Archive | Appetizers/Hors d’oeuvres RSS feed for this section

Pimento Cheese Toasts

6 Sep

My life changed after a wine party in December 2010. It was at that party that I discovered the pure simplicity and white-trashy goodness of Cheese Toasts. My friend and party hostess, calls them “Crack Toasts” because you become quickly addicted and can’t stop at just one.

I was shocked when Jaime told me the secret ingredient — mayonnaise. In fact, these appetizers are the easiest things in the world to make – stir together some grated cheese, mayo with some salt and pepper, spread on baguette slices, pop in the oven and 10 minutes later you are transported to hot cheesy goodness.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that Jaime was serving a slight variation on the Southern comfort food, Pimento Cheese. While there are many variations to pimento cheese, the basic recipe is grated cheese, mayo, salt, pepper and pimentos or roasted red peppers. It’s a commonly used as a spread for crackers, sandwiches and even as a hot dog topping.

I took Jaime’s info, added in some roasted red peppers along with a few extra ingredients, and created my own version of the “Crack Toast.” Careful — these things are wildly addictive. So much so, that when they came out of the oven, my guests dove into them right away and I couldn’t get a photo of the finished product for The Scallion Scullion blog!

Pimento Cheese Toasts
Makes about 36 toasts

2 cups (about 4 oz) coarsely grated Extra-Sharp Orange Cheddar Cheese
2 cups (about 4 oz) coarsely grated Extra-Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely diced bottled roasted red peppers (rinse and pat dry before cutting)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
salt and pepper, to taste

baguette

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a medium bowl, stir all ingredients, except baguette, until evenly mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste (mixture can be made 3 days ahead, chilled and covered)

3) Slice baguette crosswise into 1/3 inch slices. Spread slices thickly with cheese mixture. Place on prepared baking pan.

4) Bake toasts for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Dirty Martini Dip

25 May

I’ve given myself the self-proclaimed title of “Dip Whisperer.” There is always at least one, if not two or three, of these one-bowl wonders present at all of our gatherings. I love dips because they are the perfect party food — most can be made in advance, there’s endless flavor and dipper combinations and, if we get down to it, they’re just so darn good.

While Knorr Spinach Dip is one of my old stand-bys, I’m always on the look-out for new dips that are a good fit with veggies.

This dip recipe was inspired by a jarred Dirty Martini dip we got as a “freebie” at the 2011 Fancy Food Show. Now I love me a Dirty Martini (or two) and I love me some dip so I couldn’t think of a better combination. While the jarred dip was okay, it had lots of ingredients I didn’t recognize and it was a little too dense to be a true dip. Plus I’m a purist and it kills me to use pre-packaged and pre-made anything. So I read the ingredients, googled “Dirty Martini Dip” recipes, made a few tweaks and, viola, came up with a Dirty Martini Dip perfect for veggies like cucumbers, celery and baby carrots. It’s also wonderful with crackers.

Note — some of you teetotalers out there may scoff at the idea of adding liquor to the dip but it really intensifies the dip’s flavors and is a must-do. Plus how can you call it “Dirty Martini” without a little bit vodka?

Dirty Martini Dip
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened (light okay)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (light okay)
1/4 c. green olives with pimento, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. sour cream (light okay)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 tablespoon olive brine (“juice” from the olive jar)
4 pickled jalapeno slices (such as Mezzetta Deli Sliced Tamed JalapeƱo Peppers)
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vodka

1) Place all ingredients in food processor work bowl.

2) Process using short pulses, scraping bowl as necessary, until well combined.

3) Chill for at least two hours (can be made a day ahead).

4) Serve “up” in a martini glass with crackers, celery, carrots and other vegetables. Garnish with a few slices of pimento-stuffed green olives.

Makes 1 1/2 cups of dip