appetizer

Zucchini Fritters

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I recently hosted a cooking demonstration on a big boat in a bigger sea.

It was a cruise ship actually, and I was in the middle of the Caribbean, chatting away to a group of Delilah enthusiasts about my kids, my life, my farm, and my love of cooking!

I shared my Zucchini Fritter recipe with everyone, and then we taste-tested the result! Mmmmm.

Perhaps it was the excitement, the sea air, the energetic participants… but oh my, they were delicious if I do say so myself!

It will soon be zucchini season, so here’s the (easy!) recipe if you feel like giving them a try:

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium zucchini, grated

  • 1 small to medium onion, finely diced

  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour

  • 2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tsp garlic powder)

  • salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika to taste (or use about 2 teaspoons of seasoning salt)

  • 4 tblsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place grated zucchini and diced onion in middle of a square of cheesecloth, or a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze to drain as much moisture from the vegetables as you can. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, Panko, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika (or garlic powder and seasoning salt,) then add the zucchini and onion and stir well.  

  3. Add the 2 beaten eggs to the batter just before frying, and mix until evenly combined.

  4. Working in batches, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Gently drop mounds of the zucchini batter into the skillet, about 2 heaping tablespoons at a time; flatten slightly with the back of a spatula.

  5. Fry until cooked through and golden brown; approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels, then to serving dish.

  6. Serve warm as an appetizer, side, or light lunch/brunch. Use your favorite aioli sauce or plain yogurt for dressing.

Gobble It Up Cheeseball

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I was cruising the internet 'tother day looking for some holiday party inspiration and crashed into a rendition of this fine not-so-feathered fella.

He's so cheesy! And completely nuts! In fact, he's gone crackers! (And that is how I humor myself friends...) So if you find this appetizer funny, and clever, and aren't worried about your teenagers groaning and rolling their eyes when you present him with a proud-as-a peacock (er, turkey) flourish. Then get your nutty cheese on!

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite cheese ball recipe (I've included a recipe below if you don’t have one. Don’t be afraid to improvise and add/subtract spices and ingredients.)

  • Red, yellow, and orange bell pepper slices (the mini's do the trick!)

  • Pecan Halves

  • Almond Slices

  • Pumpkin Seeds

  • Crackers for tail feathers - oblong work best

  • Pepper Corns (or other edible "eyes".)


Directions:

  1. Make your cheese ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.

  2. Remove from fridge, place on center of serving plate.

  3. Insert "tail feathers" in a wide fan - I placed a smaller number in front and in back of the wide row.

  4. Press Pecans in at the "shoulders" working down and toward the back.

  5. Press the sliced almonds in near the tail feathers.

  6. Press the pumpkin seeds in in front of the almonds.

  7. Cut a slice of the Orange Bell Pepper to form a "head and neck (experiment with this) an press into the front of the cheese ball.

  8. Cut a "wiggly" slice of Red Bell Pepper and "glue" to the neck with a bit of the cream cheese.

  9. Cut a tiny bit of Yellow Bell Pepper for the beak. I used the tip of a paring knife to poke a hole in the "head" and inserted the bit for the beak.

  10. Find some "eyes." I used a bit of cracker, but I thought later that pepper corns would have been perfect! Glue the eyes on with another little bit of cream cheese.

  11. Now, present that proud fine "bird" with a bowl of crackers and shake your tail feathers!!!

Cheese Ball Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature.

  • 3/4 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits.

  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped.

  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Directions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients by hand, or using a mixer, in large bowl until well blended and an even consistency.

  2. Form into a ball inside the bowl.

  3. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap.

  4. Place in the refrigerator until firm (about 2-3 hours.) Use the freezer for 30 minutes if you rarely think ahead (like me.)

  5. Decorate your bird! OR

  6. Roll in almond slices and serve with a basket of crackers.