Posts Tagged ‘appetizers’

Multi-Grain Spinach Balls

January 20, 2014


Everyone loves spinach balls. I thought this classic appetizer could use a little makeover to be a little more healthful, though. The usual spinach ball recipe calls for spinach to be bound together with butter, cheese, eggs and either stuffing mix or seasoned bread crumbs.

Here are my substitutions:
1/4 cup olive oil instead of lots of butter;
quinoa and brown rice instead of stuffing mix/seasoned bread crumbs;
ground flax instead of eggs; and
ground seeds or nuts and nutritional yeast instead of cheese.

Ground flax seeds combine with the excess moisture in drained spinach to make an egg substitute. As you mix the flax seeds and spinach, you can see the moisture around the spinach turn slightly viscous, as if the spinach were bound together with egg whites. When the spinach/flax mixture is combined with cooked whole grains, the mixture becomes firm enough to shape into balls. Lots of well cooked onion and garlic, plus generous seasoning give the spinach balls the flavor boost that they need in the absence of lots of butter and cheese.

With all the changes, the spinach balls are also gluten-free and dairy-free.


Israeli Snack Mix

March 11, 2011

This is insanely addictive.

It is based (very loosely) on Chex Mix and an Indian snack mix known variously as chivda, chewda, chevda, Bombay mix, and a bunch of other things.  It is also known as the Indian version of Chex Mix. I was eating some Bissli falafel snack, and it made me think of sev, which are these fried noodles made from chickpea flour. Not that I have ever tasted sev, but the Bissli snack looked and tasted the way that I imagined sev would taste.

So, I looked at a bunch of recipes for the Indian snack mix and the basic Chex Mix recipe and then went into the kitchen and winged it. I used Amba powder as my spice base, along with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, garlic powder, and some Worcestershire sauce.

What makes it Israeli snack mix? Well, mostly the use of Bissli, which is made by Osem  in Israel. But also the addition of amba, which (when made into a sauce) is a popular accompaniment to falafel in Israel. I got my amba powder (not the same as the amba spice mix!) from Israel–it can be hard to find.


Whipped Feta Dip for Hanukah

November 30, 2010

Here is a really great dip/spread adapted from The Greek Vegetarian, by Diane Kochilas (p.31): Kopanisti. The name is Greek for whipped or beaten, and it consists of feta cheese that is whipped with olive oil, lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper.

There are many variations on this theme which incorporate other ingredients such as red pepper, herbs, garlic. You might see feta cheese dip recipes under these names, as well: Tirosalata, Htipiti, Htipi Tirosalata. The recipe can also include some Greek yogurt.


Cheesy Spinach Snacks

October 26, 2010

This is from Family Circle. Very rich, best as a part snack or in small servings as a side dish. (more…)

Feta, Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Cheese Savory “Cake”

March 17, 2010

This is stupendous–really and truly.

The French like to make savory cakes (cake salé) and serve them as nibbles with drinks. They are moist and savory with eggs and cheese and a wide assortment of add-ins like vegetables, meats, nuts, and even dried fruit.

I have made my own version twice, and was quite pleased. My first version just had smoked cheddar cheese and scallions. Batch number two had roasted red pepper (jarred version worked perfectly), feta, smoked mozzarella, and scallions.

This tastes delicious hot from the oven, oozing melted cheese, but it is quite good room temperature or even cold. It takes mere seconds to put together from odds and ends in the fridge, and it reheats perfectly.