Friday, May 23, 2003

Easy Italian Appetizers

Today’s theme is Italian-style appetizers, all easy, all prepared in advance, all kept ready in the fridge for last-minute back-yard barbecues.

There are three recipes. The first recipe is for a Red Pepper Crostini (pictured just below), soft bits of onion and bell pepper on crisp homemade crostini. Next is a luscious anchovy-free olive spread called "Olivada" – I use olivada to make dramatic-appearing Olivada Appetizers that people just gobble up! The second is for Parmesan Crisps, just piles of grated parmesan baked in the oven, they magically turn into a parmesan "cracker".

Red Pepper Crostini, one of three quick Italian appetizer recipes ♥ KitchenParade.com. Low Carb. WW1.

OLIVADA is a luscious olive paste. It's similar to the olive tapenade found in an olive bar but is anchovy-free.

For a delicious, dramatic looking Olivada Appetizer (pictured below), just spread a little olivada on a thin slice of a fresh baguette, top with a sliver of mozzarella or another soft, mellow cheese and a few bits of pimento or roasted pepper that's been patted dry.

This has been a "signature appetizer" for so many years! It's slightly fussy and must be assembled at the last minute so I use it only for small groups.

To make the olivada, pulse 2 garlic cloves in a food processor until very fine. Add a 12-ounce jar of good-quality Kalamata or nicoise pitted black olives (drained, obviously!) and 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (walnuts and sesame seeds work too). Pulse two or three times. Then, while still pulsing, slowly drizzle up to 3 tablespoons olive oil slowly into the food processor until a paste forms. You'll pulse more often for a smooth paste and less for one where the olive meat remains identifiable – this is my preference. Makes 1-1/3 cups.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Olivada Only Per Tablespoon: 85 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 185mg Sodium; 2g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2 & WW Points Plus 2.
Olivada Appetizer Per Appetizer: 78 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 2mg Cholesterol; 159mg Sodium; 5g Carb; 1g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2 & WW Points Plus 2.

PARMESAN CRISPS are so simple! For each crisp, place a heaping tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about a dozen per sheet. Shape into a rough round. Bake at 500F for 2 minutes. Remove from oven and top with a few blades of chopped chive. Return to oven for another minute or until deep gold in color. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to rack with a metal spatula.

RED PEPPER CROSTINI

Makes 1 cup
Active time: 10 minutes for peppers, 5 minutes for bread
Occasional attention: 20 minutes for peppers, 15 minutes for bread
    RED PEPPER MIXTURE
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced in 1” lengths
  • 2 red peppers (not yellow, not orange), cut in thin 1” lengths
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers (or more)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    CROSTINI
  • 1 loaf crusty bread, about 2 inches in diameter (or larger if small loaf not available)
    TO SERVE
  • Cream cheese, low-fat Neufchatel works great
  • Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

PEPPER MIXTURE Heat a large skillet. Sauté the onion in olive oil until onion is soft. Add the pepper strips and sauté until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, capers and balsamic vinegar and simmer gently until liquid is reduced. Season with salt and pepper. Makes about 2-1/4 cups. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.

CROSTINI Meanwhile, slice the loaf 1/4-inch thick, then again (if needed) to make pieces two or three bites big. Mist both sides with olive oil and place on baking sheet. Bake 350F/175C until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes, turning once. Let cool and transfer to freezer bag. If making ahead of time, store in the freezer until ready to serve. I get 36 thin slices from a demi French loaf from Trader Joe's.

TO SERVE To serve, spread the Crostini with cream cheese, then top with a little red pepper mixture and a parsley leaf. Serve within an hour.

NUTRITION INFORMATION (assumes 6.5g bread, 1 tablespoon Red Pepper Mixture, 1 teaspoon low-fat cream cheese): 43 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 5g Carb; 0g Fiber; 73mg Sodium; 4mg Cholesterol; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite easy appetizer recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

So Pretty! One Bite At a Time!


Olivada Appetizers, made with homemade olive paste, one of three quick Italian appetizer recipes ♥ KitchenParade.com. WW2.

Once you make Olivada (recipe above in the left column), it's easy to throw together one of my forever-favorite appetizers, just a sliver of soft crusty bread topped with a smear of Olivada, a thin bit of cheese and a bit of roasted pepper. That's it, so pretty!

More Easy Appetizer Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Bacon-Wrapped Dried Apricots Easy Shrimp Bites Easy-Easy Grilled Mushroom Appetizer

Quick Links to This Page

(for easy bookmarking and searching)
~ Olivada & Olivada Appetizers ~
~ Parmesan Crisps ~

Friday, May 16, 2003

Sengalese Soup

This Recipe Has Moved

The recipe for Sengalese Soup has been updated,
please see
Sweet-Corn Soup with Shrimp

Sweet-Corn Soup with Shrimp

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Easy-Easy Jam Tart Recipe

I am so-so sorry. I.Have.Been.Holding.Out. You see, there are still a handful of Kitchen Parade recipes from the first years (2002 through 2005) which haven't yet been published online. This Easy-Easy Jam Tart is one. And when you see how easy it is to put together a really impressive tart in just fifteen minutes? Yeah, I do hope you'll forgive me. Make Easy-Easy Jam Tart just once, it might just put me back in your good graces.

Easy-Easy Jam Tart ♥ KitchenParade.com, food processor crust + jam = an amazing tart in 15 minutes!

Ever make an elegant-looking tart in just 15 minutes? Start with Easy-Easy Jam Tart and I’m willing to bet you’ll turn to this simple, flexible recipe again and again. It’s an adaptation of an old Italian-style tart called "crostata della Nonna" or "grandmother’s tart".

Two tricks make this tart. First, the dough is done in the food processor, lickety split. Second, the filling is jam.

Have you yet discovered the microplane? I’ve been pooh-poohing them for awhile despite rave reviews in food magazines. Then a friend brought one when we cooked together one day. Wow! It creates the lightest citrus zest, the airiest grated Parmesan. There are models especially for spices as well. The story is that a Canadian woman became fed up with her lemon grater and borrowed a wood-working tool from her husband’s workshop. Voilá – an indispensable kitchen tool. And – soooo many size and shape choices anymore! I have two, one for fine lemon zest and another for grating Parmesan.

ALANNA's TIPS If you’re comfortable rolling dough, use a rolling pin to form the tart crust; this is an easy dough to work with either way and I prefer the evenness of the rolled dough though the patting is mighty convenient. I love to make this tart with European-style less-sweet fruit preserves like this pretty bright-red lingonberry fruit spread which shows up quite regularly at places like TJMaxx and Marshalls, using all the 14-ounce jars. But I've also used other thicker, sweeter jams, though then use less jam and do prefer ones like strawberry and raspberry for pretty color contrast. For smaller servings, use a smaller tart pan. I have a seven-inch tart pan, just mix 2/3 of the crust ingredients or better yet, make 1/2 the crust and use fewer ropes in the lattice. That will save some calories too! My friend Helen Fletcher has a great technique for consistently pressing dough into tart pans, there are step-by-step photos here with Cranberry Linzer Tart. Her dough uses a mix of ground almonds and flour, a nice touch. It would be an easy substitute for the crust included here.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture.

EASY-EASY JAM TART (Crostata Della Nonna, Grandmother's Tart)

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Finish time: 75 minutes
Time to table: 4 hours
Makes a nine-inch tart to serve 12 to 16
    TART CRUST
  • 2 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 250g
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 10 tablespoons (5oz/142g) salted butter, still cold, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
    JAM FILLING
  • 1 cup - 1-3/4 cups (8oz-14oz/225g-400g) fruit preserves or jam
    TO FINISH
  • Powdered sugar, optional

Heat oven to 350F/175C. If you like, cut a round of parchment for the bottom of a nine-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

TART CRUST In a food processor, blend the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt for about 10 seconds. Arrange the butter pieces around the blade, process until a coarse meal forms. Add the yolks and egg and process until moist clumps form. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for a minute or two, just to bring the tart dough together.

Separate the dough into two parts, one larger (for the tart bottom and sides), one smaller (for the lattice, refrigerate this piece, it even helps to form the ten balls that will form the lattice and refrigerate those). Pat the larger piece into a round and place in a lightly oiled 10-inch tart pan. With your fingers, press the dough evenly along the bottom and sides of the pan. I like to start with the sides, finish with the flat bottom.

JAM FILLING Spread the jam evenly over the dough.

LATTICE With the remaining dough, form ten thin ropes and place criss-cross in a lattice across the jam, five one direction, five the other. If they're too soft to easily roll without breaking, just refrigerate the dough for a few minutes until it firms up, then continue rolling.

BAKE Bake for about 50 minutes. Out of the oven, the jam is all hot and bubbly, it will set up beautifully when the tart cools.

COOL & SERVE Let cool completely, allowing time for the jam to firm up. If you like, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar, then serve in wedges at room temperature.

MAKE-AHEAD Can be made ahead, stays fresh for several days. Makes a great food gift!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice, assumes 16/12 slices : 211/281 Calories; 8/10g Tot Fat; 5/7g Sat Fat; 58/77mg Cholesterol; 135/181mg Sodium; 32/43g Carb; 1g Fiber; 16/21g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 5/7 & WW Points Plus 6/7 & WW SmartPoints 9/13.

Slim Slices? Easier with a Tart


Easy-Easy Jam Tart ♥ KitchenParade.com, food processor crust + jam = an amazing tart in 15 minutes!

Isn't a neat slice of tart somehow slightly more upscale than a piece of pie? I find too that it's easier to cut slim slices of tart than slim pieces of pie. Slim slices means a dessert that serves more people. Slim slices also help friends and family (to say nothing of ourselves!) limit portion size. Every little bite helps!


More Tart Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Finnish Fruit Tart Easy Elegant Fruit Tart Cranberry  Linzer Tart

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

Friday, May 2, 2003

Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup

My cousin Laura is famous for her rich-tasting but still low-calorie soup that uses a combination of potatoes and slow cooking to coax out a cream-like quality without a single drop of cream. It's comfort food during the cold months with possible medicinal qualities – no promises but some do say! Vegetarian and for Weight Watchers, just 2 PointsPlus.

Healthy Carrot Soup, my cousin's famous carrot soup recipe, creamy even though it's made with skim milk, not cream. WW2. Low Carb. Rave reviews!


COMPLIMENTS!
"... the best-smellin', best-tastin' soup I've made in a long time!" ~ Beth
"I've made this soup twice in the last couple of weeks and love it!" ~ CMN
"... so impressed2 weeks ago, that I'm just about to make a double batch to take to church tonight!" ~ Beth
"... if the other [Weight Watchers] recipes are as delicious as this, I'm all set!" ~ Katrina
"... absolutely yummy! " ~ Vinaya
"... my so very non-vegetarian hubby loved it." ~ Sonali
"... total hit at our house, even with our 6 year old son. VERY tasty ..." ~ Katrina


The "Laura" in LAURA's HEALTHY CARROT SOUP is my cousin, mom to four energetic kids and a long-time vegetarian. She cooks meat for her family but often slips in meatless soups, stews and main dishes.

This smooth, flavorful carrot soup is a family favorite, hers and mine both. Some swear by its medicinal facilities too. In my book, it tastes as good as chicken soup when you’re down with a cold or the flu. On a damp or chilly day, add a small sandwich for a light, healthful lunch.

ALANNA's TIPS
STOCK This recipe was first written with 4 cups of water mixed with 4 teaspoons instant bouillon or a bouillon cube. That totally works! But these days, I always have a big supply of No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock usually frozen in canning jars. That totally works too! I thought the salt might need some adjustment but it doesn't. ONIONS Don't just "sweat" the onions, in kitchen lingo that means to gently cook the onions without letting them turn golden. Instead, let some color develop, the extra time enhances the overall flavor. I learned this lesson with the big favorite How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup. CARROTS The soup will turn out a bit creamier and sweeter if you peel and chop whole carrots. However, the grocery-store bags of peeled carrots are so convenient, don’t hesitate to use them in a rush. I do NOT recommend using those bags of multi-colored orange, purple, yellow and white carrots from Trader Joe's. All good looks, no taste! A LITTLE RICHER? For a richer soup, use 2% or even whole milk. But even with skim milk, this soup already tastes much richer than it is, almost too rich if you're looking for a light soup. Some times I drop back to just one tablespoon of butter or use a smaller potato, since both contribute to the creaminess. ORANGE COLOR Yes, the color really is that orange! Halloween, anyone? MORE CARROT SOUPS? In summer, I love this Chilled Carrot Soup with Honey. For a vegan paleo carrot soup with coconut milk, try Paleo Carrot Soup.

LAURA’S HEALTHY CARROT SOUP

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 30 – 40 minutes
Makes 9 cups
  • 4 cups stock, vegetable (for vegetarian) or chicken
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large potato, skin on, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground dill
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Stock
  • 1-1/2 cups skim milk

Heat stock in the microwave until hot. This is an optional step but if timing is important, it does speed up the overall cooking time.

In a large, heavy pot, heat butter or oil on medium heat until shimmery. Add the onions, celery and garlic as they're prepped, stirring to coat with fat and then occasionally, letting real color develop in the onions and celery.

Stir in carrots, potato, thyme, dill, salt, pepper and Stock.

STOVETOP OPTION Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Let simmer until carrots are tender, 30 – 40 minutes.

SLOW COOKER OPTION Transfer ingredients to a slow cooker and let cook on High until carrots are tender, about 3 hours.

ONCE COOKED Purée in small batches in a blender or food processor. (An immersion blender works too, use it right in the Dutch oven or slow cooker. Do know, the soup's texture is slightly less smooth.) Return mixture to the cooking pan.

ADD MILK Add milk and bring back just to a boil, without allowing to boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve immediately or let cool, refrigerate and serve later.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 87 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 12g Carb; 3g Fiber; 669mg Sodium; 9mg Cholesterol; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 2

FREEZING LAURA'S HEALTHY CARROT SOUP For a godsend some future busy day, make a double batch, some for now, some for the freezer. So easy. That's my kinda freezer food!

The trick is to freeze the mixture << before >> adding the milk. Two reasons. First, it saves freezer room. Second, milk doesn't freeze well, the carrot and milk will separate, not nice.

Another trick! Without the milk, a double batch fits perfectly into three one-quart containers. I label each container, "Carrot Soup Base. To serve, add 1 cup milk." That means for every quart container, you've got five cups of soup to serve.


Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Share a favorite soup recipe via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. If you like this Kitchen Parade recipe, consider a free e-mail subscription. Once or twice a week when a new recipe is published, you'll be notified via e-mail. How to print a recipe on Kitchen Parade.

More Vegetable Soup Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Easy-to-Elegant Asparagus Soup Quick Cauliflower (or Broccoli) Soup Very Very Green Green-Pea Soup
How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup Low Fat Vegetable Soup Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup
~ more soup recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Paleo Carrot Soup ~
~ Cream of Broccoli & Carrot Soup ~
~ Chilled Carrot Soup with Honey ~
~ more soup recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





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