Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A tasty Holiday one-bite appetizer

Holiday parties are now in full swing. I have the perfect little appetizer that is original, super tasty, fun to eat and vegan.  Pinto bean, Mushroom & Avocado Tostada Bites are perfect little one-bite appetizers sure to make your friends super impressed. They are pretty to look at and exciting to taste with lots of different colors, textures and flavors all in one bite.

These tostada bites are so satisfying and creamy, that most folks won’t believe that they are vegan. And since they are served on a corn chip, they are also gluten-free. This is a perfect holiday appetizer for both meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike. I hope you and all your friends enjoy these tasty one bite Foodgasms!
Chef Ashley Simone making avocado puree or her appetizer.

Pinto bean, Mushroom & Avocado Tostada Bites

You’ll need 1-2 cups small round corn chips
For the bean mixture
       •      1 can of pinto beans with liquid (about 1 ½ cups)
       •       ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
       •       ¼ cup chopped roasted Poblano pepper (roast the pepper in the oven or on a    
                grill till slightly charred)
       •       2 cloves of chopped garlic
       •       1 tablespoon olive oil
       •       ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
       •        ¼ teaspoon cumin
       •        ¼ teaspoon ground clove
       •        ¼ cup water
       •        1-2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
       •        salt/pepper to taste

In a small sauté pan put in the oil and heat over a medium flame. Sauté the onion, garlic, and roasted Poblano pepper till soft. Add in the paprika, cumin, ground clove and sauté for 1 more minute. Add in beans with liquid, water and lime juice. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat. Softly mash the mixture with a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

For the mushrooms
       •        1 clove of chopped garlic
       •        1 tablespoon olive oil
       •        2 cups medium chopped portabella mushrooms
       •        dash of cayenne pepper
       •        2 teaspoons lime juice
       •        salt/pepper to taste
Over a medium high flame heat the oil olive in a small skillet. Add the garlic, mushrooms, cayenne, and lime juice. Sauté till soft and slightly caramelized on the edges. Slat and pepper to taste and set aside.

For the avocado puree
       •        2 ripe avocados
       •        2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
       •        2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
       •        salt to taste
Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the flesh into a food processor or blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix/blend till creamy. Set aside.

For the topping
      •        1 plum tomato, brunoised  (very finely diced)
      •        1/8 cup red onion, brunoised
      •        dash lime juice
      •        salt/pepper to taste

Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix.

For the assembly
Take a corn chip; add a small dollop of the bean mixture and smooth to the edges. Add a little of the mushrooms on top of the bean mixture. Next add the avocado puree on top of the mushroom layer. The avocado puree can be added as a dollop from a spoon or piped on in a pastry bag. Then add a small sprinkling of the topping on top of the avocado puree. Repeat for the remaining chips and serve.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beaujolais Nouveau: A youthful red wine for the Fall

Cheers! I think today is a great day for a glass of red wine. Today is a unique and fun day in the world of wine. And boy, do I love wine. Wine makes Foodgasmic food even better. Today is the day a special type of wine is released once a year. It is Beaujolais Nouveau, a red wine made from Gamay grapes, which are grown in the Beaujolais region. Beaujolais Nouveaus are released the third Thursday of November. 



This wine is very “youthful,” having been harvested this year and fermented for only a few weeks. Beaujolais Nouveaus are meant to be drunk in this youthful stage and not for keeping or aging. The color is a purplish pink and has a light body with a bright, simple flavor.


Many people like to celebrate this day with Beaujolais Nouveau parties. I too think the release of a special type of wine is a GREAT idea for a party. So today, go out and buy a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and celebrate this fantastic wine full of youth!



Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Slider that's Good for You!

Who doesn’t love something cute, especially cute mini food. With the holiday season upon us, now is a great time to have some great appetizer recipes.  Mini burgers or sliders are fun to eat and super tasty. This recipe is for a vegan Black Bean Slider. Of course you can use this recipe to make full-sized burgers as well.

These sliders are super fun to have at parties and will disappear quickly, so making more than one batch is probably recommended. I like to serve these sliders on mini rolls with a cute toothpick or opened faced on a piece of French bread. And what I like about this recipe is that it can easily be made vegetarian by using gluten free breadcrumbs and served on gluten free rolls. Hope your holiday season is both happy and delicious! Enjoy.

Black Bean Sliders
(Vegan, can be gluten-free)
Makes 8-10 sliders

3 cups cooked and rinsed black beans (or 2 cans of black beans, rinsed)
1 cup red pepper, finely diced (probably one large pepper)
½ cup red onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 small limes)
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce (or other hot sauce)
½ cup plain bread crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs)

Put 3 cups of cooked black beans in a medium-sized bowl and mash with potato masher until all the beans are broken apart. To this, add the diced red pepper, red onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, ground cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika, ground coriander, salt, pepper, hot sauce and bread crumbs.

Form into little balls and flatten to little patties (about  ¼ to ½ cup of the mixture for each, depending on the size of your buns).  Refrigerate for ½ hour or longer, if possible.  Sauté in a frying pan with a dash of olive oil until browned and crispy on both sides.

Serving suggestions
Put on your favorite mini roll with pesto mayonnaise, or sharp cheddar cheese with mango chutney. If keeping them vegan you can use vegan cheeses and a vegan mayonnaise to garnish. You can also serve these open-faced on a piece of sliced French bread.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Something to do with Kale

Now that the weather is turning chilly, hearty and filling meals are on the menu. Fall is the perfect time for this super hearty and healthy stew. This soup has a Moroccan feel and is very satisfying. I love that it’s both vegan and gluten-free, but still full of fantastic flavor. This soup is super packed with vitamins, minerals and protein along with very little fat, making it an almost guilt-free pleasure.

You can enjoy this soup as a meal in itself or as hearty appetizer for your dinner. I hope you enjoy this tasty and healthy Foodgasmic soup as much as I do. 


           Kale and Garbanzo Bean Stew
                                Vegan • Gluten- Free

1 medium onion, julienned (about 1 ½ cups)
4 Tablespoons olive oil (use roasted garlic olive oil if you have some)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups kale, cleaned, de-stemmed and thinly chopped.
4 cups cooked garbanzo beans (you can use canned as well)
3 cups canned whole tomatoes
5 cloves of roasted garlic
3 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 ½ teas lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (season throughout the cooking process)
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

In large pot, sauté the onion and red pepper flakes in the olive oil over a medium high heat till the onions are soft and translucent (about 2-3 minutes).

Add the kale to the pot, 2 cups of the vegetable broth, the roasted garlic and the lemon zest. Let it cook down for 8-10 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally over medium heat. 

Then add in garbanzo beans, tomatoes and 1 cup more the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper.  Let simmer over medium low heat for about 8-10 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve hot in bowls and enjoy.