Tag Archives | party

tropical tapioca pudding

If you’re looking for a creamy dessert that is composed of just a few ingredients and is easy to prepare, than this is one to try. The colorful mixed fruits on top of the pudding makes it festive, and served in individual glasses, tropical tapioca is a pretty party pleaser. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for something slightly sweet that satisfies a vegan or non-dairy requirement on your menu. From chef Tal Ronnen and the “The Conscious Cook“, grab a spoon and try Tropical Tapioca Pudding:

Ingredients
2 (13.5-ounce) cans coconut milk (not light)
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)
1/2 cup granulated sugar, or 1/4 cup light agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
* I added a taste of orange zest along with orange extract for a dash of added flavor

Tropical Fruit (choose one or combine)
2 large ripe bananas, diced (add a spritz of lemon so it won’t turn brown)
1 ripe mango, diced
1 to 1 1/2 cups drained canned crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks
1 to 1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
3 or 4 kiwis, peeled and diced or sliced

Combine the coconut milk (be sure to scrape the thick cream from the cans), 1 full can of cold water, the tapioca, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stir the mixture frequently to prevent it from sticking. Add in the sugar and reduce the heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture forms a thick pudding and the tapioca pearls are completely translucent, about 20 to 25 minutes. Mix in the vanilla along with the orange zest and orange extract just before done. Remove from the heat and let the pudding cool for a bit. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with the tropical fruit.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

If you haven’t had tapioca before, or want to know more about it, tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava plant root or tuber. Tapioca pudding is often made with whole milk, here coconut milk is substituted in its place. Based on all the friends that have requested the recipe, I can share that it is a tasty one. I love the fact that it is easy to whip up, and in fact now store the pudding ingredients in my pantry.

Happy entertaining!

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moroccan carrot salad spread

Carrots are often used in Moroccan cuisine, and lend themselves to a classic and flavorful dish called Moroccan Carrot Salad. Simple to prepare, carrots are cut into rounds and boiled until soft, then tossed with fresh squeezed lemon juice, cumin, oil, garlic, cilantro or parsley and harissa, a popular North African hot sauce and seasoned with salt. In much of the Levant the word salad refers to raw or cooked vegetables that are marinated in a dressing with salt being a key ingredient. In North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, salads often refer to small piquant mezzes (small dishes) or appetizers, not necessarily the leafy green lettuce based salads that may first come to mind for some.

My mother-in-law, originally from Morroco now living in Israel, was the first to introduce me to homemade Moroccan dishes and recipes. Recently I turned this classic colorful carrot salad into a dip or spread as a variation that’s comparable in taste, and fun to serve at parties. I find it also tends to disappear faster this way.

Moroccan Carrot Salad Spread
7-8 medium carrots
3 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. harissa if available, red chili flakes can also substitute
kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro or parsley; optional and as desired

Preparation
Boil carrots in water until soft but firm. Drain and then rinse with cold water. Add the carrots, along with the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and cumin to a blender, mix. Add a little bit of the harissa or chili flakes at a time, blend and taste; add more spice as desired. The dip taste great as a bit zesty, with just a hint of heat in your mouth. If the carrot blend is too choppy, add more olive oil or lemon juice until it becomes smooth and creamy. Season along the way with salt. Add the cilantro (note: if you’ll be entertaining a cilantrophobe, parsley is an option or omit altogether).

Serve on toasted bread, pita chips, or even in a decorative bowl along with celery sticks, jicama or other vegetables for dipping. Be creative. It’s a colorful, healthy piquant appetizer to share that will make your table merry. It’s a twist on a classic dish, and can be served along with other Moroccan specialties or added to a small plates menu. It’s a wonderful dip for entertaining, and can be prepared a few days in advance, and kept refrigerated until serving.

If you’re curious about the word salad it’s “.. a term derived from the Latin sal (salt), which yielded the form salata, ‘salted things’ such as the raw vegetables in classical times… The word turns up in Old French as salade and then in late 14th century English as salad or sallet.” Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson Oxford Univeristy Press: Oxford 2nd edition, 2006 via The Food Timeline. If this piques your interest further into learning more about salt, I recommend Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky for a very interesting read. A quick read on Harissa can be found on NPR: The Story Behind North Africa’s Favorite Hot Sauce

Enjoy!

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celebrating with soup

Holiday parties to house warming celebrations, crafting menus and cooking for a large crowd can be a challenge. I find starting a meal with soup to be a great solution for feeding a group. But of course I happen to love soup, year-round. It’s a forgiving dish to make, flavors can be adjusted, add more liquid and seasoning and the quantity stretches. And if it can be puréed, it’s suddenly something creamy and elegant to enjoy. I often enjoy a large bowl of hot steamy soup, but bowls are obviously not ideal for a cocktail party for example where guest are standing and mingling. Hence the idea of soup shooters, or in this case stackable small hearty glasses, small enough to fit in one hand and enjoy a bite. I found the glasses pictured here at Cost Plus World Market and like that they are both stackable for easy storage, and easy to clean. Shot glasses are also an option and a smaller portion ideal if you want to serve soup but have a large meal ahead such as on Thanksgiving. Check out OMG Yummy’s Squash Soup Shooters as an example.

There are hundreds (if not more) tomato soup recipes. And for season-centric cooks, tomato soup in winter may not be top choice. But if you’re able to source good quality tomatoes or can find a can or jar of chopped tomatoes that you like, then you’re in business. I kept this recipe simple, the exact quantites were a bit ad hoc as I was cooking but the ingredients and rough quantities below will get you started and produce a very tasty bite. I garnished the soup with crème fraîche and chopped chives for a little holiday flair. It does look a bit like Christmas in a glass?

Tomato Thyme Soup

– extra virgin olive oil, about 3-4 table spoons
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (remove leaves from sprigs and chop before adding to the pot)
– 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
– 16 or so medium tomatoes on the vine, Roma is also an option (about 2- 2 1/2 pounds worth)
– 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced or crushed tomatoes
– kosher salt
– fresh ground pepper

One option is to roast the tomatoes before adding to the soup. Cut lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and put in a hot 400 degree oven roughly 30-40 minutes. This does add extra flavor but you can also achieve a delicious soup by simply cooking the tomatoes on the stove. The latter saves a bit of time.

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the chopped onion until transparent then add the crushed or minced garlic along with a sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss in the chopped thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes to bring out the flavor in the seasoning. Chilly flakes are an option to add to the soup and can be thrown into the pot at this stage as well. You can also substitute thyme with basil or even try both. From here add the tomatoes and broth and cook for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat. If you didn’t pre-roast the tomatoes, cook the soup an additional 10-15 minutes.

Once all the ingredients have come together, use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the stockpot, or carefully transfer the soup to a blender to blend. If the tomato skins are apparent, use a strainer or sieve to remove both the seeds and skins for extra smoothness. Season with additional kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper before serving. Top with a dollop of cream if desired.

Easy to prepare, elegant to serve, so grab a glass and enjoy something warm with your guests.

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potato pancakes

Potato pancakes, or latkes (referred to as levivot in Hebrew) are essential to a Hannukah menu. But potato pancakes aren’t just for Hannukah, they’re delicious year-round and it’s a great appetizer to enjoy at gatherings or parties as well. Potato pancakes make for great finger foods, can satisfy your fried food cravings and is a vegetarian dish that will please a large crowd. I’ve cut back on the amount of fried foods I eat in general, but every once in a while it’s worth it and these are worth the exception. I find Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook a great source for recipes, her recipe for latkes included.


When serving potato pancakes straight from the pan, some optional garnish ideas include sour cream mixed with dill, chives, or scallions based on your preference. Or in addition to the seasoned sour cream, top with smoked salmon or lox for another option. And for a little something decadent, serve with chopped chicken liver or my vegetarian alternative walnut pâté. In Israel seasoned sour cream is the usual garnish of choice for this dish. In the U.S. apple sauce is often an accompaniment; tart and a hint sweet apples mixes wonderfully with this pleasantly salty starchy dish.

My Mother’s Potato Pancake (Latke) Recipe via Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook

Food processor with large grating disc or hand grater*
*There is a difference between the large grating disc versus using the regular blade on the food processor. For crispier potato pancakes, similar to hash browns, be sure to use the grater. A bit easier to mold in the pan, opt for the regular blade. There is a difference in texture, a slight difference in taste, but both are delicious. The pictures here reflect potato pancakes made using the regular blade.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (12 to 15 pancakes)

1-1/4 pounds large potatoes, peeled (the russet potato works best for frying)
1 medium onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I also add ground black pepper)
2 tablespoons flour (I prefer matzo meal, ground matzo flour, but use what’s on hand)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (not required if using matzo meal)
1/2 cup or more of vegetable oil (or canola oil)

Using coarse grating disc of a food processor or large holes of a hand grater, grate potatoes followed by the onion.Transfer the puree to a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible; discard liquid. Put potato-onion mixture in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix together.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a deep heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet. For each pancake, add about 2 tablespoons of potato mixture to pan. Be sure not place too many pancakes in at once or the mixture won’t crisp as desired. Flatten with back of a spoon so that each measures 2-1/2 inches. Fry over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Using 2 pancake turners, turn them carefully. Fry second side about 4 minutes, or until pancakes are golden brown and crisp. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot. Garnish with sour cream or toppings of choice.

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the party continues with a picnic!

The Yumivore blog launch party continues! Just in time for Memorial Day, we’re celebrating picnic-style with more eye-popping mouthwatering options. There are even conversation-starter Nutella Avocado Brownies in the mix along with Quirky Quinoa. These bites will get you talking, mingling and munching in no time. And it wouldn’t be a picnic of course without picture perfect lemonade and potato salad. There’s something wonderful about having an opportunity to eat outdoors, take in the sun and sprawl out on the grass. If the weather isn’t permitting to be outdoors, be creative, spread out a picnic blanket inside and make it a fun meal regardless of the rain. Though this is a virtual celebration, these are all great dishes to serve at any picnic or party, whether you share the recipes with your friends and do it pot-luck style, or whip up the dishes on your own. The food is fresh and simple, and it all looks simply delicious. As with the Fabulous Food Fête earlier this week, the menu was carefully put together. It’s got an international bite to it, and after enjoying each recipe, you’ll want a bite of each. So grab a plate, kick off your shoes and go eat with your eyes! Have a #yum time meeting new faces and enjoy the party on Twitter as well.

Honey Ginger Lemonade @gourmandeinthek

 

Farm Fresh Bounty Sandwiches @foodwanderings

 

Mini Mozzarella Prosciutto Skewers @veryculinary

 

Hummus Veggie and Turkey Wraps @veryculinary


 

Make Ahead Vietnamese Picnic Salad @OrgasmicChef


 

Japanese Potato Salad @globetrottings

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad w/Toasted Pecans @omgyummyblog


 

Quirky Quinoa Sweet & Savory Salad @omgyummyblog


 

White Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies @kitchconfidante


 

Nutella Avocado Brownies @ethanadeland

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fabulous food fête!

I’m so excited to be launching a blog for Yumivore! To celebrate the occasion, and blogs deserve a proper launch, food and wine bloggers came together to create an incredible menu. To make everyone feel welcome, the menu options are all vegetarian; carnivores I assure you these veggie bites will please you as well. There are also many gluten-free options to choose from, and all of these nibbles fall under the yumivore mantra. Shawn Burgert, The Wandering Wino even put together a post on how to select wine just for this occasion! Although hors d’œuvres can often be served before a main course, all the scrumptious bites below are perfect appetizers or can even serve as the food of choice for a soriee. Not to mention that tapas or finger-foods are usually the best part of a meal and most fun! Even though the party is online, do save these amazing appetizers for a party of your own. Ready for a fabulous food fête? It’s time to get the part started! So grab a virtual plate, and enjoy a feast for your eyes!

It’s a fabulous fête! Celebrating the launch of Yumivore, and celebrating the yum in life.

Hibiscus Tea with Citrus and Vodka @bibberche


 

Spicy Rosemary Roasted Nuts @gourmandeinthek

 


 

 

Lumpiang Sariwa - Vegetable Lumpia @thedailypalette

 

Romenesco Floret Fritters @foodwanderings


 

Sweet Potato Pancakes @foodwanderings


 

Eggplant and Walnut Crostini @dinaavila


 

Roasted Vegetables @omgyummyblog

 

Perfect Pavloa @globetrottings

 

Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Fudge Brownies @eatthelove


Cocoa and Coconut Chocolate Balls @foodwanderings


 

 

Party Wine! @awanderingwino

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get ready for yumivore!

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