Spring is here! Think Chicken Salad, Mediterranean...

Appetizers

Greek Nachos

4 pita pockets, white or whole wheat, cut into wedges ( we used homemade grilled whole wheat flatbread!)
About 1/2 cup olive oil
Salt
4 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup yogurt, preferably whole-milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 or 3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded if necessary, and chopped
1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted and halved (optional).

Heat oven to 350 degrees Arrange pita wedges in one layer on baking sheets and brush or drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Bake until they begin to color, turning once or twice, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, turn off oven and put chips back in to keep warm.

In a blender or food processor, combine feta, yogurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, mint and zest and juice of lemon; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Blend or process until smooth. (You can also mash mixture by hand, with a fork.)

Put two tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add lamb and cumin and sprinkle with salt and pepper; continue cooking until meat is cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes more. Put chips on a serving plate and top with lamb, sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives if you’re using them.

 

Savory Palmiers

a delicious bite size appetizer!
Makes ~ 60

1 package frozen puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm), defrosted
¼ cup pesto
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
Salt

Lightly flour a board and unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until its about 9 -1/2 x 11-1/2 inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half of the pesto then sprinkle with half of the goat cheese, half the sun-dried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt.

Fold 3 inches of 1 long side of the pastry to the middle. Fold again so that the fold is just at the middle of the pastry. Repeat with the other side. Fold the sides on top of each other and press together. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the second piece of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover both rolls with plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry into ¼ inch thick slices and place them face up 2 inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve warm.

Pesto ~
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan and pine nuts in a food processor and roughly chop. While processing, add the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.

 

Grown Up Hushpuppies (aka Corn Fritters with Lime) 

We made these in the boy’s cooking class today. Corn fritters with fresh corn and lime juice. Bursting with flavor! Careful when you are frying because the corn kernels tend to pop like popcorn!

1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels ( about 3 ears of corn)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 large egg
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup fine grind cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
canola oil for frying
Lime wedges for garnish

In a small bowl, stir together the corn kernels and lime juice. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and butter until blended. In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and cayenne. Quickly mix the egg mixture into the flour mixture until smooth.
Fold in the corn.

Pour oil, 1 inch deep, into a deep saucepan and heat to 375 degrees.
Place wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.

Drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry until brown on both sides- @ 2 minutes per side. They will be golden and puffed.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fritter to the rack to drain.
Repeat until all of the batter is used up.

Serve hot with lime wedges.

Optional Additions:
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh Cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped spring onion
crispy cooked bacon