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September 6, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES WEEK 1 - INGREDIENT:SHRIMP

RECIPE: SHRIMP WITH OREGANO AND GARLIC

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It's the beginning of a new cooking group. Our group began long ago as the Sunday Slow Bakers, then changed to the Sunday Slow Scoopers, then became the Sunday Slow Soupers, then recently were the Sunday Salad Samplers. We are now beginning a new chapter, and we will now be making Sunday Small Bites.

This one is a little different. Each week, someone picks our featured ingredient. That week, everyone makes a small plate using that ingredient. The rules are that you are to make a recipe that you've never made before. I'm challenging myself a little more. Unless I really can't find a new recipe any other way, I'm using cookbooks I already own to find my recipes. I have lots of cookbooks, but don't cook from a lot of them. I usually go to epicurious.com to find recipes. That would be so easy for this challenge, because all I would have to do is a search for appetizers with the ingredient listed.

This week was my week to choose our ingredient. I chose SHRIMP. I elected to make an appetizer that is very easy to make, from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook I don't think I've made anything from.

The shrimp were good, but I wouldn't make the recipe as stated again. I really liked the oregano flavor, but I didn't like the texture of the dried oregano. Next time I'll use fresh and I think it will be much better. I also used more garlic than called for-I used 5 cloves. And instead of the 1 cup of olive oil, I used 1/3 cup, which was plenty. I don't agree with the cookbook author that this is the flavor of paella. I make a shrimp that's similiar with just garlic, rosemary and olive oil that I love, but the oregano is another flavor choice that would be a nice appetizer to certain dishes when you might not want a rosmary flavor.

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September 13, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES - WEEK 2 - CRAB

STEAMED CORN CUSTARDS WITH CRAB
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It's Week 2 of the Sunday Small Bites. This week's ingredient was chosen by VicoGirl. She chose crab. Yeah! I rarely eat crab. Even though much of it comes from Alaska, it is just as expensive here as it is elsewhere.

I was trying to challenge myself by not going to Epicurious.com to find my recipes. By today I gave in. Kindof sad considering it's only week 2. I wanted to try to use ingredients I had on hand. I did have to send my husband to the market to buy crab, and he bought a few nice King Crab legs. I had recieved some fresh corn on the cob from my CSA this week, so I searched on Epicurious for corn and crab and found the recipe I made - Steamed Corn Custards with Crab. This would be a very nice starter at a fancy dinner party. They tasted really rich, even though the custards didn't contain any cream or butter. I might have been a little heavy-handed with the butter that the crab was sauted in.

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September 20, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES WEEK #3 - SUNDRIED TOMATOES

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TOMATO, PINE NUT & CHORIZO LOAF

The theme for this week's Small Bites was Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Our theme this week was chosen by Amy. This was a fun choice.

I looked through my cookbooks, trying to find something out of the ordinary, when I found the recipe I wanted to try - Cake Tomate, Pistache, & Chorizo. This was in the wonderful book Chocolate & Zuchhini by Clotilde Dusoulier. Everything I've made from this book has been wonderful. She says that in French, cake can mean a variety of baked goods made in a loaf pan. For this cake, it is suggested that it is cut in slices or cubes, and that they're great for a picnic, buffet, or as a finger food for the apertif.

This cake was excellent. The chorizo gives it a nice spicy kick, and the flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes is really strong. I made it the night before as suggested, and it was very moist the next day. This is one I will definately make again.

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September 26, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES WEEK #4 - AVOCADO

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CHILLED CREAM OF AVOCADO SOUP

I know, I'm a day early. I'm out of town and have something else posting tomorrow, so I'm breaking the rules and posting a day early.

This week's ingredient was chosen by Annie. She chose avocado. I didn't want to make a typical dip, and I found a lovely recipe for Chilled Cream of Avocado Soup from the cookbook The Culinary Institute of America's Gourmet Meals in Minutes. This is a healthy, very refreshing starter to a meal. The avocado flavor really comes through.

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October 4, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES WEEK #5 - GOAT CHEESE

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The ingredient for this week's Sunday Small Bites is goat cheese. This ingredient was chosen by h. In case you're new to my blog, Sunday Small Bites is a group I participate in. Weekly, one of us choses an ingredient, then all of the participants make a small plate or appetizer that contains this ingredient. One rule is that you can't have made the recipe before, therefore you try new things. Each Sunday, we all post the recipe we made that week.

This week I decided to make pizza. While pizza can certainly be a main dish, it can also be an appropriate starter. Maybe make the pizza more oblong and cut it into small squares. I chose to make a Goat Cheese, Zucchini, Leek and Walnut Pizza. I made a second pizza where I also added sliced cooked peanut potatoes. I liked the one without the potatoes best, and it was a fabulous pizza. I have pizza dough left over. Guess what we're having for dinner tomorrow night?

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October 11, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES WEEK #6 - SMOKED SALMON

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It's time for another Sunday Small Bites. The theme this week was chosen by Marcia. Marcia chose Smoked Salmon as our ingredient. She was on an Alaskan Cruise this summer, and had purchased some smoked salmon. She wanted some ideas on how she could use it.

Well, since I live in Alaska, catch a lot of salmon, and smoke it myself, this was a good choice for me. I will be anxious to see what dishes others created. The smoked salmon we make is probably different than most people buy. It's not lox, which I don't care for. Our salmon is thicker fillets, which are soaked in a sweet-salty brine, then smoked until they are lightly cooked through. So the flavor is more smoky, and the taste isn't as "fishy" tasting.

We usually just eat ours plain with some crackers. I also on occasion make a dip, a really good one that has cream cheese, sour cream, and toasted pecans. Or sometimes I crumble it into scrambled eggs or a salmon chowder. This week I decided to use up more of that home-made puff pastry and creating Smoked Salmon Puffs. Since I made up this recipe, I can't give you exact quantities, but you'll get enough of an idea that you could try it if you'd like.

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October 24, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES - WEEK #7 - PECANS

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I was out of town last week and didn't complete the Sunday Small Bites, so I'm catching up now. This week our ingredient was Pecans, which was chosen by Sheri. I had plans to make all kinds of elaborate things, but when it actually came time to make something, I went very simple-Rosemary Pecans. I got this recipe from a friend a couple of years ago, and I don't know where the recipe came from. The original recipe calls for cashews or mixed nuts, or you can use all pecans like I did. It's a nice combination of sweet, salty, and spicy, although not too extreme on any of those qualities.

ROSEMARY NUTS
1 1/4 lb. cashews (or mixed nuts)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp melted butter.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Place on a baking pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.

October 25, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES WEEK #8 - PUMPKIN

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This week our Sunday Small Bites ingredient was chosen by Deborah. She chose pumpkin. I had to do a little searching to find an appetizer using pumpkin. I thought of making a soup, but wanted to try something different. I have a cookbook titled "The Foods of the Greek Islands" by Aglaia Kremezi. I chose a recipe from this book called Bourekia Me Kolokytha, or Savory Pumpkin and Fennel Pies. The book says that these pumpkin and fennel pies, with or without cheese, are made all over Chios. The cheese versions are more common in hte southern villages of the island. Traditionally, these are wrapped in homemade phyllo pastry, but the book suggest using spring-roll wrappers instead. I had some wonton wrappers in my fridge, so that's what I used. The recipe calls for frying these. Just in case you think about saving the fat and baking them instead, don't bother. I tried, and the wrapper just comes out tough and chewy, not crisp and crunchy. These are really tasty, and would be a wonderful start to any meal or as part of the selection at an appetizer party.

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November 1, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES - OLIVES

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FIG, APRICOT, AND WALNUT TAPENADE

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This week's ingredient for our Sunday Small Plates was chosen by Jerry. I love olives, but my husband doesn't like them. This was a good week to have olives as the ingredient, because he was out of town all week and I had a party to go to Friday night where I needed to bring an appetizer. I chose to make an olive tapenade. This recipe was unusual in that it also contained figs, apricots, prunes, and walnuts. To balance out all of that sweet, there was also capers and balsamic vinegar. The tapenade is not the most beautiful to look at, as you'll see from my photos. It's kind of a mess to look at. But it tastes delicious. I served it on crostini (bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, then grilled until toasted). A layer of goat cheese is spread on the crostini, then it is topped with the tapenade. I followed the recipe as listed, except that I didn't want it as chunky, so I put about 3/4 of it in the food processor to grind it a bit, then stirred the last 1/4 of it into the other 3/4 to keep some of the chunk. (That was a really bad sentence, wasn't it?)

The recipe came from the website InnCuisine.com. I had never seen that site before. It came up during a google search for Olive Fig tapenade.

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November 14, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES WEEK #11 - GINGER

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I can't believe that we are already on Week 11 of Sunday Small Bites. Life just flies by a little too fast. This week, our ingredient was chosen by Palma. She chose ginger. I love ginger, but had trouble deciding what to make this week. While a lot of recipes contain ginger, I was looking for one that really featured ginger, not just had it as an ingredient.
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I chose an interesting recipe called "Roasted Garlic Dipping Sauce with Fresh Ginger and Tamari. I'm sorry I can't name the source it came from. I did lots of google searches to find it, now can't seem to located it again. The sauce is meant to be served as a dipping sauce for bread, like you might serve olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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November 29, 2009

SUNDAY SMALL BITES WEEK #13 - POTATOES

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I've not been too active on my blog lately. Not sure what's wrong, but I have no motivation for working on the blog. Maybe it's because I'm trying to lose some weight and am trying to watch what I eat. Maybe it's because I don't follow recipes for most of my meals, so the results are hard to put on a blog. Or maybe it's because I've gone back to work full-time and I don't have time to play around with cooking or at the computer like I used to. I don't know. But I do know that I have to decide if I want to keep the blog going, or stop for a while or for good. Those of you who blog probably know my dilema. You work hard to get your readership up, and don't want to lose that.

Okay, enough about my problems. How about a recipe? Last week I did miss Sunday Small Bites. Sorry about that. But I'm back for this week. This week our ingredient was chosen by Maria I. She chose potatoes. I'm tired of heavy, fattening stuff after the holidays, and found a recipe for a lighter roasted potatoe meant to be served as an appetizer. These are flavored with Garam Masala, red chili powder, tumeric, and sage, so they have a really nice flavor. Next time I think I'd make a yogurt-based sauce to dip them in. Also, the recipe calls for fingerling potatoes. The store was out of them so I used baby red potatoes.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Baked Alaska in the Sunday Small Bites category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Sunday Slow Soupers is the previous category.

Sunday Small Plates is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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