Shrimp Dip…

Graduation parties and summer cookouts boast of fun and food. And if you’re in the position to be hosting one, you’re probably thinking about what you can do that is delicious but easy to make. That way you can spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen.

This recipe fits the bill. It’s a really easy dip that takes no time to make and is loaded with flavor. Serve it with a combination of chips, pretzels and crackers for an appetizer that looks casual but tastes decadent.

So let’s talk shrimp dip…

Lesson Learned 1 – Use LOTS of shrimp: I used a 12 oz. bag of frozen cooked and deveined shrimp. I thawed the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight and then chopped it up into small bite sized pieces. I kept a couple of shrimp to garnish the top of the dip (of course you don’t have to do that) and all the rest went into the dip. My point being this is a shrimp dip – the more shrimp the better.

If you’re lucky like I was you can catch the shrimp on sale. The twelve ounce bag only cost me $7.99 so I got a deal. Keep a look out for sales on the frozen shrimp if you’re looking to keep the cost down on this dip. I already had all the other ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry except the celery so I was able to splurge a little with the shrimp.

Lesson Learned 2 – If your celery stalks still have the green leaves on them use them as well: For this particular recipe all you really need is one medium sized celery stalk chopped. Normally you can buy individual stalks at the grocery store instead of buying a whole head of celery. When I only need a little celery I always try to buy a stalk that has some leaves on it. Those leaves chopped up and put into the dip add additional depth of flavor. So don’t be afraid to use them as well.

Lesson Learned 3 – If you can, make this recipe the day before: Like almost any dish, the more the ingredients are acquainted directly relates to upping the wow factor of the flavor. So it is with this dish. It is such an easy dish to make that it shouldn’t be too difficult to make it the day before and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. But if you’re in a rush and need something quick, you can serve this the same day and it will still be very good.

The recipe itself is very straightforward so there’s not a lot of lessons learned to share with it. Just follow the directions, use some creativity in your presentation (you can dress it up with a combination of chips, pretzels and crackers) and watch it disappear. This one is a no brainer. Try it and tell me what you think.

Shrimp Dip...

  • Servings: Multiple
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature

1 – 12 oz. package of frozen cooked and deveined medium sized shrimp, thawed and chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp. garlic fleur de sel (you can substitute garlic salt)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 lemon slice for garnish, optional

1/4 cup celery, chopped (one medium sized stalk)

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

1/8 tsp. paprika, for garnish, optional (you can also use some sprigs of fresh herbs like thyme)

Crackers, potato chips and/or pretzels for serving

DIRECTIONS:

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the mayo, lemon juice and fleur de sel. Mix to thoroughly combine. With a wooden spoon stir in the shrimp, celery and scallions.

Place mixture in a serving dish. Garnish with paprika and a lemon slice or some sprigs of lemon thyme. Serve with pretzels, chips and/or crackers. (If making the day before wait to garnish the dip until you’re ready to serve.)

cut shrimp into small bite sized chunks

serving suggestion with fresh thyme sprigs as garnish

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Hard Salami Roll Ups With Olive Garnish…

A bunch of residents in my condo association have taken to meeting every Thursday for “happy hour”. It started last summer when the outdoor pavilion was finally constructed on our grounds and spilled over to the winter months with various residents opening up their condos to host. It’s a great way to get together and chit chat over a glass of wine and appetizers. Everything is BYO and it has evolved over time to quite the weekly thing to do.

So the challenge is what to make for an appetizer every week. No one is expected to bring anything but you know how that works. Someone in the group always brings cooked shrimp, someone always brings jalapeño poppers (frozen and made in the oven), various dips make appearances, the usual various kinds of chips, and one guy even brings 3 different bottles of good red wine (he is a wine aficionado and has a large free standing wine cellar in his garage loaded with various wines – he loves to share them).  Now I’m not one to go to something like this empty handed, as you may well imagine, so each week I try to think of something I can do that will be different from the usual stuff that shows up at these events. (I will admit there have been a couple of times when I was not in the mood and I just opted for some store bought guacamole or a good quality unusual kind of dip). I’ve brought my Cream Cheese, Spinach, Scallion and Bacon Pinwheels and my Basic Bruschetta, and this time I wanted something easy to make, easy to pick up and eat and interesting to look at. Hence my hard salami roll ups…

I based this recipe on something I saw online but wanted to add a little more zip to the cream cheese filling. I opted to add a few scallions and season the mixture with garlic Fleur de Sel and that took the filling over the top. Fleur de Sel is French sea salt. It’s grains are courser in texture than kosher salt and is typically used to brighten up a dish once it has been prepared. It was the perfect addition to the filling.

Needless to say these tasty little morsels were gobbled up pretty quickly so I knew I had a hit on my hands. They are a little time consuming to make but the end result is a tasty little morsel that your guests can just pop in their mouths. Everyone loved them.

So lets talk hard salami roll ups…

Lesson Learned 1 – Buy good salami: I used Boars Head salami sliced fresh from the deli. You want to make sure you use good salami as it is a key flavor ingredient in this recipe. Although it may be a little more expensive remember the old saying – garbage in, garbage out. You want the salami sliced thin but not paper thin. If you cut it almost like a shaving it will be very difficult to work with.

Lesson Learned 2 – the process for making these is just the same as making any type of tortilla roll up: In order to do roll ups you have to master the technique of how to apply the filling and learn how to perfect the roll. It’s really very simple and there only a few things to remember.

First is how to apply the filling on the roll up. You don’t want to put the filling on too thick. The picture below gives you an idea of how to do the filling. It is important to leave open edges all the way around so you don’t have filling oozing out of the sides or end seam when you roll up the salami. The thickness of the filling comes from how it spreads inside the salami during the rolling process so you don’t have to worry about that.

Second is how to do the rolling. Whether it’s salami, a tortilla or whatever you are using as the base of the roll up the process is the same. Think of the roll up in terms of top, bottom and two sides. First you want to take a small amount of the two sides and and fold them in toward the center. Then you take the bottom and begin rolling the salami onto itself. The picture below clearly shows how the sides have been folded in and the rolling process started at the bottom.

Continue rolling until you have created a log as pictured below.

I use this technique when making my pinwheels or when making enchiladas, it’s always the same. If you are careful in terms of how you put in your filling and master the folding and rolling, it becomes a breeze!

Lesson Learned 3 – What if you don’t have garlic Fleur de Sel: The answer is simple – just use garlic salt. But be careful. Garlic salt has a much finer consistency so you may want to cut the recipe portion in half at first, mix it in and then taste the filling to make sure it isn’t too salty. Remember the olive garnish will be salty as well so you don’t want the filling to negatively add to that.

Lesson Learned 4 – Make sure you chill the rolls after you make them: You create the filling by getting the cream cheese softened to room temperature and mixing it with the other ingredients. Once you create your rolls the cream cheese is too soft to cut the rolls into pieces without creating a big squishy mess. You need to chill the rolls for at least an hour so the cream cheese can harden again. (I put them altogether in a refrigerator bag as seen in the picture below).  That will make the pieces much easier to cut. Also be sure to use a very sharp knife when cutting the pieces to avoid squashing the rolls.

Lesson Learned 5 – For a smaller appetizer just cut the recipe in half: Cutting the recipe in half also makes plenty of roll ups as well. You will have some cream cheese mixture left over but you can use it on a bagel for breakfast or on a baked potato at dinner. I’m sure the remainder won’t go to waste. Think about how many people will be at your gathering and plan from there.

I had a lot of fun making these and it was the perfect appetizer finger food. I found some colorful cocktail forks and all the guests had to do was pick one up, pop it in their mouth and dispose of the fork. It was fun to make and easy to eat. Try it and let me know what you think.

Salami Roll Ups With Olive Garnish...

  • Servings: 50-60
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 pound of good hard salami, sliced thin but not paper thin

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature

3-4 scallions, chopped

1/4 tsp. garlic Fleur de Sel

1 24oz jar of green olives stuffed with pimento

Decorative cocktail forks

INSTRUCTIONS:

Beat together the softened cream cheese and scallions until well combined. Add the Fleur de Sel and stir to combine.

Place a small amount of the cream cheese mixture on a piece of salami, making sure to leave room all around the edges. Take the two sides and fold them in slightly toward the center. Begin rolling the salami from the bottom all the way to the top making sure the sides stay folded in during the rolling process. Repeat the same process with the other slices of salami. Place the rolls in a refrigerator bag and chill for at least one hour.

Remove the rolls from the bag and cut into bite-sized pieces (approximately 3 slices per piece of salami). Pierce an olive with a cocktail fork and push it in to the top of the roll up. Serve.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Savory Scallion And Cheese Bread…

The other night I just wanted to try something different. I know I can always whip up an artisan bread loaf but I wanted to try a more savory type of bread and decided to make this one. I will admit I made it twice because the first time something just did not seem right and I’ll explain why in my lessons learned. The second time, with the adjustments I made, I nailed it!

I love this bread for a variety of reasons. It is not designed to be a sandwich bread that’s for sure. This bread is a great accompaniment to almost any dinner you serve and it is fabulous reheated. So let’s talk savory scallion and cheese bread and I’ll share what I learned making it…

Lesson Learned 1 – Be very picky about the olive oil you use: The first time I made this bread with off-the-shelf Bertoli extra virgin olive oil. Big mistake! Now I’ve got nothing against Bertoli’s olive oil and I use it on a regular basis for my basic cooking needs. But the olive oil used here is designed to help enhance the flavor of the bread and so a basic cooking olive oil does little for that. As a matter of fact I felt it gave an unusual, almost borderline bitter flavor to the bread.

The second time I used garlic infused olive oil that a I got from a specialty shop – what a difference! This oil enhanced the bread and made a big difference in the flavor. So make sure you are using a good flavorful olive oil when making this bread.

Pepper Jack Cheese

Pepper Jack Cheese Cubes

Lesson Learned 2 – Choose good melting cheese: The first time I made this I used gruyere. I like gruyere but I didn’t think it did much for the bread. The second time I made the bread I used emmenthaler cheese. Now what’s emmenthaler you ask. Same here, I had no idea what emmenthaler was before I made this bread. Emmenthaler is actually swiss cheese. It is savory but not overpowering and it melts divinely. It is quite often used in fondues.

I actually used a combination of cheeses – I used shredded emmenthaler and cubed pepper jack. The pepper jack and cayenne pepper give the bread a nice but not overpowering bite. So those are the cheeses I recommend when making this recipe.

Emmenthaler Cheese

Emmenthaler Cheese

chopped scallionsLesson Learned 3 – Learn how to adapt: The recipe I adapted this from called for 1/3 cup of whole milk. I did not have any whole milk in the house but I had heavy cream and 2% milk. I filled the measuring cup three quarters of the way up with heavy cream and then filled the rest in with the 2% milk. I loved the way it turned out and I think the heavy cream did a lot to enhance the flavor of the bread.

You could also use chives or other herbs to enhance the flavor of the bread. I had scallions in the refrigerator so I chose to use them and that added great depth of flavor!

Lesson Learned 4 – This bread is divine reheated: When I was getting ready to make dinner the other night I cut a few pieces of the bread and put them in aluminum foil. I set my toaster oven to 350 and put the bread in for 20 minutes. It was fabulous!

I don’t often make savory breads so I’m very pleased with how this one turned out. The only changes I would recommend when making this at sea level is to increase the amount of baking powder from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon and to perhaps shorten the cooking time by about five minutes or so.  Other than that, everything else remains the same. Enjoy this one!

Savory Scallion And Cheese Bread…

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups of flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking powder (use 1 Tbs. for sea level baking)

1 1/2 tsp. of salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup whole milk (I used a combination of heavy cream and 2%)

1/3 cup garlic infused olive oil (or your olive oil of choice – good flavorful olive oil)

1 1/4 cup grated emmenthaler cheese (swiss cheese)

2 ounces pepper jack cheese, diced in small pieces

1/2 cup minced scallions

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk the eggs until they are frothy. Combine the milk and olive oil with the eggs and whisk together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined – do not over mix. Stir in the cheeses, scallions and walnuts and mix until combined.

Prepare an 8 x 4 loaf pan by either using butter or cooking spray. Put the batter into the pan and smooth out to the edges. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes (I baked to 45 minutes but I am at high altitude – I began checking the bread at 35 minutes) or until the bread is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Put the pan on a cooling rack and immediately run a knife along the edges to loosen the bread from the pan. After cooling in the pan for 5 minutes, remove the bread and let it cool on a wire rack (or once it has cooled slightly you can serve it warm).

Bread Ingredients

Savory Scallion And Cheese Bread

Savory Scallion And Cheese Bread

 Savory Scallion And Cheese Bread