Greek Appetizer

20150912_142145

Yesterday was our Annual Poker Run Party! Everyone brings an appetizer and we pick at them throughout the day.   I have my usual ‘go tos’, but I wanted to switch it up a bit.  I needed something that could be made a head, didn’t need to be heated and could please a crowd.  While searching Pinterest, I stumbled across this ‘A Crowd Favorite: Feta Dip’ from Clover Lane .  It looked Delicious!  I had to adapt it a tad as I could not find one of the ingredients and I really didn’t measure.

Greek Appetizer

Olive Oil
Tomatoes – seeded and diced
Green onion – thinly sliced
Feta – crumbled
Garlic, fresh
Oregano
Pepper

1. Select a tray for the amount you want to make.  Drizzle with olive oil.

20150912_132714

2. Add pepper, oregano and garlic

20150912_132846

3. Top with tomatoes, green onions, and feta

20150912_133307

 At this point there was a bit of a kerfuffle, unrelated to the dish, so I forgot to get pictures until it has half eaten! Trust me, it was a lot nice looking when it arrived.

4. Toss together and serve with a baguette or pita

20150912_142145

This was delicious!  Many people referred to it as bruschetta , It really was a crowd favourite. Everyone commented on how good it was and it was devoured!  This may be my new ‘go to’ app.   Thanks Sarah, from Clover Lane, for sharing this recipe.

 

Advertisements

Sourdough Garlic Fingers

IMG_6040

Sour Dough Garlic Fingers!  I have seen pictures of this kind of thing everywhere lately, on Pinterest, various foodblogs, recipe magazines and knew it was something I HAD to try.  I thought Christmas would be the perfect time, lots of people to eat it!

I do not have a recipe to source this to, I just made it up as I went along

Sour Dough Garlic Fingers

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter – room temperature
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
parsley
1 loaf sour dough bread
1 cup grated cheese

Directions:

1. Prepare garlic butter to your liking. I used half cup butter, 3 cloves garlic, pepper and parsley – make it how you like it

IMG_6024

2. Cut sour dough bread in a criss-cross pattern – making sure NOT to cut all the way though

IMG_6022

3. Spread garlic butter between bread

IMG_6026

IMG_6030

4. Put some of the cheese in the slices and the remaining on top

IMG_6031

5. Spray foil with Pam and wrap entire loaf

IMG_6033

6. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes – uncover and bake until cheese is melted and crispy

IMG_6038

IMG_6041

Rip off a finger and enjoy!

IMG_6042

Delicious! This was a huge hit, everyone loved it!  The garlic butter soaked into each finger making the bread nice and soft which went really well with the crunchy cheese.  Definitely making this again!

We were talking and discussing how there are infinite possibilities with different cheeses, different spices, various dip spreads, bruschetta….mmm can’t wait to make the next one!

Bacon Wrapped Dates

IMG_3305

Ahhh Bacon……, who doesn’t love bacon?  It it is one of my favourite foods!  I refuse to keep bacon in the house because I will eat it ALL, no kidding, I could eat a whole pound and I have!  My favourite way to eat bacon is fried up and dipped in ketchup (my mouth is watering as we speak).  I have yet to find a bacon form that I didn’t like, I’ve had it in desserts, in appetizers, in meals, as meals, you name it, I’ve had it. This time of year (Christmas) seems to be ‘wrap things in bacon season’.  Mom usually makes bacon wrapped water chestnuts at Christmas, which are delicious, but lets face it, most anything wrapped in bacon is delicious!

These little mouthfuls of heaven were introduced to me by Gina.  I’m talking about ‘Bacon Wrapped Dates’ yes, dates!  When she first told me about them I really wasn’t sure what to think, dates? hmm… But I figured they had to be pretty good, they were wrapped in bacon! I don’t have a source to link tis one too other than to Gina, she told me what to do.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

20 pitted dates, cut in half
1 pound of bacon
cheese of choice
toothpicks

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

2. Cut dates in half

IMG_3290

2. Fill dates with cheese of choice.  I used 2 different flavours of Chevre goat cheese from a local producer, Crosswind Farm, their cheeses are delicious! I used a Herbes de Provence and a hot pepper as well as a sharp cheddar

IMG_3296

IMG_3298

3. Cut bacon in half

IMG_3300

4. Place date on half slice of bacon, roll and hold together with a tooth pick

IMG_3301

IMG_3302

5. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake until bacon is cooked to your desired crispness.  I like mine crisp, approx 30 mins

IMG_3303

6. Allow to cool a few minutes and enjoy!  They can also be made in advance and reheated in the microwave or in the oven at 300 F

IMG_3304

A word of advice, you  must try these, they are delicious! When I was making them I thought the dates might have been too dry but the ‘bacon juices’ soaked right into them and they were very moist.  The sweet of the date the salt of the bacon and the savory tang from the cheese went together like a sweet harmony. At first you taste the sweet of the date, then the salt of the bacon takes over and finally the tang of the cheese mellows everything together.  These were a huge hit!  Even people who were very skeptical really enjoyed them.  They will definitely be making it into the recipe book.  Warning: they are addicting and go fast, make lots!

Thanks Gina!

Cheese Squares

Do you have recipes that you make only at certain times of the year? Recipes that would be good at anytime of the year, but is only ever made around a certain time.  Our family has LOTS!  This one in particular, for some reason, is ONLY and I stress the only ever made for the Christmas Season.  I am talking about Cheese Squares!  Throw your diet out the window when your eating these little delights, but let me tell you, they are totally worth every delicious calorie!  I really don’t know why our family only makes them at Christmas.  There is nothing about a Cheese Square that says ‘Christmas’.  They are not red and green.  They don’t have the scent of pine or cinnamon.  Maybe, it’s because they are just that bad for you that your body only needs them once a year?  Who knows…

Usually around this time of year, early November, Mom starts preparing for the Holidays, getting some ‘pickies’ prepared for Christmas company.  This time of year there will always be several different homemade delights in the freezer just waiting for company to share them with!  These Cheese Squares have been a part of our Christmas for as long as I can remember.  They are very easy, only 3 ingredients, perhaps a little time-consuming and fiddley, but worth every second.  Today Mom and I whipped together 3 batches to have on hand, only took us a couple of hours.  I have no idea where this recipe came from.  It is a hand written one that has been in Mom’s recipe book for years!

Cheese Squares

1 lb Butter, room temperature
1 450 gr pkg Velveeta Cheese, room temperature
2 loaves thin Sandwich bread, must be the square sandwich bread

Directions:

1. Make sure you buy the right bread!  A normal loaf of bread will not work as well. You need the ‘thin Sandwich bread’ the square one

2. In stacks of 3, cut crusts off of the bread and set aside

3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand-held beater, combine the butter and cheese. Mix on low to combine.  Raise speed to high and mix until light and fluffy, approx 2 mins

4. To assemble  – spread an even layer of cheese mixture between each layer of bread and on the top

5. Pick up the triple decker and spread an even layer around the sides

6. Once all sides (except the bottom) are covered, slice in three

Looks good doesn’t it? But we are not done yet!

7. Spread another even layer on all remaining sides (except bottom)

8. Place on a lined cookie sheet, single layer, not touching.  Cover and freeze over night

9. The next day ( or several hours later when they have frozen through) remove from tray and place in freezer bags

10.  These must be cooked from frozen, if not the cheese will all melt off.

11. Preheat oven 350 F

12. Place on lined cookie sheet and baked until the edges are golden

Delicious!  These are always a crowd pleaser.  Despite the ingredients, these are a very ‘light and airy’ appetizer.  The outside crisps up a little and the inside is soft and tender with melted buttery cheese.  It is like a gourmet finger sandwich grilled cheese.  It is very difficult to stop at just one!

Most prefer to eat them as they are and enjoy the mild cheesy goodness, but some like to dip in ketchup.  They also are quite nice for lunch with a nice bowl of home-made tomato soup.  I would definitely recommend giving these are try

Spanakopita/Tiropita

This summer friends of Mom and Dad’s moved onto our road, great people and they make wonderful food!  We have been very fortunate to receive a few wonderful Greek dishes over the past few months.  I have had a lot of tzatziki in my day but theirs, by far, is the best ever! I have no idea how they make it, nor do I want to know, because it would never be the same if I were to try to make it.  It is simply amazing!  Another wonderful delight they make is spanakopita, delicious!  Mom had helped them make a batch one day, so today we thought we would try a batch ourselves!

I kept saying we were making spanakopita, I had always thought that was what they were, but Mom corrected me, what we made was more of a tiropita.  Tiropita is made with layers of buttered phyllo and filled with a cheese-egg mixture where as spanakopita is layers of buttered phyllo with a spinach, onions and a cheese-egg mixture.  Ours was somewhere in-between, mostly cheese with a little spinach, perhaps a ‘Spanatiropita’?

“Spanattiropita”

Let me start by apologizing, there are no measurements.  Mom just ‘adds’ until it is right. So I will guess how much we used, approximate…

Phyllo pastry 2 packages
Spinach (1/2 package of frozen) drained and squeezed dry
Feta cheese (2 cups)
Ricotta cheese (1 cup)
Parmesan cheese (2 cups)
Greek seasoning (1 tsp)
4 eggs
Butter (half pound)
Directions:

1. In a large bowl add eggs and ricotta

2. Add  feta and parmesan, stir

3. Add spinach

4. Add seasoning and combine well

5. At this point you need to prepare your phyllo.  Phyllo is very fussy, you will need to follow the boxes directions on thawing, usually in the fridge overnight.  Keep phyllo covered with a damp cloth so it does not dry. Prepare your work area.  Melt the butter, get a pastry brush, a sharp knife or pizza cutter large working area and a large sheet pan covered in plastic wrap.

6.  Get 2 sheets of phyllo, brush each sheet lightly with butter

7. Cut in half and then in thirds, ending up with 6 strips

8. Place approximately 1 tbsp of mixture at the end of each strip

9. Next you form the triangle, looks tricky, buts it’s not.  Fold over one corner to the opposite side of strip

10. Now fold up

11.  Continue folding on the triangle until you reach the end, may need to tuck in ends.

12. Brush with butter

13. Place on a lined sheet, can be layered with parchment between

14. At this point you can cover and freeze overnight, then place in freezer bags for storage.  Or bake.

15. Pre heat oven 375.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake approx 10 mins on each side or until golden brown

Absolutely delicious!  The phyllo was tender and flaky.  The filling was warm and creamy, the cheese was tangy with hits of spinach. These are nothing like the store-bought or restaurant ones.  Dad said ‘Two thumbs up”.  These are a new favourite. YUM!