Summer Afternoon Staples

Everyone has their go to things. Certain meals that you can make even if you were in a coma, your kids favorite cookies, your grandmothers Christmas fudge. Things from memory that come together easily and with little effort.  I have a few appetizers that I can throw together on the fly when friends stop by on a gorgeous summer afternoon.
Here they are.

A bowl of Edamame.  No cooking involved, nicer than a bowl of nuts and more health conscience than a bowl of chips. They are fun to eat and really tasty.

Lavender cheddar, Apricot paste, Green olives, Rondole cheese spread, Salami

Cheese and crackers.  You can be as casual or fancy as you like. You can choose really stinky cheeses or go for a more mellow palate, just make sure to have a variety. I like to choose a soft cheese like a Camembert or Brie or even an herbed cheese spread such as Rondole, like what is shown above. A semi- hard or hard cheese such as a Cheddar, Gouda, Grana Padana, or Gruyere. I also like to throw in a blue cheese or a goat cheese. Then I like to add olives, Quince or Fig paste, and some salami. Serve with crackers or really good bread.

Guacamole. Who doesn't like Guacamole? This one is made with some leftover Edamame. It was buttery smooth with a little heat. We like it with tortilla chips, pita chips, or veggies. It's also great as a sandwich spread.

Red Pepper Hummus. Garbanzo beans, roasted red bell peppers, and tahini pureed with some chipotle and lemon and just enough olive oil to bring it all together.

What are your summer throw together appetizers?

1 cup shelled Edamame, thawed if frozen
4 ripe avocado peeled and diced
1/2 red onion chopped very fine
1 tomato seeded and chopped fine
1 jalapeno seeds and ribs removed and minced. Use less if you desire a less spicy dip.
2 limes juiced.
salt and pepper to taste.
In the bowl of a food processor place the Edamame and process until a smooth puree forms. You may need to add a tablespoon or so of water the bring it together.
In a large mixing bowl combine the Edamame puree, the avocado, onion, jalapeno and lime juice. Mash together with the tines of a fork until it is mostly smooth and some chunks of avocado remain. Season with salt and pepper.

Red Pepper Hummus

1, 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tablespoon of chipotle pepper in adobo
¼ cup tahini paste
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 red bell peppers roasted and chopped
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted pita bread and assorted vegetables to serve

In the bowl of a food processor place the garbanzo beans, the garlic, chipotle pepper, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until smooth.  Add the red peppers and olive oil and pulse until the peppers are chopped fine. Season with salt and pepper and serve with pita and vegetables for dipping.
To roast bell peppers
First wash the peppers and make sure any stickers are removed. Turn the burners of a gas range on high and place the peppers directly onto the grates. Using tongs, turn the peppers so they get evenly charred. The peppers may hiss and bubble; it's just the water from the peppers evaporating.
As soon as the peppers are blackened all over, place them in a bowl and cover the bowl with a plate or with plastic wrap. The peppers will steam making it easier to peel. Do not peek or let the steam out.
While the peppers cool, set up your cutting board. Once cool, take your first pepper, and with a sharp paring knife, make a slit down the length of the pepper cutting through only the top skin. Cut the flesh away from around the stem, discard the stem and seed knob and open up the rest of the pepper like a book. Scrape the seeds from the inside of the pepper,
Turn the pepper over and scrape the knife against the skin of the pepper, scraping off all of the charred skin. Wipe off the knife. Slice the pepper into strips and place in the bowl. Never wash the peppers or the taste will be diminished. When finished with the peppers, cover them in olive oil, adding some garlic slivers, if desired, and store in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.

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