All posts filed under: appetizers

Sizzling Mushrooms with Sage and Thyme

If you were to ask me to describe a perfect evening, I would describe our first night out with our closest friends on the first day of our vacation.  We spent the evening wandering around Portland, getting caught up on all the events of our year and sharing laughs over some amazing cocktails and nosh.  As the weather cooled and a soft rain began to fall, we ducked into one of our favorite haunts–the Driftwood Room at the Hotel DeLuxe, where we knew we could continue our conversation long after most other restaurants and bars had closed for the night (it was Sunday, after all).  The Driftwood Room is a dimly lit, cozy spot that evokes that sense that you’re about to star in your own Film Noir. The cocktails are so inventive and their “Bar Bites” serve as the perfect accompaniment.  We ordered the “Sizzling Forest Mushrooms” and they were incredible!  They arrived at our table in a little cast iron skillet, still sizzling from the broiler, earthy and fragrant and served with bread …

Breakfast for Dinner: Frittata Española

As a kid, I would get so excited when my mother made breakfast food for dinner! There was just something exciting and extra special about having bacon, eggs and grits at night.  I know now that my mother was making breakfast at night because she was simply tired and couldn’t muster the energy for anything else!  But, to this day, I still love to eat eggs at dinnertime. To continue with the inspiration from the tapas cooking class, I made this version of a “tortilla española”, which is a classic Spanish dish made of sliced potatoes, onions and eggs.  It is very similar to a frittata, the main difference being the technique in which the eggs are finished.  Both dishes consist of eggs and filling cooked in a frying pan on the stove, but a frittata is finished in the oven, whereas a tortilla española is flipped over so that the top of the eggs are finished in the frying pan.  Because I didn’t want to risk possible disaster trying to flip the tortilla over …

Marinated Olives and White Bean Hummus

While on vacation in Portland, The Man and I took a Spanish Tapas cooking class at Hip Cooks.  Besides having a lot of fun and learning some new techniques, we came home with some new recipes and fresh inspiration for a few dishes that we were already familiar with. It’s funny, but I can remember a time when I didn’t like olives at all.  They just weren’t part of our family’s diet and the only time I was ever exposed to them was when they ended up on a pizza (by mistake, I’m sure).  When I was eighteen years old, I decided that being olive-averse was unacceptable and determined once and for all I was going to learn to like them. So, from that point on, every time I had the opportunity to eat an olive, I did.  And little by little, I learned to love them.  Now I can’t imagine life without them! My favorite olives are Castelvetrano olives. I love them as much for their neon green color as for their buttery flavor! These …

What to do with all those squash blossoms!

I’ve told you a little about my adventures with growing squash in my garden.  The first and last legitimate zucchini was grown and eaten two weeks ago and there hasn’t been another one since.  Yes, it does bother me a bit that a vegetable that is purportedly so easy to grow that a toddler could grow it has eluded me, but no matter; because this girl learns to make lemonade out of lemons! Even though I have no more mature squash to eat, I happen to have a good amount of squash blossoms on the plants that I’ve been harvesting early in the mornings and finding things to make with them.  The blossoms themselves taste like a mild version of the squash.  I stuffed these blossoms with a ricotta cheese and herb mixture and pan fried them.  They make a delicious and delicate appetizer and they are very simple to make! As I mentioned, the squash blossoms should be harvested first thing in the morning when they open.  The male blossom is on a long, …

Eating Together: Small Plate Supper, Romesco Sauce and Fresh Basil Pesto

Eric and I (yes, the Man of the House has a name) have been making small-plate suppers since we first met. Sometimes we would have a variety of cheeses, charcuterie, olives and bread; other times we’ll make a spread of other small dishes like the ones we had last night:  caprese salad made with burrata cheese and pesto, gigantic beans with rosemary and garlic, grilled Brussels sprouts, pan-fried sardines with romesco sauce and of course, a crusty baguette.  I love these types of meals because they force us to slow down and breathe; really enjoy the food and savor good conversation over a nice glass of wine.  I feel that in this day and age where everything happens so fast and there are so many distractions vying for our time, the time spent together sitting and enjoying a meal is so important.  It doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy, just prepared with love. Pan-fried sardines with romesco sauce I know a lot of you are probably looking at this and thinking “yuck”; but these …