Author Archives: creativerecipe

Spicy Hard-Deviled Eggs

 

 

 

scotts eggs CROPOccasionally, Scott likes to get creative and mess around in the kitchen. Once upon a weekend afternoon, he hard-boiled some eggs and decided to use his friend’s Best Boy brand Sriracha Mustard  and Redhead Hot Sauce to make deviled eggs for me. Because I like deviled eggs, and he likes me.   BestBoy__3_1024x1024Redhead_023_web_1024x1024

Standing back to let him create, but kind-of-sort-of hovering, my tongue twisted and I called them “hard-deviled” eggs.  Checking back later on his progress, I again inadvertently called them “hard-deviled” eggs. Returning a third time to sample the results, I purposely called them “hard-deviled” and that was that – the name stuck. I was impressed with both his flavor and heat layering – the sriracha mustard, the hot sauce, and a spicy sweet pickle – and the pickle added a nice crunch! I’m happy to say the finished result was FANTASTIC, and Scott made it his mission to keep a constant supply in the ‘fridge for any time we need a quick protein boost to stave off hunger pangs.  Kudos to Scott and Best Boy!

 

Ingredients: 

8 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and halved (Why 8? He never boils the entire carton of eggs so I will always have eggs for baking – gotta love this guy…)

6 each – Famous Dave’s spicy sweet pickle chips, chopped

5 teaspoons Best Boy Sriracha Mustard*

7 teaspoons Mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Best Boy Redhead Hot Sauce*

Cut the eggs in half length-wise and scoop out the yolks into a bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Spoon the filling into the egg white halves.  Cover and refrigerate.

*Best Boy has an award-winning deli mustard that is quite delicious if you want less heat, and “redhead” is one of a trio of fabulous hot sauces (a super hot, fruity Blonde, a smokey Brunette and the flavorful Redhead).  Go ahead – mix and match the mustard and sauce in true Creative Recipe style to discover your favorite flavor combination. BestBoy__2_1024x1024Brunette_024_web_1024x1024 Blonde_022_web_1024x1024

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Fresh Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tangy, savory and fruity - fresh raspberry balsamic vinaigrette

Tangy, savory and fruity – fresh raspberry balsamic vinaigrette

The raspberries I brought home from the store were on the soft and mushy side….  sigh….  I decided to smoosh them into a puree and whip up a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette – something I have been meaning to try for oh, only about 20 years or so.  No time like the present!   The hardest part was smashing the berries through a fine mesh sieve with the back of a spoon, but the resulting puree was velvety, though a bit tart!  A spoonful of honey fixed that.  I also added Dijon mustard and some seasonings for a more savory, zippy flavor, but you could forgo those ingredients for a sweeter dressing.

 

 

 

Soft and mushy raspberries - perfect for pureeing

Soft and mushy raspberries – perfect for pureeing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (for savory zest – if you don’t like mustard or want a sweeter dressing, you could omit)

Optional seasonings: for a zestier, more savory taste, I used some Litehouse freeze dried seasonings.  1/8 tsp garlic; 1/8 tsp red onion; 1 tsp basil – grind in a mortar with pestle or in a bowl with the back of a spoon.  You could also use garlic and onion powders instead and add fresh basil.  This is totally optional.  For a sweeter dressing, omit.

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

4 tablespoons raspberry puree

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or use half or all  light olive oil for a milder taste)

Directions:

Wash and drain the berries.  Place a spoonful in a sieve over a bowl and press with the back of your spoon – around and around.  The seeds will remain in the sieve and the puree will drop into a bowl. Shake the sieve occasionally to force more of the puree through the holes.  Discard the seeds.  Repeat until you have four tablespoons or as much as you want.

Takes a little time, but worth the effort

Takes a little time, but worth the effort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whisk the mustard, seasonings if you’re using them, vinegar and honey until well blended.  Stir in the raspberry puree. Whisk in the olive oil.

 


Italian Vinaigrette with Grainy Mustard

Best Boy Mustard!  It's the best!

Best Boy Mustard! It’s the best!

This is an update to my Italian Vinaigrette.  My friend at Best Boy & Co. makes amazing mustards, sauces and dry rubs.  I tried his award-winning grainy “Deli Mustard”   in this dressing, drizzled over a bowl of sliced tomatoes and goat cheese….  so good!  I simply substituted this mustard for the Dijon mustard.


Butter Cookie with Dark Chocolate, Fresh Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

Buttery, crispy, sweet-tart and so good!

Buttery, crispy, sweet-tart and so good!

Imagine this….  a buttery sugar cookie laden with dark chocolate, toasted almonds, and fresh cranberries for a perfect balance of melt in your mouth sweet-tart goodness.  If you can convince yourself there are enough cranberries and dark chocolate pieces in each cookie to offer a real anti-oxidant blast, well then you don’t even have to feel guilty about eating them!   Yesterday, I varied up my favorite butter cookie recipe and swapped 1 cup of chopped fresh cranberries for the dried apricots and toasted almonds for the pecans.  One word – SCRUMPTIOUS

Easy Tip:

Once cranberries are back in season, I pick up a few bags each time I am at the store (okay, not really each time I am at the store, but that would be a noble goal, wouldn’t it!) and finely chop them in the food processor, bag them in 1 cup measurements and start stockpiling in the freezer to use all year long.  Since it is practically impossible to find cranberries out of season, and because it is messy and time consuming to chop them, this is definitely worth my time to do in large quantities when the red berry is available.  Then I just grab a bag whenever I want it for a recipe (like Gluten Free Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread)  and enjoy the “no chopping, no measuring, no mess” of it all.

One more thing about why I take the time to chop them…. I like to use cranberries unsweetened to minimize sugar intake.  But wow are they tart!  Biting into a whole, unsweetened cranberry, even if it is mixed into a sweet medium, is a shock!  So I chop them finely to disperse them evenly in the batter for a subtle, tart offset to whatever sweet goodness I’m baking up.

For the unofficial record, two bags of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries chopped down to approximately five cups.  Happy cranberry season!

 


Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Veggie burger served with sweet potato fries and romaine lettuce and pear salad with goat cheese.

Veggie burger (baked version) served with sweet potato fries and romaine lettuce and pear salad with goat cheese.

I’m really getting into this quinoa scene now that I’ve finally sampled it.  I have long wanted to make my own veggie burger and once I cooked my first pot of quinoa I thought again, “I should try to make a veggie burger.”  And so today I did…  I looked around online to get the general gist but my attention span was short.  After looking at only one recipe and taking it at face value, it appeared you combine veggies, quinoa and a binder.  The binder was interesting, using egg, bread crumbs and cheese, but the rest of the recipe was a little boring.  So I ramped up the veggie variety, added black beans, used multiple cheeses and added steak seasoning for a hint of meaty flavor.  This effort was way-delish, but was somewhat time-consuming and certainly made for a lot of dirty dishes, bowls and pans.  It made 8 burgers and since I was experimenting, I baked four of them.  I had the oven on anyway at 425 degrees for sweet potato fries.  At that temperature, the burgers browned up nicely and the cheese crisped the top and bottom a bit – all good.  We ate two and I froze the leftovers for another experiment.  If the frozen burgers microwave well for a quick lunch, then I could make a large quantity of these, bake and freeze, and the stockpile of a quick and healthy lunch option would justify the time and the mountain of dishes.

The other four we grilled.  They were also delicious, though I would recommend grilling over a lower heat than we started at. We served with a side of Grilled Romaine with Apple Slaw Dressing, and just for fun, we topped one with Artichoke Yogurt Dip.

Grilled veggie burger served with grilled romaine and apple slaw dressing.

Grilled veggie burger served with grilled romaine and apple slaw dressing.

Grilled artichoke yogurt dip is a zesty, cheesy topping for these burgers.

Grilled artichoke yogurt dip is a zesty, cheesy topping for these burgers.

 

On the grill - release foil was the way to go with these.

On the grill – release foil was the way to go with these.

 

Another great thing about this veggie burger is it could be gluten free.  Everything I used is gluten free to my knowledge.  I don’t have to eat a gluten free diet, but from my limited internet searches, true gluten free dieters would need to verify the cheeses they use in this recipe, the spice blend, and perhaps the black beans.

Well, here we go – this is how I did it, with approximate measurements, of course!

Ingredients

2 to 3 slices stale bread (I used Udi’s gluten free bread)

4 ounces sliced Portabella Mushrooms

1 cup cooked Black Beans – drained and rinsed

1 cup finely shredded Zucchini

1 cup finely chopped Vidalia Onion, Sweet Peppers, Celery – I probably used about 1/4 onion, 5 or 6 mini peppers and 1 stalk celery

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for sautéing)

2 teaspoons Steak Seasoning (I used McCormick Grill Mates Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning) – Note, because I used this seasoning, I did not use salt and pepper.  If you’re gluten free, verify the seasoning you use.

1 – 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa

1 Egg

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

1/3 cup crumbled Feta Cheese

Directions

Tear the bread and place in a food processor.  Pulse until you have small, evenly-sized bread crumbs (does not have to be super fine).  Transfer to a bowl and measure 1 cup.

Veggie Burger 1 (1280x956)

Place the mushrooms and black beans together in the food processor and pulse/chop, being careful not to puree to a mush.  Transfer to a bowl and rinse the food processor.

veggie burger 2 (1280x956)

Finely chop the onion, peppers and celery in the food processor.  Measure one cup.

veggie burger 3 (1280x956)veggie burger 4 (1280x956)

Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, pepper and celery mixture until the liquids have evaporated and the veggies are beginning to brown.

veggie burger 5 (1280x956)

Add the zucchini and sauté one minute or so.

veggie burger 6 (1280x956)

Add the mushroom and black bean mixture along with the steak seasoning.

veggie burger 7 (1280x956)

Cook several minutes until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and mixture is just beginning to brown.  Transfer to a large bowl and cool.

veggie burger 8 (1280x956)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Add the bread crumbs, quinoa, egg and cheeses to the cooled veggie mixture.  Mix well.

veggie burger 9 (1280x956)

Use a large scoop to scoop onto baking pan (I lined mine with “release” foil).  Flatten or use a biscuit cutter and a spoon to flatten into even “burgers”

veggie burger 10 (1280x956)

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until browned to your desire.  Or grill over medium heat on “release” foil.  Try to flip only once.

veggie burger 11 (1280x956)

 

 

 


Apple Slaw Salad Dressing

APPLE SLAW DRESSING 1 (1280x956)

The apple slaw is marinating to release the juices from the apples and blend the flavors.

Grilled romaine topped with the apple slaw dressing makes a tasty perch for a grilled veggie burger.

Grilled romaine topped with the apple slaw dressing makes a tasty perch for a grilled veggie burger.

 

 

Here’s a great way to up the nutrition content of a salad dressing – add some grated apple for sweetness, crunch and flavor.  I created this hearty dressing to spoon over some grilled romaine and it was very good.  Depending on the sweet/tartness of your apples, you may wish to add some honey.  Let the dressing sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes after mixing to marinate and blend the flavors.  Serve immediately over the Grilled Romaine.  We had for lunch with a grilled Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burger and it was a great taste combination.

APPLE SLAW DRESSING 2 (1280x956)

Grilled romaine is almost ready for the apple slaw dressing.

Ingredients

2 small apples, peeled and grated – I used Gala because that is what I had

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

4 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Honey or your favorite sweetener to taste – wait until the flavors have blended a bit to taste before deciding if you need sweetener

Herbs to taste – I used some tarragon and chives.  Basil and mint would also be delish!

Cheese for Garnish – I used Feta.  Goat Cheese, Parmesan and Blue Cheese would be delicious as well.

Directions

Mix all ingredients except the garnish in a glass or stainless bowl and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.  Spoon over grilled romaine and garnish with the cheese.  Get creative if you like and garnish with dried fruit (think cherry, cranberry!) or fresh berries and perhaps some toasted nuts.  The sky is the limit – or at least your pantry or closest store…


Grilled Artichoke and Yogurt Dip

Hot and bubbling, straight out of the oven - yum!

Hot and bubbling, straight out of the oven – yum!

Wow! So many possibilities to get creative with this recipe, where to start?  At the beginning, I guess…  Our friends brought us a bag of grilled artichokes as a hostess gift the other night.  They looked yummy and the next day I decided to turn them into a healthy baked dip.  I did not have time to go to the store, so in true Creative Recipe fashion, I used whatever I had on hand.  I did not have mayo, which is the classic ingredient for a baked artichoke dip, but I did have fat-free plain yogurt (not Greek style), and I was going for healthy.  Searching online, I learned that yogurt can curdle a bit if baked at too high a temperature.  Absolutely does not affect taste.   There are tricks, according to my search, such as adding cornstarch to the yogurt or baking at a lower temperature.  But I wanted a nicely browned dip, and I’m a believer in just starting somewhere and changing one ingredient or technique at a time in the quest for perfection.  So I simply started with the yogurt, no thickener, a high enough oven to brown the dish and determined to note the results.  The flavors and texture were delicious, it browned beautifully, and yes…. the yogurt did curdle slightly.  Next time, I will add a thickener such as corn starch or rice flour to the yogurt to note that difference.  You could get very creative with some sautéed spinach and/or zucchini or summer squash to really load up the veggie quotient.  Here is the first go-round on this recipe and as you would expect, quantities are eye-balled:

Ingredients

1 bag grilled Artichoke Hearts, chopped (6 ounce bag) – These grilled hearts are certainly worth seeking out, but you could used canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped.  There are also frozen artichoke hearts that may work, though I would recommend thawing and draining well first.

ARTICHOKE YOGURT BAKED DIP 4 (1280x956)

Roasted Red Peppers, chopped (hmmmm…. 1/2 cup or so?)

A few Celery tops, minced

Minced Vidalia Onion – about 2 tablespoons

Garlic – if desired (I omitted because the grilled artichokes were flavored with garlic.  If I used canned, I would add some garlic)

Fresh Lemon Juice – about 1 teaspoon

Dill Weed – 1 to 2 teaspoons, to your taste.  Basil would also be good, maybe tarragon or oregano, depending on your veggie choices.  Get creative!

Plain Non-fat Yogurt – approximately 1 cup

Cheese – I used a combination of shredded Parmesan, Goat Cheese and Feta Cheese – about 1 -1/2 cups.  Cream cheese would also melt nicely.  Get creative, but perhaps avoid cheeses that get too “oily” as they melt.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

ARTICHOKE YOGURT BAKED DIP 1 (1280x956)ARTICHOKE YOGURT BAKED DIP 2 (1280x956)

Place in an 8 x 8 square glass pan (I did not grease).  Top with some more Parmesan Cheese.

ARTICHOKE YOGURT BAKED DIP 3 (1280x956)

Bake, uncovered, approximately one hour or until browned and bubbly.

Variations:

If you add veggies with a high water content such as fresh spinach or squash, I would recommend grating the squash and chopping the spinach.  Then sauté in a small amount of olive oil until the liquids that naturally leach out evaporate.  That way you will not have a watery dip.

Maybe some bread crumbs (gluten free or Panko) or potato chip crumbs would be good on top?  Just brainstorming…

This would be a great topping for a baked potato bar or veggie burgers – try the Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burger.  What creative ideas and variations do you have?

Grilled artichoke yogurt dip is a zesty, cheesy topping for these burgers.

Grilled artichoke yogurt dip is a zesty, cheesy topping for these burgers.