Browsing Tag

Appetizer

How to Build a Winter Cheese Plate

Appetizers, Holiday, How-To, Quick and Easy, The Holidays

I’m not trying to brag but I have been invited to two holiday parties already and we haven’t even entered the month of December. This is going to be a very fun season for me! I’m excited. 

My neighborhood is very into the holiday spirit; each and every single house on the block already has lights up. In order to fit in with the Jones’, we spent the weekend trying to get our lives together, i.e., getting rid of the squirrel-eaten pumpkins.

In preparation for this season, I wanted to put a mini guide together about Building a Winter Cheese Board! 

For this post, I teamed up with Roth Cheese. Their cheeses are so amazing and made in Wisconsin using fresh, local milk from dairy farmers right down the road. The flavors are delicious and rich. While I think they’re wonderful on a cheese board, I also think they’re perfect for grilled cheeses, too; their meltability is on point! They’d also work in a gratin or melted over vegetables.

Here are some pointers on creating a winter cheese board:

Pick Your Cheeses – I went with Grand Cru Havarti, Grand Cru Gouda, and Grand Cru Alpine-Style. I cubed up the Havarti and Gouda for easy consumption. I decided to leave the Alpine-Style in its wedge mainly for aesthetic reasons lol. The Havarti is mild and buttery. The Gouda creamy with a hint of sweetness. The Alpine-Style is nutty. I like for all of the cheeses to complement each other, while all being different to offer some contrast.

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Warm Caramelized Fennel and Leek Cheese Dip

Appetizers, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian

Warm Caramelized Fennel and Leek Cheese Dip

I used to be one of those psycho people who liked to be really hungry for Thanksgiving dinner. So instead of having breakfast, I’d just power through the day so I could REALLY enjoy dinner. But then that lead to be, like, being mean to people so now I make sure to eat breakfast AND I always have an appetizer prepped.

This is perfect for that because it can be made the day before and then heated up when hanger-vibes strike.

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Classic Pimento Cheese

Appetizers, Snacks

Classic Pimento Cheese // www.acozykitchen.com

I was born in the south and my family has lived there their whole lives but I don’t really consider myself southern, though I’m definitely southern-ish. I have a strong attraction to southern states, people and food. It was really no surprise that I went back to the south for college, North Carolina to be exact.

My first friend (and best friend ’til this day) at college was a svelte costume design major named Tre. We went everywhere together, including the cafeteria. Rumor had it that our school was just one grade above prison food, which as you know re: Orange is The New black is BAD. Naturally since we were in the south, they had pimento cheese at the salad bar. And everyday Tre would eat pimento cheese on white bread. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (I opted for cereal.) I honestly never touched the pimento cheese because if you think it looks a little scary now in my pictures, imagine how it looked at the ‘one grade above prison salad bar’. Rough.

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Blistered Pea Hummus

Appetizers, Snacks

Blistered Pea Hummus | www.acozykitchen.com

I have a feeling that none of you would be my friend in real life if:

#1 You could hear the voice I use when speaking to Amelia. We all have animal voices. Mine is just REALLY bad. And strangely enough, it’s gets more grating the more tired I get.

#2 You could see me (sometimes!) reach into my dirty hamper and take out dirty socks and put them on my clean feet because ‘they’re not that dirty and I like black socks to match my black Nikes.

#3 You could see how many dishes I dirty when making simple things like a salad, lettuce cups or coffee. ‘Working clean’ is for fancy chefs or people who are more organized in their brains than me.

#4 You could see how many times I open the fridge/freezer, take a swig of something and then return it (versus, you know, pouring myself a glass). But really, I live with only one other person and we make out all the time so it’s totally fine if I double-dip, right…

And now, hummus.

Blistered Pea Hummus | www.acozykitchen.com
This hummus is a labor of love. I’m afraid that you’ll hate me because of this hummus recipe. I’ve made a super simple thing kind of more complicated but I think it’s worth it so please hear me out. Please!

This recipe starts with shucking a bunch of peas, which I honestly like doing. There’s something about repeating the same motion over and over that is soothing.

And then, I juiced the jackets! Whaaa! If you don’t have a juicer, you can totally skip this step, but I wanted the hummus to be as green as possible and I love the notion of waste not want not.

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Baked Brie with Cherries, Pistachios and Caramelized Honey

Appetizers

Baked Brie with Cherries, Pistachios and Caramelized Honey

Last week I was in New York for three short nights and I can tell you from my experience, Spring has not sprung. Being greeted by twenty-one-degree temperatures, AND after a red-eye flight is kind of a brutal (but I had a pretzel later so all was ok). Luckily Spring is near. I’m not a groundhog or anything but I’m staying positive for all of you east coasters.

I’m sure many of you still dealing with Winter’s lingering attitude can’t wait for brunches. Is there anything better than sitting outside, eating with friends while the warmish April sun looks on? I guess when I think of weekend brunching, I think of Spring. It’s that time when we’re just itching to do everything outside, which includes eating. Cocktails and appetizers and pancakes mixed with lunch food. I probably love the mix of foods most about brunch. It’s not just breakfast, but a healthy mix.

P_BakedBrie_2

I baked some cheese for when you’re ready to do this occasion of brunching. I’m hoping you’ll be able to do it soon. (If not, don’t worry because baked cheese also eases sorrows. Trust me.)

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Beet Hummus with Crispy Beet Greens

Appetizers

Beet Hummus with Crispy Beet Greens // www.acozykitchen.com

If you know me, you know that I’m not Valentine’s Day’s biggest fan. It’s not that I hate relationships or love or love or any of that—if anything it’s the complete opposite. I’m pretty sure my disdain for all things Valentine’s Day has to do with how the internet celebrates. Everything immediately turns red and pink and pizzas on Pinterest are topped with heart-shapped pepperoni. WHY?!

Also, I’m convinced that we shouldn’t be consuming that much food coloring in our lives. It’s a very rare occasion where I’m like, let’s turn this whole dish RED! PINK! Like, no. If it’s not meant to be pink then let it live in its original color and chill. Let’s all walk away from the food coloring, ok? (Red velvet cake on occasion is fine.)

Today the internet beat me. I made something festive…sorta. It was on my long list of to-makes so I figured it might be a good time, but this is naturally pink, so I’m defending it.

Here it is, internetz: (Resentfully) presenting pink hummus…

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Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

Appetizers

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs // www.acozykitchen.com

Last year I stayed at home like the homebody that I am. I enjoyed it, honestly. I did just get a puppy corgi so I wasn’t super excited about going into the world of glittery dresses, cars and champagne and vomit, but this year is different! I’m actually going out. Josh and I are gonna watch one of his best friends get married on New Year’s Eve and I’m kind of excited to have a place to go, get all dressed up for and a group of people to celebrate with.

So, basically, what I’m saying is that I’m not making these Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs because I’m going to a wedding and showing up with a homemade appetizer would probably piss off catering, but you definitely should! They’ll be the stunner of the appetizer table, I can guarantee it.

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Winter Squash Hummus with Za’aatar Dusted Pita

Appetizers

Winter Squash Hummus with Za'aatar Dusted Pita // www.acozykitchen.com

December always starts with me being sort of depressed that December is starting. December’s beginning means that the year’s end is imminent. And 2013’s end kinda gives me a panic attack because I can remember its start so vividly.

Not to worry! if you too, are in a lil’ panic mode, this month is full of appetizers and cookies and cakes and cinnamon rolls. All will soothe your pain. I have lots of cookies on my brain and cakes. All I want to make right now are cakes. I figured we’ve all eaten enough this weekend so best to start off with something light.

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Persimmon Salad with Fennel and Lardo

Dinner, Salads

Persimmon Salad with Fennel and Lardo // www.acozykitchen.com

This past weekend I learned a few things:

1. If your dog is annoying you, an empty-ish (plastic) jar of almond butter will distract him/her for hours. HOURS, I tell you. Amelia sat under the couch and tried her hardest to reach the bottom of the almond butter jar. She failed, thus creating about four hours where I didn’t see her/hear her. Glorious. Pretty sure she was drunk on almond butter.

2. Pinterest will shave hours off your life. Hours. Lots of ’em. I feel like I’m actually liking Pinterest for maybe the first time ever.

3. Bar Method, my recent workout endeavor, will seem easy and calming and girly, but then the instructor will push you to work those lil’ muscles you never knew existed. and then the next day you’ll wake up barely able to move. It’s a good thing, apparently.

3. Persimmon and salt-cured fat (aka lardo) taste soooo good when they’re on the same plate! AHH! This salad is my new obsession.

This salad makes my Thanksgiving salad dreams come true. I’m a notorious lettuce-salad-hater. It’s from years and years of being forced to make the dinner salad growing up. They were sad. They were depressing. (Sorry mama.) And they were always made with terrible lettuce.

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Padron Peppers with Bonito Flakes and Orange Zest

Appetizers

Padron Peppers with Bonito Flakes and Orange Zest // www.acozykitchen.com

My favorite part of this dish are the bonito flakes. Have you had them before? When bonito flakes hit piping hot food, they dance. Bonito flakes are dancers. Really embarrassing dancers. Like the friend you have that starts to dance and everyone is like, yeesh, don’t do that for the sake of humanity please stop, please. Basically, bonito flakes dance like Elaine. (And if you’re too young to understand a Seinfeld reference, you’re dead to me. Not really, but PLEASE watch the entire series.)

These padron peppers are cooked in the same way shishito peppers are usually prepared: pan sautéed and blistered. And instead of just tossing them with a little salt, I decided to make it a little more interesting and top them with bonito flakes and fresh orange zest. It’s a fun little appetizer that takes about five minutes to prepare. And like all other awesome things, these should be eaten with beer.

The full recipe and post is over on PBS Food this week.

Padron Peppers with Bonito Flakes and Orange Zest // www.acozykitchen.com Continue Reading