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Beet Sliders with Green Goddess Dressing

Beet Sliders with Green Goddess Dressing

Aren’t sliders adorable? I think most things in miniature form are cuter than their full size counterparts. Think babies, puppies, kitties, and burgers. However, why should meat-eaters have all the slider fun? They shouldn’t, right?

Now that we are in agreement on that, let’s talk about these Beet Sliders with Green Goddess Dressing. Boiling the beets along with a variety of aromatics imparts great flavor into the beets. The Green Goddess Dressing is creamy, herby, and delicious, which complements the earthiness of the beets. Red onions offer crunch and bite to the slider. The combination is top notch.

Beet Sliders with Green Goddess Dressing

I estimate that approximately 99% of slider recipes that I come across feature some sort of meat filling. You know that I am always up for a challenge. Therefore, I want to create delicious options for vegetarian sliders. These Beet Sliders are not only gorgeous; they are perfect to eat while drinking a glass of wine or a beer and listening to Budos Band.

I would plan to serve two to three sliders per person for a perfect small plate offering. I adore small plates. Small plates always feel like a party. I would much rather have a few small plates than one entrée any day. Honestly, every day that would be my preference. Small plates are perfect for the chronically indecisive, possibly commitment challenged.

Beet Sliders with Green Goddess Dressing

I digress. Let’s move on the these sliders. The key to any burger is getting the bun and burger to match up in size. Be sure that your beets are as big in the widest part as the bun they will eventually sit on. Once the beets are cooked and peeled, you will want to slice them into about one-inch rounds.

While the beets cook, whip up the ingredients for the Green Goddess dressing and thinly slice part of a red onion. I always recommend wearing latex or rubber gloves when working with beets. Beets stain everything they encounter so exercise care when preparing them.

If you are beet lover, you may want to check out these other recipes:

Beet Sliders with Green Goddess Dressing

 

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Perhaps it is my Irish roots or maybe it is just because potatoes are damn delicious, but either way, I love potatoes. And, as long as I have potatoes in the house, I know I can put a satisfying meal on the table in no time. You do not need me to enumerate all the amazing things that you can do with potatoes. Okay, I will anyway. I love them roasted, mashed, baked, fried, shredded, spiralized, scalloped, or hasselbacked.

As you can see in my previous posts for Roasted Carrot Hummus and Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate Seeds, roasted vegetables are my absolute favorite. The roasting process brings out incredible flavor and texture in vegetables and these lemon roasted potatoes are delightful.

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

The potatoes in this Lemon Roasted Potatoes recipe get crispy and golden brown on the outside and stay tender on the inside. The flavor of the garlic and lemon mellows in the roasting process and actually develop a sweetness. I have added the chipotle chili powder and cayenne to balance the sweet with a little bit of heat. The rosemary adds an earthy fresh flavor. But, if rosemary isn’t your thing, feel free to swap it out with some parsley but don’t add it until the end of the cooking time.

Lemon Roasted Potatoes are a lovely side dish to accompany any number of protein-filled main dishes. They would be a delicious side to salmon or chicken. On the other hand, if you are looking for a meatless menu idea, I think the potatoes would be delicious served alongside a Middle Eastern mezze platter of cut up veggies, pita wedges, hummus, and olives.

Alternatively, you could toss some asparagus spears in the oven while the potatoes are cooking. I would add them to the oven when you have about 20 minutes of cooking time left on the potatoes. Then, poach or fry an egg and serve on top of the potatoes. So good, right?

How to Make Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Deep Run Roots: Cookbook Review

Deep Run Roots

Fans of the PBS series, A Chef’s Life, will recall Vivian Howard’s story about being a chef in New York City whose parents offered to finance a restaurant if she opened it in their hometown in Eastern North Carolina. So, Vivian and her husband Ben packed up their New York life and moved back to Vivian’s hometown, Deep Run, which Vivian swore she would never return to when she left home.

Watching the show, I fell in love with Vivian’s style of cooking and the relationships that she built with local farmers and experts in southern methods of cooking (holla to Miss Lillie). She focuses on seasonal, local-sourced ingredients at their restaurant, The Chef and the Farmer.

Deep Run Roots

The Cookbook

That commitment is also evident in her cookbook, which is a little meta as she was working on the cookbook in some episodes of the TV show. Vivian’s writing style is true to her personality: funny, warm, and a little bit type A. I love how she laughs loud and often. In both her show and cookbook, her skill as a storyteller and historian of southern food draws me in.

Deep Run Roots is voluminous, coming in at over 550 pages. Each chapter features an ingredient including stories about how that ingredient plays a part in southern cooking, educational tidbits, and many recipes highlighting that ingredient. Vivian’s instructions for each recipe are clearly written and easy to understand. A beautiful photograph of the finished dish accompanies each recipe.

Deep Run Roots

Oysters

I was thrilled when I saw that Deep Run Roots had a chapter on oysters. I love oysters; I mean LOVE them, crazily so. I crave their briny goodness. One episode of A Chef’s Life featured oysters and we were entranced by the party Vivian and her family and friends held in their outdoor pavilion. In this episode, they steamed oysters on a piece of corrugated tin over a fire. I was truly envious. My sweetie and I even scrounged up a piece of corrugated tin with the intention of our own oyster party one day. That day has not come yet but it is good to have goals, right?

While we have not had a backyard bonfire oyster party yet, we have had many oyster parties with our dear friends. We lovingly refer to these get-togethers as Oysterfest. We order several dozen oysters from our local fish shop and get together and the girls drink wine and the boys drink beer and we all devour those oysters like it is our job.

I had picked up a copy of Deep Run Roots just before our most recent Oysterfest (Oysterfest 7 for those of you who are counting) so you know I had to try out a few of the recipes from the cookbook that night.

Deep Run Roots mignonette

Slurping down raw oysters on the half shell almost always includes some type of vinegar-based mignonette sauce. One the recipes in Deep Run Roots was a mignonette sauce which featured a sliver of orange segment and rice vinegar instead of the typical red wine vinegar. I made a batch of this mignonette but subbed out the orange with a blood orange, which was in season. The vibrant red color of the blood orange was spectacular visually, don’t you think?

Based on the instructions in Deep Run Roots, we also steamed a dozen of the oysters that we served on saltine crackers with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of Tabasco. The texture of the oyster changes a bit when steamed and becomes supple and almost creamy. Recommended!

We also tried Vivian’s recipes for Roasted Oysters with Brown Butter Hot Sauce and Bacon. These were delicious but sadly, we made these toward the end of the evening and I wasn’t as clear minded as I was earlier that night.. Thus, there are no photos of the roasted oysters but take my word for it, if you are an oyster lover, you will want to try this recipe.

Sweet corn

The chapter has me drumming my fingers while flipping through the calendar awaiting summer corn. I have bookmarked a few of Vivian’s sweet corn recipes to try when the farm stands start popping up on corners and the farmers markets are in full swing. Two recipes that I am excited to try are Cilantro-Lime Sweet Corn and Raw Corn and Cantaloupe Salad with Red Onion and Roasted Poblano.

The Cilantro-Lime Sweet Corn involves making a compound butter flavored with lime juice, zest, cilantro, and cayenne. Yum, right? Then, you cook the corn kernels in a sauté pan and finish with the compound butter.

The Raw Corn and Cantaloupe Salad with Red Onion and Roasted Poblano sounds so summery but I found it to be such an unusal combination of ingredients. I can see how well the sweet corn and cantaloupe would pair with their sweet juicy flavors. I am intrigued by the bite of red onion and the smokiness of the roasted poblano combined with the sweet ingredients. We will just have to wait until summer to see how these ingredients come together.

Hurry up summer!

 

 

 

 

Parmesan Prosciutto Twists

Parmesan Prosciutto Twists

I always have a box or two of puff pastry in my freezer. It is a staple because you can use it to make delicious sweet or savory foods. I am especially fond of using puff pastry for savory snacks to accompany drinks when friends come over. Wouldn’t these Parmesan Prosciutto Twists be delicious with a glass of wine?

Parmesan Prosciutto TwistsI would also love to serve them with soup. You could dip the Parmesan Prosciutto twists in the soup. Yum! It might even be better than dipping a grilled cheese sandwich in tomato soup. However, last weekend I made these Parmesan Prosciutto twists for brunch and served them with sunny side up eggs. Twists and yolks for the win. Am I right? Wouldn’t they also be elegant served with soft-boiled eggs in those adorable decorative egg cups?

Parmesan Prosciutto TwistsFor those of you do not eat meat, you can simply omit the Prosciutto from this recipe to make a delicious vegetarian twist.

Puff pastry is easy to work with so try it if you have not worked with it before. You will find it in the freezer section of your grocery store. Then, store it in the freezer until needed. I typically remove it from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw the night before I plan to use it.

Parmesan Prosciutto Twists

If you like cooking with puff pastry, you may want to check out this recipe for Winter Squash & Havarti Puffs.

Parmesan Prosciutto Twists

Southwestern Potato Salad

Southwestern Potato Salad

Once the sunlight grows long in the evenings after Daylight Savings Time, my brain automatically moves into summer mode. The sloth in me suddenly disappears and I want to do all the things outside.

One of those things that I must start doing immediately is cooking out of doors. I dust off the BBQ grill and start planning get-togethers with family and friends. BBQ time means potato salad time. However, this Southwestern Potato Salad recipe is not some ordinary potato salad, it is a kicked up version full of flavors you love from southwestern cuisine.

Southwestern Potato Salad

Bobby Flay’s recipe for Southwestern Potato Salad on the Food Network website was the inspiration for this recipe. Once again, I found the photo associated with the recipe on their website lacking. Admittedly, potato salad is not the most photogenic dish in the world but I challenged myself to improve the recipe and photo.

I added roasted chilies to the potato salad that I am surprised that Bobby had not included in his version. I also added hard-boiled eggs to garnish the top of the potato salad because my people love hard-boiled eggs. If your people do not love hard-boiled eggs, you can omit them.

Southwestern Potato SaladHere are few other recipes that I found on Food Network’s website that I had to make and photograph in order to pin it to Pinterest. You will understand why this important if you are a Pinterest user. If you are not an avid Pinterest user, but want to be (and you should) then hit me up. I will help you down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest. It is so fun, I promise!

If you ever see any Food Network recipes that have no pictures or worse yet, terrible pictures, drop me a note with the link. I am up for the challenge!

Southwestern Potato Salad

Spicy Mango Sauce

Spicy Mango Sauce

Oh, just imagine all the foods that you can dip in this delicious spicy mango sauce! Coconut shrimp? Yes! Asparagus fries? Yes! Spring rolls? Of course! How about spicy mango sauce served with roasted cauliflower? I think that there is potential there. In the comments, let me know how else you might use spicy mango sauce.

If you stop by Hello Fun Seekers from time to time, you probably know how much I love the sweet and heat flavor combination. Here are a few of my favorite sweet heat recipes.

 

Spicy Mango Sauce

This spicy mango sauce exemplifies that sweet heat idea perfectly. The mango and coconut milk provide the sweet. You will want to use the canned coconut milk found in the ethnic food aisle of the grocery store rather than the coconut milk in the carton found with other nut milks. The heat comes from the Sriracha and chipotle chili powder.

This spicy mango sauce comes together very quickly. Once you cut and peel the mango, you just blitz everything else in the blender. I have included a tutorial on peeling and seeding a mango if you need a refresher.

See? Peeling and seeding a mango isn’t that bad. Give it a try if you haven’t. You will be so happy that you did! Below is a photo of my coconut shrimp recipe served with the spicy mango sauce. Delicious! You can find the link to the coconut shrimp recipe in the first paragraph of this post.

Coconut ShrimpA

 

Spicy Mango Sauce

Bloody Marys for a Crowd

Bloody Marys for a Crowd

How often do you need to make one bloody Mary? My guess is not very often. Sometimes, on a lazy Sunday we make up two Bloody Marys, and, on occasion, we will make a second round. But, it seems as though we most often make Bloody Marys when there is a crowd. Sometimes we want to make Bloody Marys when we have friends or family over for a weekend brunch. Other times, we want to make them when our group is camping out in the mountains eagerly awaiting breakfast by the campfire.

We love our Bloody Mary recipe but I hated having to make up each cocktail individually when I was making them for a group. Therefore, a few weekends ago, I did some math, tested the recipe (twice!), and came up with the proportions for making our delicious Bloody Marys for a crowd. You are welcome!

These Bloody Marys are spicy, savory, and delicious. Use your favorite Bloody Mary mix as a base for the Bloody Marys. Then, add some infused vodka. You can buy commercially prepared infused vodka but I would encourage you to infuse your own. We used this recipe from Bon Appetit for Black Pepper and Horseradish infused vodka.  It turned out so good! Of course, you can just use all plain vodka but adding the infused vodka and Bacardi Limon take these Bloody Marys to the next level.

Bloody Marys for a Crowd

How to Make Bloody Marys for a Crowd

Another important consideration when making Bloody Marys for a group is your garnishes. Because part of the fun of drinking a Bloody Mary is its rather theatrical presentation of all the garnishes. I did a quick search for Bloody Marys within Pinterest  and was floored by what I saw.  In addition to the usual assortment of olives. limes, and celery, I found sliders, slices of pizza, and fried chicken. I am not suggesting you should go to that extreme but do feel free to exercise your creative muscle and garnish your Bloody Marys with foods that you like and want to eat.  We love to throw a few unexpected items in our Bloody Marys like cheese curds, strips of cooked bacon, or pretzel rods.

In the comments below, let me know how you like your Bloody Marys and what your favorite garnishes are.

If you are looking for food pairings to go with the Bloody Marys, might I suggest:

Asparagus Fries

Asparagus Fries

Spring is in the air! Can you feel it? On the other hand, maybe it is just me willing it here. Winter just isn’t my bag. I can get into a little snow around Christmas but beyond that, I am ready for it to disappear for another eleven months and three weeks.

As I daydream about spring, I think about gardening, daffodils extending from the ground and showing off their pretty faces to the sun, and spring vegetables. Is there anything better than asparagus, peas, radishes, and greens? Well, perhaps, garden tomatoes and corn but right now after a long, cold, and super snowy winter, I crave all things springtime.

We have a friend named Denny who is in his seventies and who knows some secret spots in old orchards near his home where asparagus grow wild. GROWS WILD! I am such a city girl that it never crossed my mind that asparagus would grow wild. I know now that it does, and if I am lucky, he will feel healthy enough to go asparagus hunting this spring. He loves to pickle the asparagus (bloody Marys!) but sometimes he will show up at my door with a bag of asparagus that he has picked.

Asparagus fries

The orchards near his home seem to be getting smaller each year. Families sell off the land and developers build homes in their place, which makes me sad. So, even if you don’t have a source of wild asparagus available to you, at this time of year, grocery stores start selling asparagus at decent prices. I buy bunches of it in the spring. I love it steamed with lemon, roasted with olive oil and seasonings, or dipped in eggs and dredged in spices and panko. I added chipotle chili powder and cayenne to the seasonings which adds some heat. You can skip those if you don’t want the fries to have a kick.

Asparagus fries are wonderful appetizers to serve with drinks. They also make a beautiful accompaniment to seafood. I like to pick them up with my fingers and dip them into a complementary sauce. In the pictures in this post, I dipped into a spicy mango sauce, which is delicious. You can also dip them into warm marinara sauce or garlicky aioli. I also think that they would be delicious with Asian-inspired peanut sauce. I especially love Ina Garten’s peanut sauce.

 

How to make Asparagus Fries

How to make Spicy Mango Sauce

Spicy Mango Sauce

Here is the link to my post on how to make spicy mango sauce or you can follow the directions below.

Ingredients

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

¾ cup canned coconut milk

1 tablespoon Sriracha

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 lime, juice and zest

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

½  teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Place ingredients for sauce in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Put sauce in a canning jar or covered container for one hour.

Asparagus Fries

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut shrimp. I adore this easy and elegant appetizer.  The coconut and panko are a crunchy coating to the tender and sweet shrimp. The recipe comes together in very little time and is quite a stunner on the table. You could also easily double the recipe, serve with rice and veggies, and enjoy a scrumptious meal.

I will always have a sweet spot in my heart for coconut shrimp. It was one of my father’s favorite foods. That may not mean much to you but my father was one of those people who considered food as not much more than fuel. He wasn’t the most satisfying person to cook for because when you asked him what he thought of a meal you had prepared for him his most common response was ‘it was okay.’

Coconut ShrimpA

Nevertheless, he did love coconut shrimp. I will admit that I often cringed when he ordered the deep-fried version of coconut shrimp out at a restaurant. Therefore, I began testing recipes where I baked the coconut shrimp rather than fried it in oil.

I made him this version numerous times and often received the elusive compliment that he thought it was delicious. You can pair these shrimp with commercially prepared mango salsa (I like Costco’s) for a quick dipping sauce. On the other hand, you can easily blend up the spicy mango dipping sauce recipe listed below and have enough left over to dip all kinds of crazy delicious foods into it.

Coconut Shrimp

Pairing the coconut shrimp with this spicy mango sauce is new for me though. My father probably would not be crazy about it but I love it. You get a little bit of sweet from the mango and coconut milk and some heat from the Sriracha and chipotle chili powder. I think it is a perfect complement to the shrimp and it could not be easier to pull together.

How to Make Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Spicy Mango Sauce

Here is the link to my post on how to make spicy mango sauce or you can follow the directions below.

Ingredients

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

¾ cup canned coconut milk

1 tablespoon Sriracha

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 lime, juice and zest

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

1/2  teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Place ingredients for sauce in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Put sauce in a canning jar or covered container for one hour.

Coconut Shrimp

If you are interested in other Asian-inspired recipes, here are few to try:

Veggie Enchiladas

Veggie Enchiladas

My main goal in life is to incorporate more vegetables in the food that I prepare for myself and my family and friends.  Okay, calling it my main goal in life may be an exaggeration, but it is a very important consideration in my cooking. Vegetables are full of healthful nutrients. They are also proven to reduce the incidence of most lifestyle-related diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. These veggie enchiladas are delicious AND nutritious!

Veggie Enchiiladas

Eat Your Veggies

So, do you still need convincing about why sneaking adding vegetables into every meal is important? Okay, here it goes, vegetables are cheap. Who could argue with adding more budget-friendly food into your diet? Vegetables are also delicious. Stick with me on this one.

This veggie enchilada recipe is for you if you not a veggie lover. Or, it is also for veggie lovers who live with and cook for veggie-resistant people, I encourage you to try introducing new veggies to your crew and/or new preparations of veggies.

Veggie Enchiladas

For example, most people can behind the idea of eating a tray full of warm, cheesy enchiladas. Right? What if you added some delicious roasted vegetables to the beans and cheese that most people expect in their enchiladas? I tried this out on family and they gobbled up the enchiladas. As a result, I effectively and deliciously added an extra serving of vegetables to their day!

For this recipe, I roasted sweet potatoes, red peppers, and red onions in order to bring out the sweetness of the vegetables. By seasoning the veggies in in olive oil and chipotle chili powder, salt, and pepper, they take on a smoky, spicy flavor.

Veggie Enchiiladas

Once you are ready to start assembling the enchiladas, spread refried beans on a tortilla, top with roasted veggies, add finely chopped kale and cheese on top, and then roll up! Then, you slather on enchilada sauce and more cheese, no one will be the wiser about the big favor that you have done for them.

Leftover Filling

If you have any of the filling leftover, you can use it to make:

  • Huevos rancheros – warm corn tortillas, top with refried beans, leftover veggies, fried egg & salsa
  • Frittata – Beat eggs in a bowl, add leftover veggies to greased pan to warm, add egg mixture and cook until set
  • Quesadilla – Warm up leftover veggies, place a tortilla in pan, add veggies and shredded cheese, top with other tortilla, cook until golden on both sides. Slice into 6 pieces and serve with salsa

Here are a few other recipes that are chock full of veggies for you to consider:

If you would like other veggie-filled recipes delivered to your mailbox twice per month, sign up for my newsletter in the side bar to the right.

Veggie Enchiladas

 

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