Category Archives: Appetizers

Fresh Field Pea Hummus

Fresh Field Pea HummusHummus is, of course, awesome. Even more awesome is the fact that the standard garbanzo bean/tahini  version is just one of many.

I’ve tried Roasted Beet Hummus, Sweet Potato Hummus  and most recently Continue reading Fresh Field Pea Hummus

Sweet Potato Hummus

There isn’t a happy hour, hors d’oeuvre,  lunch or snack that doesn’t stand to move up a few notches on account of homemade hummus. In my humble opinion, hummus is always welcome and even though no one ever gets tired traditional hummus, some delightful variations promise to keep it from ever losing its luster. Until last week, Roasted Beet Hummus was my favorite variation. The most recent combination to emerge from my food processor has managed to plus one of my faves even further.

Sweet potato hummus has a definite holiday flavor, while still holding on to that distinct garlicky, lemony, garbanzo, hummusness that the world can’t get enough of.  Definitely worth a try.


  • 1/2 cup cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1 14 oz. can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 Tbsp. tahini
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup  of fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2-4 Tbsp. water

The sweet potato can either be peeled and steamed for 20 minutes, or roasted whole at 375 for about an hour.  The ideal, time-saving situation would be a leftover sweet potato.

Mash sweet potato with a fork. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend thoroughly for 2-3 minutes. Add additional water to achieve desired consistency. Serve at room temperature.


Beet Roundup

From pancakes to muffins, smoothies to salads — steamed roasted and raw — beets and beet greens been the subject of lots of posts this year. I didn’t start 2013 with the intention exploring this deeply pigmented root from every possible angle. In fact, on a few occasions, I made a small determination to rein in my new-found fervor, and then I’d end up asking myself, “why stop now.”

The bottom line, I’ve barely just begun. Next on the docket: beet chips, assorted borscht recipes, pickled beets, and a beet cake. In the meantime, here’s a brief recap of the fun that we’ve had with beets for the first 8 months of 2013.

Beet Pancakes with Fresh Blueberry Syrup

Beet Apple Walnut Muffins

Beet Green and Kale Frittata

Yogurt, Blueberry and Beet Green Smoothie

Beet Green and Strawberry Smoothie

Hummus with Roasted Beets

Beet Carrot and Apple Slaw

Beet Pecan and Feta Salad

Beet and Garbanzo Bean Salad

Spinach and Beet Salad

Beet and Blueberry Salad

Moroccan Beet and Carrot Salad

Borscht Lite

Root Vegetable Hash

Roasted Roots

Quinoa with Roasted Beets

Beet Greens and Portobellos over Pasta

Beet Green Quiche in a Brown Rice Crust


Pesto Portabellas

This summer’s deep dive into pesto  left many stones unturned. Topping that list is pesto-stuffed portabellas as a main course, or pesto baby bellas as an appetizer. I’ve tried them both in the past 24 hours, thanks to a good stash of the most excellent portabellas ever that I picked up at the farmers market on Saturday.

A hefty stash of fresh Baby Bellas

Both were awesome, and if I had to choose, I’d pick the appetizer version — enjoying the pesto and mushroom combo as a one-or-two-bite option felt like more of a treat. And even though ordinary white mushrooms are less substantial, they could stand in quite well for this recipe.

About two years ago, I was turned onto the concept of portabellas as a base for a pizza, sauteed greens or roasted vegetables. What a game changer. And now, my world has been rocked just a little more with the addition of pesto portabellas to the reperatoire.


  • 1/2 cup of pesto
  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread
  • 8 baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Brush or wipe mushrooms clean. Gently remove stems and gills and brush the tops with olive oil.
  • Place mushrooms on a roasting pan with the stem side down. Roast for 5 minutes.
  • Tear up one slice of whole wheat bread and pulse in a food processor until it turns into crumbs.  Add pesto and continue pulsing until thoroughly combined.
  • Remove mushrooms from oven and spoon stuffing mixture into caps. Cook for another 7 minutes.
  • Serve hot with a fresh basil leaf.


Strawberry Basil Salsa

When a salsa is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, the sky’s the limit. There’s no end to the appetizers, salads, fish, vegetables, crackers, chips, wraps and who know what else are a lot better when Strawberry Salsa enters the picture. The challenge is to avoid eating it all, and saving some for recipes.

I’ve been on a mission for most of the summer to come up with a Strawberry Salsa recipe and Labor Day seemed like the right time to make that happen. Most of the recipes out there call for cilantro and I have to admit, I’m just not a fan. I went for basil instead, and can’t imagine anything better. Other than that, I decided to keep it simple, which is a challenge.

And the best thing about cooking with strawberries:  the happy hens who get the strawberry tops.
And the best thing about cooking with strawberries: the happy hens who get the strawberry tops.


The key, of course, to an optimal salsa is to let is marinate for a few hours, but before the bowl got into the fridge, I made Bill a wrap with a whole wheat tortilla, cream cheese, strawberry salsa and walnuts. Tomorrow, it’s going on top of grilled salmon.


  • 16 oz. fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and pith removed and chopped very finely
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup of tightly packed basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


Combine all ingredients. Stir and allow to marinate for about an hour.

Perfect picnic or backyard barbeque fare.
Perfect for just about any occasion.