Lovely Local Appetizers

Finger food can be wholesome and delicious!

Saturday is going to be cold and icy. No reason to leave home, especially when you can gather some friends for a viewing party that’s all about local food: TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” is happening this Saturday, January 21st, at the Times Center in New York City. If you aren’t planning to be there in person, please join a local viewing party or tune in on your own.

To watch online, please visit www.livestream.com/tedx from 10:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. eastern.

To find out if there’s a viewing party in your area, please visit www.tedxmanhattan.org/viewing-parties.

And while you’re partying, here is some finger food to munch on, using the best of the season’s offerings and local food.  Also check out  Whole Earth Center facebook page. They have fab recipes, too.

A fancy name for cheese puffs. Very easy to make. Use smaller eggs, which is often the case when using backyard or farm eggs.
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons salted butter cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
A small pinch of cayenne or milder chili pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup grated Cherry Grove Farm Havilah

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oil it very well.

Combine the water, butter, salt, and chile or pepper in a saucepan and heat until the butter is melted.

Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl (this step is important because you want to make sure the dough is cool enough and won’t cook the eggs.

Mix in the eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly to make sure the eggs don’t cook.

Add about 3/4 of the grated cheese, mix.

Scrape the mixture into a large zip lock bag. Cut one of the corners to create an opening about 1/2 inch wide. Pipe the dough into mounds, evenly-spaced apart, making each about the size of a small cherry tomato.

Top each pop with a bit of the remaining cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375 F and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until puffs are completely golden brown.

Endive Boats, filled with Herdsman and Winter Salad (adapted from Patricia Wells)
2 carrots, peeled and slice into Julienne
1 large bulb fennel, trimmed and slice into Julienne
coarse sea salt
1/2 cup creamy lemon-chive dressing (recipe to follow)
2 raw beets
1 bunch radishes, rinsed and trimmed sliced thin
½ lb Cherry Grove Farm Herdsman, thinly sliced
Belgian endive heads, separated into leaves.
Capers, for garnish

In separate bowls, toss the carrots and the fennel with just enough dressing to lightly coat the vegetables.

Place beets in a baking dish and roast at 400 F for about 45 minutes. Peel the beets. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice crosswise into thin julienne. In a medium bowl, toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat the radishes. Set aside.

Slice the onions into thin rings. Place in a bowl and toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat the onions.

On each fennel leaf arrange an overlapping layer of the cheese. On top of the cheese, arrange slices of carrots. Repeat for fennel, beets and radishes. Garnish with capers, fried or raw.

Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing (From Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup light cream
1/3 cup finely minced fresh chives

In a small jar combine the lemon juice and the salt. Cover and shake to dissolve the salt. Add the cream and chives. Shake to blend. Taste for seasoning. Store, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week. Shake to blend again before using.

Dips…Can’t go wrong. Use the Village Bakery’s crackers sold exclusively at Cherry Grove Farm:

Bean and Sage Dip
1/4 cup olive oil
4 clove garlic, sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked  cannellini beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
Whole Fried Sage Leaves for Garnish

Combine oil, garlic, onion, sage and salt in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the onion is softened but not browned, 6 to 9 minutes. Stir in beans and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Add vinegar and puree until smooth. Serve warm or cold.

Serve as dip in a hollowed little pumpkin, garnished with fried sage leaves.

Pumpkin-Tahini Dip
2 cups pumpkin puree (roast butternut squash or cheese pumpkin in their skin at 400 F until soft. Scrape the flesh out into a bowl.
2 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon freshly toasted and ground cumin seed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Olive oil to taste, thin the dip.
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine everything in a blender and blend to a smooth dip. Garnish with toasted sesame eeds. Use whole cinnamon sticks as serving spoons.

Sabina’s Dahl
2 tablespoons Pure Indian Foods ghee 
11/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons curry powder
1-3 teaspoons chili flakes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 cups brown lentils
1 large can Jersey Fresh crushed tomatoes
2 medium organic sweet potatoes, scraped and diced
8-10 cups water
1 cup coconut milk (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper Lime juice to taste.

In a heavy pot, sauté onion in ghee with a pinch of salt until onion starts to soften, about 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and sauté another 2 minutes. Add curry, chili flakes, cumin and another pinch salt. Stir until you can smell the aroma of the spices and onions are soft. Add lentils, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, stir and let cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water and bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Take off the heat, stir in coconut milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice. Can be made up to 4 days ahead.

Originally published at http://www.princetoneats.org/

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