Manchego Cheese Appetizer

manchego cheese appetizer - trust in kim

My friend Sarah shared this with me the other day, along with a nice glass of red wine. It’s really simple, just some beautiful cheese with a bit of honey and some hand-ground coffee beans . . .  but it is a gorgeous combination of flavours.

Manchego is a Spanish cheese made with sheep’s milk. It is not a pungent cheese, but it’s got a great flavour. The sweetness of the honey and the bitterness of the coffee beans somehow pair perfectly with this cheese.

Sarah found the recipe in a Jamie Oliver cookbook.

What you need:

  • a wedge of Manchego cheese
  • honey – whatever you have in your house, or something fancy
  • coffee beans (don’t use pre-ground beans)
  • baguette (optional)

What you do:

  1. Remove the cheese from the fridge at least an hour before serving
  2. Use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder to grind the coffee beans finely, then make a little pile of them on a decorative cutting board or plate.
  3. Pour some honey into a small bowl, and place it on the board along with the cheese and coffee grounds.
  4. To serve, cut a slice of cheese, then dip it in the honey, and use your fingers to sprinkle on a little coffee. So delicious!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Grilled Endive

prosciutto wrapped grilled endive - trust in kimThese prosciutto-wrapped endive are a super easy, super delicious appetizer. I made it for a French roasted duck dinner recently, and it was a tasty way to start a meal with an aperitif of Lillet and sparkling water.

I usually find endive to be a bit too bitter for my taste, but grilled and paired with the salty meat is the perfect combination.

I got the recipe from seriouseats.com. I left off the walnuts because my guest doesn’t like them.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 3 endive
  • 6 very thin slices of prosciutto or jambon de Bayonne
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 slice fresh lemon
  • toasted walnuts (optional)

What you do:

  1. Slice the endive in half lengthwise. Drizzle each half with a little olive oil, then add some salt and pepper.
  2. Wrap each half in one piece of prosciutto.
  3. Heat a grilling or frying pan to medium heat.
  4. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side (my endives were on the small side, so 5 minutes was a little too long), until the endive is soft and the prosciutto has become crisp.
  5. Plate the endive and squeeze the lemon juice over top. Crumble the walnuts on top, if you are using them, and eat right away.

 

John’s Tuna Sashimi

Tuna Sashimi - trust in kimOh, my mouth is watering as I type this.  This is one of the simplest and most pleasant ways to eat tuna.  And one of my favourite things to eat, period.

My friend John brought a piece of frozen tuna up to the cabin this summer and served it with buckwheat soba.  It is so tender and tasty, and takes only minutes (a minute?) to prepare.  The vital factor in the success of this dish is the quality of the fish. Only the very best will do. If you’re in Vancouver Fujiya on Clark, or Seafood City in the Granville Island Market are sure bets to get amazing quality tuna.

What you need:

  • the freshest sushi-grade ahi tuna you can find
  • spring onions/scallions
  • soy sauce
  • chopsticks
  • small bowls for soy sauce

What you do:

  1. If the tuna is frozen then take it out of the freezer about an hour before you want to serve it.  If it is fresh you will want to put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before serving.  This makes it easier to cut.
  2. Slice the tuna with a very sharp knife. Arrange the tuna on a plate.
  3. Chop the green part of a spring onion and sprinkle them on top of the tuna.
  4. Each person should have a small bowl of tuna to dip their tuna in. Serve immediately.

Wondering what to do with the root and white part of the spring onion? Did you know that you can grow them to use a few days later, or just enjoy watching them grow? Here are the simple instructions.

 

Greek Meatballs

greek meatballs - trust in kim

 

These tasty meatballs were served up recentlyas an appetizer at a birthday party.  I served them with some pita and homemade tzatziki.  They are really delicious, and really easy to make.  I mixed them up a few hours before the party, then fried and served them hot.  These would also be great in pita sandwiches for lunch with a Greek salad on the side.

I got the recipe here.

You need to plan ahead if you’re going to make your own tzatziki, as the yogurt needs to be drained for a few hours.  The garlic flavour also improves after sitting for a while.

What you need for the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 to 3 pieces bread, crusts cut off, soaked in milk and then squeezed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoon fresh mint
  • 2 to 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, as needed

What you do for the meatballs:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl by mixing with your hands.
  2. Heat a frying pan or well-oiled grill on high heat.
  3. Form the mixture into about 24 balls, then flatten them slightly.  Reduce the heat and fry each one for about 12 minutes, flipping once.
  4. Serve them hot with the pita and tzatziki sauce.

What you need for the tzatziki:

2 cups yogurt, (I use whole milk yogurt)

cheesecloth for straining

1 clove garlic, minced (or more if you like it really garlicky)

1/2 english cucumber, grated

salt and pepper to taste

fresh mint, optional

What you do for the tzatziki:

1.  Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place the yogurt into the cheesecloth.  Refrigerate for a few hours or over night to and allow it to drain.  Pour off the liquid that is drained.

2.  Grate the cucumber and squeeze it so you get as much liquid out of it as you can.  Add this to the thickened yogurt.

3.  Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and optional mint.  Mix it all up. I like to remove it from the fridge at least an hour before serving.

trust in kim - tzatziki

Now I just need to learn to make pita bread…

 

Chorizo and Lime Appetizer

This idea comes from my good friend, Sarah.  It’s so simple and so delicious.  I bought the chorizo at Oyama Sausage at Granville Island; I particularly love the red wine chorizo.

What you need:

chorizo

lime

toothpicks

paper towel

What you do:

1.  Slice the sausage.

2.  Heat a frying pan.  Put the sausage in it.  Fry on each side until slightly browned.

3.  Use the paper towel to soak up the fat.

4.  Squirt lime over the sausages, then put a toothpick in each one.  I served them right out of the cast iron frying pan so they would stay hot.

Olive Tapenade

This one’s really easy to make, and works great as an appetizer.  Rosemary crackers work really well with it, as does a crusty loaf of bread.

What you need

about a cup of black or green sliced olives

1 tablespoon capers

a drizzle or two of olive oil

a little squeeze of lemon (optional)

pepper

What you do

1.  Throw all the ingredients in a food processor.  Whiz it around for a few seconds so it is chopped up but not too finely.

2.  You can serve right away, but it also keeps for a while.  I prefer serving it at room temperature, so I take it out of the fridge a while before I’m going to serve it.

Nut Crusted Portobello Mushroom Appetizer

These mushrooms are full of flavour!

What you need:

2 portobello mushrooms

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

salt

pepper

1 egg

olive oil

What you do:

1.  Place ground almonds, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.  In another bowl, crack the egg and beat it up a little.

2.  Remove the stems and clean mushrooms with a damp cloth – if you clean them in water they will absorb too much water.  Cut the mushrooms into strips, a few centimetres wide.

3.  Coat each mushroom strip in egg, then the almond mixture.

4.  Heat a frying pan on medium heat, then add a little olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms.  They should not be overlapping.  Cook on each side for a few minutes, until they become golden on all sides.

5.  Serve them on their own, or with a bit of mayo on the side.