It was recently brought to my attention that the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas has created several chef-inspired vegetarian and vegan menus at their restaurants. I wanted to add to their repertoire, but rather than using those menus as my muse, I wanted to take on the steakhouse! So this dish is inspired by their steak tartare appetizer. It uses the same components of traditional tartare (mustard, capers, shallot and egg), but subs roasted Bull's Blood Beets for steak, and brightens up the flavors with chives and lemon zest. Don't be afraid of the fancy-looking presentation - I just cut the bottom off a plastic cup to create that ring! This is a hearty appetizer, which is a "Good Source" of fiber, vitamins A and C, phosphorus, potassium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Omit the egg for a vegan appetizer.
Indian Roasted Eggplant
September 19, 2010
In November I'm teaching an Indian cooking class so I thought I'd better bone up. With lots of eggplant in the garden and a cool, rainy day outside, this stewy, roasted eggplant dish is just the trick. Serve with nan or pita as an appetizer or over rice for a main dish. Eggplant is high in fiber and the breadth of herbs and spices offer flavor without a lot of fat.
February 28, 2010
I took a tour through the Davis Farmers Market on Saturday to see what was looking good and it was the potatoes, mushrooms and cheese that inspired me to create this rich, earthy, cheesy appetizer. The mushroom guy had beautiful creminis, oysters and shiitakes, but it was the exotic black trumpets that drew me. Some lovely little red and yukon baby potatoes, local goat's milk cheddar and I was dreaming of putting them together in a stuffed potato popper. If you can't find goat's milk cheddar (you should try hard though, the difference between cow's milk cheddar is amazing), find the sharpest white cheddar you can.
Grilled Apricot Salad with Basil Oil
June 25, 2014
Stone fruits are in season (that's anything with a pit 'AKA stone' - apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines), and this appetizer salad is just the trick for a hot summer day when you already have the grill going. The basil oil is a light, fresh dressing that compliments the sweetness of the fruit as well as the cheese. It's an extra step to blanch, shock and dry the herbs before whizzing them up with EVOO, but it cuts the bite and keeps them beautifully green. This dish is also super flexible - substitute any stone fruit, any salad green, any nut, any herbs and just about any cheese. Not surprisingly, this salad is low in carbs and cholesterol, and high in Vitamins A and C as well as calcium.
Herb Phyllo Tomato Tart
August 15, 2010
A colleague at work passed along an intriguing tomato tart recipe originally published in Sunset magazine. Staring at a bowlful of tomatoes, I decided to give it a try. I altered it slightly to pump up the flavor and deflate some of the fat. I replaced 5 Tbsp of butter with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and swapped smoked mozzarella for plain as well as put herbs in every layer of the phyllo. This is a lovely summer-time appetizer or light supper.
Pintxos (Spanish skewered-tapas)
March 10, 2015
I guess cooking Spanish food has really inspired me. This recipe is for three skewered tapas called pintxos (pronounced peen-chos), which means 'thorn' or 'spike'. Also spelled pinchos, but I think the 'x' makes it sexy! The first is cubed sweet potato and scallion tortilla with saffron aioli. Dos is pickled peppers, olives and sherry-marinated baby portabellas. Tres is figs stuffed with valdeon (Spanish blue cheese) and drizzled with rosemary-honey. If you sample each one of these little tapas, you'll have a snack or appetizer that's "Low In" carbs and "High In" Vitamin A.
Grilled Fig Strudel
August 28, 2011
I got a pound of figs from my CSA this week and one evening Michael and I brainstormed this savory phyllo strudel. Honey and rosemary-marinated figs are grilled and paired with red onion and olives, then spread on top of asiago-layered phyllo dough. Roll it up, bake and enjoy as a light lunch or appetizer.
Chef Ken’s Indian Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce
February 17, 2015
I just finished a short course in Cuisines of Asia and the instructor, Chef Ken, gave me permission to use this recipe from our two days focused on Indian (yes, I know only two days...but it was enough time to allow me to burn myself on a 800-degree tandoor skewer - not fun!). It appears cauliflower and tomatoes are a healthful hit. Together they make a serving "High In" fiber, vitamins A and C, iron, thiamin and potassium. Serve this as an appetizer, side or main dish. Note that you will only get 2-3 "steaks" per cauliflower - from the center where the core is thickest. With the remaining florets, might I recommend Cauliflower Gratin?
BBQ Kale Chips
November 3, 2014
At work we make similar kale chips as an appetizer, but I wanted to try a true potato chip flavor. I made the BBQ seasoning based on dry rubs for meat. I think I'm beginning to believe all the hype about kale being a super food. Because of the kale, this recipe is "Low In" fat, saturated fat, carbs and cholesterol while also being "High In" Vitamins A and C as well as a "Good Source" of potassium, iron, calcium, and fiber. Rock it, kale!
Momotaro (Japanese Tomato Salad)
September 2, 2012
At the top of Mount Faber in Singapore, there are several fancy restaurants together called the Jewel Box. This was our only Japanese meal in Asia - a beautiful evening at the Moonstone open-air restaurant looking down at Sentosa Island. Grilled yakitori (small, skewered nibbles) dominated the menu, but we discovered this fresh tomato salad. The tomatoes were lack-luster, but I was dreaming of my garden tomatoes complimenting this tangy sesame-wasabi dressing. Interestingly, momotaro is actually the name of the tomato, not the salad, and also the name of a legendary hero in Japan. Jazz up your weeknights meals with this quick side or appetizer dish.
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