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Archive for March 16, 2016

RECIPE: Stuffed Cucumber Hors d’Oeuvre

You don’t need to train as a sushi chef to make these hors d’oeuvre suggested by Sunset Products, growers of Sunset One Sweet Cucumbers. The mini cucumbers easily turn into a crunchy base.

They’re green enough—and elegant enough—to serve with St. Patrick’s Day cocktails.

The first recipe is a twist on the traditional California roll.

RECIPE #1: CUCUMBER, SHRIMP & WASABI BITES

Ingredients For 48 Bites

  • 8 seedless cucumbers
  • 2-3 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced pink pickled ginger (sushi style)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked shrimp or crab meat, drained well
  • Garnish: minced fresh chives or tobiko
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    Shrimp & Wasabi Cucumber Appetizers

    Cucumber, Shrimp & Wasabi Bites from Sunset Products.

     
    Preparation

    1. CUT the ends off the cucumbers, then cut each cucumber into 1” slices (6 pieces per cucumber). You should end up with about 48 slices. Using a small melon-baller, scoop out the center of each bite to 3/4 of the way down, leaving the bottom intact. Set aside.

    2. MASH together the wasabi, cream cheese, soy sauce and pickled ginger ith a fork in a small bowl, until smooth and combined. Then mix in the shrimp to thoroughly combine.

    3. TRANSFER the cream cheese mixture to a piping bag (substitute a food storage bag) with a plain round tip. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into each cucumber bite. Sprinkle with chives or tobiko before serving.

     

    Curried Goat Cheese Appetizer Recipe

    Curried Goat Cheese Bites from Sunset Products.

     

    RECIPE #2: CURRIED GOAT CHEESE, APRICOT & PISTACHIO BITES

    For the holidays, you can garnish these bites with finely minced dried cranberries for a red-and-green theme.

    Ingredients For 48 Bites

  • 8 mini cucumbers
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup finely minced dried apricots
  • Garnish: chopped pistachios and dried cranberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT the ends off the cucumbers, then cut each cucumber into 1” slices (6 pieces per cucumber). You should end up with about 48 slices. Using a small melon-baller, scoop out the center of each bite to 3/4 of the way down, leaving the bottom intact. Set aside.

    2. MASH together the cream cheese, goat cheese, curry powder and salt with a fork in a small bowl, until smooth and combined. Then mix in the shrimp to thoroughly combine.

    3. TRANSFER the cream cheese mixture to a piping bag (substitute a food storage bag) with a plain round tip. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into each cucumber bite. Sprinkle with pistachios and dried cranberries before serving.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Turn Any Soup Into St. Patrick’s Day Soup

    There are plenty of green soups to serve on St. Patrick’s Day. For starters, consider avocado; Caldo Verde (kale, potato, sausage); cream of asparagus, broccoli or spinach; cucumber; green pea; herb; and nettle soups.

    There are also classic Irish soups like Irish Bacon & Cabbage, Potato & Leek and Irish Potato Soup.

    But you can also take your family’s favorite soup and add a green topping, starting with diced avocado.

    Add a sprinkle of freshly chopped green herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, parsley.

    Don’t like avocado? Dice the tops of green onions, or use a chiffonade of basil. If you like, you can toss them on top of a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

    If you’d prefer a cheese garnish, hit a cheese store for Sage Derby, a Cheddar-style cheese from England; or Basiron Pesto, a Gouda turned green with added pesto.

    Now, commence to the eatin’ of the green.
     
    FOOD TRIVIA: WHAT ARE HERBS?

     

    Bean Soup Avocado Garnish

    Instant St. Patrick’s Day food: soup with an avocado and herb garnish. Photo courtesy Quinciple.com.

  • Herbs refer to the leafy green parts of a plant. They can be used fresh or dried.
  • Spices are obtained from other parts of a plant: bark, berries, fruits, roots or seeds. They are usually dried.
  • The word “herb”” is pronounced with the “h” in most English-speaking countries, identical to the man’s name, Herb. In North America, the “h” is dropped, so the word sounds like “erb.”
  • There are culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. Culinary herbs are simply called “herbs,” as distinguished from “medicinal herbs.”
  • The difference between herbs and vegetables in that herbs are used in small amounts to enhance flavor (like spices), rather than used as a substantial ingredient.
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