Tag Archives: appetizer

Avocado Spring Rolls with Sweet Chile Garlic & Ponzu Sauce

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Happy Wednesday!

I made the most amazing spring rolls – it was my first time to make them and I totally impressed myself!

Soft, crunchy, creamy, herb-y & just that je ne sais quoi that I TOTALLY LOVE!

Here are the rock star ingredients:

  • rice paper wrappers
  • seedless cucumber
  • avocado
  • pickled ginger
  • butter lettuce
  • cilantro
  • shredded carrot
  • chives

Pickled ginger has become my new favorite ingredient!  It is spicy and sweet and vinegar-y.  It’s close to the top of the list of perfect foods for you to eat so it’s a win-win!  I have found myself asking for extra anytime I go eat sushi- who am I??

The funny thing is that I have never liked the taste of ginger- when I was little we would go eat at Uncle Tai’s in the Galleria and I would pick out the ginger piece by piece- if I accidentally got a bite, the face I made was horrid. I guess my palate is changing but don’ t think that means you will find blue cheese or olives on my plate any time soon- I have limits my friends!

The prep time on this is going to take some time but the pay off is so awesome!

Cut the cucumber in half and then cut the bottom off so you can stand it straight up and cut vertical slices

Once that is done you can cut the pretty matchstick pieces

Then you want to cut that GORGEOUS avocado in thin strips…..it’s like my favorite food EVER

I just need some salt and fork – YUM!

OK seriously- we need to wet the rice paper wrapper in a shallow dish of water.

Speaking of rice paper- you should be able to get it at your local market but mine was out so I went to the sushi bar and asked if they had any and he gave me several sheets for $$FREE$$ – which again makes the great point of talking to the people at your store and ask questions- they are there to help!!

The rice paper looks crazy when you get it- thin and crackly with a weird texture but when you submerge it in the water it magically transforms like shrinky-dinks in a hot oven

Just submerge it for a few minutes and then lay it on a big dry plate and get ready to fill that baby up

First- lay the avocado slices across so they are the superstar of the roll!

*disclaimer- please make sure to put lemon/lime juice on your avocado after slicing it so it doesn’t get brown spots like mine

Add the rest of the ingredients too

And then you start rollin’ rollin’ rollin’

The tighter- the better – it won’t rip- it’s super strong and you don’t want all your glorious veg pouring out when you bite into it!

Time to make the dipping sauce while that hangs out for a minute

  • Taste of Asia Sweet Chili Garlic sauce (best depth of flavor of all I have tried)
  • Kikkoman Ponzu sauce

If you haven’t tried Ponzu it rocks- it is a citrus soy sauce – soy sauce alone doesn’t work for me anymore

I am dedicated to new flavors like that

TAAADDDDAAAAA

Now go out and make these- they are awesome and you could even throw some shredded chicken or tofu in there if you need more protein!

Have a great day!

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

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Yesterday, I was on a mission!  A meatball making mission!

I had been wanting/needing to make them all weekend but with my infant niece visting…procrastination wasn’t even an issue because I was knee-high in bottles and diapers.  I almost forgot how much work goes into an infant.  My 5 yo was overjoyed she was spending the night, until she realized how much work it was too.  More so, how much “Mommy” time it took away from her – I guess she may rethink that whole “I want a sister or brother” thing LOL!

But yesterday, while my girl was at school and my niece was snoozing, I made these gorgeous beauties!

and these

I wanted to make two different sizes so that I could have some on hand for spaghetti and meatballs and some smaller ones in the freezer ready at any moment for Happy Hour!

So when I decided to make these- I was faced with a dilemma….no breadcrumbs and while I could have easily run over to the store- my Mom gave me the BEST idea!  For Christmas, we had gotten some amazing cheese and crackers from my Nana- while the cheese was gobbled up- I still had crackers left over and they were perfect to be made into breadcrumbs!

Here is what I threw together:

  • A couple of handfuls unseasoned Common Crackers
  • 1/2 tablespoon mixture of garlic powder, white pepper & kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

put everything in the blender

and voila!  you will have the most amazing seasoned breadcrumbs!  I just pulsed to get the consistency I wanted and that’s the great thing about doing them yourself ~ control!

Now onto the meatballs!

Here is what you need:

  • 1 lb ground chuck 80/20
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • seasoned breadcrumbs
  • sautéed baby bella mushrooms (saute with a little white wine & butter)
  • a couple of cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon or so homemade ranch dressing (1/2 packet hidden valley ranch buttermilk dry mix & 1/2 cup heavy cream)
  • 1/2 sweet onion minced

Put your meats into the bowl ~

This recipe is so versatile because you can clean out your fridge by making these!  I had some sautéed shrooms that were left over in the fridge and I thought they were a perfect addition of flavor and texture!  Show I chopped them up and threw them on in

Along with everything else ~

The amount of breadcrumbs & dressing (milk alone will work perfectly too) is based on the texture – you want a moist but not falling apart texture but try to not over mix as you don’t want to make them tough

Then you need to get your tools together to form these balls of awesomeness!

  • 2 different sizes of scoopers
  • cookie sheet lined with foil
  • big pan
  • oil

Start rolling….

Beautiful

After they are all rolled out then quickly mince an onion to throw in a pan with the garlic oil so you can begin to pan fry these babies!  Also, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees as we are going to finish these off in the oven

Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes or so ~ they will sizzle and brown and shine in all their glory

Once they are all done you will have two wonderful sizes of meatballs to enjoy now or pop them in the freezer for another day!

Enjoy!!

Baked Bison Wontons

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So I have been a little obsessed with finding uses for wonton wrappers lately on FoodGawker and Pinterest.  I mean not only are the options endless but you can really enjoy volume because it is a healthy option, when baked!

I was trolling the freezer and came across some ground bison and the light bulb went off!  Bison ravioli, bison tacos, bison wontons…..the canvas was blank!

Here is what I made~ Baked Bison Wontons

Crispy pockets of cheesy bison-y goodness ~ GLORIOUS

Here are the players:

Bison Wontons

Makes 48 wontons

  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • wonton wrappers
  • addt’l spices (not pictured here but separate picture below) 1 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning, 1 tsp Penzeys 4S Smoky Seasoned Salt & 2 squirts of Worcestershire

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Then finely chop and mince your onion & garlic and you want to caramelize them in the olive oil/butter mixture on medium heat for about 20 minutes….until they look like this

My mouth watered just looking at this picture!  I love love love caramelized onions & garlic!

Remove them from the pan and add your ground bison and get it browning

Add in the following seasonings to make it really stand out!

Penzey’s Special Seasoned Sea Salt is GOLD!  I picked up the Smoky version not too long ago and it is such a great addition to any dish…giving the right amount of smoky, salty goodness!

Go ahead and add the onions back in the mixture, once browned.  Mix it up and then move to a bowl so you can cool and add in cream cheese

Mix that well and let is come together while you prepare your wonton wrappers

You will need to lay out your wrappers on a foiled cookie sheet and get a couple of instruments to make this process a little easier~

  • small ramekin of water
  • small pastry brush
  • melon baller

The melon baller is perfect because you only need 2 teaspoons of mixture in each wrapper and this controls that

Add the mixture to the wrapper and then paint 2 sides with water

Then fold the diagonal corners to make a triangle…make sure you get ALL the air bubbles out from around the pocket

You want to spray them with cooking spray….mine went a little crazy here but it worked out fine

Pop them in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes.  Keep an eye on them because they get brown quickly!  I also did these in several batches because I am not going to lie- its a labor intensive job so I took breaks in between batches 🙂

Look at these beauties!

Enjoy these with a garden salad or as a popable appetizer!

I am off to search for more wonton wrapper ideas!

Happy Monday!!