Category Archives: Appetizer/Snack

Butternut Squash Fondue/Soup

Butternut Squash FondueThis is an odd yet yummy recipe. Depending on the size of the squash you use (and its moisture content I’m betting) it’s either think, creamy soup or fondue. The first time I made it, it was a little too thick and cheesy to be soup. So I broke out the bread cubes and called it fondue. Since there is only so much fondue one person can eat by themselves I took it to work so that my guinea pigs coworkers could tell me what they thought. Everyone gave it the thumbs up and agreed that it should be a fondue instead of a soup.

The weather has taken a quick turn to winter again it seems and I had a squash hanging out on the counter asking when I was going to use it (food doesn’t talk to you? Hmm, you should have that looked into).

To be quite honest, I like this squashy fondue better than traditional fondue. Plus, you have the added benefit of the nutritional veggie base. You can keep it vegetarian by using vegetable broth and you can keep it low fat by using nonfat broth and Neufchatel cheese.

The hot sauce and paprika don’t make the dish hot or even spicy but they definitely add depth to the flavor, that something you can’t quite put your tongue on. It will still be good if you leave it out, they weren’t in the first version. Continue reading →


Salad Topper: Chive Blossoms

Chive BlossomHere’s something pretty to throw on your salad. Mid spring or early summer chives send up a woody stock that blossoms out into a lovely purple flower. Chives are part of the onion family and while their flavor is mild their blossoms are not. They seem to concentrate all their power into one fluffy flower! These are fairly hot. I usually throw them into a tossed green salad served with a creamy dressing like ranch. The dressing helps counteract the assertiveness of the chive blossom. You could certainly use them in other salads. You could also serve them on a crudite platter as is.

Toss the salad gently as chive blossoms can fall apart. They are compound flower, rather l a dandelion seed head and fall apart easily. Their color can range from crayon purple to lilac. I think mine need to

Chive Blossom Profile

be repotted and are blooming a bit lighter than usual this year.

Chives are an easy plant to grow. Give them a decent size pot, good soil, and a spot in the sun and they will be quite happy on your porch or balcony.

Have you used chive blossoms before? How did you use them? I’ve been considering battering and frying them. Has anyone had them that way?


Slow Cooker Ribs

Slow Cooker RibsI have a confession. I believe this may have been the first time I’ve cooked bone in ribs. They always seemed difficult and rib meat tends to dry out quickly. That is why I love my slow cooker! You put the food in and several hours of ignoring it later, viola, done! This is so easy I’m afraid that I’ll be cooking ribs much more frequently now. It’s time to use up all that barbecue sauce sitting in the cupboard.

It was too wet and cold here (and I was far too lazy today) to try this, but instead of adding the barbecue sauce to the pot you could remove the ribs and finish them on the grill. That would give them those caramelized barbecue sauce bits that many people mistake for burnt sauce, mmmm. This method will still be great in the summer as a slow cooker doesn’t produce a lot of heat like your stove or BBQ would.

You will have to check on this recipe once or twice as the cooking time will vary as to the type of ribs and the bone to rib ratio. The garlic slow cooks and starts to melt into the sauce. If you want slow cooked garlic (it tastes kind of like roasted) then use the largest cloves. Continue reading →

Scotch Eggs

Scotch EggsEvery Easter we were inundated by boiled eggs when I was growing up. There were three of us kids and there needed to be enough eggs to hide that we could all find some. Back then very few people bought the plastic eggs as that meant you had to buy stuff to put in them and boiled eggs were far cheaper as you could eat them afterwards. But then you ended up with a couple dozen eggs to eat up. “Mom, I’m hungry!” was met by, “Eat a boiled egg!” followed by, “Noooo, I’m tired of eggs!” The fridge would smell like boiled eggs for what seemed like an eternity.

If you find yourself in this situation, you might check out my recipe for pickled eggs as they’ll keep quite a bit longer than fresh ones. You could even use pickled eggs in Scotch Eggs; it would give them extra flavor. Scotch Eggs are a tasty way to use up your boiled eggs.

I was introduced to Scotch Eggs through Scottish festivals and games. I took to calling them heart attack balls for quite a while. There is nothing healthy or politically correct about them (well, okay, I used pastured organic eggs and bought the sausage from a local store). Quite simply, a Scotch Egg is pork sausage molded around a boiled egg, breaded and deep fried. These tasty, filling orbs were often packed into lunches or snacks for tea (working people’s tea, not fancy tea). You can eat them hot out of the oven but they are meant to be served cold or at room temperature and really are better that way. They’re best eaten by hand so no utensils needed. They’re even better with beer. Continue reading →

Boursin Style Spread

Boursin Style Cheese SpreadTraditionally family holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, um…yep, those two I guess) we have celery stuffed with jar cheese. There are two kinds that we usually use, the white cheese stuff with pineapple and the yellow cheese stuff with pimento. For quite some time I’ve questioned what exactly this stuff is made of, not that I really want to know. I just have the uneasy feeling that it wasn’t really cheese and if it wasn’t really cheese what could it possibly be? I will say the empty jars make great glasses for kids. We always had a collection of “cheese glasses” that were used for kids or drinks in small quantities. They’re hard to break and, at least use to be, decorative.

My brother even branched out a couple times and bought packaged cheese balls when he was requested to pick up the cheese for the celery. It doesn’t really work very well, doesn’t spread like it should for this job, and again, I’m not really sure it’s cheese or mostly cheese.

This last Christmas was the first without Mom. All kinds of things were up in the air, different people cooked the feast, it was even more potluck than it usually is, so I thought I would break the jar cheese tradition.

This recipe contains real cheese, well, cream cheese. The point being, I know what’s in it. It might not be good for me from a nutritional stand point, but at least I can pronounce it. It has a much more complex flavor than the jar cheese. That’s okay; our tastes have changed a bit from the bland 70s. And while it will last for a while in the fridge, it won’t last forever on the shelf.

The Boursin style spread is not only good for stuffing celery, but as a dip, or even a really tasty sandwich spread. Continue reading →

Salad Topper: Deep Fried Peas

Fried PeasDeep fried what? When I found these once before, that was what everybody asked. A local store had them in their display of dried foods from a local vendor. They were okay, a bit hard but tasty and a refreshing change.

I had a chance to visit The Oregon Zoo last week and so made a detour to one of my favorite stores, Uwajimaya. I hadn’t been there in years and my friend was up for the further adventure. Continue reading →

Bacon Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon Cream Stuffed MushroomsSo these are incredibly easy. They actually came about because I was trying to clean out the fridge, you never know what your going to find in there. It will also be easy to figure out how many to make. Figure out how many person you need times the amount of people, then repeat this recipe that many times. The recipe makes one stuffed mushroom.

You can always jazz up the flavor by mixing herbs into the cream cheese. In hindsight I probably should have used some yogurt to loosen up the cream cheese a bit so that would melt better but I really liked the clean straightforward taste with the recipe as it is. Continue reading →

Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix CookiesThe last thing my gran nephews needed were more toys for Christmas. So I surprised them and their parents with an invitation instead of stuff. Their parents were as excited about the gift as they were as I insisted that they go along. I certainly didn’t want to corral three energetic boys on a high energy outing all by myself.


So I took them to Hoodoo to go tubing. It’s pretty awesome. Hoodoo supplies the tube and there’s even a tube lift that will drag you up the hill; although, you get more runs if you climb the hill yourself. The runs are groomed and free of any trees that might decide to put a damper on your day. It’s a whole lot of fun. It turned out to be a gorgeous and wonderful day.

I recommend packing your lunch. The food options are limited to snacks at the tubing area and the last time I was at the resort building the options were overpriced and not that appetizing. I packed sandwiches, carrots, and chips and these tasty cookies. They’re a great combination of savory and sweet and gives you that taste combo with almost every bite. They do break apart easily so pack them gently. Continue reading →

Not Quite Ranch

Not Quite RanchWhat happened to Thursday? There I was bumping along in my week and all of a sudden it was Friday; although, now it’s technically Saturday. Ah well.

I was hoping this recipe would be close to a buttermilk ranch, it’s not. It’s far too tangy to qualify for any kind of ranch. It does have quite a punch though that will wake up your palette. It’s important to pair it will strong veggies, this ain’t no iceberg lettuce dressing. It’s fairly thick, so it also makes a nice dip. Continue reading →

Bacon Stuffed Crescent Rolls

Bacon Stuffed Cresent RollsAh, the cleaning out of the fridge after all the holiday stuff was stuffed into it. There are always ingredients leftover from stuff I meant to make. This one proved to be a nice, albeit calorie laden, snack as well as an horderves recipe. It’s adapted from a recipe on Continue reading →