Category Archives: Appetizers

Deviled Eggs — Green Tomato, Smoked Salmon, Bacon et. al.

These are topped with leftover pulled pork & pickled green tomatoes.

These are topped with leftover pulled pork & pickled green tomatoes.

As a Southern woman of a certain age, it’s assumed that you can do a few things well. You can write a proper thank you note. You can drink good bourbon straight. And you can make a solid deviled egg.

I recently found out that one of my most quintessentially Southern lady friends doesn’t know how to do #3, so we remedied that last night.

The great thing about deviled eggs is you can make any flavor as long as you have a tasty base to start with. Mayo helps with that, but mustard goes a long way, as does pickle juice, the secret to All Good Things. Also important: axe the sweet relish most people use. That tip isn’t grandma-sanctioned, but it will give you a better “blank” slate to start with.

18 organic eggs
3 tbsp Duke’s mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp pickle juice
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
paprika or cayenne

  1. Boil, cool and peel your eggs. (If you haven’t tried the hot-start method, see below. They’ll peel much easier.)
  2. Slice them in half and put all the yolks in one bowl. (And you don’t have to slice them vertically; Husk does them horizontally, and they are the devil masters.)
  3. Mash the eggs with a fork and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Taste and season.
  4. Separate yolk mix into 4 bowls (see below).
  5. For each ingredient, dice a 1/2 cup of your topping of choice and stir it into one bowl.
  6. Fill a Ziploc bag with the mix and cut a corner off. Pipe some filling into each egg.
  7. Top each egg with a 1-inch piece of the ingredient used in the filling. Chill until face-stuffing time.
The smoked trout variety at Husk. Can I get a swoon from all my fellow fatgirls.

The smoked trout variety at Husk. Can I get a swoon from all my fellow fatgirls.

Toppings:

With 18 eggs, you can make a bunch of kinds, but 4 different toppings works well for 18 eggs. Choose from any of the below, or use whatever you’ve got in the fridge — as long as the ingredient isn’t too sweet, anything is good stuff in an egg.

Witness:

  • Smoked salmon or trout
  • Pickled anything – green tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, etc.
  • Bacon
  • Ham (country or regular, shaved)
  • Prosciutto
  • Pulled pork
  • Olives
  • Raw tuna (topped with a dollop of wasabi)
  • Pimento cheese (what up, Marge)
  • Truffle oil

Hot-start boiling:

The fresher the egg, the harder it will be to peel when hard-boiled. This method makes them easier to de-shell without totally destroying them.

  1. Lower your eggs straight from the fridge into already-boiling water.
  2. Lower the heat to the barest simmer.
  3. Cook the eggs for 11 minutes.
  4. Shock them in ice water and let them chill for 15 minutes.
  5. Peel under cool running water.

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Filed under Appetizers, Comfort food, Party food, Side dishes, Snacks, Southern food

Funeral Sandwiches ~ Ham & Cheese Sliders

ham and cheese sandwiches

Bib not included.

First things first: why are these called “funeral sandwiches?” In short, I don’t know, but I’d guess it’s because the only time you wouldn’t feel guilty about stuffing this many lip-smacking nitrates into your face would be after the death of a loved one. Luckily for you, I eat like I’m in mourning all the time, so let’s dig in.

These are somewhat similar to Ham Delights (though that link is not to the Dot-sanctioned recipe), but Morg voted that these are better, and I agree. The brown sugar and smoked salt really punch these up. Plus they’re just the right mix of sloppy and fancy, and that’s the way we do things here at Nummy.

1 pkg (12) Hawaiian buns
1 1/2 pkgs sliced ham
1 pkg sliced Swiss cheese
1 stick butter
3 tbsp Worcestershire
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp bourbon
1.5 tbsp minced onions
1 tsp smoked salt (you can use regular salt here if you need to)
white pepper

  1. Layer a few slices of ham and cheese on each bun and place them in a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. Melt together the rest of the ingredients and ladle this mixture over the sandwiches.
  3. Put the sandwiches in the fridge for 24 hours.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, pull the sandwiches out and cut them in half diagonally with a pizza cutter.
  5. Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes.

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Filed under Appetizers, Christmas, Comfort food, Party food

“Peg’s” Spinach & Ranch Dip

hiddenvalley.com

While I am sure I have had this dip many times in the past, our recent trip to Charleston reminded me how downright good it is. I though it so good, in fact, that I told Peg she just had to give me the recipe because I’m always looking for a good cold dip.

To which she replied, “Um sure, Ashley – it’s on the back of the packet.” And then she and the rest of the Davies pointed and laughed as they are wont to do. And that is why I love them.

My embarrassment aside, this dip is solid, and I actually prefer it with veggies for dippers than chips, which is miraculous on its own.Also, you can definitely use light sour cream in this without any adverse effect. I know. My inner fat girl cries out with shame at this suggestion.

And don’t skip the water chesnuts – they are what gives this stuff its cracktastic crunch.

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
8 oz water chestnuts, rinsed, drained and chopped
16 oz sour cream (you can go light here)
1 packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix
salt, black pepper and hot sauce to taste
French bread, cut into pieces
fresh veggies

  1. Mix first four ingredients (and s&p and hot sauce) together and chill for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).
  2. Dip the other stuff in it. Pretty straightforward.

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Filed under Appetizers, Comfort food, Dips, Veggies

Chilled Pea & Bacon Soup with Garlic Cream

© Quentin Bacon

It has been so long since I started writing up this recipe from my brother’s engagement party that he is now married. Inexcusable, no?

Well I’m not sorry! With the warm weather and the actual paying writing jobs, something had to give, and this was it. (I actually am sorry, though. This recipe nonsense is considerably easier and more fun to write about than FAA grants, and this audience is loyal as hell, so please forgive me.)

Anyway, we – and by “we” I mean “The Chef” – made a huge batch of this recipe for a St. Patrick’s Day engagement party and served it up in shot glasses. In my world, Soup + Shots + Bacon = Phenom. Seriously – peas are usually beyond lame, but the toppings on this make it delectable.

This is actually Daniel Boulud‘s super schmancy pea soup recipe, but it has been classed-down by Food & Wine for an easier preparation. It’s served cold so it’s a cinch for a party. Make a bunch and sip all summer.

8 slices of bacon
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
5 cups chicken stock
2 rosemary sprigs
salt & freshly ground white pepper
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
2 10-oz boxes frozen baby peas
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove, minced

  1. In a medium soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate; reserve the fat in a bowl in case you need to add it at the end for more bacon flavor.
  2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock, 4 slices of the cooked bacon, 1 rosemary sprig and a pinch each of salt and white pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Discard the bacon and rosemary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a blender.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snaps and cook for 3 minutes. Add the frozen baby peas and the parsley and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute; drain.
  6. Add the sugar snaps, baby peas and parsley to the blender and puree until smooth, adding a few tablespoons of the broth to loosen the mixture.
  7. Transfer the soup and the remaining broth to a large bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water to cool.
  8. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream, garlic and remaining rosemary sprig to a boil. Simmer over low heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Strain the garlic cream into a bowl and let cool.
  9. Ladle the chilled pea soup into bowls and drizzle with the garlic cream. (Use a squirt bottle to make pretty designs out of the cream. It’s absurdly cheffy, but so freaking fun.) Crumble the remaining 4 slices of bacon into each bowl and serve.

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Filed under Appetizers, Party food, Soups

Les Carlos Shrimp & Crawfish Dip

This is another holiday dish that I will definitely be putting into the year-round rotation.

sweetenedandcondensed.com

I first had this dip at a Christmas party 8 years ago, and I searched for the recipe for 5 years before someone pointed out to me that it had been right under my nose – namely in Heart & Soul – the whole time.

While this does take a little while to prep and cook, it is totally worth your time. And not just because it is delicious, but also because each step of the cooking process leaves the house smelling better than the last. Butter, creole seasoning, fresh herbs and seafood? I’m on board.

Two words of caution: Make sure to thaw and rinse your seafood well to get rid of any unnecessary fishiness, and make sure you use 2 teaspoons of creole seasoning and not 2 tablespoons at each of the saute steps. Not that anyone has ever ruined 2 pounds of perfectly good seafood by doing that, but I’d like to prevent it if at all possible…

1 lb crawfish tails
1 lb shrimp, raw and roughly chopped
1.5 sticks of butter (.75 cups)
6 tsp creole seasoning
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp fresh basil (3 dried)
3 tbsp fresh thyme (1.5 dried)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
hot sauce

  1. Melt half a stick of butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add crawfish and saute for 5 minutes. Pour crawfish and butter into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt half a stick of butter in a the skillet, add 2 tsp creole seasoning, and saute shrimp in butter for 3 minutes. Add shrimp to bowl with crawfish.
  3. Melt the rest of the butter in the skillet with 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add onion, green and red peppers, celery, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  4. Add fresh herbs, tomato paste and flour to veggie mixture in the skillet and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
  5. Process half of crawfish/shrimp mixture in blender (do not puree).
  6. Add crawfish/shrimp mixture (both processed and not-processed halves) to skillet and mix thoroughly.
  7. Stir in green onions and add hot sauce to taste.
  8. Serve with Thin Garlic Crostinis and get out of the way.

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Filed under Appetizers, Cajun food, Christmas, Dips, Seafood, Special Occasion

Baked Brie Bites ~ Thanksgiving 2K11

Aight y’all – so I am still at the office at 4:45 on Thanksgiving’s Eve, but I cannot desert my Nummies without a little nip for Turkey Day.
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I realize these are a totally ridiculous choice considering they are not traditional Thanksgiving fare and the original recipe calls for Ile de France brie, but I am out of Mountain Dew, so embrace it or shove off. Thankful attitude, no?
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Anyway, Morg made these for Emily’s party last weekend, and they were super popable and delicious. So much so that I will be making them tomorrow as starters for not one but two family affairs. Oh you’ll be thankful!
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mini phyllo tarts
wedge of brie, cubed
brown sugar
chopped pecans
honey
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  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place a cube of brie in each phyllo tart.
  3. Sprinkle each tart with 1/2 tsp brown sugar.  Top with 1/2 tsp chopped pecans and a dollop of honey.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until brie is melted. (use more or less of each ingredient according to your preference)

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Filed under Appetizers, Party food

Deviled Eggs

It is holiday season which means lots of family and friends entertaining.  It is always nice to have an easy but tasty appetizer to either serve or bring to a dinner party.  I love me some deviled eggs, and it is so simple to make.  There are tons of recipes out there and different variations (I recommend trying Martha’s Avocado Deviled Eggs).  I personally love straight forward mayo, mustard, egg style deviled eggs.  Nothing fancy in this recipe!  This one is courtesy of a good friend down in NOLA, Chef Anne.  She served these one time, and I seriously think I ate a dozen.  I made these last night, and Chef John and Claire (Mexican corn lover and daughter of the famous Peg from Peg’s Destin Shrimps) gave this recipe the the thumbs up!- ts

Chef Anne’s note:  You can boil the eggs and make the mixture a few hours in advance, store it in the frdige, and then put it all together right before people are ready to eat them.  Also, I use small eggs because they are more bite-size

1 dozen eggs
2 teaspoons dijon mustard (Zataran’s creole mustard is best)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp minced shallot
dashes of hot sauce (perhaps Sriracha!)
Salt and pepper
Paprika and Green Onion for garnish

  1. Hard boil the eggs.  Fill up a large saucepan half-way with water and gently add the eggs. Cover the eggs with at least an inch of water. Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water.  Add a pinch of salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil. Cover, and remove from heat. Let sit covered for 12-15 minutes. Drain hot water from pan and run cold water over the eggs. (At this point if you crack the egg shells while the eggs are cooling, it will make it easier to peel the shells.) Let sit in the cool water a few minutes, changing the water if necessary to keep it cool.  If you kinda roll the eggs on the counter, the shells get all cracked and are a little easier to peel.
  2. Peel the eggs. Using a sharp knife, slice each egg in half, lengthwise. Gently remove the yolk halves and place in a small mixing bowl. (Egg yolks come out really easily, just kinda use a spoon and gently pop them out into the bowl).  Arrange the egg white halves on a serving platter.
  3. Using a fork, mash up the yolks and add mustard, mayonnaise, shallot, tabasco, chopped green onions (same some for on top) and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves. (You can also use like a cake decorator thing, but I just kinda wing it…) Sprinkle with paprika and chopped green onions.
Optional: add chopped herbs to the mixture

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Filed under Appetizers, Comfort food, Party food, Snacks