Category Archives: Appetizers

Fig and Blue Cheese Phyllo Bites

Fig and Blue Cheese Phyllo Bites | @tasteLUVnourish | #appetizer #fig #bluecheese #phyllo #honey

It always seems like there’s this flash, about three winks, when fresh figs make their way into my market, making me squee a little! I adore them. Honestly, I’d have eaten every single one of them right out of the container without any fuss. But this is me we are talking about…I like to experiment…a lot. Then, there’s this obsession I have with sweet and salty. Do you love that pairing as much as I do? This recipe is just for you!

These bites come together so easily. Don’t be afraid of the phyllo! I’ve got some tips below that really help. Ripped sheets? No problem. Just pile them onto each other…because really, the messier you make this, the prettier they’ll be.

Fig and Blue Cheese Phyllo Bites | @tasteLUVnourish | #appetizer #fig #bluecheese #phyllo #honey

Fig and Blue Cheese Phyllo Bites

12 fresh Black Mission Figs
extra virgin olive oil
16 sheets phyllo, room temperature
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
honey

Wash and gently pat dry the figs. Trim their stalks and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Working quickly, stack 8 of the phyllo sheets, brushing lightly with olive oil between each. With a sharp knife, cut the sheet into 6 equal rectangles. Place one fig onto each rectangle. Using your fingers, scrunch the phyllo up around the fig to form a nest. Using a paring knife, slice down into the fig, cutting it into quarters about three quarters of the way down, leaving the bottom intact. Place the phyllo bite onto the baking sheet and continue with the rest of the figs. Brush the edges of the phyllo with just a tiny bit of olive oil if needed.

Repeat the process with the remaining phyllo sheets and figs.

Bake the bites for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with the blue cheese and drizzle with honey. Serve warm.

Yields 12 pieces

Tips for working with phyllo…
-Bring the phyllo to room temperature before using. Cold phyllo sheets will stick together.
-Have everything you need ready to go before you even open the phyllo package.
-Work quickly.
-If you are working with the whole package of phyllo, you’ll want to cover the sheets with either waxed paper, parchment or plastic wrap with a damp towel over that.
-Don’t throw out any ripped sheets. This recipe, especially, is very forgiving. Most of the time, you can get around rips.
-Wrap up any unused sheets immediately and seal in a zipper bag making sure to remove all of the air. Phyllo can be refrozen if wrapped up tightly.

Fig and Blue Cheese Phyllo Bites | @tasteLUVnourish | #appetizer #fig #bluecheese #phyllo #honey
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Gazpacho

Gazpacho | @tasteLUVnourish | #gazpacho #tomatoes #avocado #cucmber #healthy #vegan #vegetarian #soup

While driving the other day, my daughter and I pulled into a roadside farm stand. There was the sweetest and most adorable older woman proudly arranging her tomatoes. For every basket my eyes landed on, she’d say, “Go ahead and try one!” That sweet lady knows exactly what she’s doing. I walked away with more tomatoes than I knew what to do with! I’m a sucker for sweet face.

I owe her, though. She gave me an excuse to finally make gazpacho. A chilled tomato soup that I could eat every day. I haven’t made it in ages because…well…my family says they don’t like it. I made it anyway.

Gazpacho | @tasteLUVnourish | #gazpacho #tomatoes #avocado #cucmber #healthy #vegan #vegetarian #soup

Gazpacho has so many variations. I’d eat any one of them. Although, I will say, recipes calling for tomato juice…hmmm…not so much. I’ve interpreted my own idea of gazpacho many times, but this…this is my favorite. This recipe is based on the authentic preparation of gazpacho, but with a twist or two. Authentic Andalusian gazpacho, where it originates, uses bread to give the soup body and subtle flavor. The bread is traditionally soaked with water for about thirty minutes then drained before being processed with the tomatoes. I omit the water and instead, use the juices from the tomato. It’s wonderful, fresh, summery, and filling. I’m in love with this recipe.

And guess what? So is my family.

Gazpacho | @tasteLUVnourish | #gazpacho #tomatoes #avocado #cucmber #healthy #vegan #vegetarian #soup

Gazpacho

3 to 4 1″ slices of a crusty baguette (See Notes)
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut in half
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Garnish with…
finely diced avocado
finely diced cucumber
finely diced red onion
grape or cherry tomato slices
a few sprigs of fresh lemon thyme (try regular thyme or basil if you’d like)
freshly ground black pepper
a squeeze of fresh lime
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Place the bread slices in a medium bowl topped with a fine mesh sieve. Squeeze the tomato halves over the sieve to remove the seeds and allow the juices to run into the bowl with the bread. Place the tomatoes into the pitcher of your blender as you work. Press the seeds and any pulp through the sieve using a rubber spatula or your hands. Allow the bread to soak in the tomato juice for about 20 to 30 minutes.

In two or more batches, process the tomatoes, the bread and the rest of the ingredients in the blender on its highest speed until smooth. Pour each batch into a large serving bowl. Once done, use a whisk to bring it all together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with your favorites!

Serves 4

Adapted from Gazpacho Andaluz | Saveur

Notes

  • Use your favorite crusty baguette. I love using a sourdough. Its tartness just complements this perfectly.
  • Traditionally, the crust is removed from the bread before soaking. I like to use the crust. I think it adds body and flavor.
  • Serve this as a light dinner or serve it as an appetizer in shot glasses with some colorful garnishes!
    Gazpacho | @tasteLUVnourish | #gazpacho #tomatoes #avocado #cucmber #healthy #vegan #vegetarian #soup