Tag Archives: appetizers

Kicked up Pimento & Cheese

25 Jun

If you’re from the South like me, then pimento & cheese was probably a staple around your house growing up. But when mom and I offered to bring pimento & cheese to a get together at a friends house, they had no clue what we were talking about. They’re from the North. So if you’re also from the North, do yourself a favor and make some pimento & cheese.

pimento and cheese

Not only does P&C offer wonderful flavor, but it’s simple and makes for a quick meal. Spread on some toasted bread and you have a wonderful sandwhich. To use it as an appetizer, spread it on crackers or celery and watch peoples’ faces light up with happiness!

pimento and cheese 3.1

For the pimento & cheese:

  • 1 8-oz block sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 8-oz block pepper jack cheese
  • 1 8-oz block sharp white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup mayo (or greek yogurt)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
  • 1 4-oz jar pimentos
  • 1/2¬†teaspoons pepper or McCormick Hot Shot

Shred the three blocks of cheese. Don’t cheat and buy pre-shredded because you’ll regret it. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until moist.


If you don’t like spicy, leave out the jalapeno and substitute more cheddar or monetery jack cheese for the pepper jack. If you’d like to turn it into a warm dip, add an 8-oz block of cream cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese gets melty and bubbly. Enjoy!

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Black Bean ‘Hummus’

10 Jun

Black Bean Hummus

It may not be the prettiest looking thing, but where it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste! I’m not a huge fan of hummus, but put black beans in front of me and I go crazy. So I decided to combine the two beans (black and chickpeas) in attempt to make a healthy snack I could stand.

This type of recipe is so versatile. You’re pretty much free to add any type of flavorings you’re taste buds crave. I started off going spicy then added sesame oil which gave it a smokier, Asian flare. No matter, have fun making this recipe your own!

For the ‘hummus’:

1 can chickpeas

1 can black beans

1/4 cup liquid from each can

1/4 onion

1/4 red pepper

1/2 cup salsa

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

about 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos

1 tablespoon jalapeno juice

1/8 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth mixture. If you don’t have a large enough food processor, blend in a blender or pulse in smaller batches.


Black Bean Hummus2

I really enjoyed the flavor of this dip, especially served on toasted bread pieces. It can also be served with various crackers or veggie slices. For a hot dip, try adding cream cheese and shredded cheese and baking in the oven.

Triple Cheese Crostini

25 May

Triple Cheese Crostini2.1

In a neighboring city from my hometown there was a little Italian restaurant we would visit whenever the chance arose. You could sit outside where a pair of railroad tracks ran parallel to the patio, and it was always a treat when a train would drive by blowing it’s horn. A few months ago I was sad to hear that this wonderful place had closed down. I mourned for the loss of their wonderful pasta and their giant bowls of salad dripping with sweet vinaigrette. But I finally decided I would mourn no longer for my favorite item on the menu.. bubbly bread. Talk about full of heavenly, cheesy sin.. this appetizer wins the contest. I can’t say my attempt at recreating this dish hits the nail on the head, but it’s superbly delicious all the same!

I started by toasting 1-inch thick slices of Italian five grain baguette then smeared them with a layer of ricotta-mayo mixture, sprinkled with feta, then topped with a mound of mozzarella. If you wanted to add extra seasonings (such as Italian or fresh herbs) to the mix, it could easily be done. I’ve already managed to down 5 of these little suckers, so dieters beware! The smell (and taste) is far too fantastic to turn away.

For the crostini:

1/2 baguette, french loaf, or other bread of choice

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

crumbled feta cheese

shredded mozzarella

Begin by cutting your bread into 1/2-1 inch thick pieces and placing them on a baking sheet. In the lower middle of your oven, broil bread on low for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow bread pieces to cool. In a food processor or by hand, mix the ricotta, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until smooth (a few small chunks are alright). Here you can incorporate any seasonings or herbs with the ricotta mixture, if desired. Spread roughly 1/2 a tablespoon of mixture onto each bread piece and smooth around to cover entire piece. Crumble as much feta as desired on top of ricotta mixture (I used about a teaspoons worth per slice). Top bread pieces with shredded mozzarella, and don’t be shy! Place slices under the broiler set to low for 5-6 minutes then switch to high and watch for cheese to start bubbling and browning on top, another 2-3 minutes. Pull out of the oven and serve immediately with dipping sauce of choice.


Triple Cheese Crostini1.1
These little jewels screamed “pull me apart and eat me” as soon as I brought them out of the oven. So.. I did. And with a smile on my face! I served mine with Giada De Laurentiis’s Pepper and Eggplant spread I found at Target. Any type of marinara sauce would work wonderfully as well.

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