Thursday, June 7, 2018

Summer Solstice Party Appetizers! Vol. 1

The seasons are back in, in that witchy way! So of course you're going to want some fun appetizers that are seasonal to June for the zany Solstice Party you're going to throw.
Here's two fun ones to start, two more coming next week.
These I made for my demonstrations at the Century City mall for the celebration of the premiere of the documentary "Eating Animals" which examines how gross factory farming of critters is. The people walking by seemed to enjoy the samples.

Cucumber Canapes

1 C. cooked butter beans (white lima beans)
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil or broth (more or less as needed or desired, another oil is fine too such as avocado oil)
1 peeled, crushed garlic clove
1 tsp. chopped dill or mint (or both), plus a little extra to decorate
1/4 C. minced radish
2 Tbsp. minced apricot, peach or strawberry
1 tsp. minced fresh parsley
a touch of balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

Blend butter beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic clove, chopped dill or mint and salt to taste in a food processor. Drizzle olive oil or broth slowly into the mixture as it blends until a spreadable but not overly wet consistency is achieved. Adjust seasoning to taste and set aside.
In a small bowl, toss minced radish with parsley, minced fruit, and balsamic and salt to taste. Set aside.
Now, stripe a cucumber and then cut it into 1/4" rounds. If these seem a bit too wet, pat them with paper towel to remedy this (hey, maybe you got a really juicy cucumber!). Set the rounds on a tray or plate, and distribute somewhere between 1/2 to 1 tsp. of the butter bean spread on each, the amount depends on the size of the round of course, use more as needed or desired. Flatten the spread a bit or use the back of a spoon to form a shallow depression, then sprinkle each round with a little of the radish mixture. Garnish with an attractive mint or dill sprig and serve. 

Collard or Chard Dolmathes
collard or chard leaves
1 C. cauliflower florets or jicama (or a combination)
2 Tbsp. dried currants or other itsy bitsy fruit
1 minced scallion
1/4 C. shredded carrot
1/2 C. broiled zucchini (slice zucchini 1/8" thick, sprinkle with a little oil, salt & pepper and smoked paprika and place under broiler for 3-5 minutes)
1/4 C. chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/4 C. minced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. minced herbs of choice
lemon juice and salt to taste

Blanch leaves in boiling water... 40 seconds to a full minute for collard, 15 seconds for chard. Place them in ice water until cooled.
Drain and set aside in fridge for the time being.
Rice the cauliflower florets in a food processor or by hand if you're ambitious. If you do not like raw cauliflower, you may indeed roast it first, that is also fine as long as it still had some firmness to it. Toss the cauliflower with carrot, scallion, currants, herbs and a little salt to taste. Set aside.
Dice the zucchini and toss with chopped nuts and bell pepper, add a little salt and lemon juice to taste. Another spice or blend such as zahter could be added to this, that would bre great. Set this aside.
Trim/cut the spines from your leaves, particularly if the spines seem pretty tough or difficult to roll. If they aren't, well, feel free to incorporate them should you have a deft hand. Cut the leaves to make 2 to 4 pieces from each (depending on the size of the leaf), which should be of such a size that a dollop of filling can be snugly rolled and contained within. Place about a tsp. of cauliflower rice near an edge, and a slightly smaller amount of the zucchini mixture on top of that. Next either roll the leaf up tightly around this for an open-end roll, or roll and tuck the filling once, then fold the sides over this and finish rolling.
That probably didn't make any sense but you'll figure it out.
It's summer time so serve it with a grilled peach tzatziki or a tangy tamarind sauce or something! :)
You can of course use rice or quinoa instead of the cauliflower for these.

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