Tag Archives: appetizer

Guacamole Jalapeno Poppers

Guacamole Jalapeno Poppers

Guacamole Jalapeno Poppers

Usually situated next to a bowl of taco chips and salsa, guacamole is often the first dish finished at any party I’ve ever been to. It’s definitely one of my favourites. It’s also one of the few party dishes that, on it’s own, is entirely healthy. The main ingredient alone, avocados, contain nearly 20 essential vitamins and minerals. Although they are high in fat, it’s mostly unsaturated fat (the good kind). Unsaturated fats can actually aid your body in absorbing nutrients from other foods. These healthy fats also help you to feel full longer. Traditionally, guacamole is made by mashing together avocados and sea salt, but once you have the basic recipe down, you can tweak it any number of ways to make your own variation. Here is my go-to recipe:

Guacamole

2 Ripe Avocados from Mexico

1 Lime

1/4 Cup sweet onion, finely diced

1 Garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp fresh cilantro

Salt to taste

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a small bowl.Β  Using a fork or potato masher, mash the avocadoΒ with the lime juice, garlic and salt until desired consistency. Gently stir in the onion and cilantro. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 2 Cups.

When I talk about avocados, I usually talk about Avocados from Mexico. Why? Because even in Canada, with our cold winters, Avocados from Mexico are always in season. Taking up about 80% of the market share in Canada, the Hass avocados that we all know and love are actually the result of grafting the branches of the Patron avocado plant and the roots of the Criollo avocado plant. Hand grafting these plants can take 3 – 5 years, but after that, each small plant is capable of producing up to 750 lbs of beautiful, creamy avocados.

When I make a batch of guacamole, I’m very happy (I mean, very happy) to sit and devour the entire bowl of it with nothing more than taco chips, but it’s really versatile and can be used to add some extra flavour to a ton of different dishes. One of my favourite ways to use it is as a spread on an egg and bacon breakfast sandwich. It’s also a delicious replacement for mayo in a chicken salad sandwich. In honour of National Guacamole Day, September 16th, and to have a little fun, I thought I’d play around a bit and find other ways to use guacamole. These guacamole jalapeno poppers have quickly become one of my favourites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did πŸ™‚

Guacamole Jalapeno Poppers

12 jalapeno peppers

3/4 cup guacamole

4 oz cream cheese, softened

6 strips of bacon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Slice the bacon into 1/2″ strips. Over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside to cool.

Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and ribs. NOTE: When working with any spicy pepper, make sure that you keep your hands away from your eyes and that you don’t have any cuts on your hands. Trust me on this one and, if necessary, wear gloves.

Mix the cream cheese and guacamole together in a small bowl. Add the bacon and gently stir together until evenly distributed. Fill each jalapeno cavity with about 1 tbsp of the mixture. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the peppers are tender and the guacamole mixture is heated through.

 

 

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Mediterranean 4 layer dip

Mediterranean 4 layer dip

Mediterranean 4 layer dip

This past week I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Vancouver Avocado Showdown at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. The goal was to create a dish to showcase the delicious versatility of avocados. Specifically, Avocados from Mexico, as they make up about 80% of the avocados sold in Canada.

This was my first media/food blog event, so to say I was Β a little nervous would definitely be an understatement. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t really know any of the other participants. Continue reading

Falafel with Tzatziki

Falafel with Tzatziki

Falafel with Tzatziki

Firstly, please excuse the picture. It’s not my best. My husband and I had a ball game that night and I was in a bit of a rush. I didn’t want a bad picture preventing me from posting a delicious recipe, so I’ve decided to go ahead, unflattering picture and all.

After making a delicious chocolate tart last week and then eating far too much of it, I’ve decided to try and eat a bit healthier this week. Actually, I’m usually a pretty healthy eater throughout the week, it’s the weekend that I struggle with. We seem to be on the go a lot or just in the mood for over indulging. Come Monday I always feel like healthier fare. Keeping that in mind, I decided to start this week off with home made falafel and tzatziki sauce, served along with a salad. If you’ve never or had falafel before, they’re definitely worth trying. They’re full of flavour and loaded with nutrition, plus, “falafel” is just a really fun word to say. Or maybe that’s just me πŸ™‚

Falafel are a traditional middle eastern food, though where they originated in the middle east is still debated. Made from mashed chickpeas (or fava beans in Egypt), the mixture is formed into a ball or patty and then served in a pita. They can also be served by themselves as an appetizer, which is my preferred way of eating them. While you can find these little gems pre-made at the grocery store, I prefer to make them myself. Mostly because I’m a pretty big fan of knowing what exactly is in my food. Even though the ingredient list for this recipe is long, it comes together quite quickly.

I served the falafel with tzatziki because I love how it’s tangyness (I don’t think that’s a word, but you know what I mean) off sets the savoury flavour of the falafel. Enjoy!

Falafel:

398 mL chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 Cup onion, finely chopped

1/4 Cup carrot, grated

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 Cup mint, chopped

1/4 Cup italian flat leaf parsely, chopped

1 lemon, juice only

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground cardammom

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cayenne

salt and pepper

2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil

Remove the skins from the chickpeas and then mash them in a bowl using a potato masher. You could also use a food processor. I just find that by the time I assemble mine, I could have already mashed the chickpeas by hand. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined. Β Roll the mixture into 2″ balls. Heat the vegetable or coconut oil in a frying pan. A few at a time, add the falafel to the pan and cook until golden on all sides and heated through.

*Another option for cooking the falafel is to place them in the oven at 400 degrees Farenheit for Β 15-20 minutes.

Tzatziki:

3/4 Cup full fat plain greek yogurt

1/4 Cup cucumber, grated

2 tbsp mint, chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, minced

Stir all the ingredients together until well combined. Store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, until ready to serve.

 

Baked Brie with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Baked brie with strawberry rhubarb jam

Baked brie with strawberry rhubarb jam

I think Spring might be my favourite time of year. All the plants start to come back to life, I can finally plant my garden and the sun starts to shine with a bit more warmth. But I think what I like most about spring is that after several months of the same winter vegetables, suddenly the selection at the market begins to change. Regardless of the weather, you know it’s spring when fresh rhubarb starts making an appearance.

This past week we were celebrating my uncle-in-laws 65th birthday. I was asked to bring an appetizer and I thought it was only right to feature some of this wonderful, fresh, spring produce. Strawberries and rhubarb are a traditional combination and I thought, together, they would be delightful on top of baked brie. So here it is, my recipe for Baked brie with strawberry rhubarb jam (and fried walnuts). The picture I’ve included was taken before it was baked. I thought it looked a little like a birthday cake, which seemed pretty fitting given the occasion this was made for. Just a warning: the jam itself is highly addictive and delicious and there’s absolutely no shame in eating it straight from the pot ;). Β Enjoy!

 

1 6″ wheel of brie

3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, divided

1/4 Cup shallot, minced

1 Cup rhubarb, diced

1 Cup strawberries, diced

1/4 Cup dried figs, diced

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 Cup honey

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 Cup walnut pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Strawberry rhubarb jam:

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for a minute or two, until beginning to soften. Add the Rhubarb and figs and cook for about 2 minutes before adding the strawberries. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cinnamon and honey and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened. Set aside.

Fried Walnuts:

2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 Cup walnut pieces

In a small frying, heat the oil and rosemary together over low to medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the walnuts are golden. Remove the walnuts from the pan and place them on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Set aside.

Slice the brie in half horizontally. Place one half, cut side up, on an oven proof dish. Spread half the jam mixture over top, then place the second half of the brie, cut side up, on top. Spread the remaining jam over the brie and top with the fried walnuts. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve with crackers or a sliced baguette.

Tequila Lime Prawns with Southwest Salad

Tequila Lime Prawns with a Southwest Salad

Tequila Lime Prawns with a Southwest Salad

 

Have you heard the saying “when it rains, it pours”? That’s what this past week as been like for me. All in a good way, but chaotic none the less. There’s a few reasons why it’s been chaotic, some of which are of my own making, but sometimes life just rolls like that. I always make the mistake of assuming that January is going to be a calm month. A month to rest and recoup from the holidays and get back on track. It usually takes me about a week to realize my mistake. This past week, I feel like I’ve been running around like mad trying to get everything done and forgetting a few things along the way. Like yesterday for example; somehow between noon and 3 pm I completely forgot that I was supposed to pick up my order from the local farm that I buy most of my Continue reading

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