jump to navigation

Guest of the Week: Walnut Balls December 3, 2008

Posted by schizodigestive in appetizers, cheesy goodness, Kip of the Week, tomato, vegetarian.
add a comment

These are from my longtime friend Anne, who paints landscapes, designs databases, plays the flute, and lives in the coastal redwood forest north of San Francisco. Her home is smack in the middle of one of the most beautiful parts of California, and here’s what she does with it.

This appetizer, like most of what Anne does, is excellent in a way that you’ll really notice. I make them once a year at the outside, because I want everybody to wait for them — they’re that good.

Mix together:

one cup walnuts, ground
one cup Parmesan cheese, grated
one cup breadcrumbs

Sauté until soft:

one large carrot, grated
one medium potato, grated
one medium yellow onion, grated

Combine the two mixtures and add:

Three eggs

The result should have about the same consistency as meatloaf. Roll this mixture into balls about an inch and a half in diameter. Sauté in butter or oil until firm and well browned.

At this point you can do one of two things. Bake these in a glass dish at 300° for 15 minutes, then serve them on toothpicks as appetizers — in which application they’re sort of like falafel, but a lot better. Or you can keep going:

Three or four Yukon gold potatoes, sliced fairly thin
Walnut balls as above
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (or whole ones cut up)

In a buttered baking dish, arrange overlapping potato slices. Add walnut balls in one layer. Pour tomatoes over. Cook covered in a 350° oven for one hour.

© Anne Kessler December 2008


KotW: Hot Carrots November 26, 2008

Posted by schizodigestive in appetizers, Kip of the Week, vegetarian.
add a comment

[Junk Food Girl is right; there have been two major episodes of culinary slacking in the last month, one provoked by volunteering for the election, and the other made necessary by the priority of untangling the chaos that my finances, etc., had become during the recent political frenzy. Therefore, I’m going to give you two for the price of one, as it were — a holiday appetizer you can make now, and stock-making instructions in time to get the most from the carcass of your turkey.]

Hot Carrots

In the 21st century, you can find “Mexican” cooking in various degrees of fidelity in almost every part of the United States… but it was not always so. In Boston in the early 1970s, all we knew about was Mexico City Mexican food, which mostly meant elaborate plate dinners with tortillas on the side… if any! So my first collision with Mexican food in the manner of a taqueria was as a tourist in San Diego in 1976 — where I also encountered these for the first time. Over the years, they’ve become sparse as a free side dish, which is too bad, since they’re great. Luckily, they’re also ridiculously easy to make.

one pound carrots, preferably four or five big ones
one-half cup pickled jalapeno pepper slices (“nacho slices”) with a little of their juice
one-half medium yellow onion, optional
one-half teaspoon dried oregano
one-half teaspoon dried thyme
two bay leaves
2 cups (about) rice wine vinegar or, lacking that, white vinegar

Set up either a large saucepan of water, or a double-boiler-type covered steamer, and bring it to a boil. Top, tip, and pare the carrots, and roll-cut them into bite-size pieces. If you’re using the onion, skin it and slice it thin. Steam or boil the cut carrots for three to five minutes, depending on how tender you like them — I tend toward the shorter time. Meanwhile, in a nonreactive quart container (a yogurt container is perfect), combine the pickled peppers, the optional onion, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves.

Add the carrots while they’re still hot from cooking, and quickly pour over enough vinegar to cover. Put the lid on the container and refrigerate it at least overnight. As simple vegetarian appetizers go, this is one of the best ever. Happy Thanksgiving!

ETA: I got asked “What’s the best thing to do if you want your hot carrots hotter?” Good point since my batch for Thanksgiving came out not all that hot.

It seems to me this would be a perfect application for Tabasco sauce — either red or green — which is vinegar-based. Don’t go wild, you don’t want to obliterate the flavor of either of the primary ingredients.

© /KC November 2008

Quickie: Not-so-original pinwheels. September 15, 2008

Posted by sarawr in appetizers, cheesy goodness, pig pig pig, quick & dirty.
add a comment

I should probably put in a disclaimer here: when I came up with the recipe I’m about to post, I truly thought I was a genius. People, I bragged about this. “It’s so good!” I said. “It’s so easy!” I was very smug, and I planned this post in meticulous detail.

Then I told my friend Heather about this recipe and she was like, “Oh, yeah, pinwheels. Those are good.” D’oh. Also, duh. Still, while this little snack-or-lunch option isn’t as creative as I’d thought, it is still tasty and super easy.


Several slices of deli ham — or, even better, prosciutto
Cream cheese (whipped, if you’re feeling fancy)
Chives or green onions
Paper towels


Chop up a small handful of the chives/onions. Lay out your ham slices and blot them with the paper towels. Put a teaspoon or so of cream cheese in the center of each slice, then dampen your hands with water and spread the cream cheese with your fingers. (I have tried to do this with a knife, and without blotting the ham, and all that happens is Cream Cheese Ham Skating.) Sprinkle a generous line of chopped chives down the center of each ham-cheese concoction, then roll the whole thing up.

Et voila. You have either a tasty snack, a delicious hors d’oeuvre, or — if you’re a busy freelancer with a deadline and a hungry pre-schooler — dinner. You can cut the rolls in half and place each one on a garlic Triscuit if you want to be really fancy. Black olives make a nice accompaniment too.

(Be gentle with me, guys. I’m going to attempt gingerbread in the next few days — if it turns out well I might have a real recipe for you!)