Tag Archives: Lacto-vegetarian recipes

Appetizers III Savory Fruit/ Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan-optional

“Savory” and “Fruit” may not come to mind as being compatible, but when it comes to appetizers,the combination is perfect. Sweet and spicy or tart, plus pairing of textures, give a surprise spark to the taste buds and leave  guests wanting to experience more.

Stuffed dates, figs  and grilled pineapple make wonderfully surprising  appetizers

Stuffed dates, figs and grilled pineapple make wonderfully surprising appetizers

The stuffed dates, figs, apricots and grilled fruits above are quite easy and quite eye-catching.

To start, the easiest:

Grilled fruit:
Heat butter in a frying pan until slightly brown. Add slices of firm fruit, such as pineapple, peach, pear, plum,  apple, apricot.

On high heat, brown quickly on each side.You may sprinkle with spices, such as nutmeg or cloves, or you can go  hot, with a little white pepper, ginger, Indian  hot pepper, (be careful!) or paprika. Sugar is unnecessary as the caramelization of the fruit sugar in the pan-frying makes them particularly sweet.

Skewer with a toothpick.

Stuffed Dried Mission figs: slit, filled with hazelnut-chocolate spread,(Nutella), a smoked or wasabi almond, glazed walnut or any of the suggestions below.

 Stuffed Dates and Apricots
With a short,sharp knife, slit the fruit and open the cavity gently with a dull knife, (or a clean finger!), and insert any of the following:

sweet coconut, with or without nuts, or dried fruit bits,(mango, pineapple, crasins, cherries,(dried or Maraschino),

or with sweet cheese [ricotta, mascarpone or Neufchatel mixed with honey, sugar, stevia or other sweetener, plain or with the options of  nuts and/or spices, such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, etc. Silken tofu or “vegan cream cheese” can be used as well.]

Top these with a piece of dried fruit or  nuts.

These will also have to be skewered or placed in candy paper cups, or , easier, mini cupcake papers.

 

Note: Pre-made sweet coconut can be used or prepared with stevia or other sweetener as I suggested in the NuNaturals promo post of September 11, 2014.  Although I developed those recipes with  the product  in mind, ANY stevia product or sweetener of choice can be used. (I found that wasabi almonds are a fantastic mix with sweet coconut…I can’t get enough of the combination!)

Please see all of the September 11 post for more (sugar free)  sweet appetizer ideas.
Again, please feel free to use
  ANY sweetener of your choice.

It’s crunch-time for the holidays.I will post again in a day or two to get in as many appetizers as I can before most of the holiday season.

 

 

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Versatile Parsley Potatoes/Ham-Broccoli Casserole

 

If you can boil water, you can make a lovely potato dish that stands on its own and also has many other applications. As a matter of fact, I always make an over-sized batch just for the purpose of using it in several dishes during the week. With all my mother’s fantastic foods, this was one of the recipes that she was most often asked for, and one of the very few she would give(!)

Basic Parsley Potatoes:

Wash, peel and dice enough potatoes to make about 3 cups.

[Be sure your potatoes are of a uniform size, anywhere from approximately ¾-1 1/4 inch squares or rectangles. Size will affect cooking time).

Add to a pot of 2 quarts salted water.
Then add:
1/8 cup/ 2 Tbsp. minced yellow onions or scallions (green onions)
About ½ teaspoon pepper,(coarsely ground, preferably)
¼ cup minced parsley(dried is fine; add more if you wish.)

Boil until the potatoes are JUST tender; do not overcook.

I bet anyone could handle that.
Add a little butter or margarine and this is so good, I served in as it is in my restaurant
[I once put a bit too much parsley…OK, way to much parsley. The customers liked it; my niece/business partner has never let me live down my “Parsley with Potatoes”]
These works beautifully with any entrée that has an intense sauce or gravy, (instead of mashed potatoes), or if the main dish and other sides are very flavorful. It makes a light break between strongly distinct flavors.

Kick it up a notch with the addition of green beans, cauliflower or broccoli.

Kick it up more by placing in a baking dish and sprinkling with breadcrumbs and cheese; ( mix one cup of dried breadcrumbs with 2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine; add your favorite herbs and salt, or use Italian-flavored crumbs).Top with cheese of choice: medium to sharp cheddar is good, or Pepper Jack. If using Italian crumbs, use mozzarella or provolone. ( Gluten-sensitives can omit the breadcrumbs; vegans and those with lactose problems can omit the cheese.)
Bake in a 375F oven until it is heated through.

You can pan-fry the basic parsley potatoes and make them crispy. The flavor change is enough to make this a different side dish. They will also then go well with scrambled eggs; (added bacon or ham optional).

Or take it farther and make Breakfast Burritos (recipe in the next post)

 

This easy, cheesy casserole is perfect for a buffet or cosy family dinner

This easy, cheesy casserole is perfect for a buffet or cosy family dinner

And here is a delicious, easy, budget-stretching casserole with another very versatile creation, my Cheese Sauce: (last post)

Ham, Broccoli, Potato and Cheese Casserole
Take:
2 cups of Parsley Potatoes
add 1+ cup of cooked, chopped broccoli (frozen is fine, simply thaw or bring to boil in salted water and drain)
and 1 ½ cups chopped or cubed ham (remnants of a baked ham are good; you can also use portions of boneless ham or even deli ham )
place in a deep baking dish and layer with Cheese Sauce

Bake uncovered in a 350F oven for 25 minutes. This is great on a buffet, or just for a warm, simple cold-weather, all-in-one meal.

Enjoy!