Small plates to make for appealing dishes
(Family Features) Imagine treating yourself and your dinner guests to a delicious, restaurant-caliber meal without leaving your dining room or hiring a personal chef. Small plates, also known as tapas, are lighter, bite-sized indulgences that you can prepare and style seamlessly. By putting your own artful, unique spin on small plates, you can indulge in a meal that appeals to the senses and conveys sophistication.
It can be easy to create delicious small plates: all you need are wholesome, seasonal ingredients to pair with an artisan-crafted, quality olive oil such as Carapelli. The line, with three varieties to explore, brings a renaissance to the modern kitchen and is ideal for endeavoring chefs looking to try new flavors and experiment with tastes or recipes. It embodies a true passion for the art of creating extra-virgin olive oils and is designed to lift cooks out of the everyday cooking experience.
Keep in mind that when it comes to small plates, what’s important isn’t just the recipe, but the plate – and plating – of the cuisine itself. Foods that appeal to the eye are likely to tempt the taste buds as well. Invest in appropriate-sized dishware for small plates that allows the food to take center-stage.
For a true multi-sensory indulgence, also take time to garnish your dishes, big and small, with edible enhancements that lend a subtle complement to the main attraction. A selection of fresh greens, sprinkling of herbs and even a light drizzle of olive oil can do the trick.
Plan how you’ll adapt your favorite dishes for size – and season – with more tips and recipes at carapelliusa.com.
Carrots and Fresh Herbs with Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon clover honey
- 1/2 cup Carapelli Organic Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon basil, finely chopped
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and finely shredded
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced, plus more cut into 3/4-inch pieces, for garnish
- 1/3 cup Champagne Vinaigrette
- fine sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- chive sticks, for garnish
- In medium mixing bowl, combine champagne vinegar, Dijon and honey. Whisk constantly until well combined. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Add garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and basil: whisk to combine.
- In mixing bowl, toss carrots, parsley and chives. Add dressing. Season, to taste, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with chive sticks.
Notes: Vinaigrette can be stored in refrigerator up to five days. For zestier salad, add additional 2 tablespoons vinaigrette to carrots; serve with crusty bread.
Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese Beet Skewers
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours, plus cooling time
Servings: 42 skewers
- 2 beets (about 1 pound), 3 inches in diameter, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- arugula, for garnish
- flaked sea salt, for garnish
Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese:
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat sous vide water bath to 185° F.
- In mixing bowl, combine beets, olive oil, thyme and salt; toss to coat. Remove beets from liquid and divide, placing them in single layer into two quart-sized vacuum-seal bags, leaving any excess liquid behind.
- Use vacuum sealer to remove air and double-seal bag. To use zip-top bags instead, slowly dip slightly open bags into large container filled with water, allowing water to displace air. Seal bags when air is removed.
- Place vacuum-sealed bag into prepared water bath, placing heavy, heat-resistant bowl on top of beets to keep them submerged, if necessary. Cook 3 hours.
- If you do not have a sous vide machine, bring large stock pot filled with water to rolling boil. Place vacuum-sealed bags in water. Reduce to gentle simmer, cover and cook 1 hour.
- Carefully remove beets from water bath and cool in sealed bag until they reach room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes more before serving.
- In mini food processor, cream goat cheese, ricotta and olive oil until smooth. Add zest, salt and pepper: stir to combine.
- Transfer cheese mixture to piping bag fitted with star tip and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To serve, remove beets from bag and arrange on serving platter. Pipe dollop of Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese onto each beet. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Garnish with arugula and pinch of flaked sea salt; place skewer through each beet to serve.
Olive Oil Drizzled Pecorino Popcorn
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons Carapelli Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 1/3 cup yellow popcorn kernels
- In bowl, combine pecorino and pepper; mix until well combined and there are no cheese clumps.
- In small saucepan over low flame, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil; keep warm.
- Add remaining olive oil and popcorn to large Dutch oven. Stir until all popcorn kernels are coated in oil.
- Cover Dutch oven with lid and cook over medium-high heat, shaking pot periodically. Once popcorn begins to pop, lower heat to medium and continue to shake pot approximately every 15 seconds. When popping slows considerably, remove Dutch oven from heat and allow to rest until popping ceases, about 30 seconds.
- Remove lid and transfer popcorn to large mixing bowl. Drizzle warm olive oil over popcorn; toss to coat. Sprinkle cheese mixture over popcorn; toss to coat.
- Divide popcorn into bowls. Sprinkle some freshly grated pecorino and dash of freshly ground black pepper over top; serve.
Source: Carapelli Olive Oil
(Family Features) When it comes to balancing heart-healthy meals with appealing flavors, it’s important to lean on nutritious ingredients that pack mouthwatering taste. For example, grapes are a delicious yet subtle way to incorporate a little something extra into your diet while adding a juicy burst of flavor.
Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – can be enjoyed as a ready-to-eat, on-the-go food anytime and anywhere. Grapes are also a healthy choice, as they’re a natural source of antioxidants and other polyphenols, and contain no fat and virtually no sodium.
Because of their versatility, heart-healthy grapes can also be used as an ingredient to add fresh appeal, vibrant color and a light touch of sweetness to almost any dish, like Roasted Cod with Fennel and Grapes or Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Grapes. For something quick and nutritious featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, try this Vegetarian Poke Bowl with tofu, fresh grapes, avocado and crunchy, raw beets and carrots.
Grape Goodness for Healthy Aging
In addition to helping maintain heart health, grapes may also play a role in healthy aging. A review of the science linking the consumption of grapes to health highlights grapes’ potential to impact many areas of health, according to research published in “Grapes and Health: A Monograph.” The evidence that grapes support heart health is well-established, and emerging research in other areas of health suggests that grapes’ ability to promote antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities at the cellular level may also play a protective role in eye, brain and joint health, among others.
Find more recipes to make healthy eating easy at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
Vegetarian Poke Bowl
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 5 cups cooked brown or white jasmine rice
- 2 packages (6 ounces each) extra-firm tofu, cubed
- 2 cups red California grapes, halved
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 large golden beet, peeled and shredded
- 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
- 6 ounces light Asian ginger-sesame salad dressing
- Divide rice between four bowls and arrange tofu, grapes, avocado, beets and carrots on top. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds; serve with dressing.
Nutritional information per serving: 620 calories; 19 g protein; 101 g carbohydrates; 17 g fat (25% calories from fat); 2.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 450 mg sodium; 11 g fiber.
Roasted Cod with Fennel and Grapes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 pound cod loin, cut into four equal pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
- 1 medium fennel bulb, fronds removed, chopped and reserved
- 1 cup red California grapes, halved
- Heat oven to 400° F. Arrange cod pieces in baking dish.
- In small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with lemon juice, orange zest, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Spoon mixture onto cod in equal amounts. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached.
- While cod is baking, in small bowl, combine remaining olive oil, remaining salt, pepper, vinegar, orange juice, shallot, coriander, honey and oregano; set aside. Halve and core fennel bulb then thinly slice and place in separate bowl. Add grapes and dressing; toss to combine.
- Serve cod topped with fennel and grape salad. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds.
Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 19 g protein; 15 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat (36% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 45 mg cholesterol; 240 mg sodium; 2 g fiber.
Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Grapes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 1 cup packed arugula
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups red California grapes, halved
- Heat oven to 400° F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Using fork, poke shallow holes in skin of squash then brush with 1 tablespoon oil and place it, cut-side down, in rimmed baking dish. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
- To make pesto: In food processor, process 1/4 cup walnuts, garlic, basil, arugula, lemon juice and lemon zest until well chopped. Add remaining olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper; process until well blended.
- Once squash is done baking, remove from oven. Cool squash 5-10 minutes then, using fork, scrape inside flesh of squash, removing “spaghetti,” and place it in large bowl. Add pesto and beans to cooked squash and toss gently with tongs to combine. Divide equally into six bowls and top each with 1/4 cup grapes and 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts.
Nutritional information per serving: 290 calories; 7 g protein; 24 g carbohydrates; 20 g fat (62% calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 6 g fiber.
(Family Features) Warmer weather has arrived and that means it’s salad season.
There are many seasonal salads to enjoy and everyone has a favorite. Change your warm-weather dining habits up a bit with this recipe for Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers. Easy to prepare, this deliciously unique salad on a skewer is perfect for entertaining family and friends.
The sweet-tangy, nutty, piquant and savory combination of ingredients provides layers of flavors in every forkful. One-bite Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets are just right for skewering with the mustard-marmalade glazed chicken and crisp romaine.
To finish, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds and cheese. Add a whole grain baguette and your meal is ready. For more warm-weather recipe ideas, visit AuntNellies.com.
Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets, drained
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
- salt, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- pepper, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- 4 1/2 tablespoons stone ground mustard, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange marmalade, plus 1/3 cup, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bag (9 ounces) leafy romaine pieces
- 8 wooden skewers
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup crumbled firm white cheese (such as blue cheese, feta or goat)
- Heat oven to 375° F. Drain beets; set aside.
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons each of mustard and marmalade. Brush mixture over chicken until completely coated. Bake chicken on aluminum foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear; set aside.
- To make vinaigrette: In medium bowl, combine remaining mustard, remaining marmalade, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly pour in oil while whisking vigorously until completely combined.
- Slice cooled chicken into 1-inch pieces. On each skewer, thread a beet, a piece of chicken and 4- 5 pieces of lettuce; repeat twice; add one beet at end. Repeat to make eight skewers. Place skewers on large serving platter. Stir vinaigrette; drizzle lightly over skewers. Sprinkle with almonds and cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.
Substitution: Whole pickled beets may be substituted. Cut beets in half.
Alternate preparation: To grill chicken, brush both sides with mustard-marmalade mixture. Grill over medium heat 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and thermometer reads 165 F. If chicken cooks too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low.
Nutritional information per serving: 255 calories; 15 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 12 g total fat; 440 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 2 g dietary fiber; 1 mg iron; .07 mg thiamin; 2,871 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C.
Source: Aunt Nellie's
(Family Features) A tortilla plus a tasty filling makes a household favorite – a taco. This simple, casual, versatile, fun food knows no boundaries. Tacos can be right for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks and dessert, depending on the filling.
For tacos with a unique, delicious twist on tradition, try these Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa that are ready in 30 minutes. The antioxidant-rich Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets lend color, as well as a refreshing sweet-tangy flavor that’s complementary to the lime juice, cilantro and red onion in the salsa. This sassy salsa is a perfect partner for rotisserie, roasted or grilled chicken, arugula and a dollop of jalapeno mustard-sour cream sauce nestled inside a soft flour tortilla.
For your taco fiesta, just set out the tortillas, salsa and other toppings and let everyone help themselves to a fun and delicious dinner.
For other versatile recipes, visit AuntNellies.com.
Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa
Prep time: 25 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno mustard
- 4 soft flour tortillas (6-inch diameter)
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 2 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken (hot or cold)
- 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
- To make salsa: drain beets and chop. In medium bowl, combine beets, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
- To make tacos: In small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard; set aside.
- On one half of each tortilla, place equal amounts of salsa, arugula, chicken and cheese. Top with dollops of mustard-sour cream. Fold over.
Substitution: Sliced pickled beets or three single-serve cups of Aunt Nellie’s Diced Pickled Beets may be substituted for baby whole pickled beets.
Nutritional information per serving: 380 calories; 20 g protein; 28 g carbohydrates; 20 g total fat; 650 mg sodium; 80 mg cholesterol; 1 g dietary fiber; 2 mg iron; 0.15 mg thiamin;
460 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C.
Source: Aunt Nellie's