treated to an amazing array of food.

Chicken Pesto Skewers
by Becky (KitchenSolo) – photo by Andrew Gaber

Sausage and Kale Tart – winning recipe by Karen (My Pantry Shelf)
Prepared by Tiffany (Ms. T) – Photo by Andrew Gaber

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The only downside to hosting a party like this is I was so busy I didn’t have a moment to take any pictures. Andrew Baber kindly shared this photo of Amanda and Merrill chatting with Shelly Peppel (Food52 News) and Beverly Best. Thanks, Andrew!

Tasting Tequila

Ever since we moved to California, I have become aware of the wide, wide world of tequila.  When we moved from Europe in 2006, we were advised not to pack any liquids in our container, due to customs restrictions and security.  If even a tiny bottle of olive oil came up on the radar screen, we ran the risk of having our container flagged, opened, searched and re-packed – all at our own expense.  So, in September of 2006, Christmas came early in Copenhagen as we gave all of our liquid items to our kind friends who offered to use and consume them for us.  This included household products, lotions, cleansers,  and cooking ingredients.  This also included our wine cellar and liquor cabinet.

Once arrived and installed in our new home in Northern California, we found ourselves in a period of unfurnished limbo while our container slowly took the scenic route across the Atlantic. We reconciled ourselves to waiting for the sofa, but decided no time would be lost re-stocking a wine cellar and liquor cabinet.  After all, if we had to eat on the floor, we might as well enjoy the experience with a bottle of Russian River Cabernet.

Food 013 Slowly the spirits followed, especially when I would need a Cognac or Cointreau for cooking or baking. And, one warm day when we were grilling we decided to make margaritas, so I headed to the liquor store to get a bottle of tequila.  Now, in Europe we have a choice of tequila:  It’s either Jose Cuervo White or Jose Cuervo Gold.  Expecting the same selection, nothing prepared me for the tequila shelf in the store.  In fact it wasn’t a shelf – it was a department.  There must have been over 30 tequilas to choose from, starting under $20 a bottle and topping off near $100.  I was so overwhelmed, I had to leave the store to go home and think about it, but not before meekly taking a bottle of Jose Cuervo Gold just so we could make our margaritas.

When we threw a party a few months later, I knew I had to go back. I was calm about providing food for 30 people, and I was collected about the decor and ambience I had created, but I was a nervous wreck about the tequila.  We had to have a good one!  Everyone likes tequila here!  (Really, they do – or is it just our friends?)  Anyway, we spent a pretty penny on a bottle of Patron (should we get gold or silver and what’s the difference anyway?)  But only the best for our friends, and the bottle was actually quite beautiful.  In fact, so beautiful that I plan on keeping it even when it’s empty.  Considering what it cost, I’m keeping something.

And, tonight we are going to a tequila tasting.  Yes, they exist here.  I think everyone at the event, except my husband and I, will have a pretty good idea of what they are tasting and look forward to it as a social event.  I actually hope to learn something – don’t laugh; this should be interesting.  And, by the way, how exactly do you “taste” tequila?  Are you supposed to spit it out after you have swirled it around your mouth?  Do you daintily sip it or throw the whole lot down your throat?  Do you really suck on a lime? And when do you acknowledge the fact that once you have tasted one or two, you are well on your way to very merrily enjoying any and all of them?  Luckily, there will be food, and I have been asked to bring a cheese platter.  This is something I enjoy creating, and I am grateful to support the nourishment aspect of this party.  Something tells me we will need it.