simple & sophisticated appetizers

Appetizers are, by far, my favorite thing in the world.

If I invite you over? We’re having lots of appetizers. (I think I’ve only hosted two actual sit-down dinners).

If I offer to bring something over to you? It’s always appetizers.

When I eat out, I always choose appetizers over dessert. And often, I order a bunch of appetizers instead of an entree.

So, you get the point, right? I. love. appetizers.

And this time of year, it seems there’s endless opportunities for appetizers.  Whooooowooo!

But as much as I love spending time in the kitchen, it’s important to have an arsenal of recipes that can be made ahead of time, don’t require cooking and can sit out at room temperature. These are some of my favorites!

 simple & sophisticated appetizers | a nutritionist eats

Links: prosciutto wrapped figs | wine bar nut mix | warm olives with rosemary, garlic & lemon |beet-pickled deviled eggs | smoked salmon with potato chips and lemon crème fraîche | parmesan shards (cut chunks of high-quality parmesan)

What are you making this holiday season? 

curry ketchup

Living in LA is great for several reasons.

The weather is an obvious one, it’s pretty much always perfect. Annoyingly so, actually.

I’m mortified that my midwest self actually uttered, “Ew, the sun is coming out,” the other day.

curry ketchup | a nutritionist eats

Then there’s the ocean, the mountains, the city, the food…ok, ok.

And there’s no shortage of burgers. It’s well-known that LA loves its burgers and the amount of burger restaurants is enough to prove that. Keeping up with every new burger joint (and still visiting the favorites) is a lot of work, let me tell you.

curry ketchup | a nutritionist eats

So a few weeks ago, we finally visited The Golden State  (as seen on DDD) for a Sunday afternoon burger. The menu is really small, with really only one burger (and then turkey and vegetarian options) available. But the burger was great. It was just a really good burger, great bun and great toppings (bacon, arugula, cheese). But the fried sweet potato wedges with garlic aioli I got on the side? So ridiculously good. And they have curry ketchup, so I was dipping the sweet potato wedges in the aioli and then the curry ketchup.

I’m still thinking about it.

curry ketchup | a nutritionist eats

And because we eat sweet potatoes in the form of fries/wedges/tots/chips on a very regular basis, I figured I needed my own curry ketchup.

curry ketchup | a nutritionist eats

Lucky for you (and me I suppose), it couldn’t be easier! Now before you want to skip a step and add the curry powder straight to the ketchup, trust me when I say that the one-minute dip in oil, gives it a much deeper flavor and is so worth it. And it takes a minute.

Serve it anywhere you would ketchup, but especially with sweet potato fries!

Curry Ketchup

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Keywords: saute appetizer side gluten-free

 

Ingredients (1 cup ketchup)

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 cup ketchup

Instructions

Heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add curry powder to oil and heat until fragrant, about a minute, stirring constantly.

Mix curry oil and ketchup together and let flavors meld for at least an hour.

Serve anywhere you would ketchup!

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spicy smoked gouda dip

I recently heard a statistic that Americans eat, on average, 23 pounds of cheese per year. I’m taking full responsibility for the high side of that average. It’s not a fact I’m especially proud of, but I just can’t quit cheese. Or dairy for that matter. You can take the girl out of Wisconsin but you just can’t take Wisconsin out of the girl.

And to put fuel on my I-eat-too-much-cheese fire, there are very few cheeses that I don’t love. Smoked gouda is one of them. It’s not that I dislike it, but I don’t love it. (And why eat a cheese you don’t love?)

What I do love? The spicy gouda dip from Whole Foods Market. Which is made with smoked gouda…go figure. It also costs like, $1 million/pound.

So I had to recreate it at home.

It’s reminiscent of pimento cheese, at least in its preparation but tastes smoky, spicy and cheesy. Obviously. (?!) We managed to eat the entire batch with crackers, but oh my would this be amazing in a grilled cheese.

It’s also the perfect football food…just in case you’re watching any these days. (I suppose this cheese-fueled post is a good time to officially deem myself a Packers fan. :))

 

Spicy Smoked Gouda Dip

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese (a 6-8 oz block should be plenty)
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 small jalapenos (less if you don’t like spice!)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • few drops of Worcestershire sauce
  • season to taste: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Instructions

Stir together all ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

Serve with crackers or crostini.

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roasted pepper relish

I had always been a bit apprehensive of roasting my own peppers so I continued to pay a ton for them at the store.

Then I had three peppers that needed to be used and I decided to just try roasting my own. Its easy to do right in the broiler! Heat the broiler on high, place peppers on a pan and essentially let them burn, turning to burn all sides. (Everyone can burn food, right?) Once you let the peppers cool you can easily the remove peel and seeds.

That’s it!

This relish can be used for just about anything. Try it with grilled steak or fish. Put it on pizza. Eat it with slices of bread and some melted cheese. Try it with eggs or just plain on its own.

Whatever you do with it, it’s sure to make any food look good and add delicious roasted pepper flavor to every bite.

 

Roasted Pepper Relish

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: appetizer entree gluten-free low-carb vegan vegetarian

 

Ingredients (2-3 cups relish)

  • 3 peppers (I used yellow, orange and red)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped kalamata olives
  • 2 Tbsp chiffonade fresh parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

Preheat broiler to high.

Place peppers on a baking sheet on top rack, closest to the broiler.

Cook for about 15 minutes, rotating the peppers every few minutes when the skin gets dark.

Let peppers cool.

Remove seeds and skin. The skin should peel off pretty easily.

Thinly slice the peppers and blot with a paper towel.

Toss with olives and parsley, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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