Foothill gourmet: Yummy snacks

By From page B2 | August 27, 2012

Donna Brown


Today’s column features several recipe ideas for football watching, movie watching or pre-dinner snacks and a recipe for grilled portobello burgers.

Kettle corn — Put 3/4 cup popcorn kernels and 3 tablespoons each sugar and vegetable oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Don’t use a thin alumium pot as the sugar can burn too fast. Cover and cook over high heat shaking, until the popping stops. Pour into serving bowl and season with salt.

Cinnamon kettle corn — Make kettle corn above and add 1 teaspoon cinnamon with the sugar.

Beer-cheese dip — Pulse 1/2 pound cubed extra sharp white cheddar in a food processor until finely chopped. Note: you can also substitute yellow extra sharp cheddar, but the dip will have a more golden color. Add 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, a pinch of salt and sugar, and 1/2 cup Pilsner beer. Process until smooth. Make a note when friends are invited that this recipe includes alcohol.

Harvest snack mix — Toss 8 cups popped popcorn, 1 cup each pumpkin seeds and pecans, 1/2 stick melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and salt. Bake at 350 degrees, 20 minutes; cool. Toss with 1 cup each dried cranberries, dried apples and chocolate covered almonds or raisins.

Tex-Mex shrimp cocktail — Mix 3/4 cup ketchup, two 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies, and 2 tablespoons each lime juice, horseradish and chopped cilantro. Serve with chilled cooked shrimp.

Veggie pockets — Warm 12 pitas. Cut off the tops and fill with hummus, crumbled feta and chopped olives, cucumber, lettuce and tomato. At our house the cucumber is optional.

My workout friend Kay shared her new favorite recipe for grilled portobello and onion burgers with a blue cheese and creamy Dijon sauce which serves four. It’s now one of her favorites since her husband, definitely a meat and potatoes man, enjoys it.

Grilled portobello and onion burgers — Ingredients: 4 large portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean with a damp cloth, 4 slices red onion, each round about 1/4-inch thick (about 1 medium onion), 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup), and 4 romaine lettuce leaves. Sauce ingredients: 2 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek-style yogurt, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt.

Preparation: Heat a grill pan on medium-high. Lightly brush mushroom caps and onion with oil. Grill mushroom caps and onion for 4-5 minutes per side or until tender. Mushrooms begin to release their juices when they are tender. Set aside on a separate plate. Grill buns, cut-sides-down, for 1-2 minutes per side until toasted. Prepare sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Spread sauce on bottom half of each bun. Top with onion, mushroom caps (smooth side down), cheese and lettuce. Top with other bun halves. Enjoy trying a new recipe.

Donna Brown

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