Party time again! This time for my adorable nephew’s 1st birthday, he had a monster theme and I was in charge of an appetizer. I went with a family favorite and old stand by, Spinach Dip but you could add any dip to this cute hollowed out bread bowl.
For the eyes I used toothpicks covered with asparagus stalks then topped them with mushroom caps and inserted black olives into the cap.
For the mouth I cut a red pepper into a tounge and used carrot sticks for the teeth.
and for the arms and feet I used chunks of a separate round loaf of bread and uses the asparagus tips for fingers and toes gut from a radish on his legs. I attached them with toothpicks as well.
I think it was a great addition to the Monster Party!
I love figs, I didn’t used to. I thought all figs tasted like Fig Newtons. Then I tried a fresh fig, delicious, juicy and just the right amount of sweetness to be the perfect accompaniment to any kind of cheese. Unfortunately they are hard to find around here so when I do I buy some. I found them at Fresh Market the other day and made this delicious appetizer. I would also be great with a salad for a light, vegetarian dinner or lunch.
1 loaf French Bread
6 figs sliced into 1/4 ‘ pieces
1 c crumbled goat cheese
1/3 c pistachios crushed
2-3 T olive oil
2 T honey
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, slice the bread in half horizontally. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle or brush with olive oil, sprinkle on the goat cheese and then place the figs on top and sprinkle with pistachios. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes 0r until cheese starts to melt. remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Cut into slices for appetizers or halves for meal portions.
Book Club time again, this month’s selection was The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. It tells the story of Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemmingway’s first wife. I loved it, but then of course historical fiction is my favorite genre, and Paris in the 1920’s intrigues me. It also meant the food for book club would be easy, Paris, Spain, champagne and elegant meals, there was lots to choose from. And did I mention costumes, I do love to dress up and putting together a flapper costume was great fun. The hardest part this month was narrowing my options down. I chose to go with olives as my ingredient. In chapter three, Hadley tries olives for the first time at a greek restaurant in Chicago, she says, “I suppose it’s embarrassing, but I’ve never had olives before.” Ernest replies, “That should be illegal. Here open”. and feeds her an olive which starts their romance. I made an olive plate, but also wanted to actually make something so I made a dip that I also served at my sons chip and dip graduation party.
A kalamata olive aioli, which I loosely based on the Kalamata dip served at Nordstrom’s cafe with their fries (it is delicious, try it if you ever get a chance). It is simple, elegant, and has lots of applications, it is a great dip for crunchy potato chips or raw veggies, a great spread for bread and cheese or chicken sandwiches, and would also be great on roasted vegetables or french fries.
Kalamata Olive Aioli
1 1/2 c mayo
3 cloves of garlic, or 5 cloves of roasted garlic
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t lemon zest
add mayo, olives, garlic and lemon juice and zest to a food processor, blend until olives are completely incorporated into the mayo.
Add pepper and stir, and serve.
I know this is not glamorous or creative but it is the my go to lunch that I crave. It is delicious on bread or as shown here a top salad greens.
Perfect Tuna Salad
1 can of tuna drained ( spring water or oil is fine)
1/4 c mayo
1T red wine vinegar
1 hardboiled egg chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
2 T chopped onion
1/2 t dried dill
2-3 cups salad greens
cherry tomatoes (optional)
salt and pepper
Combine tuna, mayo, vinegar, egg, celery, dill and onion in a med bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on top of greens with tomatoes as shown or on any bread as a sandwich.
Honestly I am not a fan of sandwiches, too boring, but when my good friend mentioned something about a BLT using peaches instead of tomatoes, I was instantly intrigued. I thought what a great flavor combo, bacon and peaches hmmm….. Well I had chicken sandwiches on the menu anyway so why not go that extra step, peaches are after all in season. I am so glad I did, this was fantastic, the whole family raved about them and the combination of flavors is one of my newest cravings. These will make it on the menu several more times before peach season is over.
Chicken, Peach and Bacon Club with Basil Mayo
for 4 sandwiches
4 chicken cutlets
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T + 1 t olive oil
1 T fresh chopped basil
1/3 c mayo
8 slices of whole wheat or your favorite bread, toasted
2 ripe peaches sliced thin
1/2-1 c arugula
5 sliced of cooked bacon
salt and pepper
Place raw chicken in a shallow dish, add 1 T oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper, marinate 15 minutes and then grill or broil until done.
In a small bowl combine, mayo, basil, 1/4 t pepper and 1 t oil.
Smear mayo on one slice of toasted bread
Add a layer of peaches
Add a layer of arugula
Add Bacon slices
Add a grilled chicken cutlet
Top with the other piece of toasted bread with more mayo if desired, cut in half and serve, delicious
I first tried this dip when my best friend made it for book club. It is a true crowd pleaser and couldn’t be any easier. It’s a perfect go to appetizer when invited to a last minute cocktail party or when unexpected guests come over.
Goat Cheese and Marinara Dip
4 oz goat cheese log
12 oz of your favorite marinara, I like to use spicy (or make your own)
1 T chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350. Pour marinara in to a small baking dish, slice goat cheese and arrange on top of sauce.
Heat for about 15-20 minutes or until goat cheese is slightly melted. Top with basil and serve with sliced Italian or French bread.
I cheated but hey it’s a holiday, we can’t always be creative. I used the tried and true spinach dip recipe, but took it up a notch by making a bunny bread bowl. I think it turned out pretty cute and besides why mess with perfection?
Here’s how to make the dip:
1 10oz package chooped frozed spinach thawed and squeezed dry
2c Sour Cream
1 envelope vegetable soup mix
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill for at least one hour.
Hollow out the middle of a round sourdough loaf
Cut one loaf french bread in half for the ears, use bamboo skewers to attach to bread bowl
Add Spinach dip to Bread Bowl
Use Grapes or Olives for Eyes
Use Chives for Whiskers
Use Grape Tomato for Nose
Serve with raw veggies and torn bread