Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Finger Food...that's healthy???

Don't think it's possible to have happy and party and healthy all in one bite of holiday eating?

Think delicious and different.

Think stand out beautiful presentation.

Think healthy holiday finger food.  Why not?

Think...
  • Collard and Cream Cheese Dumplings
  • Texas Hummus
  • Greek Salad Spoons
Thank me later.  Here are the recipes.
Creamy, healthy, jumping with goodness and big flavors.  Sounds like Texas to me!

Collard and Cream Cheese Dumplings
My recipe is vegetarian all the way.  For a meat-lover's version, you may want to try Paula Deen's recipe, which uses ham hocks. Be sure to incorporate some of the meat in your filling.   If you have a favorite way of preparing collards, stick with that recipe and substitute it here.  To fold the dumplings, I recommend watching this video tutorial, or you can fold into whatever shape suits you.  I don't think anyone will be standing by to rate your folding technique.

2 cups cooked collards, cooled completely and chopped finely
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature (so that it is soft enough to mix)
12 dashes of hot sauce (I prefer Texas Pete)
40 wonton wrappers
small bowl of water
vegetable oil for frying

Combine the collards, hot sauce and cream cheese, adding more or less hot sauce to suit your taste. Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling onto the center of a wrapper, moisten two sides and fold over into a triangle, pinching sides together to seal in the filling.  Remember, you can fold into a more traditional dumpling shape by watching this easy video tutorial.  Heat oil and fry dumplings about 3-4 minutes. Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.  Allow to cool a bit before serving.

Vegetarian Collards (for filling)
One bunch of  collards
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper, adjusted to suit your taste
water or vegetable stock

Heat a heavy pan on high, pour all olive oil, stir in onions and garlic.  Turn heat to medium-low and continue to cook until onions are wilted.  In the meantime, wash collard leaves well.  Gather a few leaves, roll into a large cigar-shape and cut into 1/2" ribbons.  Add to the pot, stir to combine everything, season and pour in the water or vegetable stock, which should cover the collards by about one inch.  Bring to a rolling boil, cover and reduce to a medium boil.  Collards should be tender and ready to eat at around 30 to 45 minutes.

Texas Hummus
1 cup cooked pinto beans
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
4 T. cilantro, chopped
2 T. lime juice
1 t. Texas Pete hot sauce (use your favorite, but this is my preference)
1 t. ground cumin
2 T. pecans
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. salt
pepper (to suit your taste)

1 T. extra virgin olive oil and 1 T. chopped cilantro to dress the hummus

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients (except beans) to a coarse puree. Add the beans and process until incorporated into the mix.  Use water, one teaspoon at a time to assist in the processing, if mixture is too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Pour into a serving bowl, drizzle with reserved extra virgin olive oil and cilantro.  Serve with celery and carrot sticks and sliced red and green peppers.

Greek Salad Spoons
10 Campari tomatoes  (the only Winter tomatoes available in grocery stores which taste and smell like tomatoes)
1/2 small yellow onion
1 cucumber
1/2 t. dry oregano
salt to taste
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. Kalamata olives, finely chopped*
2 T. Feta cheese, crumbled

Chop all vegetables and combine with salt, oregano, vinegar, oil and olives. Stir in Feta cheese.  Use teaspoons to load with the salad and serve on a long platter lined with a white cloth napkin.  Set spoons on the napkin to serve.  If you have it available, you can substitute the spoons with radicchio and Belgian endive leaves.

*Do not substitute.  If you cannot find any, leave them out.