In the Kitchen: Thanksgiving Teasers

Zucchini Rolls with Herbed Cheese and Red Pepper, Two Ways IMG_1157_c_smZucchini Rolls with Herbed Cheese and Red Pepper, Two Ways

We loved the look of the zucchini rolls with the bit of red pepper adorning the top but also love the sweetness of our Sigona’s Sweet Red Pepper Relish mixed in and rolled up with the cheese. We liked them both so much we couldn’t choose which to give you, so we’re doing both! They both make a perfect appetizer bite. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Yields about 16 pieces.

Zucchini Rolls with Herbed Cheese and Sigona’s Sweet Red Pepper Relish

  • 2 small zucchini−washed, dried and ends trimmed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives
  • About 1/3 cup (~3 oz.) creamy goat or cow’s milk cheese, such as Laura Chenel chevre or Nicasio Valley Foggy Morning, softened to room temperature (Note: If you use Nicasio Valley Foggy Morning with Basil & Garlic, you can skip adding herbs beyond the chive garnish)
  • 1 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Sweet Red Pepper Relish
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or chili powder, optional

Zucchini Rolls with Herbed Cheese and Roasted Spanish Piquillo Red Peppers

  • 2 small zucchini−washed, dried and ends trimmed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives
  • About 1/2 cup (~4 oz.) creamy goat or cow’s milk cheese, such as Laura Chenel chevre or Nicasio Valley Foggy Morning, softened to room temperature (Note: If you use Nicasio Valley Foggy Morning with Basil & Garlic, you can skip adding herbs beyond the chive garnish)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or chili powder, optional
  • 3 jarred roasted Spanish piquillo red peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips

Directions: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with a couple layers of paper towels.

Using a mandoline, slice the zucchini lengthwise to get about 16 long, thin strips each about 1/16 to 1/8 inches thick. Set the zucchini on the paper towel and sprinkle both sides with salt; you’ll use about 1 teaspoon for all the slices. Let sit for 20 minutes to soften, then remove excess water.

Meanwhile, trim any coarse ends from the chives. Cut 2-inch-long pieces from the tip end of the chives and reserve. Thinly slice the rest of the chives (you should have about 1 tablespoon sliced chives).

For the Zucchini Rolls with Herbed Cheese and Sigona’s Sweet Red Pepper Relish: In a small bowl, mash the cheese with the relish, sliced chives, thyme, salt, black pepper and the cayenne/chili powder. Season with more salt and pepper to taste (it should be assertive).

Pat the slices of zucchini dry (very dry) on both sides with more paper towels. Set a slice of zucchini on a clean work surface and spread with about 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture (you may want to use your fingers for this). At one end of the zucchini, place a few of the 2-inch chive sticks, positioning them perpendicular to the roll so that their more attractive end will peek out when the zucchini slice gets rolled. Beginning with the chive end, roll the zucchini up and stand the roll upright on its edges on a platter. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving.

For the Zucchini Rolls with Herbed Cheese and Roasted Spanish Piquillo Red Peppers: In a small bowl, mash the goat cheese with the sliced chives, thyme, salt, black pepper and the cayenne/chili powder. Season with more salt and pepper to taste (it should be assertive).

Pat the slices of zucchini dry on both sides with more paper towels. Set a slice of zucchini on a clean work surface and spread with about 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture (you may want to use your fingers for this). At one end of the zucchini, lay one or two strips of the red pepper and a few of the 2-inch chive sticks, positioning them perpendicular to the roll so that their more attractive end will peek out when the zucchini slice gets rolled. Beginning with the chive end, roll the zucchini up and stand the roll upright on its edges on a platter. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving.

Jumbo Calimyrna Figs with Mascarpone and Blackberry Honey_IMG_1101_c_smJumbo Calimyrna Figs with Mascarpone and Blackberry Honey

Sweet dried figs, made even more alluring with the addition of mascarpone, honey and pecans, make for a lovely appetizer or simple dessert. The Calimyrnas from Coachella Valley are large figs so you’ll have a deliciously nice looking dish too. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Serves 8 to 16.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 8 dried Calimyrna figs from Coachella Valley, California
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone, such as BelGioioso
  • 1 TBL blackberry honey from Honey Hole Honey Co. (find it at Sigona’s)
  • Salt, to taste

Directions: Toast the pecans in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool, then chop coarsely.

Cut each fig in half crosswise and place the fig pieces on a serving dish, cut side up.

Make a small indentation into the cut side of each fig half with a small spoon or your finger. Put 1/2 teaspoon of the mascarpone on each piece of fig and sprinkle with pistachios.

Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt.

These may be served immediately OR made several hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Local Roasted Brussels Sprouts with an Aioli Trio IMG_1181_c_smLocal Roasted Brussels Sprouts with an Aioli Trio

The crispy, golden edges and rich, roasted flavor in these Brussels sprouts will tempt anyone as an appetizer. The addition of the aioli is bound to interest even those who may be skeptical of Brussels sprouts. Inspired by Pinterest. Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts (roughly 30 pieces), cut into wedges
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

For serving (recipes follow):

  • Garlic-chive aioli
  • Dijon aioli
  • Spicy Sriracha aioli

Directions: Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Toss Brussels sprout wedges in olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 15 minutes or until at least one side is golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the aiolis using the directions below. They may be made an hour in advance and refrigerated.

Serve the aiolis with the Brussels sprouts as dipping sauces.

Garlic-Chive Aioli

  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 TBL diced fresh chives
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • A pinch of white pepper (or to taste)
  • A few dashes hot sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 TBL lemon juice

Directions: In a blender or small food processor, mix all the ingredients for the aioli together until well blended (about 1 minute). Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Dijon Aioli

  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 TBL Dijon mustard (plus up to 1 tsp. more, to taste, if desired)
  • Ground white pepper, to taste

Directions: In a blender or small food processor, mix all the ingredients for the aioli together until well blended (about 1 minute). Taste. Add more Dijon or pepper, if desired. Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Spicy Sriracha Aioli

  • 1 TBL Sriracha (plus up to 1 tsp. or so more, to taste, if desired)
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. lime or lemon juice
  • Ground white pepper, to taste

Directions: In a blender or small food processor, mix all the ingredients for the aioli together until well blended (about 1 minute). Taste. Add more Sriracha, if desired. Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Fresh Spinach, Bacon & Gruyère Naan Pizza_IMG_1139_c_smFresh Spinach, Bacon & Gruyère Naan Pizza

The beauty of this pizza is that you don’t have to make your own dough, and it bakes in less than 10 minutes. Serve this as a more hearty appetizer on Thanksgiving. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Serves 4 to 8.

For the pizza:

  • 2-4 pieces smoked bacon or 4 pieces pancetta
  • 2 pieces Stonefire Naan bread
  • About 2 tsp. Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as our Picual, for brushing the naan
  • Red pepper flakes, about 1/2 tsp. or more, depending on your liking
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced (on the bias) green onions, white and light green parts only
  • 3/4 cup or so grated Gruyère or Jarlsberg cheese, divided

For the salad topping:

  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as our fruity Hojiblanca
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • About 1 cup (moderately packed) spinach leaves, stemmed if needed
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

Directions: Fry the bacon or pancetta until crisp, let cool on paper towels and then crumble (or chop if using pancetta). Set aside.

Place the Naan pieces on a cookie sheet. Brush the top of each Naan with about 1 tsp. olive oil each, sprinkle on a few red pepper flakes and then top with the green onions. Evenly sprinkle on the cheese and top with crumbled bacon.

Bake the pizzas on a cookie sheet at 375F for about 8-10 minutes.

While the pizza bakes, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the spinach with the vinaigrette and pile it on the pizza once it has finished baking. Sprinkle with the chopped egg, slice into fourths with a chef’s knife and serve immediately.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar