Appetizers and Snacks

Habanero Pineapple Chutney

I had never heard of Longos , an Ontario grocery store, until I finally got around to reading magazine a friend from Canada brought me this past winter.  While I am always grateful for reading material brought down from “The Great White North,  I did not rush to read this particular item, mainly because I figured it would be like most other supermarket rags with lots of emphasis on pre-packaged, processed foods.   As a general rule, we have always avoided these types of foods and are not interested in starting to eat them any time soon.

Turns out, this magazine does advertise pre-made products, but it is also chock full of recipes and tips to make fresh food from scratch!    So much for judging a book by its cover.   Here is my version of their Habanero Pineapple Chutney.  Pretty much as they wrote it, but you can find the original recipe in their Summer 2016 edition.

camembert with pineapple chutney

Habanero-Pineapple Chutney

1 Tablespoon butter

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pineapple, tough centre core removed and cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 2 cups)

1 small habanero, seeds and stems removed, minced

3 Tablespoons Amber Rum

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh raspberries, roughly chopped

Mint leaves for garnish

1  6 – 8 oz round of Camembert Cheese

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onion, ginger, cumin and salt and cook, stirring, until onions are tender.  About 5 minutes.  Stir in pineapple and habanero and cook , stirring, 3 minutes more.

Add rum and lime juice, bring to boil.  Boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Stir in sugar, return to boil.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Stir in cilantro and green onions.

Place Camembert on microwave safe plate or shallow bowl.  Microwave on Medium using 15 second blasts until cheese is hot and beginning to melt.

Spoon chutney over top, garnish with raspberries and mint leaves.  serve with crackers or crostini.

 

Appetizers and Snacks

Pumpkin-Spice Hummus

 

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You had to know this would show up eventually!   All that Pumpkin Puree I put in the freezer a while back, has had me looking for new and exciting ways to put it to good use.

This  was inspired by the cooking demo by Marv Leibel – Alberta Health Services Community Nutritionist, at the 10th Annual Women’s Conference, in the City of Wetaskiwin, which my Mom recently attended.  The original ingredients are  listed in the cooks notes below

I am not sure this will ever replace my regular hummus, but it is a nice change from the norm.

 

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Sneak peak at future posts…Peri-Peri Chicken and Fresh Naan Bread

We ate this as a spread on fresh Naan bread for our  Peri-Peri chicken wraps as part of a meal.

 

 

 

 

Of course,  it works equally well  as a snack or appetizer with crackers and some warm spiced apple juice to help brighten a gloomy fall day.

 

Pumpkin-Spice Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

3 Tablespoons  tahini

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend

1/4 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

Juice of 1 lime

3 Tablespoons water (plus more if necessary)

Put chickpeas, pumpkin puree, tahini, garlic, pumpkin spice, salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, and  3 Tablespoons water in food processor.  Let run on low speed until smooth, 1 – 2 minutes.

Scrape down sides of processor & pulse a few times .  If mixture appears too thick, add another tablespoon of water and pulse until water is incorporated.  Continue adding water, by  tablespoons, if needed, until you get the texture and creaminess you like.    Scrape into serving bowl, and drizzle with remaining olive oil.  Serve with crackers, crostini, or flatbread or your choice.

COOKS NOTES:  The recipe as given to me before my tweaks goes like this:  1 can chickpeas, 1  can pumpkin puree, 2 oz lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup tahini, 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp all spice.

Appetizers and Snacks

Quick Pickled Radishes

For as long as I can remember, my Mom has planted radishes in her garden.  As a child, I really did NOT care for them, but as an adult, I have come to appreciate their sharp bite.

And that is a good thing, because when we buy radishes here, they come in enormous bundles, which take us some time to get thru.   We will eat them raw and in stir fries or stews for an entire week, and still have difficulty eating them all!

Which is why I was so happy to discover that they can actually be pickled!!   Aside from allowing them to last a little bit longer, they look adorable in the jar as the red radish turns the brine a pale pink.

Pickled, radishes can be eaten right out of the jar, added to salads, couscous or anywhere else your imagination will take you.

 

Quick Pickled Radishes

10 – 15 radishes, trimmed and quartered  (amount will vary depending on size)

3 large cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

1 dried chile d’arbol or Thai chile (optional)

1 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon sugar

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

1 pint jar

 

Fill clean pint jar with prepared radishes, garlic, peppercorns and chile if using.

Dissolve salt and sugar in vinegar and pour over radishes in jar.

Cover jar, shake well and refrigerate for 3 days, shaking jar daily.   Pickles are ready to eat after 3 days and will keep, refrigerated up to 1 month.  Flavour will mellow the longer they sit.

 

Appetizers and Snacks

Baba Ghanouj

Yes, it sounds very exotic, but really, it is just eggplant and a few other  ingredients you probably already have in your fridge.   It is simple to make, and makes a nice addition to your appetizer table.

There are as many versions as there are cooks, but all I have found include eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemons and salt and pepper.  I make a slight departure from the norm, using lime juice instead of lemon because I like the stronger flavour of the lime .

How you cook the eggplant to make this fab dip is up to you.  We like the smoky flavour we get from burying it in the hot coals remaining after we have grilled our dinner. (Thanks to Bon Appetite for giving us this idea!)  We let it sit for about 20 minutes, until it is a soft blackened mess.  We have also had success roasting it whole, in a 450 F  oven 15 – 20 minutes, until the skin is charred and the eggplant is soft.    I am sure a gas grill would work as well, but we have not tried it this way yet.

However you choose to cook your eggplant, once it is cooked, how you handle it is the same.

Baba Ghanouj

(Optional title: OMG, I finally found a way to fix eggplant that Kevin likes!)

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1 medium size eggplant (about 1/2 lb)

1/2 teaspoon canola oil

3 Tablespoons Tahini

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 – 2 Tablespoons lime juice  (about 1 large lime)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

Rub eggplant with Canola oil and bury in the hot coals in your bbq or campfire, until blackened and very soft 15 – 20 minutes (alternatively place it in a 450 F oven and bake 20 minutes) .  Carefully remove from coals (or oven) and allow to cool.

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Scoop cooled eggplant out of peel and into a fine mesh strainer.  Sprinkle with a little salt, mix up a bit and let drain for up to an hour.  Discard liquid.

Put eggplant, tahini, garlic,  and lime juice  into bowl of food processor and pulse until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Put into serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle red pepper flakes over.

Serve with fresh baguette slices, pita toasts, crostini or fresh veggies for dipping.

Makes about 1 cup, can easily be doubled.

Appetizers and Snacks

Classic Bruschetta

The tomatoes in the gardens are starting to ripen and this is a great way to enjoy all that tomato-ey goodness. Use the freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find and a good quality olive oil.  Chances are  you will hear the same thing I overheard at the last gathering I took this to:  “This tomato thing is awesome!”

4 ripe tomatoes (I use Roma, but any variety will do)

2 cloves garlic

4 sprigs of basil, leaves only

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ tsp salt

freshly ground pepper

Dice tomatoes and place in medium size mixing bowl.

Mince the garlic, then sprinkle it with a little salt and continue working with the back of your knife until a smooth paste forms.  Add to the tomatoes.

Stack the basil leaves, roll them up a bit, and then thinly slice crosswise. (This is called ‘chiffonade’). Add to tomatoes and garlic.

Mix in the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and toss well to combine.

Transfer to serving bowl and serve with Crostini.

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Can be made 2 hours ahead. Best if not refrigerated before serving.