Appetizers Recipes

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Hash Browns with Goat Ricotta and Chorizo Recipe

Lulu worked from home today, so I brought him breakfast in bed. I love this little ritual we have once in a while. It's my way of showing him how much I love him. I love seeing my hubby's smile when I give him special treats in the morning.

I made some hash browns with goat ricotta cheese and placed a surprise vegetarian chorizo in the center. The chorizo adds a little spiciness to the dish without overpowering the hashbrowns and also some protein. The goat cheese has a tangy taste and velvety texture that complements the other components of the dish quite well.  There's nothing wrong with good ol' fashioned hash browns (we get them from the local pancake house all the time), but if you're in the mood for something a little different, this is a great recipe to try.


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Creamy Ricotta and Bell Pepper Crostini Recipe

What do you do with stale bread? Make crostini. It's one of my favorite ways of turning a day-old baguette into an elegant appetizer. I love them and could eat a ton!

Typically, crostini is grilled (or toasted) bread that is covered with a flavorful topping. I made mine with a red bell pepper purée and paired it with left-over goat ricotta cheese. The cheese brings some creaminess to the topping and I love the subtle taste of the chèvre (goat in French). I flavored the crostini with some fresh mint and Meyer lemon from the garden.


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Grilled Polenta with a Creamy Lemon Caper Goat Ricotta Cheese Sauce Recipe

Polenta is a fine-ground corn that is pretty easy to prepare. It can either be prepared soft and creamy, or dry and firm. Personally, I prefer the consistency of the firm version. The preparation is fairly simple; just constantly whisk the cornmeal in liquid until each grain swells up, refrigerate and cut into slices. Right before you're ready to serve, place the polenta on a grill pan to create some nice grill marks.

To create the perfect summer dish, I've paired grilled medallions of polenta with a creamy lemon caper goat ricotta cheese sauce. It's divine!


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Summer Vegetables and Hummus Pizza Recipe

Hummus pizza breaks the traditional rules by using a garbanzo bean spread instead of the standard tomato sauce. I added some Mediterranean ingredients to keep the flavor fresh, such as asparagus, garlic, roasted red bell peppers and artichoke hearts.

It's the perfect recipe for a light summer meal; the few shavings of parmesan cheese is the only sinful ingredient in an otherwise very healthy pizza.


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Carpaccio de Radis (Radish Salad with Herb-Infused Olive Oil) Recipe

I love red radishes. It's such an under-utilized and under-appreciated vegetable. The taste is clean, crisp, and mild. Unlike daikon or other kinds of radishes, they don't have a harsh mustardy flavor. Traditional carpaccio is thin slices of raw meat or fish, but I made a "carpaccio" out of the radishes by thinly slicing them with a mandoline.

In France, we would simply eat them with good quality butter, salt and pepper. Since the butter here in the US isn't as flavorful as the yellow butter produced by the grass-fed cows in France, I decided to liven up the dish with a truffle-Meyer lemon vinaigrette to make it more appealing. I drizzled Italian flat-leaf parsley-flavored oil for color. I chose flat-leaf parsley because it has a much milder flavor than cilantro. I wanted the radishes to be the focus of the dish and not be overpowered by other ingredients.


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