Friday, March 4, 2011

St Patrick's Day - Green Food & Other Fun Finds

Sorry, Mrs. Field's.  Urban Cookies has you beat hands down.  These gourmet cookies taste fantastic, but the packaging is a downright work of art.  Each box is drizzled with a chocolate design.  Here's the design they're rockin' for St Patrick's Day...
Urban Cookies shamrock packaging
Check out the new Irish Chocolate cupcake at Sprinkles March 4-20...Drum roll please...Dark chocolate topped with Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting.  Mmm...
Divine Twine at Whisker Graphics.  Perfect for tying up your sweet treats...

Green Apple Divine Twine

How cute is this tiny magical leprechaun door by Clay by Kim on Etsy!?  Wonder what mischief those leprechauns could get in to at night.

Leprechaun /Fairy DoorLeprechaun /Fairy Door

This is one of my favorite dip recipes - light, creamy and tangy with a little bite.  Since the tomatillos prevent the avocados from browning, you can make this ahead of time.  If you don't want to fuss with the pita chips you can always serve with store-bought tortilla chips instead.  Although, the pita chips don't take much effort and add alot of zing. (Recipe below)

Avocado-Tomatillo Dip with Cumin Pita Chips
Cooking Light
 These little skewers are easy to assemble, easy to pop in your mouth and easy on the hips!  Just layer pieces of basil, cherry tomatoes and bocconcini (baby fresh mozzarella balls).  Then drizzle with a little olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Caprese Skewers
What makes these quesaillas unique is the cilantro and pepita pesto in lieu of the traditional basil and pine nuts.  I use my panini press to grill these up nice and quick, then a pizza cutter to slice them in to individual appetizer-size pieces.  Top it with fresh mashed guac for more green color. (Recipe below)
Shrimp & Cilantro Pesto Quesadillas

Avocado-Tomatillo Dip with Cumin Pita Chips

Chips:
3 (6-inch) pitas, split in half horizontally
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Dip:
1/2 pound tomatillos (about 5 large)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2 ripe peeled avocados, seeded and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare chips, coat rough side of each pita half with cooking spray; sprinkle pita halves evenly with cumin seeds, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cut each pita half into 8 wedges; arrange wedges in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until
golden brown.

To prepare dip, discard husks and stems from tomatillos. Place tomatillos in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature. Place tomatillos, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add sour cream and avocado; process until smooth. Serve with chips.

Shrimp & Cilantro Pesto Quesadilla

1 lb uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut shrimp lengthwise in half.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Vegetable oil
6 6-inch diameter flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro pumpkin seed pesto (recipe to follow)
2 cups (packed) grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 oz)
1 cup (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 oz)

1. Preheat large saute pan to medium high heat. Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon oil. Add shrimp to heated pan and saute for about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

3. Lay flour tortillas out flat and layer each on one half with some sauteed shrimp, a few teaspoons of cilantro pesto and both cheeses, making sure some cheese is on top layer and bottom layer.

4. Fold tortillas in half and brush both sides of tortilla with some vegetable oil, bake in oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pan and serve with some of the remaining pesto. Cut into wedges and serve.

Cilantro and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
6 tbsp olive oil
2 cups unsalted hulled (green pumpkin seeds) “pepitas”
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
4 scallions, chopped
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until seeds are puffed and beginning to pop (some will brown, but do not let all of them), about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.

2. Pulse seed mixture in a food processor with water, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 4 tablespoons oil until mixture forms a coarse paste (not finely ground). Transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Tips:
*Remaining pesto will keep for one week. Try tossing it in hot pasta
*You can get pepitas at Trader Joe’s or you can substitute with pine nuts
*To clean cilantro: when you bring it home from the grocery store, rinse it thoroughly, then place it in a glass as you would a bouquet of flowers. If you don’t intend to use it soon, wrap it in a paper towel and put it in your refrigerator.
*De-thaw shrimp by putting in a bowl and covering with 1/2 water and 1/2 milk. It eliminates any freezer taste.
*"green onion" means the entire onion, "scallion" is just the green part

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