Appetizer Recipes


Flamiche aux Poireaux: Leek Tart

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart SliceA friend of mine posted on Facebook that her husband (who happens to be a professional cook) was making her favorite tart, a Flamiche aux Poireaux from Patricia Well’s Bistro Cooking.

Since I trust her taste and happened to have the book and the leeks, why not give it a try?*

I took my time and made it in stages. Serves about 4 happily.

For the Pâte Brisée:

  • 1-1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Place 1 cup of the flour, the butter and salt into the work bowl of a food processor. Process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.

Add the ice water and pulse about 6-8 times, until the pastry just begins to come together. Do not let it form a ball.

Transfer to a piece of waxed paper and flatten the dough into a disk. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle it with a little flour, incorporating it 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart Pre BakeFor the Leek Tart:

  • 1 batch Pâte Brisée
  • 3 pounds of leeks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • 4 slices, about 3 ounces, Parma ham, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup, about 3 ounces, Gruyere cheese, grated

Prepare the tart shell. Roll out the dough to line a 10 1/2” tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Prepare the filling. Trim the leeks at the roots. Cut off and discard, or save for another use, the tough dark green portion. Split the leeks lengthwise for easier cleaning and rinse well in cold water. Coarsely chop the leeks.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over low heat. Add the leeks, salt and pepper, and cook, covered, until the leeks are very soft but not browned, about 20 minutes. If the leeks have given up a lot of liquid, drain them into a colander.

Combine the eggs and crème fraiche in a medium-sized bowl until well blended. Mix in the leeks. Reserve ¼ cup of the ham and the cheese to sprinkle on top. Add the rest into the leek mixture and mix well.

Pour the leek mixture into the pastry shell. Sprinkle with the reserved ham and the cheese. Season generously with black pepper.

Bake until nicely browned, about 40-45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart BakedMy verdict: Delicious! Glad I held on to my copy of Bistro Cooking! The crust was flaky on the sides and the filling was wonderful. I used crème fraiche, as my container of heavy cream was a little past its prime.

I used Plugra unsalted butter for my tart crust and it came together beautifully. I was a little surprised that the recipe didn’t call for the shell to be blind baked, and might try doing that for a few minutes the next time, just to give the bottom of the tart a better chance to stay crisp.

I almost substituted some smoked lobster I’d picked up in Maine for the ham but used some Italian Copa that we had in the house. Crabmeat would probably also be lovely with the leeks.


*Okay, possibly one (or ten) too many episodes of the Great British Baking Show, convinced me that Pâte Brisée, was well within my capabilities, even though it’s been ages since I made anything resembling a pie crust. Osmosis?


Pea Guacamole Recipe

Yes, you’re right. Pea guacamole?

I succumbed.

But there’s a reason. A story.

I needed something to take to a Mexican themed party.

The hostess and I have had an ongoing thing about peas.

She’s pro-, I consider them generally superfluous.

She also has a great sense of humor.

This is a tweaked version of the NY Times piece that caused quite a furor last year.

Pea Guacamole

  • ½ pound frozen peas, thawed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped (or more for taste)
  • Salt
  • 3 small very ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, whites only, sliced very thin
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime (or more for taste)

In a microwave-safe bowl, cook the peas with about 1 tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain peas and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Reserve a small handful for garnish.

Halve, seed and de-vein the jalapenos. Cut into small chunks.

In a blender or food processor, chop the jalapenos. Add the peas, cilantro and ½ teaspoon salt. Process until the peas are almost smooth, but still have a little texture.

In a medium bowl, mash the avocados. Add the scallions, lime zest, juice, ½ teaspoon salt and the pea mixture. Mix well. Taste and add additional cilantro, salt and lime juice as needed. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

My verdict: Everyone at the party thought it was great (and finished it off)! I thought it was pretty good, but a little sweet because of the peas.

Would I make it again? No, too much work and too many dirty dishes.

The original recipe called for roasting one of the jalapenos and peeling it. I tossed one on the grill (only because the grill was going) and charred it, but didn’t peel it. If you wanted to toss one or more in a small skillet, you could do that, but I don’t think it’s going to matter in the end result.

The Times also had you shucking fresh peas, a cute idea if you’re making peas for dinner for two, but a huge time suck if you’re making guacamole for a crowd.

When I make guacamole, it’s seven ingredients, a knife and a bowl.

10 minutes, no grill, no Cuisinart, no microplane (zester).

Would or have you made guacamole with peas?


Hot Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip

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…




Buffalo Cauliflower With Blue Cheese

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.



50 MPH Tomatoes-Good Year Round!

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.




Vincent Price’s Guacamole (aka Avocado Spread)

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!



Smoked Trout Brandade

Accidental Locavore Smoked Trout BrandadeBrandade is one of those dishes that can be really good or totally awful. The Accidental Locavore has never been terribly fond of salty-fishy food, so foods like anchovies or caviar need to be carefully disguised. Same for salt cod, which is what brandade is usually made from. When I saw this recipe for a brandade made from smoked trout, it gave me the perfect excuse to toss a couple of trout on the smoker (and bring home another baguette from Maison Kayser). This filled two small gratin pans, so dinner for 2 or appetizers for 4 or more.

  • 1 large russet potato (about 10 oz.)
  • Olive oil- 1 teaspoon for the potato and ½ cup for the brandade
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 8 oz. smoked trout, skin and bones removed
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 baguette, sliced, toasted

Accidental Locaovre Smoked Trout and MilkHeat oven to 400°. Rub potato with 1 teaspoon olive oil and bake directly on oven rack until tender, 50–60 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel. Put in a small bowl and mash potato with a fork or potato masher, until nearly smooth.

While potato is baking, bring garlic, trout, and milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; let sit 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of trout to a plate; flake into small pieces.

Put the garlic, milk, remaining trout, lemon juice, paprika and remaining ½ cup of olive oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and gently fold in the mashed potato and flaked trout. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Accidental Locavore Preparing BrandadeTransfer trout mixture to a 1-qt. shallow baking dish or four 6-oz. ramekins and top with Parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and golden brown and brandade is heated through, 15–20 minutes. Serve with toasted baguette slices and enjoy!

My verdict: Potatoes and smoked fish, what’s not to like? This makes a nice, simple supper with a side salad or veg. I did have it with the toasted baguette and would serve it that way as an hors d’oeuvre, but didn’t really need it as dinner. I had smoked two trout and this used one of the two. I did use a russet potato, but Yukon Gold or two would work well. If you wanted to save time, you could pop the potato in the microwave to bake them.




Garlic Chickpea Snacks

Accidental Locavore Fried ChickpeasThe Accidental Locavore keeps reading about how healthy chickpeas are for snacking so the other night, when friends were coming over for dinner, I thought I’d try a batch (always good to have guinea pigs…). This is from Bon Appetit and is quick and easy.

  • 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces), rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, run through a garlic press
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (or more depending on your heat tolerance)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Accidental Locavore Frying ChickpeasHeat the olive oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas, garlic and hot pepper flakes. Fry until the chickpeas are golden brown and start to blister, about 8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: These were good when they were fresh. I used Maldon salt for them, any good salt would be good on them and you could even play around with flavored salts and/or herbs. The problem came when I tossed them into a Ziploc bag to store them. The next day they were essentially inedible (but don’t tell my dog that, he’s not complaining about their sudden appearance in his dinner). This was a little weird, because Bon Appetit was touting them as a great add-in for lunch salads (and because their recipe called for 2 cans of chickpeas!!!), so you would think to make them ahead and toss them in as needed. And although, my version cuts down on the olive oil, I think it could still be reduced to a couple of tablespoons. Would I make it again? Probably not, because I think this salad is a much better use of chickpeas and if I wanted a snack, I’d probably whip up (or doctor some purchased) hummus. What do you think?Accidental Locavore Chick Pea Salad



7 Ingredients for the Best Guacamole Ever!

Accidental Locavore Great GuacamoleSince it’s almost Super Bowl Sunday, what good would this blog be without a recipe for guacamole?

And not to brag, but the Accidental Locavore makes the best guacamole!

Here’s the key: lots of cilantro. Even if you’re not a big cilantro fan, just close your eyes and go for it, you’ll be glad you did.

The other tip is to save 2-3 of the avocado pits, clean them and put them in the middle of the guacamole to keep it from discoloring.

Great Guacamole Recipe

  • 4-5 really ripe Haas avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2 dice
  • 1 small white onion, chopped fine
  • 1 medium tomato, diced (try to find a ripe one)
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, or jalapenos, depending on your heat threshold, seeded and chopped very fine
  • Most of a bunch of cilantro chopped fine
  • Lime juice to taste
  • Salt to taste

Mix the avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, chiles, lime, and salt, slightly mashing the avocado as you mix. Taste and add additional chiles, lime and cilantro according to your taste. Put the avocado pits in the center of your bowl (see photo). Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Like pesto, guacamole is a matter of taste. If you’re not sure, start slowly–a little chile, a small handful of cilantro, some lime. Taste it and add what makes sense to you, but taste it with a chip, because that will add salt to the end product.

The secret to this guacamole, and I think all good ones, is more cilantro than you think is necessary. Ripe avocados are also a must.

The big green Florida avocados have no flavor, you always want a Haas. If you can’t find good ripe avocados, go buy them now and leave them on the counter to ripen. If they’re rock hard and you need them soon, put them in a brown paper bag with a banana, it will speed up the process.


Baked Aparagus Fries-Side Dish Recipe

Accidental Locavore Trout With AsparagusThe Accidental Locavore tried a recipe for asparagus fries (that aren’t even fried) to mixed results recently. Here’s the recipe adapted from spoonforkbacon and I’d love to know what you think. The prep time is a little long, depending on how many you’re doing, however it’s easy (but messy). Try to use one hand for the dredging and dipping and keep the other clean and dry for other tasks. From start to finish it will take less than an hour and feeds 4.


  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1lb asparagus, washed and cut in 4″ pieces
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil


Accidental Locavore Asparagus FriesStep 1
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper together in a shallow bowl. Place flour in another shallow bowl. Place beaten eggs in a third shallow bowl. Dredge the asparagus spears in flour and shake off excess (not much flour will stick, but that’s okay). Dip in egg and then in panko mix. Make sure spears are thoroughly coated with crumbs. Place on cookie sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil.
Step 2
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!


The verdict: Frank really liked them and thought they’d be a great hors d’oeuvre with a dipping sauce. Try mayo thinned out with a little lemon and some cumin.  This time of year asparagus are so good, I’d rather (toss them in olive oil or mayo and) grill them. However, if you’re serving some fussy eaters, this is a good way of sneaking a veg in. What do you think?





View the Archives

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment