All posts tagged: appetizer

Mama Gina’s Greek Hummus (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

What you are about to read is very coveted, top-secret information. As a Greek girl, hummus has always been a staple at our family table, especially on holidays, when family gatherings traditionally start with mezethes. Fresh-cubed feta cheese, Greek olives, grape leaves and creamy dips with pita bread are dug into by hand over lively conversation before moving to the table for the main meal. The star of our mezethes spread is always my mother’s homemade hummus. This recipe has been passed down from generations of Greek women, originating on the island of Samos with my grandmother’s relatives, travelling with my Yiayia to America where it settled into New York’s immigrant city blocks and finally landing with my mother in sunny Southern California and onto our suburban table. Over many years in LA, our family hummus was the favorite attraction at every gathering even before it became the de rigueur go-to Cali party snack. Many of our friends growing up were exposed to hummus for the first time at our house. But no matter how popular it …

Baked Pumpkin Fondue

Starting with Halloween and ending on New Year’s Day, the Holidays are a whirlwind of feasts and gatherings. I recently attended a Halloween Potluck Pumpkin Carving hosted by the best hostess and foodie, the lovely Hayley McCarthy (who was previously featured over the summer in my camp cooking article with her delicious gluten-free Banana Fritters recipe: HERE). For this festive gathering of costumed guests ready to show off their pumpkin carving skills, Hayley baked the most perfect, comforting and gorgeous Holiday dish I had ever seen! As she stepped out of the kitchen dressed in true Halloween fashion as Rosie the Riveter, her Baked Pumpkin Fondue was greeted with oohs and aahs and tasted even better than it looked–if that is even possible. Hayley made this special dish gluten-free to make sure I could partake. As soon as I tasted it, I could not wait to share this recipe with you! It’s absolutely the perfect Holiday dish and a wonderful way to use those leftover pumpkins you have been using for your fall decor. I’m so happy to feature this recipe share from …

Tuscan White Bean Dip (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

In California, it seems you can’t hit a single party without ten different people bringing hummus. Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE hummus. As a Greek girl, it comes with the territory. But if you’re looking for a new way to spice up your Mediterranean bean dip offerings for your next gathering, look no further than this unbelievably fast and tasty Tuscan White Bean Dip. Creamy, delicious and flavor-packed with just the right amount of chunk, this vegan and gluten-free side dish can be served warm or room temp. It’s a savory, hearty, mouth-and-soul-satisfying twist on a white bean dip to leave your guests begging for more. The best part? It literally takes ten minutes from start to finish, possibly less if you’re a Speedy McGee—the fastest gourmet meal you’ll ever make! It all happens in one pan with basically no clean-up. Try this recipe out and keep it in your back pocket as your secret weapon and be prepared to impress with zero fuss. Serve with vegetable crudités and crackers as an appetizer or with …

Your Weekend Hit List ~ 4th of July 2016!

Celebrating the 4th of July is all about The 4 F’s: food, friends, family & fireworks! Lucky for us, LA has plenty to offer for some good old-fashioned 4th of July fun! Here’s our run-down on the best ways to celebrate ‘Merica in LA this weekend… Thursday, June 30th~ For all our indie music heads out there, resident scoundrel & filmmaker James R. Petix will be screening his documentary on the Detroit music scene, It Came From Detroit, at Outer Space in Downtown LA. Outer Space: 605 East 4th Street, Los Angeles, California 90013. 8pm doors, 9pm film. It Came From Detroit is the ultimate inside look at the Motor City’s internationally renowned “garage rock” scene. Nearly a decade in the making, this feature documentary chronicles the action both before and after the White Stripes rose to fame and brought an international spotlight on the scene. Beginning with the hugely influential 1980s trio The Gories (and stretching back to a legacy that includes The Stooges and The MC5), the bands of the Detroit garage rock music …

Cheesy Zucchini Pinwheels ~ (Gluten Free)

This is the time of year when those long light-filled days extend into those fun summer nights. From outdoor bar-b-ques to concerts in the park, parties, dinners, picnics and outdoor movie nights galore, the revolving door of side dishes to offer at any given gathering can become a bit redundant. So in honor of my favorite time of year in LA, when it’s a parade of excuses to gather under the setting sun, I offer you some favorite quick and easy recipes to spice up your next potluck. Earlier this week, we celebrated the kick-off of summer activities featuring our Los Angeles Summer Outdoor Movie Guide and some recipes that would be fun to jazz up your next picnic spread. (Click HERE to see the article.) To continue this celebration of Food & Film, I want to offer you my Cheesy Zucchini Pinwheels–sure to impress your foodie friends at your next sunset picnic movie night.   These beautiful bite-sized rosettes are a simple and delicious taste of Italy that are not only healthy, gluten-free and grain-free, but can also be …

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Every spring the time warp begins. Spring catapults us into the year on a freight train to summer. Not only does it always feel like we all turn into busy bees at work, but birthdays, picnics and gatherings are a plenty. People feel the call of spring and come out of hibernation. It’s time to clean house & throw ourselves into work and play. So I thought, “What would be the most comforting, delicious dish to share and is the least time-consuming?” My spinach artichoke dip can literally be made in 10 minutes and tastes like a warm hug. Your friends will think you channeled your inner foodie and spent all day in the kitchen. I have never gotten more audible “MMMMmmmm”s from an appetizer than this quickie dish. I’ve always loved the idea of a good spinach and artichoke dip, but have always felt like there was too much cream and not enough spinach in every bite. Universally, other recipes include cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. The result is a white creamy dip with …

Texas Caviar ~ A New Year’s Appetizer

Growing up in Texas, holidays are a time for gathering and feasting on Tex-Mex flavors. In the South, there’s a tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. This Southern side dish is usually cooked with collard greens and ham. The peas symbolize prosperity, since they grow fatter when cooked. The greens symbolize money for the year ahead. Aside from adding that smokey flavor, the pork represents beneficial forward motion, since pigs forage by rooting forward. Texas Caviar is our no-nonsense version of black-eyed pea good luck to ring in the New Year. Combined with fresh lime, pico de gallo & guacamole, this dip is a winner at any party! Texas Caviar 6 medium Roma tomatoes 2 cans of black-eyed peas 1 small red onion or ½ a large red onion 1 jalapeno ¼ cup minced cilantro 3 small avocados or 2 large avocados 4 limes salt to taste Any variety of tomato is delicious to use in this recipe, but Roma tomatoes are very easy to de-seed and the flesh is less watery than other varieties. Slice the tomatoes …