Posts Tagged ‘appetizer’

BBQ Polenta Bites


Last year for the Super Bowl, my friend Amelia (who created this hummus and helped with my Aussie header above), strolled into my super bowl party with Buffalo Polenta Bites. At that point, I had had polenta exactly zero times. It’s just not something we ever had around the house. After trying them though, I couldn’t get them out of my head. They were SO good.


Since then, I have thought of those buffalo bites at least once a  month and always tell myself that I need to try and make them. As polenta is not something I normally have and frying the heck out of pseudo-cornmeal screams ‘special occasion’, I just never really got around to trying this recipe out.

Plus, it sort of scared me because I seriously always think placenta in my head. True story. Even as I’m typing this, I keep triple checking myself. Cause really, those are just not two things that you should get mixed up. Ever.


Anyway, as I’m currently kicking it in Australia, I’m not sure if I will be able to watch the Super Bowl but I couldn’t resist a chance to recreate Amelia’s recipe. Of course, I couldn’t find Buffalo Sauce here which sort of breaks my heart, so I had to go the BBQ route. Feel free to sub your favorite kind of sauce for BBQ sauce. I imagine it would taste great with Buffalo, teryaki or hoisin sauce. Whatever floats your boat!


BBQ Polenta Bites
inspired by Amelia and based off of Taste.com.au

  • 3 C. of water
  • 3/4 C. instant polenta
  • 1 TBSP of vegan butter (I used nuttelex lite)
  • 1/8 C. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or more to taste)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/4-1/2 C. BBQ sauce

Grease a small cookie sheet and set aside.

Bring water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add polenta in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 3-5 minutes, continuing to stir constantly, until the polenta is thick and soft. Stir in the butter, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the polenta into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Set aside to cool. Once cool, cover and place in fridge to set. I checked mine after an hour and it was all set.

Cut the polenta into bite size pieces, mine came to about 20. Mix the flour, smoked paprika, salt and pepper together. Add the polenta and toss to coat.

Heat vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. You want enough vegetable oil so that when you lay your polenta in the pan, it hits your pieces at the mid-way mark. So the amount of oil will depend on the sizes of your polenta bites and your pan.

Add the polenta bites to your pan a few at a time. You do not want to crowd your pan so make sure you have plenty of room for your bites to cook. I fit 7 pieces into my frying pan at one time. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Once all your polenta bites have been fried and are cool, place them in a large mixing bowl. Add about 1/4 C of BBQ sauce and toss gently with a large spoon until covered. Add more BBQ sauce if needed. The amount will depend on the type of BBQ sauce used and the number of bites you have.


So now for the all important question- Who are you voting for in the super bowl? I’m routing for the Broncos and Welker. If you follow my blog at all, you know Welker holds a dear place in my Dad’s heart. It was a sad, sad day in our house when he was traded from the Patriots.  So this is our chance to root for the guy once again and what kind of daughter would I be if I didn’t take this chance to cheer on my Dad’s man crush? I mean, Come on!  So, let me know if you will be joining my Dad and me as we cheer on Welker or if you are throwing in your lot with the Seahawks. Look, I even included a poll so you can vote. I’m getting fancy up in here! After you vote, leave a comment and tell me what you’re making. I’m living vicariously through you guys. Help a girl out!

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Three Pepper Hummus



I’m so excited 🙂 This past weekend, I had planned a last-hooray-to-summer trip to the Cape since I hadn’t been all summer. I was thinking when I planned it that we may still be able to get some beach time in, or at least some pool time, but we ended up gravitating more toward the heated hot tub, hoodies and looking for an apple orchard (Note: the Cape’s 1 apple orchard not only doesn’t have cider donuts but is super, duper tiny and oddly enough, tucked behind a subdivision. We ended up turning around and going to Sundae School for pumpkin ice cream instead!). We did hit up Pirates Cove, where I may have, by just a little bit, sort-of-kind-of, beat Matt in mini golf. I’m pretty sure it was my lucky cowboy boots though!

cape cod collage

(starting at top left: the Sundae School truck; Pirates Cove souvenirs; Matt and me; Pirates Cove!; a sand sculpture of a shark. It’s a small detail from this huge boat sculpture, which was awesome;Sunset at Gray’s Beach.)

I feel like the trip was my final goodbye to summer and now I can dive head first into my very short celebration of fall! I have the windows open as I write this, letting the crisp fall air in as I sip Pumpkin Spice Tea. My to-do list has very few To-Dos on it and then I’m pulling out those two cans of pumpkin I have and baking something. I don’t care what but they will be used! And I can’t wait!

But for now, here is a recipe for Three Pepper Hummus. My fridge was pretty bare when I came back from the Cape. Oddly enough, I had one cucumber. Just one. And some bread. So I whipped up this hummus in an attempt to have a more nutritious lunch then I had at the Cape (fried food and ice cream and bagels…oh my!).


Three Pepper Hummus
modified from Smoky Chipotle Hummus

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans,drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2- 1 1/2 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce *
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 (7 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 5 pepperdew peppers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
*start with 1/2 of a chipotle pepper and add more to taste. I love the taste of chipotle peppers and don’t mind the heat so I ended up using 1 1/2.
Place the garbanzo beans, water, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, chipotle pepper, garlic, and cumin in the bowl of a food processor; blend until smooth. Add the red peppers, pepperdew peppers, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pulse the mixture until the ingredients are smooth and well combined.  Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and chill until ready to serve.
I should be doing something productive for my trip to Australia but I’m sure it can wait on some pumpkin bread/cookies/burgers!

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Buffalo Hummus

I’m back! Singularly employed, once again, and looking forward to 1. having my weekends back! Two whole days off?? CRAZY! and 2. spending a little more time on content for WV. yeah! Now, back to the food…

There is a scene in Ten Things I Hate About You where Biana and her friend are chatting and their conversation goes:

Biana: I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed but can you just be whelmed?
Her Friend: I think you can in Europe…

Well, consider this Europe because “just whelmed” is exactly how I usually feel about hummus! I don’t love it, I don’t hate it, it is just something that’s…ok. I’ll eat it every now and again randomly but I never end up finishing a container and it usually ends up going bad.

But this recipe is definitely the exception. My friend, Amelia, made it a few months back when we had our pretentious drive-in experience. She brought this along with pita chips and veggies. In fact, it was the pita chips that almost caused me to have to pull the car over because there was a squabble regarding how soon movie snacks can be opened before the movie. The answer: definitely not on the way to the movie!

Anyway, Amelia sent me this recipe a few weeks ago and I’ve been dying to make it…and then eat it immediately. Like, all of it.

Buffalo Hummus
courtesy of Amelia

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or the equivalent if you are using dried)
  • 1 TBSP tahini
  • 4 TBSP Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce (you can use regular Frank’s Red Hot if that’s what you have or you don’t feel comfortable with the “butter flavoring” ingredient. This was just what I had in my fridge)
  • 5 Peppadew peppers (these are located in a jar, generally in the deli section. They have mild and hot. I used mild cause I’m a whimp but hot would be great, too)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 TBSP of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • red chili flakes (optional)

Put the chickpeas, tahini, Frank’s Red Hot, peppadew peppers, garlic olive oil and salt into a food processor and process until smooth. Taste. Add more heat if need be. Drizzle more Frank’s Red Hot on top and sprinkle with red chili flakes for garnish.

I seriously love this hummus recipe. I was scraping every last bit out of the food processor with the cucumbers. I may have even pulled out a bag of old potato chip when I ran out of cucumber slices. Those didn’t really work but I did try them! I was able to restrain myself a bit and actually make a rather delicious meal with this. You will have to tune in later in the week for that recipe. Two words, though: caramalized. pineapple. Oh yeah!

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This has definitely been a week of celebrating! The most fun was celebrating my friend, Melinda’s, birthday.

If you read this blog often enough, you know Melinda is my fellow foodie friend. As such, I feel like I should give a little shout out to her:

Melinda and I have known each other since we were youngin’s in college. We met at a find-a-roommate night: I needed a roommate because my freshman one ended up not working out and Melinda needed one cause she had just transferred. We bonded over her purple vans and ended up rooming together off and on through college and after we graduated.

What can I say, a good pair of shoes can change your life.

We’ve come a long way since we rocked the vans and ate ramen noodles in our dorm room. I think one of the reasons we’re still hanging out (besides the fact that we’re both awesome!) is that our interest in food has weirdly enough followed a similar path. Granted, Melinda is always a step or so ahead of me buuut…she’s a year older then me. So, you know, with age comes wisdom? Or something like that…

Anyway, so it goes without saying that to celebrate Melinda’s birthday, we cooked. Obviously!

Homemade veggy burgers, grilled veggies and potatoes and almond joy cake truffles. Yes, please! Oh yes, there was also dancing in the rain, some speeches, drinking and Melinda as grill master. All good things!

Of course, I’ve already made and posted most of what we ate which meant I need to incorporate a recipe that I hadn’t shared with you.

Introducing Blueberry salsa aka, our appetizer:

Blueberry Lime Salsa
 from How Sweet Eats (aka, the queen of fruit salsas)

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 5 medium strawberries
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

put blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro in a food processor. Pulse 5-6 times for a chunky salsa or longer if you want it smoother. Pour into a bowl and fold in the chopped avocado. Season with salt and pepper.

Basically, this was just an excuse to feed my new lime addiction. It’s weird because I loath lemons and anything with lemon in it. But limes? Limes I can’t get enough of! I had a ton lying around because I’ve been drinking lime water like its going out of style (and possibly margaritas…)so obviously, blueberry lime salsa was just begging to be made.

Anyway, you will notice there aren’t any action shots with this salsa. It’s because someone who was in charge of the chips *cough Amelia cough* took their sweet time arriving. By the time the chips did arrive, we were so famished and weak from hunger that we bypassed the photo sesh and just dug right in.

And it was delicious! Totally worth the excruciatingly long wait for chips and it was the perfect light, summery appetizer!

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My roommates and I are having people over and I still need to:

– Buy a few more things to make another batch of this below bean salsa (like, um, the beans! Totally forgot those yesterday on my shopping trip)

– Make and decorate cupcakes (they are seriously the best cupcakes ever. I’ll give you the recipe tomorrow)

– Clean up the kitchen a bit and tidy the house, find enough chairs, etc.

Oh yeah, and do all this in the 90 minutes I have after I get out of work and before the game starts. Really? Whose going to go to a book store today? It’s practically a national holiday in New England people. Grocery stores? clearly need to be open.  Packies? Definitely! (though I bought my beer yesterday just in case! I forgot the black beans but hey, I remembered my beer!! Priorities!)

Anyway, so here is my last recipe for the super bowl. This was suppose to go to you last week since I usually don’t post on the weekends but after I talked about how I had no life and went to bed at 8:30, suddenly I got a life again. How annoying!

Black Bean Salsa
from Cooking Light

*the measurements for this recipe were weird. Who measures out 2 TBSP of chopped out jalapeno? If you do actually do that, please see the Cooking Light recipe above. 

  • 1/2  red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 plum tomato, diced
  • 1/2 – 1 seeded jalapeño pepper, chopped (depends on how much heat you like)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well. Cover and chill 2 hours. For best results, chill over night.

As you can see, my chopping skills are a bit lacking. I had about 15 minutes to throw this first batch together so it could chill overnight before heading to a friends. So, my tomatoes are more chunky then chopped BUT it still tasted delicious. You could also throw in some chopped avocado if you wanted because, really, what doesn’t avocado make better?

Oh yeah, one last thing:


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This post is dedicated to Amelia…because I stole her recipe… even though her sister gave it to me and told me to try it. Then again, she also put open markers in Amelia’s bed when she was little so maybe I shouldn’t trust her with Amelia’s things…

Anyways, I never had artichokes growing up. I’d never even tried one until I think after college when my roommate ordered it on pizza. I still don’t really get them and I certainly couldn’t make them edible if I was presented with one.


I can saute them out of a can and then bake them into a dip! Oh yeah! Mad cooking skills right here! Hollah!

…I’m so cool…

Anyways, consider this part 3 of my Super Bowl recipes- BBQ Chili and Funfetti Footballs being Parts 1 and 2.

Amelia’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip
courtesy of  Theprettyvegan at Food.com

  • 1/2 yellow onion , diced
  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach (I believe Amelia used fresh and it worked great but I’ll let he comment on that below if she wants)
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (12 ounce) package firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 -3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350. Saute the oil, spinach and artichoke hearts over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until the onions are soft. Set aside
In your blender, combine the rest of your ingredients until smooth.
Pour the tofu sauce into the pan with your spinach and artichokes and mix until fully incorporated. Transfer to a baking pan and bake for 15-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown (the recipe says 15-20 but mine needed the extra 5 minutes. Also, I used a 9″ round cake pan). If your pan is not non-stick, give it a quick spray with cooking spray before pouring your mixture in.

*I have no idea what “marinated artichoke hearts” are. Like I said, I’m an artichoke virgin. All I know is, nothing at Whole Foods had this on the label. So I opted for a can of organic artichoke hearts packed in water, not oil, and salt and pepper. They worked perfectly!


This. Is. Delicious. I know my pictures are atrocious because I opted for that awful yellow background (sorry about that) and because quite frankly, artichoke and spinach dip just isn’t pretty! But trust me.

It’s also significantly healthier then a traditional spinach and artichoke dip which has tons and tons of cheese and mayo. It will help you and your friends keep those New Years Resolutions. Yeah, remember those?

In fact, I can’t think of one reason you shouldn’t make this recipe! So there!

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