Archive for Appetizers and Munchies

Prickly Pear Adventures

Prickly Pears A coworker of hubby’s was throwing a party to celebrate their anniversary and housewarming. She had a challenge for me, she was wondering if she provided the prickly pears from her cacti could I come up with a salad? Always up to a recipe challenge, I said sure. She sent a large bowl of the fruit home with hubby and, of course, first thing I did was taste them

Prickly Pears

I immediately noticed upon cutting them open was the large concentration of inedible seeds. The seeds were easily scooped out, tho, and I took a bite of the juicy flesh. It’s a different taste, hard to explain, but sort of a savory watermelon. And the lovely dark pink/purple color juice went everywhere. So I conned hubby, my sous chef, into seeding the prickly pear fruit.

With a little thought I decided the flavor would play off nicely in a sweet/heat salsa. To get the sweetness I wanted I roasted a 2 pound assortment of hot and sweet peppers, garlic and red onion.

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Processing in the large bowl of a food processor, and working in batches, I whizzed all the veggies & a good handful of cilantro.

Along with the processed peppers, garlic, onion and fruit, I mixed in the juice of a lemon and lime along with a pinch of salt

Garnished with some cilantro and sliced lemon, lime and prickly pear fruit

Serve with chips.

Andrea has promised us more prickly pear fruit and I am looking forward to trying out some new recipes.

Prickly Pear Salsa

2 lbs mixed peppers (I used half heat and half sweet)
1 large red onion
1 head garlic
1 handful cilantro leafs
1/2 lb prickly pear fruit, de-thorned, sliced in half and deseeded
juice of 2 lemons and 1 lime
pinch of salt

On large baking sheets arrange peppers and garlic head in a single layer. Peel the onion and cut in 1″ sections, arrange on baking sheets. Roast at 350 for 30 minutes or so, turning halfway thru.

Prepare the prickly pear fruit by removing the thorns, slicing in half and scooping out the seeds with a spoon.

In batches process the peppers, garlic, fruit and cilantro leafs. Mix in a pinch of salt. Chil at least 6 hours for the flavors to meld. Garnish with slices of lemons, limes, prickly fruit and cilantro leafs.

Serve with chips.

Italian Nachos

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Several years ago we visited an Italian restaurant that offered Italian Nachos on their menu. Fried pasta topped with Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, sausage, pepperoncini, black olives. How could you go wrong? They were decadent and delicious and repeat visits required this dish be ordered. Until our last visit, that is. They were off the menu and when we inquired the waitress said they wouldn’t be coming back. You can imagine my surprise when I saw the no-longer-available nachos delivered to another table. Seems if you were in with the manager you could still order them. We didn’t go back. Since then I have pondered them off and on and this year, for Super Bowl snacking, I decided it was time to make them.

First thing we had to do was break out the seldom used deep fryer. It was under several layers of dust and required a thorough cleaning before getting started. We cut wontons into triangles, deep fried them until golden brown. A light salting as they came out of the oil and then let them drain and cool.

Next we assembled the toppings: Alfredo sauce, Italian sausage (browned), mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, roasted red peppers, black olives. The toppings can be mixed up to meet your taste buds. I forgot to get pepperoncinis or they would have been on there as well.

On a baking sheet lined with foil (for easy cleanup) down went a layer of ‘chips’, drizzled Alfredo sauce, Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan and peppers. Each layer was repeated 2 more times before being topped with black olives (only on half…I don’t do olives on my half) before going into a hot oven (350 degrees) for about 15 minutes until hot and the cheese has melted.

Yup….just as good as we remembered.