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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snacks, Appetizers, Dips and Spreads

Fried cashew nutsImage via Wikipedia
By Juvy S. Iliwiliw


SWEET AND SPICY NUTS
These tasty nuts make an addicting snack any time of day!


You will need:


2       cups each cashew nuts, peanuts and almonds
3       tbsp. butter
1       tsp. each chili powder, cumin, cayenne and salt
1/2    cup sugar
1       tbsp. water

Here's how:


         Place the nuts in a rimmed shallow pan lined with aluminum foil and bake 350F for about 15 minutes, stirring every so often, until cashews have lightly browned. In a saucepan, melt the butter with the chili powder, cumin, cayenne and salt. Pour over the toasted nuts and toss well. Put the sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar has melted and turned a golden caramel color. Quickly and carefully pour the hot caramel over the nuts and toss to combine. Let the nuts cool, then transfer to airtight containers.


PINOY GRANOLA
Do you have a health-conscious friend? Try giving this healthy breakfast treat which also  makes an energy-boosting snack! You can now find dried pineapple, papaya and jackfruit alongside other dried fruits in large supermarkets. Some provinces, like Abra, make a spealty of dried fruit. Not only is the stuff delicious, it's cheaper too. Know anyone from there?


You will need:


3     cups quick cooking oatmeal
1     cup pinipig (optional)
1     cup cashew nuts
1/3   cup vegetable oil
1/3   cup honey
1/4   cup brown sugar
1/2   cup raisins
1/2   cup dried mangoes, cut into small pieces
1/2   cup dried pineapple, cut into small pieces
1/2   cup dried papaya, cut into small pieces
1/2   cup dried jackfruit, cut into small pieces

Here's how:


          Combine the oatmeal, pinipig and cashew nuts in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, honey and brown sugar until well mixed. Pour over the oatmeal mixture and toss together. Spread the mixture on shallow baking pan with a rim and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, then combine well with raisins, dried mangoes, pineapple, papaya and jackfruit. Store in airtight containers.


RICH CHICKEN PATE'
This is a smooth, sinfully rich pate'. It's really perfect for Christmas but anyone would love it anytime of the year!


You will need:


1/4    cup butter
1/2    small head garlic, peeled and crushed
1       onion, chopped
8       chicken livers
2       tbsp. butter, softened
1/2    cup mayonnaise
1/4    tsp. nutmeg
1/4    tsp. each salt and pepper

Here's how:


         In a heavy skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter and saute the garlic and onion until tender. Add the chicken livers and cook until no longer pink inside. Remove from the heat and cool. Place the chicken liver mixture in a food processor or blender and add the brandy, softened butter, mayonnaise and nutmeg and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to small ceramic crocks and chill.


MARINATED KESONG PUTI
If you plan to make a lot of this, why not make an excursion to Lumban or Sta. Cruz towns in Laguna, which make fantastic kesong puti? You'll get more for your money quantity wise, and the cheese will be fresher than anything you can find in the supermarkets. 


You will need:


1-1/2   cups kesong puti, cut into 1-inch cubes
2-1/2   cups olive oil (preferable extra virgin)
4          cloves garlic, minced
1/4       cup packed whole basil leaves
1/4       tsp. black peppercorns

Here's how:


          Divide the kesong puti among the containers you plan to store them in and stick a few basil leaves down the sides. Combine the olive oil, garlic and peppercorns and pour over the kesong puti. Seal well and refrigerate.


MARINATED OLIVES
These are good for serving as an appetizer, or may be added to salads. You can find potted rosemary at many nurseries and organic markets.


You will need:


2        cups pitted green olives
2        cups pitted black olives
3        cups olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
5        cloves garlic, minced
1        tsp red pepper flakes
2        tsp grated lemon peel
1        tsp dried oregano
4 or 5 sprigs fresh rosemary

Here's how:


        Combine the green and black olives, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon peel and oregano. Divide the olives between 4 or 5 clear glass jars with tight-fitting lids and stick a sprig of rosemary down the side of each one. Refrigerate.


TAPENADE
This olive-based spread from Provence, France makes a great spread for small toasts, focaccia and other breads. Why not package some homemade bread and a jar of tapenade in a little basket?


You will need:


1        cup pitted black olives
1/2     cup pitted green olives
4        fillets anchovies
2        tbsp. capers
2        cloves garlic, crushed
1/2     cup olive oil
1/4     tsp. black pepper

       Put the black olives, green olives, anchovies, capers, garlic, olive oil and black pepper in a food processor of blender and process until finely chopped. Alternatively, chop the black olives, green olives, anchovies, capers and garlic as finely as possible and combine with the olive oil and black pepper. Refrigerate.


SMOKED SALMON SPREAD
This is an elegant spread perfect for any time of year! Look for fresh dill in large supermarkets, European style delis like Santi's, and organic markets. Another time, you can substitute smoked tanguigue for smoked salmon.


You will need:


1       8 onces package cream cheese,
         brought to room temperature
3       tbsp. mayonnaise
1       cup (8 onces) smoked salmon, finely chopped
2       tbsp. each finely chopped green onion,
         parsley and fresh dill
1       tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4    tsp. black pepper

Here's how:


        Beat together the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Gently blend in all the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate.


PESTO CHEESE SPREAD
This recipe was inspired by something we came across at a food fair. The addition of chunks of cheese makes this an addictive spread. You could also use this as a pasta sauce!


You will need:


2        cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2     cup pine nuts (optional)
2        tbsp. crushed garlic
1        cup grated parmesan cheese
1        cup olive oil
1        tsp. black pepper
1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Here's how:


       Put the basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil and black pepper in food processor or blender and process until smooth. Alternatively, finely pound the basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic using mortar and pestle and combine with the parmesan cheese, olive oil and black pepper. Blend in the cheddar cheese. Pesto should be refrigerated.


SPINACH DIP
It's absolutely rich and will certainly be a big hit anywhere it's served.


You will need:


1      large bunch spinach
2      tbsp. butter
2      tbsp. olive oil
1      whole head of garlic, minced
1      cup cream
1      cup grated cheddar cheese
1      cup grated parmesan cheese
1      (8 ounces) packaged cream cheese,
        softened at room temperature
1/4   tsp. pepper

Here's how:


       Wash the spinach well then remove the leaves. Place the still wet leaves in a large heavy saucepan. Cook, stirring over medium high heat until leaves become tender. Let cool, then squeeze out excess liquid. Finely chop the leaves.
        In a large heavy saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Saute' garlic until lightly browned (do not brown completely or toast) and add the chopped spinach. Add the cream, the cheeses, and pepper. Stir well until well combined. Heat until the cheeses have melted and have just begun to bubble. Let cool, then divide into containers.

HOMEMADE BAGUETTE TOASTS
Give these away together with a variety of homemade pates and dips.


You will need:


1      long baguette

Here's how:


       Cut the baguette into 1/8-inch thick slices and set in a single layer on ungreased baking sheets. Toast in a low to moderate oven (250-350 degrees) until lightly browned and crisp all over. The toasts should not have a tender center if you want them to last long. let cool completely before storing.





  















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