Category Archives: appetizers and noshes

Avocado Deviled Eggs for the Win!


Alex, I’ll take “foods Sherri’s mother never cooked” for 400 please. Originating in Italy, this round food is often filled with a mixture of egg yolk, mustard, and hot sauce.* Alex… What are deviled eggs? That is correct!

If this was a real episode of Jeopardy I would be $400 richer right now. Aside from my opening little joke, I have no cute story to tell for these eggs. All I have to offer is a beautiful photo and delicious recipe. They were not part of my mother’s recipe box or mine for that matter. It was found quite accidentally sitting in a basket, next to the avocados at my local grocery with no name or website attached.

The minute I saw it, just knew I had to try it. I don’t like regular deviled eggs. I’m not a fan of the filling. This recipe seemed perfect and while I was supposed to add the egg yolk to the avocado and mash them together, I must have missed that step somehow. I’m glad I missed it; I think it would have been too rich and mellowed the flavor of the avocado. The original recipe called for a sprinkling of paprika on top. I love the flavor of Za’atar and thought the sesame seeds would add a nice texture. I was right! These are the perfect little bite.

They make a great quick breakfast, light snack, or very deserving as an appetizer. All that’s left my friends is to Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

3 hard-boiled eggs (I like to use extra-large)
1 large avocado
3 teaspoons lime juice (lemon will work as well)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
dash of hot sauce (optional)
sliced scallions
Sprinkle with Za’atar (or other spice you like)

Boil the eggs using my method. Click here for the instructions. Cook, cool and carefully peel the eggs. Use a sharp knife and cut the eggs in half vertically. Remove the cooked yolk from the egg and put aside.**

Add the avocado into a wide flat bowl and mash. Add the lime juice, garlic powder, a drop of hot sauce, salt and pepper. Mix together and spoon into each half. You can sprinkle them with any seasoning but I really like the flavor Za’atar adds. Place a couple of scallions on top and that’s it!

*FYI… the hot sauce gives it heat, which is why deviled eggs are called “devil”ed
**Instead of discarding, you could put them aside and make my mom’s thumb cookies with them! Or, if you want, add them to the avocado.

 

 

Cranberry Sauce 2.0 – Happy Thanksgiving!

For this Thanksgiving I’m taking you from cranberry sauce out of a can to cranberry sauce 2.0! I’m also taking you behind the scenes of my first Thanksgiving in Ohio. I’m sure you are all in the thick of cooking, probably have your cranberry sauce made, and won’t even read this until tomorrow. Nevertheless, I feel I need to put this out there into cyberspace because I am thankful today, and did I forget to mention – I love cranberry sauce! I love the color. I love how tart and sweet it is all at the same time. I love how it’s a great partner to turkey, but if it spills into the stuffing or sweet potatoes – even better! I love the fact you only need only 3 ingredients to make it. That’s without my splash of course, but we’ll get to that.

Remember this? I do and will admit, I even love cranberry sauce from a can!

On the first Thanksgiving we spent in Ohio back in 2003, we decided against travelling anywhere as we had just moved a couple of months before and the thought of a long drive, or rushing to the airport, was too much to think about. What we did instead was plan a fun weekend at home full with games, good food, and going to the movies. I thought it would be a great idea if we all cooked together for the holiday. Before Food Network told us it was cool for kids to be in the kitchen, mine already had aprons with their names embroidered on them! Here is what I remember… I was in charge of the turkey, my older son was in charge of the desserts, his younger brother helped with the cranberry sauce, and my husband just made a mess, so he was given the job of setting the table! And we laughed a lot.

What I learned from this experience was several things: first, since it was my then, 5 year old making the cranberry sauce, I learned how high raw cranberries can bounce and quickly scatter all over the kitchen! I also learned the importance of keeping a lid on the pot when cooking (they sometimes pop out!). I learned my older son was great at following directions and liked pumpkin pie. I learned that my husband while a menace in the kitchen was great at selecting wine, picking out good music, and setting the table which is where his expertise lies. I learned I didn’t play well with others in the kitchen but still loved every minute of it! Finally I learned how even though most people think of Thanksgiving as a time of being with a big extended family and lots of friends (and I was sad we weren’t), for us it was just as great if not better being just us four.

Today as I sit and write this post, I think of all I am grateful for. One of the first things that comes to mind is cranberry sauce! It reminds me of that wonderful Thanksgiving day in 2003 which taught me so much about my family. So here goes, my cranberry sauce recipe with what I think you’ll agree – a Splash of Sherri!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving wherever and with whoever you are with – be Grateful.

2 – 12 ounce bags of fresh cranberries washed
1 cup sugar (you can add more, it depends how sweet you like it)
2 cups water
3/4 cup dried cranberries (my secret ingredient)
¾ cup canned mandarin oranges in juice drained
½ to ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans(depending on how nutty you would like it)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (my other secret ingredient!)
Recipe makes about 5 cups and feeds a lot of people! Feel free to cut it in half.

Cook the cranberries, sugar, and water in a covered saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, add the dried cranberries and continue to cook another 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open, stirring occasionally. When checking the sauce to stir, be mindful to lift the lid away from you, as some cranberries might pop up as I found out the hard way! Remove from heat and allow it to cool a little before adding in the vanilla. If you add it when it’s too hot, it will evaporate quickly. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Before serving, add the walnuts and oranges. You can alter the amount to your liking.

A couple of tips before I leave you… Cranberry sauce thickens as it cools they are full of natural pectin. If it is thicker than you like, add a little water or juice to it. This year, I added pineapple juice because it’s what I had on hand, orange juice would work too, as would water. Add one tablespoon at a time, till the desired thickness. Second, you can always make it sweeter, so be conservative to start. Then if it’s not as sweet as you would like it, add a little sugar. One reason my recipe has 1/2 the sugar if not more than most, is the dried cranberries add a lot of sweetness. Oh, and you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to make this. It’s so easy, why not make it next week?

A Hummus Shortage – Stop the Maddness!

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A hummus shortage! Did I read that right? Is this really in the news? Apparently so.  Hummus, an irresistible Mediterranean dip made with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt is getting its 15 minutes of fame. Now for the bad news… it’s because of a possible chickpea shortage! What will we do? The fear is that the mass production of hummus will slow down making it more expensive and difficult to purchase. Aside from hoarding cans and bags of chickpeas, let’s start learning how to make it ourselves!

I use to make hummus all the time when I lived in Brooklyn, it’s really easy. You basically put everything into a food processor and let it do it’s job. I even tried my hand at baking pita bread which came out pretty good, but I never tried it again. My apartment was near Atlantic Avenue where all the Middle Eastern supermarkets were. Thinking back, I can’t remember why I ever decided to make hummus in the first place. I was a single girl living on a budget and I’m sure that had something to do with it!

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Today, I made what I call 1 – 2 – 3 hummus, although I should call it Trader Joe’s hummus as you can see from the photo above. I even purchased the lemons and garlic there! Traditional hummus is made with pure tahini. I have used tahini sauce that I found at Trader Joe’s and really love that it’s a small amount and not very expensive – plus, it tastes great! I served a portion with olive tapenade, and yes, it’s from Trader Joe’s! Enjoy!

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Total Cooking Time: 15 minutes       Yield: 4 1/2 cups hummus or 20  1/4 cup servings

2  1/2 cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 – 8 ounce container Trader Joe’s tahini sauce (or 1/3 cup straight tahini)
1/4 cup water (more or less depending on how thick you like it)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 small lemon
2 to 3 garlic cloves minced (according to taste)
1 – 1/2 teaspoons salt

In the bowl of a food processor, add 2 cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas, salt, 1/8 cup water, lemon juice, and minced garlic. Process for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the container of tahini sauce and olive oil and pulse again for 20 seconds. If it’s not thin enough, add the rest of the water and pulse a few time till blended. I like it very creamy so I’ll let the processor run until the desired texture.

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