Summer Lettuce Cups

I made this up for the summer potluck. I wanted easy finger food with protein, not too heavy, and that featured juicy summer garden vegetables. Since the garden is currently spewing cucumbers and tomatoes, they got the job. I used lettuce cups as a wrap for the ingredients for added crunch, moisture-resistance, fiber and finger-food-ability. Bread or crackers would have become soggy and added an unnecessary caloric burden/blood sugar spike.

Best of all worlds - it’s delicious, not messy, tastes great, and feels good in the body later on too. A true Happiness recipe.

Ingredients: package of tempeh (a package of tempeh will give you about 12-13 batons), or 24 smaller half batons, 12 or 24 leaves of butter lettuce, or another firm’ish lettuce that has medium-sized bowl-shaped leaves - endive would work well too. 12 or 24 Cherry tomatoes, cucumber cut into 12 or 24 batons, tzatziki sauce (see next recipe).

  • cut tempeh into 1/4 inch thick batons, marinate in your favorite salad dressing. (I use a home-made balsamic)

  • sauté in olive oil medium heat until golden brown on all sides, set aside to cool

  • make tzatziki sauce while tempeh is marinating (see next recipe, or create your own creamy sauce)

Bring all the ingredients separately to your event along with a nice platter, and find an accomplice to help you. A great way to easily meet new people is to ask them for help with food prep!

To assemble, put a green leaf down on the platter, add a piece of tempeh, a cherry tomato and a cucumber baton. Drizzle lightly with tzatziki sauce. Serve as individual bites, sushi-style for people to nab, wrap and eat in a bite or two.

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Spinach Balls

from Candy Longyear:

Ingredients

  • 6 cup fresh spinach leaves trimmed, washed (230 g) see note for frozen/cooked spinach

  • 3 cup boiling water

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (60g) – I used Cheddar, use grated parmesan or grated emmental for more cheese flavor

  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs of your choice, finely chopped I used cilantro

  • 1 cup Gluten Free Panko Crumbs (75 g)

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to  350 F (180 C).

    2. Trim and wash the fresh spinach leaves.

    3. Place the leaves in a large mixing bowl and over with boiling water. Cover and set aside for 3 minutes.

    4. Rinse the spinach with cold tap water. Drain using your hands to squeeze all the remaining water. You should obtain about 2/3 cup (160 g) of packed cooked spinach leaves. If you are using frozen spinach, defrost and measure this quantity.

    5. Place on a chop board and finely chop the cooked spinach. Transfer into a mixing bowl.

    6. Add eggs, cheese, herbs and panko gluten free crumbs. You can also add salt and pepper if your cheese is not very salty. I did not add salt.

    7. Combine with a spoon or your hands, until it forms a batter from which you are able to form balls with your hands or use a small cookie scoop maker to avoid the mess

    8. If too moist add slightly more crumb until easy to roll as ball with your hands palms.

    9. Place the balls on a non-stick cookie tray covered with baking paper.

    10. Bake at 350F (180C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden on the top.

    11. Serve immediately or cold in luchboxes.

    12. Serve with dips of your choice like pesto, hummus or homemade ketchup.

    Recipe Notes

    Spinach measurement :  you need about 6 cups of fresh spinach. It makes about 2/3 cup (160 g) of cooked, squeezed and packed spinach. It is ok to use frozen spinach as soon as you have 2/3 cup cooked, squeezed, packed spinach.

    Cheese options: you can replace grated cheddar but mozzarella, parmesan, colby, emmental or any hard grated cheese you love.

    Herbs options: those spinach balls are very tasty with fresh parsley, dill or basil. Use your favorite herb or mix it!

Elegant Appetizers: fruit, cheeses and drizzles

from Jerrie Will:

1.) orange slices with walnuts and black pepper. You could also add a drizzle of evoo. No real recipe except get really good oranges and slice crosswise.

2) Macoun apple and red pear slices with an assortment of local cheeses. I would bring this because macoun apples are my favorite and their season just ended (I stocked up) and I got some great blue and brie cheeses from the farmer’s market.

Grilled baby peppers in oregano vinaigrette

From Ellen Profenno

Ingredients:

1 lb baby peppers (sweet mini)

mix together in a small bowl for vinaigrette:

1 Tsp fresh oregano (*? dried?)

1 tsp olive oil, evoo

1/2 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp garlic salt (*fresh garlic and salt?)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

toss peppers with vinaigrette, thread onto pre-soaked wooden skewers. 2 skewers makes sure the peppers won’t spin. Using outdoor grill, or greased indoor grill pan, grill the peppers until evenly charred, flipping once or twice. It will take about 4-5 minutes per side, but stay vigilant.  once off the grill, serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with more oregano or vinaigrette. (*feta cheese and tomatoes as garnish? – E)

Stuffed Mushrooms

10 – 20 large mushrooms – wipe them clean and pop out the stems (chop these up finely).

goat cheese, balsamic vinegar

cooked brown rice (about a cup)

an onion, 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery all chopped fine

stock of your choice (1/2 C), garlic (2 cloves pressed, wait 10′), dried fruit (1/4 C) toasted nuts or seeds (1/4 C) maybe wine? a few leaves of sage or rosemary

Sauté the onions, carrots and celery ’til a bit browned (called a mirepoix or soffrito depending on if you are feeling French or Italian) add the mushroom bits, 2 cloves of squished garlic, and sauté some more. Add the stock, dried fruit and nuts, herbs, a splash of wine and let it all get acquainted on low heat for a bit. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

meanwhile… put a tiny splash of balsamic vinegar in the bottom of each mushroom cape, add a small scoop of goat cheese, and then mound a handful of filling into each mushroom.

Bake at 350 for about 30 – 45 min.  (top with cheese if you’d like – parm or romano.)  OMGOMGOMG!  nomnomnom!

feel free to experiment and make this your own creation.