Archive for the 'appetizers' Category

Cauliflower Fritters with Lemony Mayo

Cauliflower Fritters 1

I know, it (kind of) defeats the purpose of eating cauliflower to deep fry it and serve it with lemony mayo. (Then again, if you’re going to eat fried food, you may as well get a cauliflower out of it.)

cauliflower 1

Parka season = beer batter season, right? And when everyone has planted themselves on the couch for a hockey game or movie or rousing game of Munchkin, they inevitably want to eat something. And I like it when that something can fall simultaneously into multiple categories: 1) salty, 2) dippy, and 3) edible with fingers. (And truly, a platter of crudites and dip never gets a welcome response on a snowy Saturday night.) Cauliflower florets have a lovely creamy texture and mellow flavour, but if you’re like me, once you have a bowl of batter and a pot of oil at your disposal, you may go a little nuts, deep-frying anything you can find in your fridge. (I imagine a zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced, would also make a great candidate.)

cauliflower fritters

I got this recipe (more or less – it did require some finessing for home use) from my pal Paul from the much-loved Rouge and Bistro Rouge, where apparently the majority of tables down an order of these before dinner. I’ve made them a few times since, because a) they’re awesome, and b) don’t require you to get dressed and shovel off the car.

In other news, I have a meeting tomorrow afternoon with a new web designer! For real! It’s my resolution (new year or not) to say no to all extra things until I give this place an overhaul. I’m sorry the design is so dated, and that the Index hasn’t been updated since 2009. Is there anything you’d like to see, in terms of design, content or functionality? And on the home front, the kitchen is almost ALMOST done – it’s functional, but still needs a backsplash, which is being cut and painted now, and is scheduled to be installed on Friday. I’ll keep you posted and do a proper update… likely on Monday, when a photographer is coming to shoot it for the cover story of the spring issue of Flavours Magazine! It’s a good thing my life revolves around deadlines, or I’d never get anything done.

Cauliflower Fritters with Lemony Mayo

With thanks to Bistro Rouge, where they serve these babies with Hollandaise for dipping.

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 cups beer (I used Wild Rose Velvet Fog)
2 cups all-purpose flour

Lemony Mayo:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
finely grated zest and juice of a lemon (or to taste)
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
1 tsp. grainy mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Steam cauliflower florets until tender; cool and refrigerate until needed. In a deep bowl, whisk flour with beer and a big pinch of salt until smooth, dip cooked cauliflower florets in the batter and carefully place one at a time in a deep-fryer, preheated to 360?F; cook until golden brown. (Alternatively, heat a couple inches of canola oil in a pot until it’s hot but not smoking – a scrap of bread should sizzle when dipped in. Cook a few at a time, without crowding the pot.) Remove with a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.

To make the mayo, stir all the ingredients together in a bowl, adding enough juice to keep it thick, yet tangy, and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the fritters immediately, with the mayo for dipping.

Serves 4-6.

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January 14 2015 | appetizers and veg and vegetarian | 18 Comments »

Brie Pop Tarts

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How about a little pastry and cheese on a stick to ring out the year properly?

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These babies were inspired by a need to use up the puff pastry in my freezer and cheese in my fridge, as well as the myriad of little jars of preserves selected especially for cheese and half eaten over the holidays. Of course the idea of eating the combination off a stick came from Joy, and if I know myself (sometimes I wonder if I really do) I know I won’t be able to shake the thought until I make them come to life, as it were.

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The great thing about puff pastry (or one of many) is that you can unroll it, or roll it out, and fill it with just about anything – meltable cheese, preserves, leftovers, you name it – and it will puff up and turn flaky and golden as it bakes and look fantastic – and make you look fantastic.

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The sticks are just for fun, of course. If you have a box of Popsicle sticks in the basement because you thought you should have them on hand for spreading glue or toddler crafts that you never made use of, you could grab a few and stick them in between the layers of puff.

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Or leave them out – the little pockets are just as tasty off-stick. That way, no one gets the short end of it. Ba-dum-bum.

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They could, of course, be assembled ahead of time and kept in wait in the fridge, at the ready to slide into the oven at the exact moment your friends are expected to arrive to help ring in the new year.

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Perfect with a bottle of bubbles. Just sayin’.

Brie Pop Tarts

1 pkg. puff pastry, thawed
onion marmalade or apple, apricot or fig jam
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, unroll (or roll out) a piece of thawed puff pastry into about an 8×10-inch rectangle and cut into 12 rectangles. Place half of them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Top half of the rectangles with a small piece of Brie and a spoonful of apple, apricot, onion or fig jam. Brush the edges with beaten egg and if you like, add a Popsicle stick or wood coffee stir stick to a short end, overlapping the edge by about half an inch.

Top with the remaining pastry rectangles; press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
Brush the tops with egg wash and poke once or twice with a fork.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Makes as many as you like.

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December 29 2014 | appetizers and cheese | 10 Comments »

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