DomestiKatedLife

A Boston-Based Lifestyle Blog

Category Archives: Appetizers

Jalapeño Cheddar Spinach Dip. 

I’ve got a recipe for you today that’s a little bit cheesy, a little bit spicy, and is served in a crispy, carb-y, delicious bread bowl made from La Brea Bakery’s jalapeño cheddar bread. So you know, you’re welcome. The bread itself was the inspiration for the recipe, jalapeño and cheddar are a winning combination in my book! I used those flavors to update a classic baked spinach dip for a savory appetizer with a little bit of a kick. And if you’re not ready for a piping-hot dip just yet, you can refrigerate it and serve it cold too, I tested it both ways and they’re equally delicious. Recipe below!







Ingredients:

  • La Brea Bakery’s Jalapeño Cheddar Bread
  • 8 oz Cream cheese
  • 1 C Sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp Mayonaise
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 C Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 C Spinach (packed)
  • 1/2 C Scallions, plus extra for garnishing
  • Jalapeño
  • Carrot and celery sticks for serving

Recipe:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine Cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and cheddar cheese in a food processor and blend until fully combined. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
  • In the food processor, combine spinach, scallions and jalapeño (use between one half and one whole jalapeño, depending on your desired spice level). blend until fully combined and add to cream cheese mixture.
  • Fold together cream cheese and spinach mixtures to combine.
  • Using a bread knife, hollow out the top of the jalapeño cheddar loaf bread, saving the inside bread for dipping.
  • Fill the bread bowl with dip mixture and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until top of dip begins to turn a golden brown.
  • Garnish with extra scallions and jalapeños, and serve with carrot sticks, celery, and additional bread cubes.

Interested in trying out this jalapeño bread and more La Brea Bakery’s bread products? La Brea Bakery’s Breaking Bread Tour is coming to Boston September 19-20, visit BreakingBreadTour.com for more info and to find our about the tour stops.

Please note: this post was sponsored by La Brea Bakery, but all opinions, images, ideas, and recipes are my own. 

Stuffed Garlic Knots.

Come football play-off season the pressure is really on for me. I’m not talking about being nervous or worked up about the actual games, I’m talking about intensely brainstorming game-day snack ideas. While everyone else is preparing their picks for the big game, I’m busy concocting up ideas for what I plan to stuff my face with. And good news: I have a buttery, carb-y, pepperoni-stuffed plan, my friends! When I hit a mental block thinking about what to bring to a football viewing party last weekend my husband offered me some sage advice. He said: ‘you usually do well by taking something big and tasty and turning it into a bite sized snack’ – of course! So I shrunk down my favorite flavors in pizzas and garlic breads into a super easy Pepperoni-Stuffed Garlic Knot bite. The full recipe is below for all of your Superbowl Party planning needs!  2015/01/img_5973.jpgGarlic Knot 1Garlic Knot 2Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Ingredients

  • Store-bought pizza dough
  • Pepperoni
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 cup of parsley leaves
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Pull or cut 1″ round pieces of pizza dough and use your fingers to roll into a 1 to 2″ disc. Top the disc with a piece of pepperoni and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
  • Roll the sides of the dough over the pepperoni and cheese filling and pinch the dough closed to seal it inside. Roll dough around in between your hands to round the shape and ensure the dough is fully sealed. Repeat until all of the dough is used up and arrange the dough balls into a pie dish.
  • In a food processor, combine butter, parsley and garlic. Spread the garlic herb butter over the dough, making sure that the mixture is evenly dispersed.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the garlic knots just begin to turn gold brown.  Serve with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Eggplant Caprese Bites.

On a recent trip to the farmer’s market, I spotted the cutest little mini eggplants (I learned they’re called fairy tale eggplants) and had to scoop some up to experiment with. Given the warm weather recently, I decided to use them in a summer-temperature-friendly appetizer — eggplant caprese bites. I washed the eggplants and sliced them into thin, 1/4 rounds, then dunked them in a whisked egg batter and dredged them lightly in Italian bread crumbs. Using a large skillet, I browned the eggplant in olive oil, and then let them come up to room temperature while resting on a clean paper towel to remove some of the oil. Then comes assembly time — on a toothpick I stacked up tomatoes, eggplant rounds, halves of mini-mozzarella balls, and fresh basil leaves. Right before I served them I sprinkled the bites with sea salt for a little extra flavor. Aren’t they so bright and cheery?

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Mac and Chili Bites.

I was searching for some appetizer inspiration recently and came across this amazing recipe from Kinfolk magazine — I wanted to try it but it wasn’t exactly fitting my bite-sized criteria for serving snacks when I had friends over. I loved the idea of having something a little heartier to serve though, so I used the recipe for inspiration and made my own mac and chili mixture and baked in a mini-muffin tin for bite-sized tastes. They flew off the plate when my friends tested them over the weekend! Full recipe below. 1photo 4 (1) 2DSC_0039 3DSC_0041 3DSC_0042 4DSC_0043 5DSC_0052 6DSC_0051Ingredients:

  • Red bell pepper – 1/4 cup minced
  • Yellow onion – 1/4 cup minced
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • 1 small tomato- 1/4 cup minced
  • Scallions or chives – about 3 tablespoons chopped
  • Lean ground beef  – about 1/4-pound
  • Kidney beans
  • One bag of orichette pasta
  • 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Flour
  • Butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a skillet, heat a small amount of oil or butter and cook red pepper, yellow onion, garlic, and tomato for about 3-4 minutes, until they begin to get soft. Next, add in ground beef, and brown in mixture. When meat is browned, add in about a half a can of red kidney beans and the chives, heat through and then remove pan and set aside.

While making the chili mixture,  cook pasta to al dente.  Next, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan, and add 3 tablespoons of flour, whisk together. Next, add milk, and continue to whisk together over the heat until it begins to thicken. Next, slowly add in grated sharp cheddar cheese and continue to mix sauce until smooth. When all of the sauce is incorporated and smooth, pour it over the orichette in a large pot or bowl. Fold in all of the sauce and pasta, and then add in the chili mixture.

Scoop mac and chili mixture into a mini-muffin tin. Using the back of a spoon, pack the mixture into the tin so that the ingredients are compressed together. When the muffin tin is full, sprinkle more grated cheese over the top (I used some Parmesan here for extra flavor), and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let them rest and cool slightly before removing from the pan (this is important, they may not hold their shape if you remove them when they first come out of the oven). I served them in mini-muffin liners for a festive touch!

 

Homemade Hummus.

On my day off on Monday my husband suggested I try making homemade hummus — we buy it all the time and word on the street is that it’s pretty simple to make, so I gave it a whirl! I used Ina Garten’s recipe as a base (because she’s fabulous and I always trust her recipes!) and made a few modifications. First, I added a bit more garlic, an extra large clove, because adding more garlic is pretty much always my way life. Next, I reduced the tahini paste — it has a strong flavor, and I added in a little bit of the recommended 1/3 cup at a time, I probably only ended up using 1/4 cup in my version. After I blended all of the ingredients, I used a spatula to scrape it out into a serving dish and topped it with a few toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of good olive oil (for no other reason than that I’ve seen it done at restaurants, and I think it looks pretty!).  The verdict? It really is as easy it sounds — you just throw it all in a food processor and blend. Now that I know that, I’m brainstorming more flavors to try!

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3-Ingredient Appetizers.

I was brainstorming some new appetizer ideas that were easy to make in advance and came up with a simple formula for a snack that has some variety, without requiring tons of grocery shopping or dirty dishes. I purchased some frozen puff pastry dough, thawed, rolled and cut it into 2″ circles. Then I experimented with a few combinations of filling: herb goat cheese and rosemary sea salt, blue cheese crumbles and a drizzle of organic honey, and my favorite combination, slices of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese. All three combinations got some fresh cracked black pepper on top as well before I rolled up the sides to resemble bite-sized -tarts.  After following the baking directions on the puff pasty box (375 degrees for 10-15 minutes), they came out of the oven golden brown. These lasted about 3 minutes from plate to table at a family party I brought them to, which I think means they were pretty good? I’d love to hear what combinations of fillings you might try!
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Baked Brie with Apple Compote.

I have one more recipe to share from our apple-picking porch party that was featured on SMP Living last week — and this one combines my two favorite things, gooey baked cheese and sweet apples. The best part about this recipe? You can make it the night before and freeze it, just pop it in the oven before guests arrive! I’d be lying if I said we didn’t eat the full wheel of brie between the few us gals — it was delectable!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, sliced in thin pieces
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Royal Rose’s cardamom clove simple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Wheel of brie (6 to 8 oz)
  •  Frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten for wash
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine apple, sugars, simple syrup and spices in saucepan until apples are fully coated and sauté for 4-5 minutes while stirring. When sugars start to bubble up, remove the mixture from the heat and let cool.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out thawed puff pastry dough and cut into a 10″ circle.
  4. Cut the wheel cheese in half horizontally, place bottom half off cheese wheel on the rolled out pastry dough, top with 1/2 of the apple mixture. Place the second half of the cheese wheel on top, and cover the top with the remaining apple mixture.
  5. Working in a circular fashion, begin to wrap and fold the pastry dough around the brie, leaving some room at the top for the apple compote to show.
  6. Brush the dough lightly with one beaten egg, and then bake off in the oven for 35-40 minutes on a baking sheet, or until the crust is a golden brown.  Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting, and serve warm with a crusty baguette or crackers.

All images by Bring To Light Photography

Grilled Cheese Tasting.

A few weeks ago when we were in Maine for a wedding, we hanging around the rental cottage for the ‘after-after party’ and a cousin of the groom started whipping up grilled cheeses with the local blueberry jams that had come in our welcome bags. I have since been dreaming about this late-night snack and realized all of the untapped potential of grilled cheese experiments. So I set to work this weekend to test some gourmet grilled cheese recipes that would be perfect for a grilled cheese bar at a casual party, or served bite-size as an appetizer.

Grilled Cheese Bar Ingredients

Are you ready for these pairings? First up, I recreated my late night inspiration with sharp English cheddar and wild blueberry jam (this one is still my favorite!). For a savory sandwich I combined goat cheese with cracked black pepper and fresh green chives (this won the husband vote). And for the most unique combination, I used a french brie, drizzled with honey, and topped with some sweet raisins.  My cast iron skillet was  pumping out these crusty, buttery little treats and we had quite the Saturday taste-testing all of my concoctions — I’m definitely using this idea for some simple entertaining with friends!

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Goat Cheese Crostini.

Guys, I can’t even express to you in words how much I love this appetizer. If I could figure out how to put videos on my blog, then I would take one of me eating these, because only then would you really be able to tell how very much I love these little goat cheese crostini bits of deliciousness. This recipe was totally snagged from a spectacular little hole-in-the-wall wine bar on Cape Cod, where I went with some girlfriends a few years ago. And since then it’s been a staple with our group of friends, when we get together, there better be goat cheese crostini. Also, did I mention how easy it was to make? You just slice up a crusty baguette (I used Trader Joe’s ficelle), toast it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, and then spread the warm bread with goat cheese. Then drizzle the crostinis with good honey — I used orange blossom honey, yum — and sprinkle with fresh thyme. The only other step is try not to eat them all before your guests arrive — I promise, it’s going to be difficult.

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Oscar Party Prep: Popcorn Recipes

I’ve been gearing up for a little event I like to call the “Super Bowl of Red Carpets” — ladies and gents (but probably mostly ladies), the Oscars are upon us. I’ve been digging around to find a perfect recipe for my mini celebration (read: me sitting on the couch by myself with a cocktail and snacks, ready to tweet my heart out), and let me tell you: I’ve been consumed by how many delicious things you can do to spice up regular popcorn. I’ve landed on a perfect blend of savory and sweet: popcorn drizzled in sea salt and honey butter (inspired by this recipe!), served it up in festive theater-style boxes so I feel like I’m at the movies! Do you have any Oscars-viewing traditions? Oscars Popcorn