If you’re planning a dinner this holiday season, my best piece of advice is to do something that won’t cause you to panic. There is enough stress around the year-end holidays without adding the stress that comes from trying to plan a huge meal for your friends and family. By all means, do not try out new recipes. If you do, you’ll wring your hands until you find out whether or not your guests like what you’ve cooked. The exceptions, of course, will be the recipes I’m going to provide at the end of this blog.
Maybe you don’t need to be told, but as my mother has often told me, people will come to your home for the companionship, and not necessarily for the food. And if they’ re hungry, then they will eat whatever you’ve cooked. Hunger dramatically improves the flavor of any food.
As I often preach (shades of Martha Stewart) it’s best to prepare the meal well ahead of time, which is what I do when I’m entertaining. The last thing I want to do is to flit between the kitchen and the living room to try to get in on conversation, so preparation is the key to you having a good time.
Easy Vegetarian Appetizers Recipes
2 1-pound eggplants,
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
4 cloves garlic, mashed
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
-Pierce the eggplants with a fork couple times. Place on a cookie sheet and place under a broiler and broil until chard. Turn to the other side and broil until chard. You can grill the eggplant on top of a gas grill. Remove the eggplant from the over. Allow them to cool and then gently peel and discard the charred skin. Mash the smoked flesh with a fork or wooden mortar.
-Add the chopped vegetables, the mashed garlic, the lemon juice, the lemon zest and the olive oil to the eggplant. Mix and serve with pita chips for great summer appetizer.
- 2 1-pound eggplants,
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 4 cloves garlic, mashed
- zest of one lemon
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- -Pierce the eggplants with a fork couple times. Place on a cookie sheet and place under a broiler and broil until chard. Turn to the other side and broil until chard. You can grill the eggplant on top of a gas grill. Remove the eggplant from the over. Allow them to cool and then gently peel and discard the charred skin. Mash the smoked flesh with a fork or wooden mortar.
- -Add the chopped vegetables, the mashed garlic, the lemon juice, the lemon zest and the olive oil to the eggplant. Mix and serve with pita chips for great summer appetizer.
Red Bell Pepper Spread/ Mohamarra
make 4 cups
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeds removed and coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts
4 slices couple days old white bread
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses*
1/4 cup Harrisa, red pepper spread **
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander
1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin
-Place the onion, the pepper, the walnut and the white bread in a food processor and process, using the on and the off bottom, until you have coarse mixture.
-Add the rest of the ingredients and process for extra round. You should have semi-smooth spread with beautiful red color.
*Pomegranate molasses: Boiled down sour pomegranate juice, it can be found at any Middle Eastern and Health grocery stores.
**Harrisa: A red hot pepper paste. You can find it at specialty stores. If you can not find it, you can use 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon tomato paste
Two beets, boiled and grated
Two tablespoons tahini*
Two cloves garlic, mashed
One fourth cup lemon juice
Salt to taste
-In a chilled salad bowl, whisk tahini, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice and salt.
-Fold the grated beets and adjust the seasonings. If the mixture is too thick add a little water or lemon juice.