Party Drinks and Appetizers

Pumpkin Hummus

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Daniel Fast Recipes, Party Drinks and Appetizers | 2 comments

My friend Jacqueline sent a recipe for Pumpkin Hummus wondering if it could be prepared without a food processor.  At first, I deduced that it would not be smooth enough without the big whirl, then reconsidered.







Beginning with a can of pumpkin and adding the remaining ingredients using a hand held mixer-- is as easy as pumpkin pie.  I used the Cuisinart.








The result (using a mixer) may not be as smooth and creamy but—it is a delicious surprise with an autumn-style twist on traditional Middle Eastern spread.








Light, lemony with a little kick and foolproof too; zizz this up and see who can identify the mystery ingredient!








Pumpkin Hummus


  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish


  1. Place all the ingredients except parsley and pepitas into the bowl of a food processor or blender; and process until smooth. Stir in parsley. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl and garnish with pumpkin seeds if desired. Serve with toasted pita wedges.




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Relish or Salad?

Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Party Drinks and Appetizers | 3 comments









Memorial Day is only 2 weeks away!

As the weather heats up and more cooking goes outdoors or is packed up for the beach—I pickled up.

I vaguely recall one of my sons’s being a pickle juice drinker—in high school.  You know who you are!

The spicy mix of pickled vegetables that land alongside an authentic plate of tacos and beans are a similar version of Italian giardiniera.  They also ride pretty well with sandwiches or burgers.








This quick recipe combines my favorite vegetables.  Choose the ones you like for a batch that keeps well in the refrigerator or may be packed into glass jars for hostess gifts.








Begin by bringing the pickling liquid to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar.  I added only 1/2 teaspoon of crushed pepper.  If you were a Chew host you would add lots more.








The remaining task is to systematically blanch each vegetable.







Four minutes seemed the right time lapse for the dense vegetables before fishing them out








and tumbling them into ice water.









Pour the hot liquid into a large bowl.








Let the vegetables drain and dry on a  clean dish towel.








Plunge them into the hot liquid.








I added Peperoncini for my pickled pepper loving son.  You might add cherry peppers or jalapeno.









Toss the the mixture well before







adding a plate and a weight.  This keeps the vegetables submerged while they hang out and chill for the next 24 hours.











Countdown to grilling season starts now!

Quick Pickled Vegetables


  • Pickling Liquid:
  • 2 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
  • Vegetables:
  • 1 head, (2 pounds) trimmed cauliflower florets (6 cups)
  • 1 red pepper, cut into squares
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into squares
  • 3 large carrots cut into thick slices (3 cups)
  • 1 cup drained whole Peperoncini
  • 1 cup large stuffed green olives
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted


  1. Bring pickling liquid to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have another large bowl of ice and water ready to cool vegetables. Add cauliflower to the pot and boil until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to the ice water. Continue to cook remaining vegetables in the same manner. Drain the vegetables and spread out onto a kitchen towel to dry.
  3. Add cooked vegetables, Peperoncini, and olives to the pickling liquid. Mix well. Weight the vegetables with a plate to keep them submerged, then chill, covered, at least a day.




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P Is for Avocado

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in Party Drinks and Appetizers | 2 comments

I am not an authority on avocado species but I know scrumptious!

My pick is the tallest guy in the line-up...

California produces 90 percent of the avocados consumed in the Unites States—most are grown from San Luis Obispo south, with San Diego the largest producers.

As a native Californian I am accustomed to seeing and eating Hass and Fuerte avocados.








MP and I have discovered and fallen in love with the Pinkerton avocado.








The Pinkerton was hybridized in Ventura County in the late 50’s and brought to market by Dan Pinkerton.  Uh-huh.  I bet you figured that one out on your own.

The fruit is elongated with a smaller seed.  I have noticed it ripens from the neck down—so I have learned to slice it at the bottom of the neck just above the seed rather than lengthwise.  I brush the exposed bottom with cider vinegar and wrap it tightly for cold storage if I am not using the entire avocado.

The irresistible creamy and nutty fruit contains less water and has a richer oil content which makes it smooth and free from stringiness.

Spread it like butter on a sandwich or toast.








Guacamole with your favorite chips.








We adorn warm salads and pasta with big chunks.








They take a while to ripen but --so worth the wait!

I add a touch of sun-dried tomato slivers to my guacamole which adds traces of smokiness.

Do you have a guacamole secret?



  • 3 medium-large (about 1 1/4 pounds) ripe avocados
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/3 cup)
  • 4-5 slices pickled jalapeno slices, chopped (to taste)
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/4 cup soft sun-dried tomatoes, (dry on paper towel if oil packed), chopped
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • (to taste)


  1. Cut around each avocado, from stem to blossom end and back again, and then twist the two halves apart. Dislodge the pit and scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl.
  2. Using two knives chop the avocado into a small course dice.Mix the onion into the avocado, along with the chilies, tomatoes and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and lime juice.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate until you're ready to serve (for best results, this needs to be within a couple of hours). Scoop the guacamole into a serving dish
  4. Serves 6- 9



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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Party Drinks and Appetizers | 4 comments


For countless years we have remembered Memorial Day with friends at our home.  We are reading and contemplating a book called Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  We were thrilled to speculate we'll be eating and drinking in the New Earth!

After making the decision not to serve appetizers, I found myself with some blue cheese that needed to be used.

Simply something something… I fancied a showstopper big idea in a small bite.

Time was short.









Blue Cheese, White Cheddar, Butter, Flour, and Rosemary








I began to process the butter with the rosemary








and decided it called for some fresh ground pepper too.








Keen tiny bits of  green rosemary.








In go the two cheeses.








Combine the cheeses with the butter.  You might want to add salt too.  Taste it.

At this spot it could become a compound butter or a topping for potatoes or?








I added flour








and pulsed it into a nice clump.








After rolling it out, I pawed through a zillion cookie cutters.








This was just the right size.








A poke with a cocktail fork








and a pinch of Kosher salt.








Adorable petite biscuit.

Tender buttery, salty, flakey, cheesy, piney blue bites.

Now where is that fishy cookie cutter and block of Extra Sharp Tillamook?


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The Super Moon and Mangos

Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Party Drinks and Appetizers | 1 comment

The Super Moon and Mangos

The Super Moon was to appear yesterday and we were all waiting and wondering if we could see it with our own two eyes!  Overcast and weather could have ruined it.  At exactly 8:35 last night I caught a photo between two palm trees.












It was also Cinco de Mayo which is another reason to have good Mexican food.  MP asked me to turn a Wild Boar roast into Carnitas.  I slow cook the meat with toasted crushed cumin, coriander, chilis, garlic and onions.

The finest element of the meal for me are the home made black beans and the Mango or Papaya and Avocado Salsa.

Plans changed and he was away.  Which left me to spend the day with some lovely perfectly ripe mangos.








This one was weeping...

First up.

Mango Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting












































My neighbors are polite and sample my baking prototypes.








Next was the salsa.

Mango, Red Pepper, Purple Onion, Garlic, Jalapeno, and Cilantro.

The orange and the lime are naked because I used their zest in the cupcake frosting.








Yes, I could have done this with a chef's knife








but this saved me a few tears.








Enter diced red pepper and








tiny chunks of dense, sweet, piney mango.








Salt to taste and add the juice from the orange and lime.








Spoon please?  Nothing else...

Avocado Mango Salsa


  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ Jalapeno pepper,
  • seeds ribs removed, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 mango or papaya, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste


  1. Choose fruit that is ripe but firm enough to chop or dice neatly. In a medium bowl, pour lime and orange juice over minced onion, minced jalapeno and garlic. Let stand 20-30 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and adjust seasonings. Serve at room temperature for best flavor.
  2. Makes about 3 cups
  3. © Copyright 2011 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  4. All Rights Reserved

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Friday Best!

Posted by on Feb 4, 2012 in Desserts, Party Drinks and Appetizers | 7 comments

Dream Date with Wyatt.

Holly asked me if I could watch her precious baby on Friday.

Easy Peasy Cheeky Squeezy








Mr. Congeniality.

Stored in my brain somewhere was an idea.

24 miniture peanut butter cups have been hanging out in my pantry.

I gave Wyatt a cellophane bag to play with while I dreamed up a

Chocolate Mocha Cupcake with a hidden treasure inside~~

iced with Peanut Butter Frosting.














Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes


  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • Or ½ cup strong hot coffee
  • 24 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 (1/2 cup) muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and continue to beat until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated. Beat in the vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Combine boiling water with espresso.
  5. Beat the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the coffee mixture until the batter is smooth and glossy.
  6. Divide half the batter among the muffin cups. Stack two peanut butter cups in the center of each cupcake and top each one with remaining batter.
  7. Bake 16-17 minutes or until the cakes test done just on the outside of the peanut butter cup.
  8. Cool the cupcakes in the tin for 10 minutes removing to a wire rack to cool completely before icing with Peanut Butter Frosting.
  9. © Copyright 2011 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  10. All Rights Reserved

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Frosting inspired--from Ina Garten











Peek~ a~boo








The day just got better.








Bye Bye Wyatt.








Jules inspired Ribbon Salad.  She chose all green...

and learned how to curl scallions in ice water.








Hello, Friday Dinner and a sleepover.








Isabella Rose!








Mac n Cheese








Roasted Broccoli








Panko Parmesan Chicken








A vintage game of Old Maid.



















Early morning bread baking.








What's in your lunch box?






















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