Category Archives: Appetizer

Blackberry Nut Clusters

Recipe posted one year ago:  Sesame Ginger Tuna

Blackberries are in season here.  I am sure I have mentioned that they are my favorite berry.  I went to my friend Jorja’s house to pick in her backyard.  The good ones are hard to reach, so she just backed her truck up into them and we picked standing on the tailgate!   My friend Brad told me his parents had a plethora of wild blackberries on their property so off I went to pick.  Oh sure, it would be easy to buy some at the store or the local berry patch, but I think my mom is right.. they taste better when you do the labor yourself.   It is worth the dirty fingernails and scratches. (Thank you Jorja and Brad for inviting me! I owe you!)

I rinse them off and spread them onto a cookie sheet topped with parchment paper and then put into the freezer.  When they are frozen, I transfer them to freezer bags.

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Fava Bean Hummus

Fava beans and other legumes aren’t normally on our menu.  However, we will make an occasional exception for things that come with our CSA share (corn on the cob and baby potatoes both come to mind).  So, when our CSA share included young fava beans for two straight weeks, we had enough saved up to make a batch of this hummus.  It’s a great dip for fresh veggies, or can be simply eaten as a side dish to a meal.

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Carrot Beet Slaw

Alternate Title: The Recipe That Made Me Like Beets

I will be the first to admit that I have never been a fan of beets.  Growing up, we would occasionally have pickled beets in the house (I remember being told they were one of my grandpa’s favorites).  We also grew them in our garden, and I can remember my mom making them occasionally (though usually she would pickle them).  Over the years, I’ve tried them at various times – some places will put a slice or two on your salad when they bring it out, and occasionally they’ll show up roasted with other root veggies.  But they always had an overly “earthy” taste to me.  Actually, more accurately, they always made me consider what consuming a dirt clod would taste like.  The only thing I really ever had liked about beets were the greens.

So, you can imagine my lack of enthusiasm when our CSA newsletter listed beets as one of the items in our share this past Thursday.  I am not going to turn down anything that is part of our weekly share (with exception of wheat and similar gluten-containing grains if they come up), and I enjoy the challenge of finding ways to try to use as much of the plant we receive as possible (even if it just means chopping up the greens in a big salad).  So I wasn’t going to turn down the beets – I just wasn’t sure what I was going to use them for.  Until I showed up to pick up the CSA share…

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Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade

Tapenade is a condiment from the region surrounding Provence, France, consisting of a variety of ingredients minced very fine or ground together in a mortar and pestle with olive oil.  And while the name derives from the French word meaning capers (tapèno, which are usually included), the dish is most often described by people as an “olive paste.”  Likely the most traditional use for tapenade is to spread it on bread or crackers and serve as an hors d’ oeuvre.  But limiting it’s use to a cracker spread overlooks the true possibilities hiding in the powerful flavors of this simple recipe.

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Primal Biscuits

After cutting out the bread, I don’t miss it.  But, sometimes when we have spaghetti, I miss the garlic bread that we used to make with it.  So, last week when we made some spaghetti, I decided to try and make a biscuit with it so that I could have my garlic bread.  This biscuit can also be used as the “cake” in strawberry shortcake, or add in some orange zest, or some fine chocolate pieces for a small scone.  Lots of options!

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Grandpa Don’s Bugachi (Teriyaki Beef Skewers)

Just over a week ago, Karen posted a recipe that started out with a small tribute to a great man who I never got the chance to meet…but I still feel blessed to experience his presence every time we have a gathering with her family.  Her Grandpa Don’s legacy lives on in some way with every member of her immediate and extended family (and everyone else who knew him as well), and it is always fun to hear the stories told of his sense of humor, adventurous spirit, and masterful culinary skills (and on more than one occasion, it seems, he would combine all three).

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Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms

What is the difference between a portobella mushroom, a cremini mushroom, and a white button mushroom (all of which are readily available at your local produce market)?  Nothing…except maturity, and perhaps as much as $3 or $4 per pound.  They are the same species - just harvested at different stages of their growth cycle.  But unless you are planning a dinner party and want hors d’ oeuvres, the extra price to buy about six mature portobella mushrooms for this recipe is well worth the reduced prep time compared to hollowing and stuffing about twenty or more of the smaller variety.

We’re going to stuff these with a mixture of spinach, ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and more mushroom (actually just the stems and gills from the mushroom caps).  You could mix this recipe up a bit by using different sausages in place of the beef, and adding other ingredients with flavors that are unique enough to stand on their own and add interest to the stuffing – perhaps minced olives, or some fresh basil.  Use your imagination!

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