Super Bowl’s Best Appetizers

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Super Bowl parties are on the horizon. Planning one is never easier. Finger foods and dip recipes are in order. I bet you have the hot wings covered, so lets move into the end zone with some more winning ideas.

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Seriously, it’s not a party unless there is dip. Right? Here is my spicy new spin on the Middle Eastern chickpea puree known as hummus. It takes all of 5 minutes to make in the food processor and really tastes even better if made a day in advance. It can be served with the classic pita chips or if you want to get extra healthy and fancy serve it as a finger food stuffed into those cute little mini peppers. Using the harissa avocado mayo from one of my favorite brands, Chosen Foods, eliminates the need for several other ingredients like oil and spices.

Harissa Hummus

1 clove garlic

1 (15 oz.) can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained, liquid reserved (aka: aquafaba)

¼ cup Chosen Foods Harissa avocado oil mayo

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons sesame tahini

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

With food processor fitted with metal blade and running, drop garlic through the feed tube. When garlic is finely chopped turn off machine. Add chick peas; process about 30 seconds or until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients including 1 tablespoon of reserved aquafaba. Process mixture until smooth scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add additional aquafaba to thin mixture to desired dip consistency. Stored covered in refrigerator. 

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Since we all need balance on the field and on the table let’s go from super delicious healthy to super delicious decadence. Let’s face it. Decadence makes us happy. You need this in case your favorite team failed to make the play-offs, so dig in and enjoy yourself.

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Can you say Touchdown! These crispy chili beef spring rolls will have your friends coming over whether they like to watch football or not. Make a batch of your favorite chili. Enjoy some for dinner and set a cup or two aside to cool overnight in the fridge in preparation of these hand-held delights. I love this chili recipe from certified angus beef.

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Spring roll shells (NOT egg roll wrappers) are a must for a light crispy texture. Do you fear deep-frying? If so, the rolls can be shallow fried just by turning them to insure an even golden brown on all sides. Remember to roll them tightly and seal them well to keep all the beef chili goodness inside.

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Crispy Beef Chili Spring Rolls

Make at least 2 per person. For each spring roll you will need:

  • 1 spring roll shell
  • 1 tablespoon shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cold beef chili
  • vegetable or peanut oil for frying

Lay spring roll shell down on flat surface with a point towards you. Follow photo below for spooning cheese and chili on top. Fold point over filling and roll tightly sealing ends and sides with a bit of water. Heat oil to 350F. Fry until golden on all sides, about 2 minutes. Serve with your favorite salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for dipping. 

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See how super thin they are compared to egg roll wrappers?

“Don’t Let the Memory of Them Drift Away” & Duck Bacon Spring Rolls

Just this past week I decided to go back and read some of the entries on my son’s facebook page. I thought it might give a glimpse of who and where he was in his thoughts around the time of his accident. Today’s blog post is inspired by something he wrote  just 1 month before he died. I imagine he was thinking of his Weapons Company brothers, lost in Afghanistan, when he penned this important reminder……..”Don’t Let the Memory of Them Drift Away”.

Will's computer screen saver. He'd never forget them.

Will’s computer screen saver. He’d never forget them.

The quote brought tears as it reminded me of how much William and I are alike. The need to remember those who have been lost was as important to him as it is to me. In fact, this blog was born out of my biggest fear that people would eventually forget who William was and what he stood for. Or maybe I am afraid that I will forget…..the sound of his voice, the smell of his hair, the strength in his hug…..sigh.

never wanted to let him go

never wanted to let him go

That the person who has died will be forgotten is a common fear among those who have suffered loss. Here are just a few suggestions to help preserve the memories:

  • create a photo book of memories and publish several to share with family and friends
  • make donations to your favorite charities in your person’s name
  • start a scholarship or fund-raiser that celebrates your person
  • check with your local parks that may allow adding a commemorative bench or an inscribed brick to a walkway
  • offer remembrance flowers to your church’s Sunday or holiday servicecampli0463

When it comes to cooking and baking it is awful to forget an ingredient in the mix. That is why most good cooks use a “mise en place” or set-up to organize the necessary ingredients and equipment before starting a recipe. What helps me insure the perfect outcome of a recipe is this:

  • read the complete recipe before starting
  • check to make sure I own the necessary equipment (can’t make waffles without a waffle maker)
  • prep and measure all ingredients
  • put my ingredients out in order of use
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mise en place for duck bacon spring roll

Duck Bacon Spring Rolls

Duck Bacon Spring Rolls

6 strips duck bacon

1 ounce uncooked Asian vermicelli bean thread noodles

6 (8 ½-inch round) spring roll wrappers

6 small, crisp romaine lettuce leaves (I use the leaves from the heart)

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh Thai basil plus sprigs for garnish

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish

1 small carrot, julienned

1 small bunch fresh chives, trimmed

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

bottled Thai peanut sauce or sweet Asian chili sauce

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning, until crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Cut bacon strips in half. Soak the noodles in very hot water for 5 minutes; rinse under cool water and drain well; set aside. To prepare spring rolls, set out a 10-inch pie dish with 1-inch of warm water. Using one spring roll wrapper at a time, dip the wrapper into the water for 3 to 5 seconds. Lay the wrapper out on a plate. Place two pieces of bacon across the bottom third of the wrapper leaving a half-inch border on both sides. Top the bacon with some lettuce, 1/6th of the noodles, an even sprinkle of basil and mint, and a few carrots and chives in an even layer. Lift up bottom edge of the wrapper and roll over the top. Turn in the sides and continue rolling to opposite side. Repeat with remaining ingredients. To serve: slice a spring roll in half on the diagonal and arrange 2 halves on individual serving plates. In small bowl, stir mayonnaise, sriracha to taste and lime juice; serve with spring rolls. Serve Thai peanut sauce and or Sweet Asian Chili sauce as other dipping sauce options. Garnish plates with fresh basil and mint.