Recently in Appetizers Category

radish_toasts.jpgA ridiculously easy yet pretty appetizer. The peppery flavor of the radishes that pairs well with the creamy goat cheese.

good-quality bread
goat cheese with herbs
Slice the bread into thin rounds, spread with a light layer of the goat cheese, top with sliced radishes.

socca_sm.jpgSocca is kind of chickpea flour pancake/flatbread that is a specialty of Nice in France. Or so the blog I got it from says. All I really know is it's crispy, salty, and has a smoky hummus-like flavor that is very addicting. It would make a perfect appetizer before a Mediterranean meal or part of a tapas platter. The recipe is simple but requires 2 hours rest time between mixing up the batter and actually cooking the socca, so keep that in mind when planning.

1 cup (130g) chickpea flour

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (280ml) water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

freshly-ground black pepper, plus additional sea salt and olive oil for serving

Mix together the flour, water, salt, cumin, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let batter rest at least 2 hours, covered, at room temperature.

To cook, heat the broiler in your oven. Oil a 9- or 10-inch (23cm) pan with the remaining olive oil and heat the pan in the oven.

(I use a cast-iron skillet, but Tricia uses a non-stick tart pan.)

Once the pan and the oven are blazing-hot, pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, swirl it around, then pop it back in the oven.

Bake until the socca is firm and beginning to blister and burn (about 5 minutes). The exact time will depend on your broiler.

Slide the socca out of the pan onto a cutting board, slice into pieces, then shower it with coarse salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook the remaining socca batter the same way, adding a touch more oil to the pan between each one.

Makes about 3 10 inch pancakes

Original recipe

This easy homemade hummus has a slightly sweet, almost Asian flavor from orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Goes really well with homemade pretzels.

1/4  cup  parsley leaves
2  tablespoons  chopped onion
1  garlic clove
1/4  cup  orange juice
2  tablespoons  tahini (sesame seed paste)
2  tablespoons  rice vinegar
2  teaspoons  low-sodium soy sauce
1  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
1/2  teaspoon  ground coriander
1/4  teaspoon  ground turmeric
1/2-1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/4  teaspoon  paprika
1  (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

Drop parsley, onion, and garlic through food chute with food processor on, and process until minced. Add orange juice and remaining ingredients, and process until smooth. Serve with pita triangles or pretzels.

Makes 1 3/4 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon)
21 (3% from fat)
0.7g (sat 0.1g,mono 0.2g,poly 0.3g)
Original recipe

Crunchy cornbread mini-muffins topped with balsamic dressed tomatoes and creamy ricotta, these little mini tartlets make elegant appetizers for a fancy party. Don't be fooled by the long list of instructions, these actually come together very quickly.

½ cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose four
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups red and yellow tomatoes or cherry tomaotes, halved, seeded, 1/4-inch dice
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped basil (or fresh oregano)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and ground pepper
¾ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
Basil thinly sliced for garnish.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter two 12-cup mini-muffin pans.
In a medium bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the milk with the egg and melted butter.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Do not over mix.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them halfway. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.
After dicing the tomatoes, wrap in paper towels to absorb the moisture.
In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, Parmesan, basil, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, season the ricotta with salt and pepper.
Using a small serrated knife, slice off the domed tops of the muffins. Slice off a small part of the rounded dome to make a stable base, if necessary
Top the cut side of the muffins with the ricotta, about a teaspoon of the tomato mixture and garnish with the thinly sliced basil.

Makes 2 Dozen Tartlets
Original recipe

My 2nd attempt at making soft pretzels. These turned out so good it was hard to believe they are low fat. The sugar balances the salt very well, and the texture is perfect - don't skip the boiling step.No rising makes them pretty quick for a yeasted bread recipe.

1 ½ c. very warm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
¼ c. sugar
3-4 cups flour
4 T. baking soda
10 cups water
1 egg white
¼ c. coarse kosher salt

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together water and yeast. Stir in the sugar and set aside 1-2 minutes until the mixture is foamy.

Stir in 3 cups of the flour. Begin kneading the dough, adding additional flour until it is soft, but not at all sticky. On a lightly floured surface, roll a palm-sized ball of dough into a long rope, approximately 12 inches long. Twist into a pretzel shape.

Set aside on a lightly floured surface and allow to rise slightly while you finish twisting the other pretzels.

Bring water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan. Gently place pretzels in soda bath for 10 seconds on each side. Remove, brush with egg white and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt. Place on a greased baking sheet.

Bake pretzels in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Original recipe