Appetizers

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Jake's Hill of Onion Rings
Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 10 large white Spanish onions cored
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup eggs beaten
  • 3 cups flour for dusting
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a home deep-fryer to 375 degrees. If you do not have a home fryer, use a large pot and a fry basket. Fry onions in multiple batches. Use a thermometer to make sure temperature returns to 375 degrees between batches.
  2. Slice onions as thin as possible using a mandoline or cut with a knife.
  3. Make an egg wash by combining milk and eggs. Put onions in colander set over a bowl. Pour egg wash over onions. Allow the wash to drip out. Onions should be completely covered, but not too wet. Use egg wash that seeps into bowl if needed or discard.
  4. Dredge in flour so onions are lightly covered.
  5. Fry according to manufacturer's instructions on home fryer. If using a pot, place a few cups of prepared onions into fryer basket and slowly lower into pot.
  6. Onions will make the oil bubble and foam up considerably; lowering the basket slowly will prevent oil from dangerously spilling over the sides of the pot. Fry onions until golden brown, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, moving constantly so they brown evenly. Remove from oil and season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

 

Basil Pesto
Servings: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese see Cook's Note
Instructions
  1. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
  3. If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

 

Spinach-Cheese Swirls In Puff Pastry
Course: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • tablespoons green onion about 2, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 ounce pkg of a 17.3- package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets 1 sheet, thawed
  • 1 pkg (about 10 ouncefrozen chopped spinach thawed and well drained
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 400° Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

  2. Stir the Muenster cheese, Parmesan cheese, onion and garlic powder in a medium bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the flour on the work surface.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface.  Brush the pastry sheet with the egg mixture.  Top with the cheese mixture and spinach.
  4. Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into about 20 (1/2-in) slices.  Place the slices, cut-side down, onto 2 baking sheets.  Brush the slices with the egg mixture.

  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.
  6. For best results, make sure to remove as much liquid as you can from the spinach before adding it to the pastry. If it's too wet, it may make the pastry soggy.
  7. For Ham & Broccoli Swirls, omit the spinach, cheeses, onion and garlic powder.  Unfold the pastry sheet and brush with the egg mixture as directed above.  Spread 1/2 of an 8-ounce container whipped cream cheese with chives on the pastry sheet.  Top with 1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained and 1 cup finely chopped cooked ham.  Proceed as directed above.
Recipe Notes

For a flavor twist, try a different cheese.  Any shredded cheese will work in this recipe.