Tag Archives: appetizer

Cevapi with Quick Pickled Onions

Recently, my office just did something we hadn’t done in three years–have a potluck lunch together.

Because the World Cup was on, we made that our theme. We wrote out the names of the 24 countries that made the cut on slips of paper and then passed around a bowl for people to choose a slip from. My slip read “Serbia” and I knew immediately that I would make a version of cevapi, their spiced meat sausages.

I read lots of recipes, and settled on the flavour profile of this one. I used beef and lamb, with a ratio of about 2:1 beef to lamb. However, I did not add mint, onion, eggs, bread or water to the mix. I did add chopped parsley, lots of freshly ground black pepper, lots of chopped fresh garlic, salt and dried oregano, cumin and coriander. I also added some baking soda, which showed up in several recipes I read, like these ones. I made a large batch of the meat mixture and used about half of it for the potluck, storing the rest of it the freezer.

I don’t have a barbecue, so I baked them in the oven for half an hour at 350 C with a sheet of parchment paper under them, and they turned out quite nicely.

I made these quick pickled onions to go with them. I followed the recipe, except I used sugar as the sweetener and heated the liquid in the microwave.

Both the sausages and the onions turned out well and they went beautifully together. The baking soda gives them a springy texture and helps them hold together. I made up the rest of the mixture and ate those with tzatziki and the onions. Absolutely delicious.

These would work well as an appetizer or a main meal. I love the idea of having some of these handy in the freezer. I will definitely be making these again soon.

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Buffalo Chicken Dip

It occurred to me today that one of my guiding principles in the kitchen may simply be finding new ways to eat melted cheese.

Gluten-free living means eating far fewer sandwiches and more things that are free form, like dips.

I happened to have leftover buffalo wing sauce so, in the interests of using up leftovers, I made this dip. I sliced up four green onions, gently cooked two large chicken breasts in the microwave, and grated about two cups of old cheddar. I mixed a package of cream cheese with the leftover buffalo wing sauce, and added in the onions, shredded chicken and half the cheese. I put it all in a pie plate, sprinkled the rest of the cheese on top, and put in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

As predicted, it was incredibly cheesy. And good. You can vary the heat by choosing how much hot sauce to add. My version had gratuitous butter, in the name of using up leftovers. This made it a bit richer than necessary, but it was still very tasty.

If we ever have potlucks again, this would be a good dish to take. And the heated up leftovers will make an awesome addition to an egg sandwich tomorrow morning.

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Kofta Kebabs

Another delicious meal! I made kofta kebabs earlier this week and they tasted amazing. Here they are paired with Greek potatoes (cooked slowly in a bath of broth, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano) and store-bought dips—tzatziki and baba ganoush. What a feast!

The kebabs were easy to make. I used half ground beef and half ground lamb, plus salt and pepper. I added some finely chopped parsley and finely chopped onion. The onion was supposed to be grated, but I wasn’t in my own kitchen and had no grater, so I just chopped it as finely as I could. I think grated onion would give a better texture, but the flavour was still fantastic. I kept the flavourings simple this time–many kebab recipes also include cumin, coriander and other spices in addition to the black pepper. And instead of bread crumbs, I added a bunch of potato starch to help bind the meat mixture together.

We cooked them on skewers on a barbecue and had enough leftovers for a few more meals. They were pretty fast to put together, and I imagine they would still be pretty delicious cooked in the oven.

There are still a few left in the fridge. Maybe that’s what I’ll have for breakfast today…

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Breakfast Nachos!

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I had a hectic schedule this week, where food was often a necessary afterthought. It was a pleasure to finally have a little time to think up a delicious breakfast. This is nachos with old cheddar, baked in the oven until crispy, doused generously with tomatillo salsa and dotted with sour cream.

Some people have a bowl of cereal topped with fruit to start the day. How is this that different? Corn, dairy and fruit… It’s practically the same thing.

While that may be debatable, what is definitely true is that this was a tasty treat and a very welcome meal.

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Feta Fries

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Here is a fast and delicious side dishfeta fries. Bake up some fries so they are nice and crispy, and then toss them with some crumbled feta and any other flavourings you like. This batch has oregano, for a Greek flair.

Also note the other sides in the back. There’s mushrooms fried with butter and garlic. And there’s grape tomato salad with fresh basil and balsamic dressing. We had these, along with caramelized onions, with burgers as a way to kick off the summer barbecue season. All simple to make, and all really tasty. Let the barbecues begin!

UPDATE: We have found, through extensive scientific research, that the best feta fries are ones where the feta is crumbled into small pieces, the fries are well salted and dusted with seasonings after baking, and the dressed fries are put back into a hot oven for a few more minutes. We toss ours in a metal bowl and throw it in, directly on the rack. The extra time in the oven helps the feta melt a bit and stick to the fries better.

 

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Spicy Nachos

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I just made this outrageously delicious version of nachos.

I picked up a jar of Huy Fong chili garlic sauce this morning and was mulling over how to use it. Then, a craving for nachos struck. The answer seemed obvious.

I used one can of refried beans, and mixed in a couple of spoons of the chili garlic sauce and one bunch of chopped green onions. I used the cheese I had, which was extra old cheddar.

The chili sauce gave the beans a nice kick and the green onions added a nice freshness. The extra old cheddar went really well with the spiciness, too. And, luckily, I had some sour cream on hand to help tone down the spice a bit. (Full disclosure: I always have sour cream on hand.)

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It was a great combo. I am looking forward to eating the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow, and I will definitely be making these again.

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Scallops and Bacon and Garlic! Oh My!

My niece is brilliant. She came up with an incredibly delicious idea this week. As part of a meal, we had bacon-wrapped scallops. But they were scallops with double plus bacon, really. First, she fried a slice of bacon for each scallop. Then, she cooked the scallops gently in bacon fat. Next, I fried chopped garlic in bacon fat—I chopped five large cloves for 10 scallops. She assembled them, wrapping each scallop in bacon and carefully distributing the garlic over the scallops. This photo does not do them justice at all.* The result was pure bliss.

*(I guess that means we will be forced to make them again so I can get a better photo…)

Scallops and Bacon and Garlic! Oh My!

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