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Spiced Cashews November 1, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in appetizers, vegetarian.
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6 comments

Everyone has one recipe that people ALWAYS ask for, without fail.  Mine is a hand-me-down from my aunt.  My aunt first made these spiced cashews a few years back at a holiday gathering and they have quickly become the most-requested recipe in our family. The beauty of these cashews is two fold. First, they are addictively delicious. Second, they take literally minutes to make.  I’ve gone home at lunch, made a batch of cashews, and brought them back to work twenty minutes later, still warm and toasty with spices.  They keep for days, too.  Sure, they are great right out of the oven, but they are just as good as a snack a few days later, provided you keep them in a Ziploc or some  sort of air-tight container.  Bring a batch to your next gathering and you will have many happy friends. Promise.

Spiced Cashews
(Printable Recipe)

spiced cashews

Ingredients:
1 lb. roasted cashews
2 tbl minced fresh rosemary leaves (it’s best not to try this with dried rosemary–get some fresh sprigs–I usually use at least 3 sprigs)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbl kosher salt (leave this out if you use salted roasted cashews)
1 tbl unsalted butter, melted

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Gather your ingredients!

spiced cashew ingredients

Spread the cashews out in a single layer on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven until warm, no more than 5 minutes.  Watch, they burn quickly!

While the cashews are toasting, prepare your spiced butter by melting a tablespoon of butter in the microwave and mixing the melted butter with the cayenne, rosemary, and brown sugar.

spiced cashew ingredients

Toss the warm cashews in the spiced butter.  I find it’s best to put the cashews into the bowl with the spiced butter and stir with a spatula, constantly scraping the sides to make sure all of the butter gets on the cashews.  You don’t want to leave any of this behind!  You can eat them immediately, or save them in an air-tight container for up to a week.

spiced cashews


Broccoli Mushroom Potato Walnut Cheddar Puff Pastries October 1, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in appetizers, dinner, good for a group, vegetarian.
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2 comments

I have been trying to come up with a good name for these little puff pastries.  Broccoli Mushroom Potato Walnut Cheddar Puff Pastries is just a tad long…descriptive, but not catchy!  It will have to do for now, though. They were kind of like a pot pie wrapped in delicious buttery pastry dough.

I baked a batch of these last night for Fringe with Friends (this is when all of our buds come over, we eat dinner, and watch Walter, Peter, and Olivia battle forces from the other dimension on the television show FRINGE).  I served it alongside a bowl of red lentil feta lemon soup but I didn’t snap any pictures of the soup, so that willl have to wait for another post.

These little guys were good–very rich tasting from the pastry, but not so rich that they leave you feeling heavy or overly stuffed after eating them.  We had no leftovers, but I’d imagine it would be a good thing to have around for easy lunches the following day. You could also cut the squares even smaller and make a nice appetizer or hors d oeuvres.

Broccoli Mushroom Potato Walnut Cheddar Puff Pastries
(Printable Recipe)

puff pastries

Ingredients:

1 package of puff pastry (two sheets), thawed but still cold
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 cup of broccoli, chopped
4 oz mushrooms
1/4 cup walnuts
Shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper
1 egg
Water

Method:

Thaw your puff pastry dough by either placing it in the refrigerator the morning of the day you are planning on using it, or by removing it from the freezer and placing it out on the countertop about an hour before you want to use it.

Preheat your oven to 375F. Assuming your pastry is adequately thawed, you’ll want to begin by preparing your filling. Chop your potatoes into a small dice.  You’ll want to then either steam them or boil them for a few minutes to soften them up.  Confession:  I steam them in the microwave using the Ziploc Zip n’ Steam bags.  Are those bad for you?  I don’t know.  I should probably look into that.  But it is easy and quick to clean up, and I have a million of them for some reason.

While your potato is steaming or boiling, chop your broccoli up into small (smaller than bite-sized) pieces.  Heat some olive oil in a skillet on the stove, and begin cooking the mushrooms until they begin to brown.  Add in your chopped broccoli and continue to stir.  Add your softened potatoes and cook until the potatoes have a bit of a crisp to them.  Stir in the chopped walnuts, and season with salt and pepper (and any other spices you might like).

cooking filling

Roll out your thawed puff pastry sheets on a clean, floured countertop.  Flour a rolling pin and gently roll the sheets in all directions.  Cut each sheet into 9 equal pieces.  On each square, place a pinch of shredded cheddar cheese and a tablespoon full of filling.

filling on pastry

Try to center the cheese and filling as best you can.  Fold the square in half and pinch around all of the edges, making sure there are no holes for the filling to leak out of during cooking.  Finish with the rest of the pieces.  I ended up making both rectangles and triangles depending on how each piece was cut.  As you finish each one, place it on a baking sheet  lined with parchment paper.  Make an egg wash by whisking one egg with a tablespoon of water, and brush it on top of each pastry.

pastries uncooked

Bake them in the oven at 375 for about 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden and the pastries are puffed up.  Then eat!

puff pastries

(Printable Recipe)

Edamame Hummus and Tomato-Goat Cheese Spread May 10, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in appetizers, vegetarian.
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1 comment so far

We have a three-year tradition of having our moms and grandmother over for Mother’s Day. I started thinking about what to make for this meal last week. I wanted something tried-and-true; having a dozen plus people over for a nice family meal isn’t the time to try out a new and exotic recipe. But, I thought, I could try out some new things for pre-meal eats. (I made the spinach artichoke feta pie and roasted red pepper rice for the main course.)

When I started this blog, I sent out the link to a few friends at first, just to get their thoughts on it. My friend Sean sent back only one thing to me: a link to this website: What the Fuck Should I Make for Dinner?

Funny enough, I got some great recipes off that site.  The first two recipes it served up to me (“YOUR CRUNCHY GRANOLA ASS SHOULD EAT SOME ….. EDAMAME HUMMUS” and then, tomato goat cheese spread) sounded like perfect appetizers to have alongside the usual cheese and crackers situation.  Both turned out really well.  The edamame hummus is light, citrus-y, and really tasty.  I couldn’t stop eating it.  I left the garlic out of both dips. Usually I love garlic but I just wasn’t feeling it today.  I’m sure it’d be fine with it added in, but both were just as delicious without.  On to the dips!

Edamame Hummus

Ingredients:
2 cups frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
1 cup silken tofu, drained (light is fine)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp. white pepper, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin, plus more for garnish
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste

Method:
1. Set 1 tablespoon of the edamame aside for a garnish. Place the rest, along with the tofu, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, oil and lemon juice, in a food processor and process until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice, if desired.
2. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl and garnish with the reserved edamame and a sprinkle of cumin.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Spread

Ingredients:
1/3 cup dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
Boiling water
4 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre)
1/2 of an 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon milk

Method:
1. In a small bowl, cover dried tomatoes with boiling water; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain tomatoes, discarding liquid. Finely chop tomatoes.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together chopped tomatoes, goat cheese, cream cheese, basil, garlic, and pepper. Stir in enough of the milk to make mixture of spreading consistency. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.