Welcome to WHITE WINE WEEK! I had a couple ideas for an appetizer: at first, I wanted to do a risotto, but that's so popular, I figured my idea had probably already been done. Then I thought of a hummus, which seems to be one of our favorites here on KP. We love hummus and pesto! And there are countless ways to make them! 
     So I thought up a classy hummus. It's super easy, and FANTASTIC! I used grapeseed oil rather than olive oil, because grapeseed has a more delicate flavor. Olive oil, depending on the kind you use, can overpower the simplicity of a dish. 
     Also, roasted garlic gives it a nuttier, sweeter flavor. All you have to do to roast a bulb of garlic is place it in a baking dish with a small amount of olive oil and allow it to bake at 400 for about 20-30 minutes.
     Too, it seems every list of ingredients on a can of beans includes some sort of preservative, so I chose to cook my own beans - soaked overnight and boiled for 45 minutes. 
     As is the case with most of our recipes, you can substitute some of these things, but it tastes best as written.

---Jenny


WHITE BEAN & MUSHROOM HUMMUS


4 ounces (half a carton) sliced baby bella mushrooms, chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup (or less) chicken broth
1 cup navy beans, cooked (or 1 can navy beans)
3 large cloves roasted garlic
grapeseed oil

     In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute mushrooms in wine. Allow to reduce. After 10-15 minutes, add chicken broth and one diced clove of roasted garlic and allow to reduce. 
     When mushrooms have softened and absorbed most of the liquid, blend in a food processor with beans and remaining garlic. Add a couple more teaspoons of chicken broth and stream in about 1/4 cup grapeseed oil to smooth the mixture.
     Serve with fresh vegetables or crackers.
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     Ugh. By the skin of my teeth again! Sorry for the wait on this one. This was one of those see-what's-in-the-fridge-and-throw-it-together things that ended really nicely! I know, I know... beef and raspberries? Well, don't knock it 'til you've tried it!

---Jenny

CHEESY BEEF &

RASPBERRY PURSES

½ pound ground beef
½ small onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
handful of cilantro, chopped
4 ounces cream cheese
2-3 ounces Greek yogurt
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup fresh raspberries, chopped
wonton wraps

     Brown meat over medium heat. About mid-way through, add onion and jalapeno and stir occasionally to saute. 
     Adjust heat to medium-low, and add cilantro, cream cheese, yogurt, and mozzarella. Allow to soften and stir to combine. Fold in raspberries. 
     Spoon a tablespoon or two onto wonton wrap, gather all four edges together and fold edges together. Place in mini-muffin tin and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes until edges brown.

Makes about 24.

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     I was trying to decide what to do with fresh raspberries for an appetizer when this idea just came to me. It’s easy to make and something that you can make a day ahead if you want. In fact, I would recommend making them a day ahead so that you give the flavors time to marry. Enjoy!

---Karly


RASPBERRY, BACON & BLUE CHEESE PINWHEELS

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup whole raspberries, chopped
¼ cup chopped green onion
3-4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh spinach leaves
4 8"-Tortillas

     Mix the cream cheese, raspberries, green onions, bacon, blue cheese, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined. Spread a tortilla with the mixture. 

     Lay spinach leaves in a single layer on top of the cream cheese mixture. Roll up the tortilla lengthwise, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or overnight. 

     Repeat with remaining cream cheese mixture and tortillas. When ready to serve, unwrap the tortillas and slice crosswise. 

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This is my own version of chicken salad that I came up with about 6 years ago.  It’s really good on a croissant, with crackers, pretty much however you want to eat it.  Serving it in wonton cups makes it a great, easy, and fun appetizer.  Try it soon!

---Karly



ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD CUPS

Wonton wraps
2 cups chopped chicken
1 small can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
½ cup chopped green onion
Small handful chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
¾ cup mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste

     Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the wonton wrappers in a mini muffin tin, and bake them 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool on a cooling rack.
     Combine chicken, water chestnuts, onion, cilantro, garlic and ginger in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, Teryaki sauce, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Mix well, and then combine with the mayo mixture. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
     Fill the wonton cups with the chicken salad and serve.

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     Pesto is such an easy thing to make, and you can do so many things with it: put it on crusty bread, toss it with hot pasta, top chicken or fish with it, stir it into some plain Greek yogurt for a creamy dip, or simmer it with heavy cream to make a cream sauce. The other nice thing about pesto is that it doesn’t always have to be the traditional basil kind. Get creative with it! 
     I had some peppery arugula and thought that fresh mint would complement it perfectly for this pesto. It worked! The pesto has a nice flavor, with a subtle hint of the mint.  This is truly fantastic after it sits for a day or two and the flavors have time to marry.  Enjoy!
---Karly


ARUGULA MINT PESTO

1 packed cup fresh arugula
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
Zest of one orange
Juice of half an orange
½ cup whole almonds
¼ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
Grapeseed oil (you can also use olive oil)
Salt and pepper to taste

     Combine everything but the oil in a food processor and blend for one or two minutes. With a food processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper to taste.


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     Welcome! We have once again started our Secret Ingredient Cook-off, and this week, we chose to highlight MINT! Mint leaves are yet another ingredient that can be used with sweet and savory dishes alike, so we chose to challenge ourselves with our usual Appetizer, Main Dish, and Dessert set-up. Karly and I came up with some real winners this week!
     As for the dish in this post, I have to tell you about my usual recipe-choosing process: either I get inspired or I don't. If I'm not inspired, I google the ingredient and see what pops up, then I tweak an idea to make it my own. Otherwise, if I am inspired, then it's a totally organic, magical thing. It makes me feel like I'm a stinking GENIUS! Well, I got news for you: this was a personal inspiration, and I'm completely happy with it! Low fat, low-calorie, and it's a quick fix. Total preparation time: about 20 minutes! And it tastes great!

---Jenny


INDIAN-SPICED CHICKEN FINGERS WITH 

CREAMY CILANTRO MINT SAUCE
Chicken fingers:
2 pounds chicken tenderloins
½ cup flour
2 teaspoons yellow curry
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tsp salt

Sauce:
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
¼ cup minced fresh mint leaves
¼ cup chopped almonds
2-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste

     For chicken fingers: Preheat a pan of oil (to a depth of about ½ inch) to medium heat. Combine flour and seasonings in a medium-sized bowl. Dredge chicken pieces in mixture and fry 2-4 minutes on each side.

     For sauce: Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. When adding milk, start with 2 tablespoons and add one additional tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
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     On one visit to a Japanese restaurant, I got adventurous and ordered a tempura-battered sushi roll. They called it the Volcano Roll. Each bite was drizzled with their sauce: something, I imagine, like a mixture of Sriracha hot sauce and horseradish or something... I was hooked. I love sushi, and I. love. spicy. stuff!
     I've been aching to make sushi lately, but I also wanted to figure out a way for my husband to eat it. (Because, as we all know, men from the south don't eat raw fish. Period.) So I opted to replace fish with chicken, cooked, of course, and made a super simple tempura batter to fry it! HE LOVED IT!!! He thinks it's better than my Tex-Mex Eggrolls (check that under Cilantro Week)!
     My advice: make these! PRONTO!
---Jenny


REDNECK SUSHI (Tempura-Battered Chicken Sushi)

2 small chicken breasts, pan-fried in sesame oil & sliced into thin strips
2-3 cups sushi rice, cooled
1 package dried seaweed sushi wraps
1/2 cucumber, seeded, sliced lengthwise & julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded & sliced into thin strips
1/4 white onion, sliced thinly
4 ounces cream cheese (optional)

Cook sushi rice. Set aside to cool. Pan-fry the chicken and set aside to cool. Cut and lay out vegetables for easy assembling. Flatten a large spoonful of rice against one half of a sushi wrap. Arrange strips of chicken and veggies horizontally on top of rice. If desired, form chilled cream cheese slices into strips (like rolling a piece of clay) and place along with chicken and veggies. Tightly hand roll the filled wrap. Wet slightly with water, roll in brown rice flour or regular all-purpose flour. Dredge in tempura batter and fry in peanut oil at 350 degrees.
Fry approximately one minute on each side and set aside to drain. 

Tempura Batter:

1 cup flour
1 egg
1 cup ice water, a couple ice cubes
Just before use, mix all ingredients until just blended. A few lumps are acceptable.



 
 
     I am so excited that our fans chose this week’s secret ingredient for Kitchen Psycho!  It took me a few days to decide what I wanted to make, but when I did, I went on a cooking spree and made it all in one day.  This is the appetizer that I came up with; it’s slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and completely delicious!
---Karly


SWEET AND SPICY CRANBERRY CHEESE SPREAD

1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup jalapeno pepper jelly
4-5 small green onions, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4-1/2 cup dried cranberries
Salt and pepper, to taste
   
     Combine the cream cheese, pepper jelly, green onions, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix until well combined with a mixer.  Stir in the pecans and cranberries.  Serve with toast or crackers.

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“Aaaack!” Eloise exclaimed in horror. “The party is THIS weekend, and I have no idea what to bring. I don't want to take the same, old, boring dip!”

[Enter the hero.]

“Never fear! Kitchen Psycho is here! I have something that's just right for this time of year, and your friends and family will LOVE it!”

[Kitchen Psycho and Eloise embrace]

“Oh, thank you! What would I do without you?” Eloise wonders.

“I've been wondering the same thing!” Kitchen Psycho quips.

[They both chuckle.]
 [End of scene.]

     If only it were as easy as the commercials! In my opinion, there are two types of people in the world: the kind that do things the easy way, and the kind that do it the right way. Sometimes, the two are the same. But when it comes to food, that equality is not common. Often, the easy stuff is full of preservatives, hormones, fake sugars, BLECH! How often do people fix cheese dip out of Velveeta? I rest my case. That stuff isn't even real cheese! Food should be made with with real ingredients and from scratch! But I digress...
     This week, I have dedicated one of my posts as a DOUBLE post, meaning, it can be seen on TWO blogs. Sumptuous Spoonfuls has been so kind as to grant us a small stint on their blog, and of course you are viewing it on www.kitchenpsycho.com!  By the way, for those of you reading it here at KP, do us a favor and visit http://sumptuousspoonfuls.wordpress.com/. Anne's got some great food and great photos over there!

     Well, today we have an appetizer for you. It's a super easy slow-cooker recipe, and it's great for bringing to a get-together. I found this on www.allrecipes.com under the name “Cinnamon Pork”. The only improvement I would make is this: Add a few slices of bacon to the pot. Because everything is better with bacon, right?
     The slider idea is purely my creation. You can choose to make a Main Dish out of this by slicing the pork tenderloin into medallions and serving with rice and a veggie, say, steamed broccoli.
--- Jennifer

SLOW COOKER CINNAMON PORK SLIDERS (recipe from www.Allrecipes.com)
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins, cut in chunks

Add everything to slow cooker and cook on low 4-5 hours.

For sliders:
small wheat dinner rolls
slices of cinnamon pork
goat cheese, softened
dash of Chinese Five Spice
slices of tomato and lettuce

Spread goat cheese onto sliced rolls. Sprinkle with Five Spice and layer slices of pork, tomato and lettuce.

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"Use your noodle." Yup. I definitely had to do that this week when trying to find pasta dishes. I didn't want to do things that everyone has seen before. Pasta can actually be, albeit delicious, pretty predictable. So as I scanned through a list of pasta recipes at Allrecipes.com, I came across one for Polish pierogies, and immediately said yes! I omitted a couple things and added my own. The only thing that could make them better is bacon, of course! Bon appetit!
-- Jenny
POTATO, CHEESE & ONION PIEROGIES WITH FRESH TOMATO & GARLIC SAUCE

Filling:
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
¼ cup minced parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1-1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Dough:
3 eggs
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

     For Filling, saute onion until translucent. Mix mashed potatoes with butter, onion, salt and parsley. Set aside.
For dough, whisk together eggs and sour cream until smooth. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder; stir into the sour cream mixture until dough comes together. Knead the dough (about 6-8 times) on a lightly floured surface until firm and smooth. Divide the dough in half, then roll out one half to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch rounds you can use a biscuit cutter or drinking glass. If you can't roll out to 1/8, just do ¼ and after rounds are cut, you can stretch them out a bit.

     Place a spoonful of the mashed potato filling into the center of each round. Top with a small amount of cheese. Moisten the edges with water, fold over, and press together with a fork to seal. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough.

     Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pierogies and cook for 1-3 minutes or until pierogi float to the top. Remove with a slotted utensil to drain. After boiling all pierogies, heat about ¼ cup olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry pierogies lightly and drain on paper towels.

Fresh Tomato & Garlic Sauce:
4-5 fresh roma tomatoes, diced
2 large cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp salt


     Over medium high heat in a small pan, heat tomatoes and garlic. When tomatoes have cooked down, add paste and salt. Cook long enough to mix in tomato paste thoroughly.

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