Friday, December 13, 2013


Beets and Goats Bruschetta

I've always fallen for that old holiday song about "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." and it conjures up in my head some silly, romantic notion of sitting by the fire and all chores are done, food prepared, gifts wrapped, and there's nothing to do but smell the chestnuts roasting, which I have never, ever done - smelled chestnuts, nor gotten everything done just so. 

Bah Humbug!

Most know that I emit Scrooge-like squawks this time of year.  The holidays just come loaded with such grand expectations, mainly from my Inner Administrator.  And so I stress.

The "holidays" stand the chance of really, truly being that special time of year for making wonderful, magical, fun and humorous memories.  And so, with that in mind, I'm going to push Scrooge aside and plan on gathering with some special friends and my loved ones on several occasions.

And I'll bring one of the following apps, or appetizers, to contribute to the celebrations.  Finger food, each is relatively easy, not very time consuming, and delightfully delicious.  

My wish for all you foodies is to have a relaxing time during this season of sharing gifts, time with loved ones, and sumptuous feasts!

Recipes follow~


            Recipe by Elizabeth Wiegand, author of THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK, THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK, and FOOD LOVERS’ GUIDE TO NC’S OUTER BANKS, all from Globe Pequot Press.
This version of bruschetta, a spin on the classic combo of roasted beets and goat cheese, makes a beautiful holiday appetizer.
Chop roasted beets; add chives and thyme; smear goat cheese on toast.  Voila!

3 medium beets, about 2 cups
Aluminum foil
4 to 6 ounces goat cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 baguette
Chopped parsley for garnish

1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and trim roots and stems from beets.  Place whole beets in a large square of aluminum foil and seal tightly.  Place the foil package on a baking sheet, and roast in oven for about an hour, maybe a little more, until the tip of a knife goes into the beets easily. 
2.     Allow the beets to cool.  Peel (you may want to use gloves or a paper towel to rub the skin off the beets).  Dice the beets into tiny cubes, about ¼ inch or less.
3.     Meanwhile, set the goat cheese out to soften at room temperature.
4.     Place diced beets into a medium bowl.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and herbs.  Carefully mix together.
5.     Preheat broiler.  Cut baguette into thin, diagonal slices.  Brush both sides with olive oil.  Lightly toast both sides under the broiler.
6.     Spread goat cheese onto toasts.  Top with beet mixture.  Garnish with parsley.

Shrimp stuffed "Dare" Devil Eggs

*****    DARE DEVILED EGGS  from THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK, by Elizabeth Wiegand, Globe Pequot Press, 2nd ed. 2013

Watch me prepare this on WSLS Daytime Blue Ridge:
What’s old is new again. . . . Deviled Eggs, a staple of Southern picnics and Sunday gatherings, are making their rounds at wedding receptions and chic cocktail parties.  Here’s a “Dare Deviled” version that includes either shrimp or crabmeat, two of the bounties from the Outer Banks’ Dare County.
            You would think it a simple matter to boil an egg, but there are many ways to accomplish that.  I’ve found this manner works best if you need to shell the eggs without marring the white.  If you unintentionally dismember too many whites of the eggs, just go ahead and make an egg salad. And as I heard Julia Child exclaim once, during a cooking class I was attending, “Never, ever admit a mistake.  That’s what parsley’s for!”

12 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely cut chives
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup steamed shrimp, chopped fine OR ¼ cup backfin crabmeat
1 teaspoon Old Bay, if desired or sweet paprika

  1. Place eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Gently bring to a boil over medium heat.  Watch pot carefully, and immediately remove the pot from the heat when the bubbles begin.  Cook for five minutes, then immediately remove from heat.
  2. Drain water from pot, and run cold water over the eggs until water remains cold, about 2 minutes.
  3. Peel the eggs.  The best method is to tap them all over on the countertop.  Start at the big end where there is usually an air pocket, and carefully slide the shell away from the whites.  Rinse each egg quickly in cold water if needed to remove any pieces of shell. 
  4. Slice each egg in two lengthwise, and carefully pop or scoop out the yolk into a mixing bowl. 
  5. Mash the yolks with a fork, then add mayonnaise, mustard, chives, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.  Then gently fold in either shrimp or crabmeat.
  6. Stuff the middle of each egg white with the yolk mixture, and arrange on a serving plate or platter.  Sprinkle the tops with either Old Bay or paprika.
YIELD:  24 stuffed eggs (if you’re lucky!)

****   SHRIMP SALAD from NORTH BANKS, from FOOD LOVERS GUIDE TO NC'S OUTER BANKS, by Elizabeth Wiegand, Globe Pequot Press, 2013

            Driving up to Corolla may feel like you’re driving to the end of the earth.  But there’s a heavenly stop before you get to the end of the road.  North Banks Restaurant and Raw Bar, in the TimBuck II shopping center, has a fantastic menu featuring local, coastal cuisine, as well as great dishes from around the globe.  I’ve enjoyed many lovely meals at this casual eatery.
            Here’s a great recipe for Shrimp Salad that can be used to fill lettuce leaves, or sandwich wraps, or in a bun, or enjoyed just by itself.  It makes a vast quantity, perhaps good to have on hand for the start of a vacation.  Otherwise, size it down according to your needs.  If you have time, roast your own red peppers over a hot grill or under the broiler, then peel and chop.
6 pounds shrimp, cooked and chopped
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup whole water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1 cup chopped red onion
2 to 3 cups mayonnaise, according to preference
1 teaspoon and a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper

Place the celery, water chestnuts, red pepper and onion in the food processor.  Process until all is finely minced.  (Or finely chop all.)
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and add other ingredients.  Mix well.  Chill and serve.
YIELD:  About 12 servings