Appetizers

Gazpacho

by Nancy on May 3, 2011

in Appetizers,Soups,Vegetarian

If you have been following Kuchen Together, you probably guessed that gazpacho is not an old family recipe. Carrie and I both live in Silicon Valley which has a multiethnic population. When Carrie was in elementary school, the school of 500 had students speaking 17 different first languages. Eating with friends and acquaintances has introduced us to wonderful foods from all over the world and gazpacho is one of them. I’m posting this recipe for the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo which is celebrated here by people of all ethnicities.

There are hundreds, thousands of recipes for gazpacho. This one is the one I use. It has a nice, fresh flavor, a bit of bite and is fast and easy to prepare.

Gazpacho

  • 1  46 oz can tomato juice
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. Peel and seed cucumber.
  2. Place garlic in blender with 1/2 cup tomato juice and puree.
  3. Chop cucumber, onion and bell pepper into pieces.
  4. Add cucumber, onion and bell pepper to blender and fill blender with tomato juice.
  5. Blend on slow speed just until vegetables are chopped to about 1/4 inch in size.
  6. Mix all ingredients in bowl and chill.

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Deviled Eggs

by Nancy on April 19, 2011

in Appetizers

I never understood who bought those deviled egg serving trays with only 12 or 18 holes for eggs. When I serve deviled eggs I figure 6 for my husband, 6 for my brother, 6 for my son and then that many more for everyone else and there won’t be any leftovers! At a buffet picnic, I can count on the egg tray being empty and the eggs consumed in line before anyone even sits down. A couple of years ago I found a Food Network  24-count Egg Tray that holds 24 eggs with the eggs placed close together. At least one dishware designer understands deviled eggs.

I don’t get very fancy with my deviled eggs. The guys don’t care if the egg yoke has a pretty piped swirl or not. They don’t even care if the yoke mixture is perfectly smooth, a few little lumps are OK. I’ve experimented with decorative garnishes to see which get eaten first. Plain is good, paprika is acceptable, a parsley leaflet is out of the question. Apparently eggs should not be green (or have anything green near them) regardless of what Dr. Seuss says.

Deviled Eggs

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 – 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • paprika, optional
  1. Place eggs in saucepan, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Let sit 20 minutes to finish cooking and cool.
  2. Cut eggs in half lengthwise and pop out yokes by pushing on the white opposite the cut. Place yokes into a bowl and whites on serving plate.
  3. With fork, mash yokes. Stir in mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (eggs with Miracle Whip will be sweeter), mustard, salt and pepper.
  4. Add milk a little at a time to make a creamy consistency.
  5. Using a teaspoon, fill cavities in whites with yoke mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Refrigerate until serving.

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip

My mom, Nancy, once told me that she thinks the food processor is a “stupid” appliance. She told me it couldn’t do anything that you couldn’t do with a blender so for years I went without one. Then one day I tried to mix up a pie crust in the blender and ended up with a giant mess. Not too long after than I spent about an hour grating a wedge of Parmesan by hand. And then I realized I was never going to be able to make spinach and artichoke dip, one of the only ways I’m willing to eat spinach but absolutely one of my favorite foods, without a food processor so I eventually caved in a got one. I absolutely love my food processor and use it multiple times a week.

Now that I have a food processor I can grate my own Parmesan for this recipe in under 30 seconds and save a bundle over pre-grated cheese and I can finally make a smooth and lovely dip. I’m not a fan of mayonnaise or marinated artichokes so I spent years looking for and refining this recipe (inspired by Everyday Food magazine) before I finally developed this version that I’ll make over and over again.

Scoop out a round of sourdough bread to serve this artichoke dip and I don’t think you can find a food that screams California any more than that.

For best results, thaw your frozen veggies in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before making this dip. If you try to add the frozen veggies straight to the food processor they won’t chop and mix smoothly.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts
  • 4 ounces bar cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic (or more to your taste)
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach
  1. Add 8 ounces of artichoke hearts, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice, and garlic to the food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Add spinach to the food processor. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining 8 ounces of artichoke hearts to the food processor and pulse 4-5 times so that the artichoke hearts are chopped into bite size pieces and evenly distributed but still chunky.
  4. Serve cold or bake at 425 degrees until bubbly if you’d like a hot dip.

Enjoy with bread, tortilla chips, crackers, or raw veggies.

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Simple black bean and corn salsa.

I learned to do much of my cooking without recipes. Cooking was based on what ingredients were available and one kind of guessed how much of each to use learning by trial and error. I love simple recipes like this where it is easy to remember the ingredients and amounts. Here you just use equal portions of the main ingredients. If you have leftover beans either in the refrigerator or in the freezer, use them. If not, use 1 14 oz. can of beans drained. I prefer frozen corn over canned for its fresher flavor but use what you’ve got on hand. Choose the chilies based on how much heat you want; bell pepper for mild, Anaheim for medium or Jalapeno for hot. Out of season you can use canned chilies. Likewise you can choose the variety of onion based on season or flavor. Use green onions in the spring, later in the year choose red, yellow or white based on your preference. You get the idea. The dressing is equally simple, standard oil and vinegar with only one spice.

Simple Black Bean and Corn Salsa

  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 3/4 cup whole kernel corn
  • 3/4 cup tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup green chilies
  • 3/4 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

Dressing

  • 2 T vinegar
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Chop tomatoes, chilies, onion and cilantro.
  2. Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  3. Mix dressing in separate bowl, pour over vegetables and toss.
  4. Marinate in refrigerator to allow flavors to combine.

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