I’ve had many comments from readers who thought the idea of knowing how to prepare one easy appetizer really well was a great idea. It’s that time of year when we’re invited out and it’s nice to take something along to share. So, I sat out to make a list for us with the rule being that I can’t link to a recipe. Rather if it’s truly simple, I can explain it in a few words and you can replicate it.
1. blue cheese and figs – Mentioned in an earlier post as my old standby. Slice a baguette lengthwise. Brush both sides with olive oil. Lay sliced blue cheese, sliced figs and basil on one half. Put them back together. Wrap the loaf in foil and warm at 300.
2. cheese board – Although I’ve claimed the first one as my regular, I actually do more cheese boards than anything. Select three different varieties of good local cheese. Go for three that are visually different. Unwrap them and put them on a board with a smattering of fresh fruit such as grapes or berries.
3. cherry tomatoes with pesto – from Hannah, the Wayfaring Chocolatier, a great suggestion. Hollow out cherry tomatoes. Fill them with a good pesto. Serve.
4. deviled eggs – Grandad’s favorite. Boil 8 eggs. Meanwhile mix together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbs mustard, 1 Tbs vinegar, some diced shallot, and a few dashes hot sauce. (I also like horseradish) Peel eggs, and halve lengthwise. Remove yolks and mix with mayo mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Mound yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle with paprika and refrigerate.
5. hummus – This is another standby. Put beans, tahini, a couple cloves of garlic, olive oil and perhaps some parsley into the blender. Done. Be creative and use everything from black beans to garbanzo to tepiary. At Thanksgiving I used parsnips for a delightful result.
6. quesadillas – Slice or grate some cheese. Place it between two tortillas. Warm it in a pan with a bit of butter. Use corn or flour and try a variety of cheeses. Serve with fresh salsa that you dreamt up or purchased locally.
7. guacamole - Mash the meat of 3 avocados with the juice of a lime. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp cayenne. Add 2 chopped roma tomatoes, 1/2 onion chopped, 1 minced garlic clove and chopped cilantro to taste. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.
8. olives – We are fortunate to have six olive trees but this is not about curing them. Buy some but buy a variety. Stuff them with almonds or blue cheese or chili peppers and service. I’ll post later on about olive trees.
9. salmon spread – have left over salmon and some cream cheese. Spin it in the processor and serve with bagel chips or crusty bread. Will work with other fish equally well.
10. roasted garlic – preheat oven to 375. Using a sharp knife, slice 1/2-inch off of the pointed end of a garlic bulb so that the individual cloves of garlic show. Pour 1/2 tsp olive oil over the top and wait 2 minutes for it to sink in. Repeat. Place on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Bake approx. 50 minutes.
There are so many other simple fruit and vegetable trays with tasty dips. What’s your favorite? Add it in the comments.