Dipping Oil for Ciabatta Bread
2 TBSP minced fresh basil
1 TBSP minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 loaf Ciabatta bread
Combine herbs. Mix in the oil and lemon juice.
Put about two teaspoons of the herb mixture onto a small plate and then add about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with halved thick slices of fresh Ciabatta bread.
One of the simplest (& best!) appetizers
For the Balsamic Glaze:
3 Tbs. aged balsamic vinegar
(believe it or not Publix brand
balsamic vinegar is decent)
1 Tbs. Maille coarse mustard
1 Tbs. Honey, or more if you like
a sweeter vinaigrette
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Maple syrup, to taste
In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, honey & mustard and whisk to blend. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth and blended.
If desired, add a touch of maple syrup for a more complex & delicious flavor. Heat over low heat until it reaches a thickened glaze consistency.
Slice a loaf of Ciabatta bread into thickish slabs, cut in half, toast until lightly browned. Rub cooled toasts with fresh garlic. Top with a slice of fresh mozzarella, then slice of a ripe Campari or Plum tomato, then with a single fresh basil leaf and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Almost Alice Quesadillas
Honey Mustard Sauce/Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
1TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP Maille coarse ground mustard
Briskly whisk ingredients for 1 minute. Chill until needed.
2 chicken breasts
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
4 slices bacon
3 TBSP butter, divided in thirds
Sharp cheddar cheese,
shredded, about 1/4 cup
1 TBSP olive oil
Salt and Pepper
4 medium tortillas
Cook bacon for until fully cooked and crisp; drain on paper towels.
Pound chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken on each side until golden brown. Keep warm while you finish cooking.
With frying pan on medium heat, melt 1TBSP of the butter. Add mushrooms and sauté. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside in a bowl.
Slice chicken into thin strips about 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length. Set aside. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and set aside. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Heat 1 TBSP of butter in another frying pan over medium heat. Place tortilla on melted butter and cover with 2 spoonfuls of honey mustard sauce and spread to cover most of tortilla. Sprinkle 1 sliced chicken breast over sauce and cover with 1/2 of mushrooms and bacon and enough cheese to lightly cover tortilla. Drizzle 1 spoonful of honey mustard sauce over cheese and cover with another tortilla. Flip quesadilla when light brown and cook on other side until also light brown. Repeat.
Cut quesadillas into 6 pieces and serve with honey mustard sauce for dipping.
Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese Balls
For the bacon mac ‘n cheese:
1 Vidalia or sweet onion, minced
2 TBSP butter
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp, throughly drained on paper towels and then crumbled
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded Jack cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked to al dente
2 cups flour
3 whole eggs, whisked
2 cups plain breadcrumbs mixed with 2 TBSP of “Slap Ya Mama” or other Cajun seasoning
Canola oil for frying
In a large pot, over medium heat, sauté onion in the butter until tender but not caramelized. To the same pot add the 2 TBSP flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in heavy cream and thyme. When flour mixture begins to thicken. Stir in cheeses until completely melted and sauce is thick and creamy, about five minutes. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and gently stir in pasta. Stir in crumbled bacon until evenly distributed. Put in a bowl and chill in refrigerator overnight, if possible ( or at several hours until mac ‘n cheese is completely chilled)
In three separate bowls, place about 2 cups flour in one, 3 whisked eggs in another, and 2 cups of Cajun seasoned breadcrumbs in the another bowl.
Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of mac and cheese and form it into a ball in your hands. (mac ‘n cheese needs to be throughly chilled to hold ball shape).
Roll in the flour, then eggs, and then the breadcrumbs, completely encasing the mac ‘n cheese ball. Place onto a baking sheet. Repeat till you have used up all your mac and cheese.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or heavy pot to 350 degrees. If using a pot, use enough vegetable oil to just cover the mac and cheese bites. Fry in batches for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Be careful not to overcrowd so the bites won’t stick to each other. Best served warm.
Note: If making ahead of time and freezing, freeze the breaded bites on a baking sheet for an hour before placing into a Ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.