Category Archives: Girls’ Night Gnoshing

Birthday Cake Martinis

A couple of weekends ago, I pulled out my spray-paint can cocktail shaker (thanks, Liz!) and mixed up a batch of birthday cake martinis for Kevin’s birthday. The recipe was so simple,  I hadn’t planned on posting it here. But, since I put the picture in that weekend hodgepodge, numerous people have written to ask for a post about it. So, here it is! Be aware, this drink packs a punch. You also may want to experiment with adding some white chocolate liquor or using vanilla vodka instead of whipped cream. Definitely don’t forgo the frosting- It’s the icing on the cake! (har har har)

Birthday Cake Martini
makes 1 martini, but easy to scale

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. whipped cream vodka
  • 2 oz. creme de cacao a la vanille
  • 1 oz. amaretto
  • 1 oz. heavy cream
  • frosting
  • nonpareil sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Spread thin layer of frosting on small plate. Pour sprinkles into shallow bowl.
  2. Dip martini glass rim into frosting, then sprinkles.
  3. Add liquors, cream and ice to cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into sprinkle-rimmed martini glasses.
  4. Serve immediately.
Birthday Celebration

Cupcakes & Birthday Cake Martinis

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Superbowl Snack-down

Ah, Superbowl Sunday. A day for gnoshing on snacks and watching a game which I have no interest in so that the designer/marketer in me might catch a glimpse of a great advertisement. This was the first year my Superbowl commercial-watching buddy, Sarah, was not in town, nor did we have a party for the game. We don’t have cable anymore, so we hooked up the laptop to the TV and prepared a local, healthy (albeit cheese-laden) spread to munch on while we watched for great commercials. Boy, were we dismayed to see that the online streaming version of the Superbowl doesn’t include the great commercials! Instead, the same three ads rotated through, and none of them were anything great. Afterwards, we found a page of all the ad videos, and were even more dismayed to see that none of the ads were even that spectacular there! Ah well, at least we had great munchies. The mushrooms are especially to-die-for. Make them and see for yourself!

Feta & Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

Feta & Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

Feta & Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Crumble feta into small bowl.
  3. Mince garlic and chop basil, then add to feta in bowl and combine with fork.
  4. Add olive oil and bread crumbs and mix well.
  5. Clean and de-stem mushrooms.
  6. Place a small spoonful of filling mixture in each mushroom cap.
  7. Place stuffed mushrooms on greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Rutabaga Fries with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
(Dipping Sauce Recipe Follows)

Baked Rutabaga Fries with Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce

Baked Rutabaga Fries with Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce

Rutabaga Fry Ingredients:

  • 2 rutabagas (Pure Sprouts)
  • drizzle olive oil
  • palmful herb salt, or any seasoning blend of your choice (we used our own Marsh Salt)
  • 2 T. flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Peel rutabagas and cut into french-fry size sticks, then place in bowl.
  3. Drizzle rutabaga sticks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and flour.
  4. Toss to coat evenly.
  5. Spread evenly on parchment-covered baking sheet.
  6. Bake 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Bleu Cheese Dip Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and stir until paste-like.
  3. Pour in milk.
  4. Crumble bleu cheese into pan and whisk until smooth.
  5. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring until thickened.
  6. Serve with fries or wings.

Sesame Carrot Lettuce Wraps

Sesame Carrot Lettuce Wraps

Sesame Carrot Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Julienne carrots.
  2. Toss carrots with soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds and let sit at least 15 minutes.
  3. Trim off the thick stem end of the lettuce leaf.
  4. Spoon carrots down center of leaf.
  5. Wrap lettuce around carrots like a taco.
  6. Serve.

Quesadillas with Homemade Salsa

Quesadillas with Homemade Salsa

Quesadillas with Homemade Salsa

See my post on homemade tortillas and quesadillas! Tonight, we made them with pepper jack from (Keepsake Farm) and a bit of leftover ground beef.

Homemade Salsa Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place garlic in food processor and pulse till finely chopped.
  2. Add onion and jalepeño and pulse until chopped.
  3. Add tomato and pulse until chopped.
  4. Serve with hot quesadillas.

Vegan Butternut Squash Dip with Garlic-Onion Crackers

Tonight is the first meeting of the Bethlehem Grocery Co-Op (7:00 at the library—Be there!). My husband and I are so psyched. I am even skipping out on one of my Girl Scout meetings to attend! The Express Times covered the story with a pretty decent article, which you can read here.

In the spirit of community, the meeting organizers have asked people to bring vegetarian or vegan snack food or non-alcoholic beverages to share in a potluck. Since I’ll be coming straight from my earlier Girl Scout meeting tonight, I knew I had to make something ahead of time that I could just grab when I pick up my husband and bring along. With a bunch of roasted butternut squash in the freezer, plus two whole ones in the fridge, I figured that was a good place to start. Dip is generally pretty foolproof, so I whipped up a super-simple batch in the food processor and made some tasty garlic onion crackers to go along with it. The combination is delicious—Savory crackers (based off a recipe for Indian nippattu, an onion and chili savory cookie) with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy dip. So, whether you’ve got a holiday party coming up or taste this tonight at the meeting and decide you want more, give it a try! (By the way, both recipes are vegan.)

Butternut Squash Dip

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Dip Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 c. roasted butternut squash (I had some in the freezer from Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 takeout packet soy sauce (I think that’s a tablespoon?)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • hot sauce, to taste (Easton Salsa Company)

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic in food processor.
  2. Squeeze all the juice from the lemon into the food processor, then add remaining ingredients.
  3. Process until smooth.
  4. Serve with savory crackers.
Butternut Squash Dip

Butternut Squash Dip—How easy was that?!

Garlic-Onion Crackers

Makes 120 bite-size crackers!

Ingredients:

Cracker Ingredients

Cracker Ingredients

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt (I used herb sea salt we made from thyme, sage & rosemary from our garden)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. sesame seeds
  • ½ large onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 cloves garlic(Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water (you may not use it all)

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and sesame seeds in large bowl.
  2. Mince onion and garlic (I used a food processor) and add to flour mixture, stirring to combine well.

    Cracker Dough

    With Onion & Garlic Added

  3. Add olive oil and mix well (mixture will be lumpy)
  4. Gradually add water and stir until dough forms. Dough will feel oily.
  5. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 325°.
  7. Form a small ball (about 1/2-3/4″ in diameter) of dough. Place between two sheets of wax paper or greased plastic wrap. Press thin with your fingers (about 1/16″ thick, 1-1.25″ diameter).
  8. Gently peel dough circle from wax paper and place on non-stick or foil lined baking sheet. Prick dough circles all over with fork.

    Dough Circles

    Dough Circles

  9. Repeat until all dough is used.
  10. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. (Since this makes 120 crackers, you may want to bake these in batches so you aren’t using up a zillion baking sheets!)
  11. Cool completely on wire rack and store in airtight container.
Garlic Onion Crackers

Crackers and crackers, oh my!

 


Snack Time!

It’s a holiday week, which probably means you’ve got at least one meal lined up where you anticipate eating to the point where you will swear off food for a week. When you realize that you are hungry later that same day, wouldn’t it be nice to have

In an attempt to put my excess of apples to creative use, I sat flipping through a stack of Food Network Magazines, searching for inspiration. I caught a recipe for fruit leather out of the corner of my eye and almost passed right over it because, who the heck eats fruit leather? Then I remembered how much fun I had with Fruit Roll Ups as a kid and decided to give this recipe a try. I made some modifications and was super pleased with the results (aside from some minor swearing when I discovered that my tin foil is not non-stick after all). This recipe does take quite a while to bake, but that’s not hands-on time, so pop it in the oven and go get sucked into a marathon of Axmen on Netflix or something.

Also, remember those apple chips from last week? Well, I wanted a sweet and salty snack, so scroll on down the page to find a ridiculously easy, healthy snack mix recipe I made up using those chips and some other ingredients.

Apple Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Doesn't get much simpler than this!

  • 6 apples (I used Ida Red from Strawberry Acres)
  • 1 lemon (it felt so strange to buy citrus!!!)
  • 1/4-1/2 c. sugar, optional
  • cinnamon, ginger or other spices, to taste and optional

Directions:

  1. Peel, core and slice apples (it’s moments like this when I am oh-so-grateful for my apple peeler/corer/slicer that looks like a medieval torture device).
  2. Place apples, sugar and spices in food processor or blender and squeeze juice from lemon over top.
  3. Purée apples.

    Apple/sugar/lemon juice purée

    Apple/sugar/lemon juice purée

  4. Transfer apple mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until thick and dark, with most liquid having evaporated, about 40 minutes. Keep a close eye on it towards the end so it doesn’t burn, and be careful—It will spit when it bubbles!
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°.
  6. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick foil and spread fruit mixture evenly over both.
  7. Bake for 3-3.5 hours, or until surface is barely sticky.
  8. Remove from oven, cool and peel off foil. If the bottom is still sticky, flip it over and return to oven for 15-20 more minutes.

    Apple Fruit Leather

    My lack of non-stick foil left me with this large piece of fruit leather that looked vaguely like the USA! It tastes like an applesauce fruit rollup!

Curried Popcorn Snack Mix

Ingredients:

[This was such an impulse concoction that I didn’t even take a picture of the ingredients.]

  • 2 c. air-popped popcorn
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. roughly broken apple chips (recipe here!)
  • 1/4 c. spicy roasted chickpeas (Cardamom & Curry)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garam masala

Directions:

  1. Mix popcorn, cranberries, apple chips and chickpeas in large bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over popcorn mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Sprinkle garam masala over mixture and toss again.
  4. Chow down!
Curried Popcorn Snack Mix

Sweet, spicy, tangy, crunchy, chewy—Everything a snack mix should be!


Girls’ Night Gnoshing: Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Each Wednesday a group of my friends and I get together for a night of testosterone-free hanging out. Sometimes we head to Roosevelts (if they are not having an obnoxious DJ) for gravy cheese fries & $4 mixed drinks and sometimes we gather at someone’s home for a BYO night. Either way, it’s sure to be a night of laughter, booze and good food.

A couple of weeks ago, girls’ night was going to be at a friend’s home, and I realized I didn’t have anything to bring! A quick survey of the kitchen didn’t turn up any prepared snack food, and I was out of alcohol. All I had were vegetables! I was pretty well stocked on eggplant, so I thought of making baba ganoush, but I didn’t have any tahini on hand. So, I pulled out what I could find and figured if my friends didn’t like it, we just wouldn’t eat it. Well, all of it was gone by the end of the evening, so I take that as a good sign. Bring this Italian dip with you next time you need an easy snack and you’ll be all set!

Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Ingredients:

[My husband was kind enough to roast the veggies for me while I was running errands, so I don’t have a picture of everything raw.]

Simple ingredients for a complex-tasting dip.

Simple ingredients for a complex-tasting dip.

  • 1 large eggplant (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1 large onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1 large tomato (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 12-15 fresh basil leaves (our garden)
  • 4 sprigs oregano (our garden)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. lemon juice (I didn’t have any, so my dip darkened a bit, but was still tasty)

Directions:

  1. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and sprinkle with salt. Let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Cut onion into thick slices.
  3. Cut tomato in half.
  4. Place veggies cut side down on cookie sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until eggplant is soft. Let cool enough to handle.
  5. Meanwhile, chop garlic in food processor.
  6. Add basil and oregano to food processor, pulse until finely chopped.
  7. Scrape pulp out of eggplant skins and add to food processor.
  8. Add tomato and onion to food processor.
  9. Process until smooth.
  10. Slowly add olive oil while processor is running until dip is desired consistency.
  11. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving with crackers, toasts or pita chips.
Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Italian Roasted Veggie Dip


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