More Gourmet Pigs in a Blanket

gourmet pigs in a blanket

Do you remember, a couple of years ago, when I shared with you all a few fun ideas for dressing up everyone’s favorite super bowl snack?  Gourmet pigs in a blanket are a major crowd pleaser.  The last time around, I made Cubano Piggies, Parmesan Piggies, Piggies from the City of Angels, and Super Chili Piggies.  They were gobbled up in seconds!

For Super Bowl LXVII, I have three more fun ideas for adding a little extra magic to the ubiquitous pastry-wrapped hot dog.  The Reuben Piggies are a play on my favorite deli sandwich, and are awesome with a side of Russian dressing.  The Asian Piggies are a surprising flavor twist, but the combo of hoisin sauce, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, and hot dog just plain works. And the Antipasto Piggies, with the pepperoni, cheese and peppers are Jeff’s catnip. Of course, the possibilities for variations on gourmet pigs in a blanket are endless, so let your imagination run wild.

And whichever team you are rooting for on Sunday, I hope you have a tasty spread of snazzy Super Bowl snacks to enjoy!

reuben pigs in blanket

Reuben Piggies

Makes 24

6 all beef hot dogs

1 tube refrigerated crescent roll dough

2 ounces deli sliced pastrami

1 ounce diced swiss cheese

1/4 cup sauerkraut

1/2 cup bottled russian dressing, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each hot dog into 4 pieces, and then cut a small slit into the top of each hot dog piece. Stuff a small bit of cheese into each hot dog.  Slice the crescent roll dough into 24 strips (they won’t be even but it doesn’t matter). Cut the pastrami into strips. To assemble the Reuben Piggies, lay a piece of pastrami on a strip of dough. Top with a small bit of sauerkraut, and then a piece of cheese-stuffed hot dog.  Roll up the dough and press together.  Place the assembled Piggie on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining hot dogs.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the dough is golden.  Serve hot with the dressing for dipping.

asian pigs in a blanket

Asian Piggies

Makes 24

6 all beef hot dogs

1 tube refrigerated crescent roll dough

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1/8 cup canned bean sprouts

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each hot dog into 4 pieces. Slice the crescent roll dough into 24 strips (they won’t be even, but it doesn’t matter).  Brush each strip with a bit of hoisin sauce, place a hot dog piece and a few bean sprouts on each strip of dough, and then roll up and press together.  Place the piggies on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the piggies with sesame seeds, pressing the seeds into the dough. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes until the dough is golden. (A quick tip: assemble the Asian Piggies right before baking because if they sit too long before baking, the dough will get soggy)

antipasto pigs in blanket

Antipasto Piggies

Makes 24

6 all beef hot dogs

1 tube refrigerated crescent roll dough

2 ounces very thinly sliced pepperoni

1 ounce diced mozzarella

1/4 cup thinly sliced jarred roasted red peppers

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each hot dog into 4 pieces, then cut a small slit into the top of each hot dog piece. Stuff a small bit of cheese into each hot dog. Slice the crescent roll dough into 24 strips (they won’t be even, but it doesn’t matter). On each strip of dough, lay a folded piece of pepperoni, a slice of pepper, and a piece of cheese-stuffed hot dog.  Roll up the dough and press together. Place the piggies on a baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden.

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Published in: on January 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm  Comments (6)  
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Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup

vegan indian vegetable soup

Almost every year, I succumb to a moment of temporary insanity on December 31st.  I make all sorts of crazy resolutions for the next year. And in the first few weeks of January, those New Year’s resolutions generally hold firm.  I go to the gym, forgo the ice cream, munch on raw broccoli and drag my butt to Pilates class.  But by the third week of the new year, all my good intentions have been waylaid by stressful late nights at the office, snowy winter mornings, movie theatre popcorn with extra butter, and cozy cuddling on the couch.

Let’s be honest.  Am I really going to keep my vow to make it to the gym every single day? Nope. Not likely. And give up ice cream?  Why did I ever want to give up ice cream?  Seriously… what was I thinking?

So I’m trying to bring a little bit of balance to my January.  Healthy, wonderful, delicious food – like this soup.  And a bit of ice cream every now and then too.

This soup is amazingly fragrant, easy to make, and perfect for a cold night.  It actually gets even better the next day, so makes for tasty leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. I’m not usually an advocate of frozen veggies, but in the case of soup, I’ve found that frozen is usually as good as fresh.  So feel free to use a bag of frozen cauliflower in place of the fresh in this recipe.

I really like good, grainy croutons on top of this soup, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.  But a handful of toasted sunflower seeds would be lovely too. And adding a sprinkle of finely chopped hard-boiled egg or a big dollop of Greek yogurt would make this soup into a hearty meal (but would, of course, make the dish no longer vegan). Basically, anything goes. Use your imagination, and enjoy!

vegan curried cauliflower soup

Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

For the soup:

1 pound fresh cauliflower (about 1 head) chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the toppings:

4 slices whole grain bread, cut in cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or any other fresh herbs you have in the fridge)

Steam the cauliflower until very tender.  Meanwhile, in a large pot, saute the onion in oil over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the ginger, garlic and spices and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and broth to the pot.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.  Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor.  I like it to retain a bit  of texture, but you can puree until completely smooth if you prefer. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the almond milk.  Heat until fully warmed through.

Meanwhile, toss the bread cubes with oil, salt and pepper.  Toast under the broiler until golden brown.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and top with croutons and cilantro.

Published in: on January 21, 2013 at 7:27 pm  Comments (9)  
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Butternut and Feta Omelet With Fresh Mint

omelet with buternut squash feta cheese and mint

I love brunch.  Brunch at home, brunch at restaurants, sweet brunch, savory brunch – I love all of it.  But recently, in my brunching, I have begun to notice that there is a lot of omelet snobbery out there in the world.  From arguments over the merits of adding a splash of milk to debates over whether or not to flip, people tend to be passionate about their omelet preferences.  In fact, omelet eating seems to inspire a level of intensity akin to wine drinking. No, none of my friends have yet attempted to determine the terrior of the eggs from a single bite of Sunday brunch, but such nonsense wouldn’t actually shock me.

I have to admit that I am as picky about my omelets as anyone out there.  I like a splash of milk for volume, but not too much.  I like a slight bit of browning, but no crisp edges.  I hate a runny center, but don’t want my omelet overcooked.  And most of all, I detest a filled rolled omelet.  I like plenty of fillings but want them cooked right into the egg, not sandwiched in pillowy egginess.

So yes, I’m picky.  But just as with wine, I don’t think omelets are about right or wrong, it’s just about figuring out what you enjoy.  Sure, a true, traditional French omelet has no filling and a runny center.  But I’m not a fan.  I probably shouldn’t admit this, but to me, the best part of ordering an omelet in France is that it usually comes with fries.  Actually, for years I thought I hated all omelets, but it turns out that I just had to do a little experimenting.

And I’ve even found a few local brunch places that make my kind of omelet, but I still like my own home-cooked omelets best of all.  Particularly because they are a great way to use up leftovers lingering in the fridge.

I had a bit of leftover squash and a few wilting mint leaves to use up this weekend, so an omelet was born.  I love the combination of sweet butternut squash and salty feta cheese.  But the best part of this omelet is the unexpected burst of fresh earthiness from the mint, which cuts through the richness of the egg and the tanginess of the cheese.

This recipe makes one omelet – my way.  If you happen to like your omelet thinner, use a larger pan.  If you prefer a filled omelet, just cook the egg and then toss in the butternut and feta af the end.  If you want to simply skip the fuss and go for a scramble, it will taste just as lovely.  But don’t skip the mint.  It really is worth a try – trust me.

omelet filled with squash and cheese

Butternut and Feta Omelet with Fresh Mint

Serves 1

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sliced garlic

2 extra large eggs

2 tablespoons milk

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided

1/3 cup cooked cubed butternut squash

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat the oil in an 8-inch omelet pan over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and saute until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper with a wisk until very well combined. Add half of the mint to the egg mixture.  Reduce the heat to low and add the egg mixture to the pan, making sure to distribute evenly.  As the egg begins to cook on the bottom, sprinkle the cooked butternut and the feta cheese over the top of the omelet. Continue to cook the omelet until the top is no longer runny (you can cover the pan to speed this process, if you like, but it will change the texture slightly). Using a spatula to lift the edges of the omelet from the pan, slide the omelet carefully to a plate.  Top with the remaining mint and serve hot.

Published in: on January 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm  Comments (7)  
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