Meatless Monday: 'Tis the Season Snack Treats
Oink oink. That sums up how I typically feel at this time of year, the nonstop feeding frenzy that comes with holiday fete-ing and merriment. As an omnivore, I happily wolf down old-school cocktail classics such as pigs in a blanket, rumaki and the perennial classic roast beast, but there is a price to pay for the meat-intensive feasting, including a rapid expansion of the waistline.
So when company drops in over the next few weeks, I’ll be thinking of snacks and apps that decidedly take a pass on meat. Below, a handful of faves from the MA recipe vault.
Dips for Chips ... and Other Dip Lifters
Olive-fig tapenade: A delightful sweet-savory marriage of two unlikely partners. Popping with flavor, fiber and monosaturated fats.
Kale pesto: A gorgeous emerald green sauce for either pasta or for dipping. After a quick boil, the kale purees beautifully and feels silky smooth on the tongue. This has quickly become a favorite at Casa Appetite.
Caramelized onion dip, hold the soup mix (plus details on queso sans Velveeta): Caramelized onions are one of winter's best antidotes; the smell alone shelters me from the proverbial storm and no one can believe you've whipped up this classic '70s dip without a drop from that famed soup-mix envelope.
Sweet potato hummus (recipe details below): Roasted sweets and onions get pureed then flavored with tahini paste for a wintry take on the beloved Middle Eastern chickpea dip. Think of the antioxidants!
I'm a big fan of itty-bitty savory pies for entertaining, as you can make a few batches in advance, freeze and then thaw and reheat on the fly when unexpected company drops by.
Jamaican beef patties get a veggie makeover here, with a tasty filling of mashed winter squash or sweet potatoes, cabbage, potato and carrot (and of course, you can mix and match veg as you see fit). They pack quite a punch, and you can make them as spicy as you like.
There are many variations on the spinach pie theme in the Middle East, but the one I've come to love hails from Jordan, where it's known as a fetayer. The yeasty dough, enriched with olive oil, enrobes a filling of spinach (or chard), feta, pine nuts and sumac, a Middle Eastern spice that yields delightful lemony results.
With Hanukah on the horizon (Sunday night, Dec. 21), a few fried treats are in order (stay tuned for Julia Beizer's deep-fried party ideas later this week). I'm partial to a beer-batter veggie tempura, made with rice flour, and pakoras, deep-fried veggie fritters made with chickpea flour. Although neither fritter can be cooked in advance, they both lend themselves to a cooking party. Give your guests an apron and invite them to join you at the stove for a frying stint. It's fun to feast on your treats as they come out of the oil.
Who's got a veggie party snack to share? Do so in the comments area.
Sweet Potato Dip
Adapted from "12 Best Foods Cookbook" by Dana Jacobi
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 medium or large onion
Olive oil for lathering up vegetables
At least 2 tablespoons tahini paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice onion in half, and remove papery outer layer. Rub with oil and lightly coat. Wrap in a large piece of aluminum foil. Slice sweet potatoes in half or quarters, depending on size. (Smaller pieces will cook faster.) Do not peel. Repeat oil/foil step with potatoes and cook both until fork tender.
Puree until mixture is creamy. Add tahini. Season with salt and pepper, and if you like, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. Taste for tahini; add more if flavor is not coming through.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: CentreOfNowhere1 | December 15, 2008 8:39 AM
Posted by: chiquita2 | December 15, 2008 9:52 AM
Posted by: mdreader01 | December 15, 2008 6:01 PM
Posted by: mirunalini | December 16, 2008 2:08 AM
Posted by: mirunalini | December 16, 2008 2:12 AM
Posted by: otabenga | December 16, 2008 12:01 PM
Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 16, 2008 7:43 PM
Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 16, 2008 7:45 PM
Posted by: margaret6 | December 21, 2008 9:54 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.