Crunchy red bell slices replace tortilla chips in this decadent-but-not version of the classic, complete with melty cheese, and you won’t miss them.
I had planned to make Apple Not-chos, but Bob thought I asked him for a red and a green bell pepper instead of apples. They sound a lot alike don’t they? At any rate, the mistake turned out to be one happy and tasty accident.
Slice 1 red bell pepper 1/4″ thick and microwave for about 30 seconds.
What happens next is up to you!
I layered on the following in a shallow bowl and microwaved for another 30-60 seconds:
-2 slices Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda (https://followyourheart.com/)
Few things are better than these tasty rounds–buttery, tangy, and crisp-tender–with a glass of wine or non-alcoholic Proxies (pictured is “Pastiche”). Made by Acid League of teas, fruit juices, vinegars, bitters, herbs and other unexpected ingredients to pair with food, these wine alternatives have an “intoxicating” nose.
A Gift from Your Kitchen
An easy and welcome gift, the Shortbreads pack beautifully inside coffee filter-lined tins which I shared this holiday season with my freelance editors/publishers/clients and other professionals who provide service of inestimable value throughout the year.
On December 27, I contributed a dozen shortbread rounds to a happy hour for two (pictured) at the beautiful home of Angela Phillips. We also enjoyed her air fried brussels sprouts and chestnuts warmed with just a hint of olive oil.
Angela lives 8 or so miles away from us and, despite splitting the entire bottle of Proxies, I could drive home safely. These bottles really are “free of alcohol, full of complexity,” but are NOT dealcoholized–and are perfect when you want something beautiful, interesting, and exciting to sip on its own or, especially, with food, but prefer not to imbibe.
The pair of us drank the entire bottle of Pastiche, at only 75 to 100 calories total for each of us. Pastiche is a white wine alternative, made of the following: (FRUIT) Lychee, Pineapple, Peach, Gewurztraminer Grapes; (ACIDITY) Rose Vinegar; (SPICE) Pink Peppercorn, Amchur, Galangal, Clove; and (BODY) Bai Jian White Tea, Oolong Tea, Mosaic Hops. Proxies may remind you a bit of Kombucha but without the assertive fermentation and with many more layered and subtle flavor notes.
Savory Parmesan + Fennel Shortbread
Yield: approximately 4 dozen
(Note: these are also tasty without the parm.)
2 cups flour 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional) 1 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1 cup Follow Your Heart or your favorite plant-based brand shredded Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup plant-based butter (I like Myokos), broken into chunks 1/2 cup olive oil (may need slightly more or less)
Place first 7 ingredients in food processor and pulse a few times to break up fennel seeds. Add parmesan and pulse a couple more times. Add butter and pulse to distribute. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil, stopping occasionally, until dough comes together, but is not sticky. It should be fairly firm, like roll-and-cut cookie dough. Form into 3 to 4 logs, approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2″ in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. Slice rolls into 1/3-inch disks, place 1″ apart on baking sheet, and bake 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Package in airtight containers.
You know those weeks: full to the brim at work and in the evenings and bracketed by similarly packed weekends of entertaining, yet you invited new friends for Friday happy hour in a rare moment of downtime. Then, Friday arrives, and you realize you have nothing more substantial to serve them than cashews and olives.
This is the dip for THOSE times. On our lunch buffet at school this week was a Buffalo Chicken Salad, creamy, not chunky. The staff prepares inspired vegan food for me, but this was not and I abstained. But I have been fantasizing about it, so I dashed into the grocery on the way home, picking up the ingredients along with everything we needed to host Bob’s father’s 90th(!) birthday party and his sister’s 60th–they were born on the same day–on Sunday. Whew!
Please enjoy even when you aren’t harried or maybe especially then:
1/4 to 1/3 cup diced red onion
4 celery hearts, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 ounces chick-un substitute (I use Tofurky Sesame-Garlic Chick’n)
2 to 3 tablespoons mayo (I use Walden Farms no-calorie mayo, but use what you love)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon wing sauce or Sriracha
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Optional garnishes: sprig of herbs, green or black olive, crumbles of plant-based blue cheese or blue cheese dressing
Accompaniments: celery sticks, cucumber slices, crackers, or sturdy chips
Place onion and celery in food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Add chick-un and pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until mixture comes together with a creamy-course texture. Cover and refrigerate. To serve, garnish as desired and serve with vegetables, crackers, and chips.
My addiction to hot chili crisp (or oil) from the grocery store is no secret, and I am happy to share my “secret” pizza recipe, which is really more of a simple method:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out your favorite pizza dough super thin and place on a baking stone or lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, top with very thinly sliced yellow onion and garlic and halved grape tomatoes. Sprinkle with vegan mozz–or not–and bake 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make a slaw of shredded cabbage, carrot, mayo (I use Walton Farms no-calorie mayo), and hot chili crisp/oil to taste. Pile on top of freshly baked pizza, top with pickled veg if desired, drizzle with a little more hot chili crisp, sprinkle with lightly salted peanuts, and garnish with a basil leaf.
I hope you love it as much as I do; I enjoyed two nights in a row!
I have always loved the edible bowl concept, especially miniaturized. Thick beer battered and deep fried onion rings make the perfect cups for fresh garlicky cream cheese spinach. This is a rich dish, so a serving of 3 to 4 is about perfect as a meal.
Beer Battered Onion Rings
1 cup flour (I use white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 ounces beer (search online for a vegan brand you like)
1 large yellow onion
Cream Cheese Spinach Filling (recipe follows)
Garnish: cherry tomato halves
Preheat deep fat fryer or a large pot of oil to 375 degrees and oven to warm if desiresd. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and then whisk in beer. Set aside. Peel onion and slice off both ends, reserving flesh for spinach. Cut onion in half crosswise and separate into rings. Dip into batter, coat well, and fry a few at a time, just until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and keep warm in oven if desired. When all rings are fried, arrange on serving plates, fill with spinach mixture, garnish with cherry tomato halves, and serve immediately.
Cream Cheese Spinach Filling
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons finely diced onion (I use the onion flesh around the trimmed ends)
4 large cloves garlic
10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves (or favorite baby greens; I like the Harris Teeter Power Greens)
4 ounces plant-based cream cheese
Cover bottom of a 10-inch skillet with water and a pinch sea salt. Add onion and garlic and simmer, stirring frequently, until softened. Add spinach and wilt, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream cheese until melted and fully combined.