Appetizer Recipes

Hot Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip

by Anne Maxfield on March 17, 2016

Accidental Locavore Onion Dip CookedHow could you resist a dip that has caramelized onions, bacon and crème fraîche? The Accidental Locavore couldn’t and an invitation to friend’s for dinner gave me the perfect opportunity. From Vermont Creamery, it served 6:

  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of flakey sea salt (like Maldon)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry (optional)
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Pepper to taste
  • fresh thyme for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. In a cast iron skillet, or other heavy sauté pan, cook bacon until nice and crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer it to a paper towel to drain and cool.

In the same skillet, in the bacon fat, cook your onions, sugar and salt slowly over medium heat until the onions are nicely caramelized. This usually takes about 20 minutes depending on how thinly sliced the onions are (don’t rush it!).

Remove from heat, splash in the sherry and hot sauce if you’re using them, stir to combine.

Crumble the bacon into the skillet, add in the Gruyère, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, pepper and mix everything well.

Bake the skillet of dip for 10 to 20 minutes, until it’s golden and bubbly. Remove from oven, allow to cool and set for about 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme, serve with pita chips or nice crusty bread and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bacon Cheese DipEveryone’s verdict: Well, it was polished off in 5 minutes…We served it with some local flatbreads, but any sort of sturdy cracker or chip would work well. Even though our liquor cabinet is crammed with booze, surprisingly there was no sherry. I tossed in a bit of bourbon along with the hot sauce and it was fine. Using homemade mayo is always better than the jarred stuff and if I’d had time, ditto the crème fraiche, but the bacon was also mine. Sautéing some mushrooms would be a nice if unneeded addition. Next time, I’m going to chop up a little more thyme and add it in with the onions – they work well together and I wanted a little more thyme in the dip. While I cooked everything in my cast iron pan, I baked it in an oven-proof soufflé dish, as the pan was too big for the volume of dip.

Save this recipe for your next football (or anything else) party, but you might want to double it…

 

 

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Buffalo Cauliflower With Blue Cheese

by Anne Maxfield on November 12, 2015

Accidental Locavore Buffalo CauliflowerAs you know, cauliflower is poised to take over for kale as the next over-played vegetable. Being trendy enough, the Accidental Locavore found this recipe for roasted cauliflower with a “Buffalo” sauce. It’s easy and you can roast the cauliflower ahead of time. Serves 2-4, depending on the size of the cauliflower (and the hunger of your audience).

  • One 2-to-2½-pound head cauliflower, leaves trimmed and base trimmed so the cauliflower will stand up
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Sriracha
  • ¼ cup Frank’s RedHot sauce
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese

Accidental Locavore Roasted CauliflowerPreheat the oven to 450°. Place the cauliflower, stem-side down, onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Roast until tender and browned on top, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, trim the florets into 3-inch-long pieces (about the size of chicken wings) and cut the stem into thin slices.

In a large saucepan, combine the Sriracha, Frank’s RedHot sauce and the cauliflower, and toss to coat. Place over medium-high heat, and when the sauce begins to sizzle, add the butter. Cook, tossing and stirring often, until the sauce is slightly creamy and the cauliflower is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the blue cheese, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Buffalo CauliflowerMy verdict: Provided you like Buffalo sauce, this could make a cauliflower lover out of the skeptics out there! It’s really easy, especially if you roast the cauliflower ahead of time, like I did, then you can just pull it out and finish it off. I thought it was maybe a little too spicy and will cut down the Sriracha to 2 tablespoons and add more 2 more tablespoons of Frank’s the next time I make it. Since I had some real Roquefort on hand, that was my blue cheese, which was great, but you certainly will get a fine result with any good blue cheese. Serve it as a snack or side dish.

 

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50 MPH Tomatoes-Good Year Round!

by Anne Maxfield on November 5, 2015

Accidental Locavore My 50 MPH TomatoesKnowing that these are one of my husband’s favorite appetizers at Cafe Miranda, being the proud owner of their cookbook, Adventures in Comfort Food, and having a big bowlful of tomatoes, the Accidental Locavore needed to take this recipe for a test drive. Luckily, this actually works better on less-than-perfect tomatoes, so go for it! Serves 2 as a large appetizer or side dish:

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper relish
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion or minced fresh onion
  • 2 pinches dried dill

Accidental Locavore 50 MPH SauceFor the tomatoes:

  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ pound (1 large) tomato cut into 1” slices (horizontal)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Scallions, sliced for garnish

Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Put the cornmeal, salt & pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat tomatoes with the cornmeal mix, pressing slightly to make sure they adhere.

In a heavy 12” frying pan (cast iron is ideal) over medium heat, heat ¼” oil until hot – don’t let it smoke. Fry the tomatoes for 5 minutes until golden brown, carefully flip and fry another 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Smear the dressing on a plate. Plate tomatoes side by side on the dressing so they stay crisp. Sprinkle with scallions, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore 50 MPH TomatoesMy verdict: Delicious! Not as good as being at Miranda (this photo is from there), but not bad for a first attempt. The sauce is a great version of Russian dressing with a little heat! I didn’t have any hot pepper relish, so I used slightly less than 3 tablespoons of India relish (and a little squirt of Sriracha in Kerry’s honor), the juice of half a lime and fresh dill in place of dried.

Kerry says this is a good way to use less than perfect tomatoes, so remember it for when you’re a bit discouraged by the tomatoes in the market. When I made it, it was tomato season, and we used a couple of big, beautiful beefsteaks, so they just needed about 3-4 minutes a side. The cornmeal crust was nice and crunchy, we just needed more of it, so next time I’m just going to eyeball a dish full so they get a better crust. Chives made a good garnish as there were no scallions.

 

 

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Vincent Price’s Guacamole (aka Avocado Spread)

by Anne Maxfield on October 1, 2015

Accidental Locavore Vincent Price's GuacamoleFor those of you, of un âge certain, like the Accidental Locavore, the fact that Vincent Price authored a cookbook and a really good one, won’t come as a surprise. The rest of you may have seen him in old Batman episodes or one of the many horror flicks he was known for, but did you know that he wrote one of the first celebrity cookbooks, A Treasury of Great Recipes?

Someone in my family, perhaps my grandmother, Olive, had a copy of it and along with Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls, they’re really the only cookbooks I can still visualize from my childhood. There were recipes I probably cooked with my grandmother, but sadly, have no idea what they were. So I was happy to learn that they’ve released a 50th anniversary edition of the book and happier still when The Daily Meal gave me the chance to try one of the recipes and win a copy. This makes 2 cups and I’ve adapted the recipe for clarity:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno or Serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ½ garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander (a large pinch)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional and more to taste)

Peel and seed the avocados. Rinse off the best-looking pit and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl mash the avocados with a fork. Add all the other ingredients and mix to combine. Taste, and add salt and cayenne as needed.

Leave the pit in the center of the guac to prevent discoloration. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Great GuacamoleMy verdict: Along with the fact that there were a couple of ripe avocados in my fridge, my competitive juices started flowing, since I’ve always been told that I make the best guac. This one seemed a bit odd, but in 1965 it was probably light years ahead of its time. I expected it to be awful but it was really tasty! It’s not the guacamole for those who like it hot – adding more chiles or cayenne would take care of that, and with the addition of the mayo, even my homemade, it was a little sweet and much smoother than my usual. Vincent says, “if you like a very smooth guacamole, remove the seeds and put mixture into a blender container and blend on high for about 8 seconds before you are ready to serve it.” Next time, I might swap lime juice for lemon and chop up some fresh cilantro (which was probably not easily found in the sixties), just to see how it turns out. But no peas!

 

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